Increased BAH rates announced

By Tom Philpott: CNJ columnist

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) paid to service members living off base in stateside areas will increase an average of 6.9 percent in January to keep pace with local rental costs.

The new BAH rates will pump an additional $1 billion into service member paychecks in 2009, raising total BAH costs to $17.4 billion a year, said Susan A. Brumbaugh, director of BAH for the Department of Defense.

The average monthly increase will be about $68 for a typical junior enlisted member with dependents and $93 for a married senior non-commissioned officer.

BAH rates will climb in most military housing areas but they will fall in some locales where rents have dropped. In rate decline areas, however, only service members moving in after Jan. 1 will be impacted.