What happens to Basic Allowance for Housing during PCS moves?
Basic Allowance for Housing may be a large part of your total military compensation. And BAH is tied to the service member’s duty station. But what happen when you are in between duty stations? Whether it’s a few days of travel time, leave en route, or months of schools, it matters. It is important to your budget to know what BAH you’ll receive.
Note: These rules are all listed in the DoD Financial Management Regulation. But they’re confusing! There are also always unique situation where the FMR don’t apply. So be prepared with the regs, but also hear what your finance folks have to say.
Moves Within the US
When you’re moving within the United States, it is generally simple. You receive BAH for the losing location until you check into your new command. Then you start receiving BAH for the gaining location.
If you were living in quarters and not receiving BAH, then BAH for your old location will start when you check out of quarters. It will remain in effect until you check into your new command.
This applies even if you take leave en route.
For example, if Sailor Sally is stationed in San Diego, and PCSes to Norfolk. Along the way, she takes two weeks of leave to visit her family in Missouri. Sailor Sally will receive San Diego BAH until she checks into her new command in Norfolk
Temporary Duty En Route
It might be a little more complicated if you have temporary duty en route to your new command.
If the temporary duty is in the same location as your new duty station, your new BAH should start when you check into the temporary duty station.
If your temporary duty is not at the same location as your new duty station, then you should continue receiving BAH at your old location but there might be situations where you don’t.
Moves From the US to an Overseas Location
When you move from the US to an overseas location, you continue receiving BAH for your losing location until you get to your new location. Once arrived and checked in, you will receive Temporary Lodging Allowance until your OHA starts. Your results may vary depending on specific situations in your location.
Moves From an Overseas Location to the US
When you leave your overseas location, you’ll receive the BAH-Transit rate from the time you leave the old location until you check in to your new command. BAH-Transit is also called a “non-locality rate” because you don’t have a BAH location at that moment.
Where To Find BAH Rules
Basic Allowance for Housing and Overseas Housing Allowance rules are found in the DoD Financial Management Regulation, Volume 7a, Chapter 26: Housing Allowances. Information about servicemembers in transit starts in section 10.10 on page 58 of the version in effect on 7 August 2023.
Other Allowances During Your PCS Move
During a PCS move, you are also usually entitled to many other allowances, including Temporary Lodging Allowance or Temporary Lodging Expense, MALT with per diem, and Dislocation Allowance. Make sure you know what you should be getting so that you can submit the appropriate claim forms and get that money 🙂
As with all things military and allowances, there are always going to be special situations and weird rules that apply just this one. Read the DoD Financial Management Regulation, talk to your travel folks, and ask questions!
Have a unique situation? Let us know how it worked out, so we can all be smarter!