As society has changed, so have the dynamics of a military family. As a result, more military families are choosing to live apart, resulting in situation that is commonly called “geobaching,” short for being in a state of geographic bachelorhood. Families considering this set-up need to have facts, and there are a lot of myths out there.
Fiction: The military has programs and allowances for geo bachelors.
Fact: The military does not have an official geo bachelor status. While geo bachelors have many things in common with service members on unaccompanied tours, they are not eligible for the allowances that go with unaccompanied tours.
Fiction: Geobachelors can continue to receive Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) at the rate where their dependents reside.
Fact: As a general rule, military service members receive BAH for their duty station location. Permission to receive BAH at another location’s rate is very rarely granted, usually only in the case of medical needs that prevent the family from living at the service member’s duty location. Schools, spousal employment, and other considerations are not typically valid reasons to request BAH at a location different from that of the service member.
Fiction: Bases will provide barracks or other housing for service members who choose to be a geographic bachelor.
Fact: Geo bachelors do not have any specific right to housing at their new base. The services do give the individual installations the power make these decisions at the local level, based upon their individual circumstances and the available lodging. You may find that some (very few) bases offer barracks or other housing to geobachelors. This is more likely at schools or bases that have recently shrunk, and thus have excess available housing. This can be for free, or there may be a charge for the space.
Fiction: The service member will receive Family Separation Allowance (FSA) if they choose not to move their family to their duty station.
Fact: FSA is authorized when military members are separated by their families due to the needs of the military. It is not authorized for situations in which a family is authorized to move and chooses not to move.
Do you have more questions about geobaching? Ask in the comments, and I’ll find the answers for you!