2013 BAH to Increase 3.8% on Average

Source: Department of Defense 

The Department of Defense released today the 2013 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates, which take effect Jan. 1, 2013. Overall rates will  increase an average of 3.8 percent this year.  

Members with dependents will see an average increase in BAH of approximately $60 per month. A typical E-6 with dependents, for example, will find his/her BAH about $60 per month higher than last year, while an O-3 with dependents will receive about $55 more than last year.    

Veterans and their family members using the Post-9/11 GI Bill will also see an average increase in their housing stipend, which is based on the BAH rate for an E-5 with dependents.

In areas where rates will decrease, the decrease will only apply to members newly reporting to those locations. Members are protected by individual rate protection which ensures that those already assigned to a given location  will not see their BAH rate decrease, however, they will receive the increase if  the rate goes up. This assures 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.

Three components are included in the BAH computation: median current market rent; average utilities (including electricity, heat, and  water/sewer) and average renter’s insurance.

Total housing costs are calculated for six housing profiles (based on dwelling type and number of bedrooms) in each military housing area. Basic Allowance for Housing rates are then calculated for each pay grade, both with and without dependents. An estimated $20 billion will be paid to more than 1 million service members in 2013.  

Read this week’s Military Update to learn more about changes to military pay and BAH in  2013.

Check out your 2013 BAH rate.

About the Author

Terry Howell
Before becoming the Managing Editor for Military.com, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.
  • John

    GI Bill rates have always been based on E-5 w/dependants…. did this change to E-6 or is this a typo?

    • John,

      It must have changed from E-5 to E-6 based on the below last years source.


    • Postflite

      E-6 is a “typical” given as an example of teh increase in BAH. As far as I know E-5 with dependants is still valid for GI Bill.

    • Jay

      It is a typo for sure

  • Brandon

    No they just use e6 as a standard middle of the road for Soldiers on active duty. To give you an idea of how much of a raise you will see, It doesn’t have anything to do with the GI Bill. It’s still at the E5 level.

  • Bill

    Answer is E5. Military.com got it wrong; Service Times got it right:

    (CORRECT) Service Times: Changes in BAH rates will also affect the housing stipends provided to veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The stipends are based on BAH rates for E-5s with dependents in the ZIP codes where the schools are.

    (WRONG) Military.com: Veterans and their families using the Post-9/11 GI Bill will also see an average increase in their housing stipend, which is based on the BAH rate for an E-6 with dependents.

  • Hunter

    why is it that 0-3, with dependent, rate is the only BAH rate that decreased for the Fort Carson (80913) area? while every other rank in the Army (in that same area) showed a bah increase? could it be a typo?

    • Joe

      Fort Carson O2-E with dependants went down slightly too

  • Jay

    Using the department of defense website that has the calculator has my area dropping for BAH. It is supposed to go down $105 that is messed up, hopefully that calculator is messed up.

    • jon

      You will still get the same that you do now, it dropping 105 will affect everyone new to the area not existing service members in the area.

  • Mac

    I checked our rate and it went up, but certainly not by 3.5%. We were getting 1071 we are now supposed to be getting $1098… Any increase is awesome, I am not trying to be ungrateful…. However, I am sightly confused as to why we didn’t go up 3.5. Can anyone answer? Thank you in advance.

    • nichole

      ours rate is showing a decrease for the area, which is slightly insane as it barely covered housing in a decent neighborhood.

    • Ladyt

      Jan 2013 you should the increase, It’s not in effect yet.

      • Ladyt

        Jan 2013 you should see an increase, it’s not in effect yet. Sorry, typo!!

    • luke

      That is the average rate of increase. It is aggregated across all locations and pay grades. Some locations and pay grades will go down, but the AVERAGE amount will increase 3.5%

  • Nichole

    It appears that our area is also decreasing…not increasing. I also checked several pay grades above and below and same story….all going down. So what areas are actually seeing this increase?

    • Ladyt

      The base number would decrease.. Example, I live on Fort Drum, we dropped from 1273 to 1203, so the 1203 would get the increase. However, I believe if you already have set BAH yours will not decrease; only for newcomers. But please verify that.

  • Leebroox

    Your BAH will never decrease. You receive the current BAH rate of the area you are PCSing to. If that rate increases your rate increases. If it decreases you stay grandfathered at the higher rate. Trust me I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

    • Joyeliz57

      Ours shows it is going down 207 dollars per month for 2013. Does this mean we will stay at our current rate?

      • Luke

        yes, you will stay at your current rate until you PCS, change rank, or have some other change in status (such as becoming ‘with dependents’ when you previously were not)

    • Lady

      It won’t increase until Jan 2013.

    • Lisa

      well you are wrong on this statement because ours just decreased so you are wrong on that one….

  • Idmtmedic

    Government and “help” is a misnomer.

  • Terry Howell,

    Thanks for the edit.

  • Bill

    How nice the military gets a 3.8% increase in their housing allowance and only get a 1.7% cola increase on Social Security and retirement. Look at the disparity here. Retirees and Social Security need the 3.8% raise not the active duty!

    • Bill,

      Retirees don’t get a Housing Allowance, that is why we didn’t get a 3.8% raise.

    • Punisher 6

      Active pay increase was the same 1.7% as retirees. maybe i shouldn’t ever retire if one turns back into a typical whining civilian who points to the military ‘gettting too much’. So much for sticking together. My guess is Bill was neither Army or USMC.

      • Bryce

        Dont lump that douce in with the Corps. Im not bitching about anything I am receiving. Unless you are medically retired and physically cannot hold a job your ass needs to be out there getting one. Just because you retired from the military doesnt mean you stop working.

    • Nicky

      Really?!? To state that you think you should get a better increase is one thing and I wouldn’t blame you but to state that active duty shouldn’t get a raise?!?! Active duty should get more pay than anyone in this entire country because active duty sacrifices more than anyone else in this country AND in the civilian sector of most any other country… period. That is the problem with this country – everyone is too damn self serving and has no respect for the reason they are free to b*tch and moan in the first place. And before you think i am a soldier fighting for his own rights… I am not–I am simply a person who knows what it is to have once wished freedom was so accessible and I appreciate the young men and women who leave their babies and families and risk their lives for WAY less than I make opening and closing the doors on a passenger train. My opinion Bill, your selfishness is a little gross… its almost embarrassing for you to admit that you were ever military. Hope I am not coming off too mean but one just gets sick of the whining and moaning 80% of this nation does in a nation that – albeit with some effort – it is possible for any civilian to freely afford and enjoy every freedom – clean or disgusting – in the book, due to a military that sees to such freedom.

      • Christina

        Thanks Nicky…your post was very well written!! As an ACTIVE DUTY military spouse, some people have NO IDEA what we go through on a day-to-day basis. They don’t know how hard it can be to keep your head above water. Here’s something for all you skeptics who think that active duty military members are getting paid to much!!! DO SOME F*N RESEARCH!!!! My husband as an ET (Electronics Tech) gets paid anywhere from $20K – $30K LESS than in the private sector doing the SAME EXACT JOB!!! So tell me Bill…tell me again how my ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY HUSBAND makes too much money and How he doesn’t deserve a raise of some kind….

        • Bryce

          Go complain on a spouse message board or forum. Military spouses are replaceable….what are you on…second, third military husband? Slow your roll in an area you dont rate to speak of.

    • THEAndersons

      You are a moron. Please reserve your comments for someone who gives a darn….like your mother.

  • tim ski

    it’s interesting, i’m a reservist on active duty orders and for my zipcode the BAH went down $57.00 so hopefully this will be rectified because we all know how hard it is to get reembursment sometimes and by that time i probably will be off active duty.

  • Paul

    Let me ask all you posting on here – did your house payment go up? If you’re living on post/base, it did, simply because that’s the way it works now. The need for BAH (formerly the Variable Housing Allowance paid on top of Basic Allowance for Quarters) is no longer needed. The intent was to cover “some” of the housing costs incurred living on the economy. This is an entitlement that needs to be reviewed and trimmed from the DoD budget, and I’m saying that based on watching these changes over 37 years. It’s one of the most confusing entitlements when it comes to a Guard or Reserve member and has way too many rules associated with it.

  • MAD D

    Explain to me why I have to pay income tax on my Social security benefits when all these servicemen never have to report their housing, seperate rations as income for tax purposes? Their pay today is 5 times more than I made when I was in service and that doesn’t include the “extra’s” they collect that is non reportable to the IRS? I retired as an E6 with 23 years at $416 monthly and after 36 years it went up to $ 1670. I still paid SS while in service on my pitiful salary.If I hadn’t got another job my family would have starved to death or lived on the street .Fortinately, i landed another job paying about the same as my military salary. I retired from that job after 15 years…now I’m paying income tax on every bit of my retired paymrnts.andmy SS benefits. Is that fair when all those politicians sit back, do nothing and make those big salaries without having to do any work except vote and collect their “beanies” every payday. Have no idea what they collect after leaving office.

    • Jon

      You only made E6 in 23 years WTF!

    • MAD D,

      “Is that fair when all those politicians sit back, do nothing and make those big salaries without having to do any work except vote and collect their “beanies” every payday.”

      Yes, it is fair.

    • Guest

      Umm…we have to report every dime of earned income, including our BAH, my husbands BAS and anything extra, like a bonus. We pay Federal and State taxes, and social security. We also pay into the VA fund to help support veterans retirement homes/VA nursing homes.

      Also, when you were in the service, cost of living was probably 5 times lower than what it is now. Think about it.

      Military Families struggle just as much as when you were in. Especially junior enlisted families. Besides, not everyone got an increase. We sure didn’t.

  • Jack

    Let the Civilians go to sea for months and stand 12 hrs of watch a day. Or maybe even get shot at. They will cry to their unions or quit.

  • Everything you wanted to know about Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).


  • Jane

    Have you been deployed to danger war zone for over 12 months with 3 deployment only serving 6 years; got bombed at, shot at; almost killed; not knowing when you will walk over or drive over a bomb; not knowing if you will make it back to see your love ones/family/s?? You think military get pay ‘too much’ for these crap? You better think again.

  • Jack

    The majority of the civilians do not have any concept of military duty and what that actually entails above and beyond any watch bill (their idea of a 40 hour work week). All they see is the extra money provided for military pay raises. (Let’s not bring up their annual Christman bonus’s they forget to mention!) Any raise in basic pay, COLA, allowances, etc. is more than justified; it is well earned. Keep the faithand thank you from a grateful retiree. JRS, CWO3,USN Rertired.

  • Joe

    O2-E BAH went down slightly.. weird.

  • Tony

    Here in Tacoma, Washington BAH w/dependents went down for an E6. Why is that?

    • Lisa

      Ours went down as well that is crazy my husband is a E7 thought it was supposed to increase not decrease…I would like to know why that is as well…

      • Brianna

        Ours decreased here in Tacoma as well by $72 and it’s like that everyone…I checked. I think the reason is because of the budget cuts that have been made this year. Of course the military is the first to suffer huh? And for people to complain that military have all the money, it’s crazy because we don’t. We cannot get overtime pay or raises every 6 months like a regular civilian can…you just have to bust your butt off and work hard and pray to make the next promotion board because if not then you are stuck where you are or even worse, you can be discharged because now they are letting soldiers go if they don’t get promoted on time or don’t do well on their PT tests, and their NCOERs. It sad how you work so hard and yet there is no appreciation.

        • Brianna