By Buddy Blouin
The continued rise of inflation is affecting families across the United States, and the military community is no exception. As the cost of living increases, families are looking for new ways to make ends meet and survive these difficult economic times. Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) provides financial assistance to help military families cover the cost of housing and other living expenses. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) understands the challenges that troops and their families are facing and has announced an increase in 2023 BAH rates along with increases to other initiatives aiming at helping military families overcome financial adversities.

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When Will 2023 BAH Rates Be Released?

On September 22, 2022, the DoD announced immediate and long-term actions to help strengthen the economic security and stability of service members and their families. Within the announcement are changes to the 2023 BAH rates, changes to the Permanent Change of Station (PCS) process, investment in childcare and child development, and more employment assistance for military spouses.

Will BAH Rates Increase in 2023?

Yes, the BAH rate increase in 2023 will bump up the President's budget by 4.2% for those serving in the U.S. military. The proposed BAH rates in 2023 are beginning on January 1. This review and initiative will aim at automatically increasing BAH for 2023 in the 28 Military Housing Areas (MHAs) suffering from a rental housing cost spike of over 20% above the 2022 BAH rates. This includes:
  • Beaufort/Parris Island, SC
  • Boston, MA
  • Brunswick, ME
  • Cape Cod – Plymouth, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Coastal Maine, ME
  • Dover AFB
  • Fort Leonard Wood, MO
  • Fort Myers Beach, FL
  • Helena, MT
  • Houston, TX
  • Kings Bay/Brunswick, GA
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Martha’s Vineyard, MA
  • Maui County, HI
  • Miami/Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Newport, RI
  • Northern New Jersey, NJ
  • Orlando, FL
  • Patrick AFB, FL
  • Providence, RI
  • Quantico/Woodbridge, VA.
  • Twenty-Nine Palms MCB
  • Vandenberg AFB
  • Volusia County, FL
  • West Palm Beach, FL
  • Wilmington, NC.
For these regions, the automatic increase to military BAH for 2023 will actually go into effect in October 2022.

Additional Changes Aimed at Helping Military Families

The Army BAH 2023 increases, and increases to the other branches, are only part of the efforts being provided by the DoD. Costs are rising in many areas. Here are some ways military families can expect support:

Financial Support

Military families can expect lower prices at commissaries with price cuts aimed at helping them save 25% on grocery bills compared to local markets. Those eligible for Basic Needs Allowance (BNA) will be paid beginning in January 2023 to assist Service members with dependents. A pay increase of 4.6% is also coming from the President’s budget beginning on January 1, 2023.

Support for Moving

Housing costs and moving expenses can go hand-in-hand. Beyond the increase in BAH rates for 2023, military families can expect more help on the way. The DoD is looking to improve the process of Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves, including improving the Military OneSource online tools for moving and finding housing. By October 2022, a service member will be able to take advantage of up to 60 days of TLE if they're in a Military Housing Area where there's a housing shortage. In order to offset PCS expenses even further, the DoD increased the Dislocation Allowance (DLA) for E-1 to E-6 service members. In order to avoid out-of-pocket expenses, all DLA payments will be paid one month in advance of a move date automatically beginning in October 2022.

Increases to Family Programs

More investment is being made by the DoD into children by way of increases to the Child Development Program (CDP), Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood, and expansion of a pilot program focusing on in-home childcare fee assistance.

Employment Assistance for Spouses

The DoD will help accelerate the creation of seven additional occupational licensure interstate compacts with organizations across many industries to make it easier for spouses who move that need to transfer licenses or credentials. To help military spouses develop portable careers, the DoD is also increasing employment opportunities for military spouses through non-competitive, direct hiring authorities. Career accelerator efforts are being made to provide various career paths to military spouses through paid work in the private sector. The DoD is also increasing the number of participants in the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) by 10% before January 2023 to help connect spouses with hiring organizations in need of workers.

Use a BAH Calculator To Determine Your 2023 BAH Rates

If you’re looking to learn more about these initiatives from the DoD, the memorandum Taking Care of Our Service Members and Families from the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, can help you better understand the upcoming changes. You can also plan ahead by using the BAH Calculator from the DefenseTravel Management Office, though there may be a period of time before the latest calculations become available. The increase to 2023 BAH rates and help for military families in other areas are encouraging signs. Helping military families overcome economic pressures is a great way to support those who defend our freedoms around the world.

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Jared Golden Is Leading the Call for an Inflation Bonus for Troops This article was originally published on VeteranLife.com

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