From The Mailbag: BAH Questions


This week’s collection of email questions is all about BAH:


“I was told they are going to do away with BAH, is this true??”


“No.  There are proposals to decrease the portion of housing expenses covered by BAH.  In the past, BAH was only designed to cover a portion of a housing expenses, and it is possible that this will be true again in the future.  However, it is almost inconceivable that BAH will ever be eliminated entirely, unless there is an overhaul of the entire military pay system.”
*Note since I wrote this:  2015 BAH will be calculated at 99% of average market housing costs.


“Dual active duty couple, when one retires, do they become a dependent for their spouse who is still on active duty and thus entitled to “with dependents” for BAH?”


“Yes, once one partner leaves active duty and stops receiving BAH for themselves, he or she can be counted as a the other partner’s dependent for BAH purposes.”


“I got a divorce and had to wait on paperwork and then submitted it to my s1 and to finance and was still receiving BAH. How much will the Army take back from me once the paperwork is filed?”


“The Army will take back whatever portion of paid BAH was in excess of your authorized BAH.  Depending on your unit’s policies and your rank, you may still be eligible for BAH at the without dependents rate, or you may be required to move into the barracks.

 Without knowing your location, rank, your command’s policies, your date of divorce, and the date that the paperwork will be processed, I can not give you a figure.  You can figure it out yourself by first determining whether or not you are still eligible for BAH, based upon your command’s policies.  Then, using your Leave and Earnings Statement to determine how much BAH you have been paid since the date of the divorce.  Calculate how much BAH, if any, you *should* have been paid using the dates and the BAH calculator chart available at the DoD website.  Subtract the amount that you should have been paid from the amount that you were actually paid, and that is how much you will have been overpaid and will be expected to repay.”
I love receiving your questions, comments and suggestions.  If you’ve got something to say, you can click on the Tell Kate button in the left hand column or send me an email at



About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Asiane’

    My fiance plans on coming up to see me and get married and take me back with him,we are already looking at apartments. My question is how long will it take for his BAH to kick in? And does the fact that I have a disability fastens up the process or No?

    • Bethany

      The main delay I’ve seen is if you don’t have an official copy of the marriage certificate. Once he submits all the proper paperwork to his pay office, I would guess 1-3 weeks for him to see it kick in. Your disability won’t make a difference for BAH, but if you have medical needs, I would encourage you to get your ID card as soon as possible and decide if you want to stick with TriCare Standard or enroll in Prime.