2013 BAH Raise of 4.2%, Proposed

Budget Proposal for FY-13 Release

December 17, 2012 Update: According to the DoD, the 2013 BAH amounts are released and will take effect January 1, 2013. That average increase is 3.8%; did yours go up or down? By how much?

13 Feb 2012, President Obama released his “Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2013.” I have taken the liberty to extract the portion within the Defense budget overview that related to our members and families. For 2013, the information for families is limited as compared to past years.

Cares for Servicemembers and Their Families. Keeping faith with servicemembers—which the President has called a “moral obligation”—is a key component of the new defense strategy. The high quality and readiness of our All-Volunteer Force is the Nation’s most important military advantage, so it is critical that military members and their families receive the compensation and benefits that they deserve. The Budget provides a 1.7 percent increase to basic pay in calendar year 2013, the full increase authorized by current law.


Adjusts Health Care Benefits and Initiates Retirement Review. DOD has implemented a variety of internal efficiencies within its medical program and continues to seek
cost savings, but it is imperative to better manage the health benefit.

The Budget introduces new TRICARE copays and fees to help constrain the cost of healthcare while continuing to provide high quality care. The Budget includes additional increases to TRICARE
Prime enrollment fees, initiation of Standard/Extra annual enrollment fees, and adjustments
to deductibles and catastrophic caps. The Budget also modifies pharmacy copays to encourage
the use of less expensive mail-order and military treatment facility pharmacies. Finally, the
Budget includes modest annual fees for TRICARE beneficiaries over age 65 when they transition
to Medicare coverage. These reforms will reduce DOD costs over five years by an estimated $12.9
billion in discretionary funding and $4.7 billion in mandatory savings in the Medicare-Eligible
Retiree Health Care Fund.

The Budget also includes the Administration’s proposal for a Military Retirement Modernization
Commission, which, if enacted, will recommend improvements to the military retirement
system. Under the proposal, the President would appoint the Commissioners; DOD would transmit
to the Commission initial recommendations to change the military retirement system; the
Commission would hold hearings, make final recommendations, and draft legislation to implement
its recommendations; the President would review and decide whether to transmit the Commission’s recommendations to the Congress; and Congress would vote “up or down” on the legislation. The Administration believes that any major military retirement reforms should include grandfathering for current retirees and those currently serving in the military.

Usually, the budget proposal will make specific reference to housing in the budget summary, but this year it does not. You have to look at the actual budget numbers to get an idea. Will Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) increase in 2013? If the housing numbers that are being proposed are any indication, the answer is, no. The budget’ housing number reflects a $35 million decrease over the 2012 estimate.

Update: Thank you to the personnel at the Joint Chiefs of Staff for showing me where the BAH infor was described in the budget text! It has a 4.2% raise in BAH and 3.4% raise in BAS for 2013 – interestingly it is the same increase proposed as last years (last years proposal ended up being about two full percent higher than what actually became true).

From the buget proposal:

For the basic allowance for housing (BAH) and basic allowance for subsistence (BAS), the
FY 2013 budget request includes a 4.2 percent average rate increase in BAH and a
3.4 percent increase in BAS effective January 1, 2013. However, the actual increases will
be based on a “by location” housing market analysis conducted for the Department of
Defense and a food cost index prepared by the Department of Agriculture, both of which are
measured much closer to the effective date to ensure they best capture the actual cost
impact on the service member.

Read Comments (96)

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96 Responses to “Budget Proposal for FY-13 Release”

  1. Tyler says:

    Hi “thankful”, I actually am renting at a great low price, snagged a good bargain–no need to re-evaluate my standards as they are actually on par with that BAH primer that other person posted. I am going to give all of this a rest because just like some of us agree, some of us disagree and like everything thats just the way it is. Waste of time. Good luck.

  2. Whiners says:

    You realize that we are some of the richest people in the world? People live on a dollar a day. Own one car for a family, lower your expectations for marble countertops, bike places, stop buying expensive crap, don’t run the A/C lower than 76-78 in the summer or heat higher than 68 in the winter, etc.

    This is not hard. We are so spoiled as Americans.

    Also, not our problem that you had five kids. Your choices are your own.

  3. lavern says:

    I agree with the ‘GET A JOB” community. If you could not afford to take care of the kids then you should have tied your tubes sooner. SAHM is not a job. Go out and get a real job and help support your family or stop complaining. The military BAH rates are very accurate FOR RENT, not for anything else. They arent meant to support your dreams of living in a 5 bedroom house because YOU choose to have 5 kids before you could afford them. Stop blaming the military, if your husband wasn’t in the military what do you think you would have then? Nothing!!!

  4. YN1 says:

    @Lavern, I completely agree. people need to live within there means. @Tyler I understand your frustration but man get over it. BAH is not based off of what YOU PERSONALLY ARE PAYING FOR RENT. You chose to move to a high cost area, now deal with it.

  5. Tyler says:

    @YN1, drop the subject already as I have. Missing the whole point of any of my statements, and not seeing it from another perspective. You are stuck in your own personal bias. The area is not high cost at all, like I said in my posts which you really didn’t read at all. It’s over, and we will see what next month comes to. I will laugh if the BAH rises more than 50$ in this specific area.

  6. YN1 says:

    @tyler, why will you laugh if the BAH rises. In theory it should. Annapolis is higher cost than Fort Meade as you stated in your own words. This is definitely not personal…at all. I hope the BAH does go up, but most of all, I hope you learn to take other peoples opinions with a grain of salt, its not always a personal attack because someone does not agree with you. Lastly, I hope you advance/promote, that is more important than any BAH raise congress can set.

  7. Air Force MSgt says:

    @YN1, you say “take it with a grain of salt” but none of you had any problems laying the critism on pretty thick. You and the rest of Tyler’s critics are pretty quick to judge him and his decisions, but I can guarantee that you or I don’t even come close to knowing all of the circumstatnces. I see a lot of people in this forum that are quick to jump on the “bandwagon of criticism”. The real root of the BAH problem is the lack of thorough analysis/studies for the surrounding DC/Annapolis/Ft Meade areas. You people need to use your voices/opinions to attack the real problem and not just one person.

  8. Tyler says:

    I couldn’t say it any better MSgt. I make choices that do not put me in financial disarray as YN1 seems to perceive and let unto others. I have an honest complaint of the BAH system in the DC/Ft Meade area. Yes, I chose to live in Annapolis, but the rent isn’t what you assume as high cost and I don’t really need to defend myself. My family is happy, and we are doing well. Like MSgt said, the analysis of the area needs to be more thorough. I think the DC BAH diameter just needs to extend to cover Ft Meade or at least come to half of the difference between E5 BAH/w Dep in MD 20755, and Andrews AFB. This makes just a tad more sense to me to do it that way. I am grateful for the BAH and what we do receive, of course, I don’t take any of for granted. I am looking consistency in the BAH system. BAH will go up, but I just hope they bring the differentials closer. Unfortunately I was on the defense most of these posts and my words probably didn’t hit the right notes.

  9. Tyler says:

    “come to half of the difference between E5 BAH/w Dep in MD 20755, and Andrews AFB” — This was just an example between these two places using this specific rate.

    E5/W Dep: Ft Meade 20755 Andrews AFB: 20762
    $1812 $2106

    My idea of a bit closer: $1959 — Just my thoughts all.

  10. Air Force MSgt says:


    Exactly where are you stationed; Annapolis, Andrews, or Ft. Meade?

  11. Tyler says:


    Ft Meade.

  12. YN1 says:

    @MSGT. You say the problem stems from lack of thorough analysis for the surrounding areas, when it proven that those areas are significantly cheaper than D.C. (which is why people who work in D.C. choose to live there). Additionally, you stated that YOU nor I know his circumstances. May I remind you that this is a forum and there is no way for ANY of us to know any personal circumstances of anyone. That is where the “grain of salt” comment came from. He has to take it with a grain of salt because we don’t know his personal circumstances. What is being evaluated is what he puts in black and white. If by your own admission “you don’t know his circumstances” then you should not be defending him at all! The real problem to YOU MSGT is a “lack of analysis”. The real problem is people receiving BAH for a lower cost area and complaining about it. So therefore MSGT. WE HAVE ADDRESSED THE REAL PROBLEM! not by your standards though….of course

  13. Air Force MSgt says:

    @YN1, So if you admit to not knowing all of his circumstances then why are you and everyone else judging him so harshly and trying to assume YOU know everything that he is doing wrong. And it is not lack of analysis on my part. I spent over a year looking for a place to buy around the Ft Meade area and it’s just about as expensive to live around here as it is in surrounding D.C. area. Don’t tell me I haven’t conducted any analysis…I’ve done plenty. I actually found some cheaper houses closer to D.C. than where I ended up buying but the commute would have been pure stupidity. Like the all caps shouting by the way…That’s Mature on your part! Let’t me know not to take anything you have to say seriously at all. Quit trying to pull crap out of your backside and feeding it to everybody!

  14. YN1 says:

    @MSgt. I never said that the problem was “lack of analysis done by you”. what I said was “to you the problem is lack of analysis”. Meaning that it is a problem in your opinion (attention to detail will serve you greatly in this conversation….trust me). That is not the problem for the rest of us so we do not need to address it. The problem in my book (opinion), is no matter how thorough, accurate or fairly the studies are done, there will always be someone complaining, therefore that is what I am addressing. Additionally, “pulling crap from my backside”? Really? Everything I told him can be verified. BAH Primer for E5 is based on a median for 2 bedroom townhomes in your area. (fact). E6 primer is based off of a median for three bedroom townhomes (fact) Median meaning HALF of the 2 bedroom homes will be more than your BAH if you are an E5. Etc, etc. Higher ranks get higher BAH (fact), so therefore it is beneficial for you to work on getting promoted instead of complaining (fact). It seems as if you don’t know the difference between “crap from someone’s backside” and facts. I may be wrong but I’m pretty sure the home you found “closer to D.C” is not actually In D.C, probably still Maryland, or Northern Virginia correct? Anyway the BAH PAY is not perfect, but the determination is accurate because it is based off of a median of rentals cost that are reported so our BAH is actually in the Middle of the highest and lowest average FACT!. One last thing, don’t act as if it is the same cost of living for D.C as it is in Fort Meade, Fort Meade (where I was stationed), is significantly cheaper than D.C (where I am currently stationed).

  15. Re: YN1 says:

    You do realize you this is ignorant to argue about…
    I live in FL, and the BAH PAY is far from accurate here. Do a random search on townhomes near 32541, 32548, 32547, 32569, etc… And then look up E-4 to E-6 BAH PAY. And then you tell me how fair the BAH Pay is! :) have a good day, talking down to people, cool story bro.

  16. E-5wife says:

    If BAH is suppose to cover your housing expense then it should. If you were to live on base you would just have to pay for cable phone internet and that’s how it and should be when you live off base. Unless you are wanting to find a home to buy or rent that is way outside your means. I have 5 kids living in a 3 bed 2.5 baths, make do and use all my BAH to cover just about everything. We chose to buy a home knowing it would be cheaper and then if some how we would have to PCS we would make some money out of renting it out. I can understand how BAH is not always accurate in some places but it is manageable. And for some people who say wait to live on base. Not always the best thing for larger families. We are in North Cali and the 4 bed 2 bath homes was less than 1200 sq ft. with no garage or storage areas. We tried it out for 8 months and it was terrible. And for the other people that says for spouses to get a job. lmao!! If I was to get a job we would actually be spending more money than saving. That may not always be the case for some families that don’t have as many kids but you cant jump the gun and tell spouses to get a job. And for the people that says to get sniped or tie your tubes and stop having so many kids is horrible. I have 5 kids due to being a blended family. Before you jump down on people think before you speak. Glad to see our own Military Members on here attacking one another rather than coming together as a United Family!!

  17. Air Force MSgt says:

    @YN1. So you say your stationed in D.C., but is that where you actually live? That is the problem with BAH. You are allowed to claim the BAH zipcode of your current duty location, but you do not have to live in that zipcode to receive it. So DoD personnel stationed in D.C. can collect higher BAH while still really living off the economic environment of Maryland or Virginia. You and I both know this is what the majority of people do. So, when I say I found homes closer to D.C. that were cheaper, that is what I mean by the D.C. area, and yes, southern MD and northern VA is considered the D.C. area. If you do some research on the zipcodes in BAH you will find that the rates reflect this. If you are living right in D.C. as oppossed to the outlying areas then you are not very smart with the money that the government is giving you. Median price analysis is a lousy way to do comparisons for BAH determinations because it lumps high crime areas that military personnel shouldn’t have to live in. I’m not complaining, but let’s get real about what is really going on with BAH! Sorry about the backside comment, but I don’t appreciate people yelling at me which is what you did when you typed in all CAPS.

  18. YN1 says:

    @Msgt…Actually yes I do live in D.C. my rent is 2200 a month and my BAH is 2487.(So is not that far off). My wife is a working spouse (actually she makes more than me), so we do not fully depend on BAH or my income.(basically what I’m saying is that we can afford to live IN D.C.) so the money government gives me is just a supplement. Civilians have what is called “locality pay” for D.C. area as well. (It’s similar to BAH). Even without my spouse working my BAH would cover rent and utilities. If it could cover my expenses not the yes…I would have moved to a cheaper area…like Maryland or Virginia (Woodbridge). I know you are allowed to collect BAH based on where you are stationed, not where you live, so when I was stationed at FT Meade, I would have been an idiot to move to Annapolis or D.C.- that’s creating a problem.

  19. Tyler says:

    YN1, you clearly keep assuming Annapolis is extremely expensive. Idiocy doesn’t involve someone moving to Annapolis(thanks for targeting that remark towards me.) I don’t know when you PCS’ed to DC, but if you check the rent in let’s say, Colombia, it’s equal to or more expensive than Annapolis. You don’t know the Ft Meade area anymore it seems. I can take a poll and find that a majority of military members will have concerns about the BAH they are receiving to live here. Go figure, you and your wife have a comfortable living arrangement, good on you. I can see why you can sit on the sidelines and make comments. That’s ok. Nothing good will come out of any of these posts as long as it keeps up like this. Everything I looked for, 2br/3br, doesn’t matter — they are overpriced all over Ft Meade and I searched pretty hard with the amount of time I had to find a place this summer. I found the best price and deal in Annapolis.

  20. YN1 says:

    @ Tyler the comment was not directed at you. perhaps there is a factor that is being overlooked. 2012 BAH is based off of 2011 numbers, and 2013 BAH will be based off of 2012 numbers, so BAH is going to increase, but then again so will rent.(its always going to seem to be a step behind). As far as the comfortable life comment, I joined the Navy as an E1 got married as an E3 (while my wife was going to school and did not have a job). We learned to get ahead by going for cheaper housing when we had ONE INCOME. Its all about adjustments. My point is the surveys for the D.C. area is as accurate as they are going to get for the time and surrounding areas are cheaper than D.C. FT Meade is significantly cheaper. Perhaps on your next tour you can get stationed closer to D.C. and keep your housing in annapolis. D.C. BAH is always going to be signifantly higher than FT Meade.

  21. TODAY!? says:

    Supposed to have the new 2013 BAH results today, right? I have read on multiple Web Sites that today is when they will announce the new calculations… 11:35am CST my time… Maybe they’ll get around to sharing the information we all seek by the end of the week.

  22. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Last year it wasn’t released until the 15th of December; I would not expect to see it till mid-month at the soonest for this year. –Last year–>

  23. Tyler says:

    Yea, should be released around mid-month pay., what NCCM said.

  24. Amanda Golden says:

    Here is the underlying problem in my opinion:

    The Services have agreed to housing standards that allow members to receive a BAH that correlates to what civilians who earn comparable amounts would pay for housing.

    First of all, service members are grossly underpaid to begin with when you consider the scope and breadth of what the average soldier, sailor, airman or marine is expected to do in comparison the job expectation of his or her civilian counterpart.

    Secondly, unlike civilians, service members do not choose where they are stationed; the service component’s mission requirements largely dictate it. While most service members’ pay reflects a the middle class income in places like Mobile, AL or Minot, ND; it would be comparable to the poorest earners in places like the DC Metro and Los Angeles, CA. That is not the right standard to use.

    And good for you, Tyler, for saying so.

  25. Amanda Golden says:


    “The original BAH law stated that the allowance could cover no more than 80% of calculated housing costs. Accordingly, the average service member had at least 20% in out-of-pocket expenses subtracted from their allowance calculation. In 2000, the Secretary of Defense committed to reducing the planned average out-of-pocket expense for the median member to zero by 2005.” (Defense Travel Management Office)

  26. YN1 says:


    Now that I will agree with! A Federal Civilian mid level manager can gross 4000 (before locality pay ) a month while an E6 only gets 3000 a month and E5s make between (2200-2900). I will agree that enlisted base pay needs to be revised.

  27. A Wife says:

    My husband talked about the problems people have with BAH recently. I consider our BAH as just part of his salary. So instead of trying to break down that we have this single window for rent, I look at the whole picture. (you know, like people who get paid at non-military jobs.) Then I ask myself what can I afford after my bills are paid? I have a kid, and I work part time (at a thankless min wage job while I finish my degree). But even after daycare is paid, we are still ahead thanks to the Navys CDC rates. Truthfully we pay about 300 more than our BAH, because we wanted a bigger house in a nicer area, but that was OUR choice. Of course we would love more BAH, who wouldn’t want MORE tax free money?! But it’s like some people have already said, it’s not the navys responsibility to pay you more because you had more kids or want a nicer home. There are no civilian professions that would say, here’s extra pay every month because you got married and started a family!

  28. Tim says:

    OK these post are funny as hell because everyone thinks they are right and the other person is wrong.

    From my view base housing isnt always the best I’ve stayed in crappy ones built in the early 60′s and some built in 2000′s huge difference between them and it is highly biased on some bases on who gets the new housing.

    Rank does have its perks but it also gives you more BAH for a better place in town. Junior personnel should get dibs on base.

    Anyway long story short you can almost always find a place within your BAH it may not be the best neighborhood but it is very possible the problem is the miitary is the best at living paycheck to paycheck they think because they have a steady pay check I get 1257 E5 w/ dep BAH for Jacksonville I have a 2 bedroom 1300sqft apt for 854 a month and after utilities,water,and cable I still have almost 100 left over now are there much nicer 2 bedrooms for $1300-$1400 yes but guess what I like to save…

  29. AM2 says:

    I believe that Tim is mostly right. The higher ranked individuals should live out in town since they recieve a much higher BAH then the lower ranked individuals. The housing on my base at Tinker AFB is being updated to new housing. and for the sme type of rental house in town you could be looking at rent to be around 1800 a month. So with that being said the lower ranks should have first dibs if they have families because it is obvious the even as an E-5 with dependents you only make a little over 1100 a month on BAH, that the lower ranked should have first dibs because they make way less. Plus if you look at it i mean once you get to E-6 and above you are making deacent pay. I mean look at the pay charts. One of the big jumps in pay is from E-5 to E-6. so those higher ranked individuals are doing well while the lower ranked are struggling. I believe there just needs to be a better system in place to find the errors that were made in BAH last year or maybe find a better survey group. But i dont know if any of you seen the last 2 sentences of the article but it stated that the survey group looks at the cost of living closer to the date that it is due on. With that said am I the only one that sees prices drop a little around this time of year? I.E. gas, milk, bread??? So they base it off of the little drop in price then after the first it raises back up on us. I can see why we have such problems. But enough about BAH, what about our pay. The current job i do can get me about 80,000 a year or more in town….but yet congress and the higher officials say WE make more then the civilian contractors, what???? The last time i looked at my mypay i did not see anything in the 80,000 range. So how is it that we make more then civilians yet the civilians drive better cars and have better living?? Many of these issues my shoremates and I talk about every day. Alot of the higher ranking doesnt even know where they military is headed anymore. Its scary to hear i E-6 say the military isnt the way it used to be. Yes i know times change and such and we become more politically correct but when they say they dont feel the same as they used to about it, that should tell you something right there.

    That is all folks’

  30. JD says:

    2013 rates will be released 17 December.

  31. YN1 says:

    To suggest that lower ranking people should get first dibs on housing is actually giving priority of one family over another. (Which should never happen)? I understand that some people feel they should have priority for on-base housing but it would be completely inadequate and unfair to give an E5 with 1 child priority over an E7 with 4 children. Additionally higher ranking people end up paying more for on base housing than lower-ranking people……so why would you give lower ranking priority again? Personally on base housing should be done just as it is PCS get higher priority, first come first serve and matching the size of the home with the size of the family (for the most part). If you want to save money, find cheaper housing…….PERIOD! I agree that BAH should be looked at as part of your salary if you are an E5 do not try to rent a 5 bedroom house with a 2 car garage…..(makes no sense).

    @AM2 I never read where congress stated that we make as much as contractors? The reason we will never be compared to contractors is because every CONTRACT is different. Federal Civilians is a different story, they do take into account our untaxed “BAH” when comparing salaries, and however it still seems as if civilians have the upper hand.

  32. YN1 says:

    can’t wait to see the new rates…PAY AND BAH

  33. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Basic pay rates for 2013 are here –>>

  34. YN1 says:

    Looks like BAH went up. Still no camparison to D.C. though

  35. NCCM(Ret) says:

    DoD has its calculator up and running, here —

  36. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Memphis for an E-5 w/Dep, the rate went up $87 (roughly +7%)

  37. NCCM(Ret) says:

    Effective January 1, 2013, all enlisted military members in a proper status draw a full BAS monthly rate of $352.27 and $242.60 for Officers.

  38. Tyler says:

    Well, the BAH rate went up considerably in the Fort Meade, MD area. My own opinion as I stated above was around 1959. It’s set at 1908 which is a bit closer to where I thought it should be from 1812…

    While it won’t be perfect, it’s a little more acceptable than before.

  39. yn1 says:

    Yeah but the bah went up for dc as well. There is still a 300 dollar difference, which seems about right.

  40. Tyler says:

    Government favoritism towards the DC area? Maybe.

  41. YN1 says:

    LOL, I doubt it. D.C. BAH was consistent with the 4.2% pay raise. Some areas got as much as 11%. The only thing I do not like is that some landlords are very aware of the BAH raise and use them to determine next year’s rental prices….ridiculous.

  42. Megan says:

    My husband and I will be relocating to Richmond VA in March 2013. We just purchased a home in this area based on CURRENT 2012 rates. Although we planned below our BAH we are pretty upset that an O-3 will get a BAH DECREASE in 2013. This came unexpencted and it’s a decrease of $40.00. I can’t believe that they would pull this. Unbelieveable.

  43. YN1 says:

    Yeah I think once BAH is set for a specified area/paygrade it should not be able to decreased. I know people who are stationed there are locked-in to the higher rate, but it is unrealistic to expect housing markets to actually “drop” or decrease.

  44. NCCM(Ret) says:

    BAH proposal for 2014 released today. 4.2% is the number again; will it end up being closer to the 4.2% or the actual 3.8% 2013 ended up being?

  45. Mike says:

    I just have to laugh. After losing my active duty career due to nonpromotion to lt col last year, and taking a 50% (lucky to have found work), it is humorous to see the whining here. I could have afforded rent for a nice home in a nice community here in Tampa at the rate of BAH I was given while on actived duty. After a 50% pay cut, I live in the ‘hood with gang activity and other issue (crime/theft) that I never had to deal with awhile on active duty. Indeed, since so many active duty military live in the area, rent prices are extravagant and living in a nice neighborhood that is safe is out of reach.

    I was active duty for nearly 15 years and loved to serve, but must say that some people here need to count your blessings. Active duty receive too many benefits and the active duty lifestyle is so much better than “regular folk” can afford. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. BAH keeps housing prices artificially high in areas where there is a high concentration of active duty.

  46. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Sir, for what it’s worth, I thank you for the service you provided this country for those 15 years, and I truly hope things do get better for you.


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