Basic Allowance for Housing or known as the BAH is what military service members get to cover their housing costs. A member of the Armed Forces can only get BAH if he or she isn’t living in the base or in a government-provided house.
The amount of BAH is calculated based on rank, dependents, and location. For example, the BAH for a service member who’s based in California is going to be significantly higher than a service member who’s in South. With that, the amount of BAH is mostly determined by the location of the service member.
The calculation for BAH will include two major parts; the rental housing and utility costs. Since there isn’t a single formula used in calculating the BAH rate, geographical location, family size, and the rank will be used to determine the rate.
In order to figuring out the BAH rate, the median rent and average utility costs for each location must be determined. This is done by the U.S. Armed Forces. Once the median rents and the utility costs is determined, the rank and the family size will contribute to the BAH. You can think of BAH as locality payments but with a little bit of twist behind it.
Surely, the whole calculation method for BAH rate doesn’t add up but there needs to be a lot of research and statistical data must go into making the rates. Because of this, the BAH rate isn’t a fixed amount for every location.
As for getting BAH, you don’t necessarily need to do anything for it. You will receive BAH based on where you are assigned, your rank, and the size of your family. On the other hand, if you’re single or living separately from your dependents, you still receive BAH.