By Department of Defense
Editor’s note: This story has been localized to include Fort Carson-specific information.
FORT CARSON, Colo. — The DOD has released the 2021 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates. BAH rates will increase an average of 2.9% when the new rates take effect on Jan. 1, 2021. An estimated $23 billion will be paid to approximately one million service members.
“Fort Carson has been pushing for an increase in the mid-grade NCO category for the past five years,” said Col. Nate Springer, commander, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Carson. “And at about a 10% increase for staff sergeants and other increases across the board, that helps to close the gap in getting Families to be able to choose where they live.
“This is a big step in helping our Families to be able to afford to live in this great community,” he added. “Two-thirds of Fort Carson Families live off post, and this increase helps our Soldiers to not go so far out-of-pocket and to be able to rent or buy off post. I think it’s a big step — not the final step — but a big step, and one more example of the Army and Fort Carson’s efforts to ease the burden of the cost of living in our area.”
The 2021 BAH, as part of a robust military compensation package, continues the member out-of-pocket expense element at 5% of the national average housing cost by pay grade. The out-of-pocket expense amounts incorporated in the 2021 BAH rates vary by grade and dependency status and range from $70 to $158 monthly. Even with the out-of-pocket expense amounts, the overall military pay and benefits package remains competitive and healthy.
Housing cost data are collected annually for approximately 300 military housing areas in the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii. An important part of the BAH process is the cooperation from the services and local military housing offices in the data collection effort. Input from local commands is used to determine in which neighborhoods data is collected and to direct the data collection effort in those neighborhoods toward adequate apartment complexes and individual housing units.
Median current market rent and average utilities (including electricity, heat and water/sewer) comprise the total housing cost for each military housing area and are included in the BAH computation. Total housing costs are developed for six housing profiles (based on dwelling type and number of bedrooms) in each military housing area. BAH rates are then calculated for each pay grade, both with and without dependents.
An integral part of the BAH program is the provision of individual rate protection to all members. No matter what happens to measured housing costs — including the out-of-pocket expense adjustment, an individual member who maintains uninterrupted BAH eligibility in a given location will not see his/her BAH rate decrease. This ensures that members who have made long-term commitments in the form of a lease or contract are not penalized if the area’s housing costs decrease.
The department is committed to the preservation of a compensation and benefit structure that provides members with a suitable and secure standard of living to sustain a trained, experienced and ready force now and in the future.
For more information on the BAH, including the 2021 BAH rates and 2021 BAH rate component breakdown, visit https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bah.cfm. Service members can calculate their BAH payment by using the BAH calculator at http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm.