Pay Grade and BAH – Housing in the Military (Ask Molly)

From the Facebook Page:

New army wife planning for the first PCS not knowing where it is! How can I find what housing looks like or how many rooms you get for a family of 4? (E4) thank you to any help!!

Housing availability and quality varies widely from base to base. The best answer I can give is to look at what BAH is supposed to cover. Base housing should, in theory, be at least equivalent to that.

In any given location, BAH depends on the costs in your area (which is an unknown for this reader), your pay grade, and whether or not you have dependents (although the number of dependents does not matter).

According to About.com, rates are determined based on the costs of these types of housing for each pay grade:

BAH Calculations With Dependents

  • E-1 through E-4 – The midpoint between the average rental cost of a 2 bedroom apartment and a 2 bedroom townhouse.
  • E-5 – Average rental cost of a 2 bedroom townhouse.
  • E-6 – Average rental cost of a 3 bedroom townhouse.
  • E-7 – Average rental cost for a three-bedroom townhouse plus 36 percent of the cost difference between a townhouse and three-bedroom home.
  • E-8 -Average rental cost for a three-bedroom townhouse plus 75 percent of the cost difference between a townhouse and a three-bedroom home.
  • E-9 – Average rental cost of a three-bedroom home, plus 16 percent of the cost difference between a three-bedroom and four-bedroom home.
  • W-1 -Average rental cost for a three-bedroom townhouse plus 1 percent of the cost difference between a townhouse and a three-bedroom home.
  • W-2 -Average rental cost for a three-bedroom townhouse plus 52 percent of the cost difference between a townhouse and a three-bedroom home.
  • W-3 – Average rental cost for a three-bedroom home.
  • W-4 -Average rental cost for a three-bedroom home plus 22 percent of the cost difference between a three-bedroom home and a four-bedroom home.
  • W-5 -Average rental cost for a three-bedroom home plus 48 percent of the cost difference between a three-bedroom home and a four-bedroom home.
  • O-1E -Average rental cost for a three-bedroom townhouse plus 44 percent of the cost difference between a three-bedroom townhouse and a three bedroom home.
  • O-2E -Average rental cost for a three-bedroom townhouse plus 93 percent of the cost difference between a three-bedroom townhouse and a three bedroom home.
  • O-3E -Average rental cost for a three-bedroom townhouse plus 26 percent of the cost difference between a three-bedroom home and a four-bedroom home.
  • O-1 -Average rental cost for a two-bedroom townhouse plus 11 percent of the cost difference between a two-bedroom townhouse and a three-bedroom townhouse.
  • O-2 -Average rental cost for a two-bedroom townhouse plus 98 percent of the cost difference between a two-bedroom townhouse and a three-bedroom townhouse.
  • O-3 -Average rental cost of a three-bedroom townhouse plus 98 percent of the cost difference between a three-bedroom townhouse and a three-bedroom home.
  • O-4 -Average rental cost of a three-bedroom home plus 58 percent of the cost difference between a three-bedroom home and a four-bedroom home.
  • O-5 through O-7 – Average rental cost of a 4-bedroom home.

Of course, YMMV (your mileage may vary).

More information:

How about you, dear readers? Has BAH been enough to cover these types of housing? How has on-post housing stacked up compared with this chart?

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9 comments

  1. Christine says:

    We’ve been stationed at Ft. Campbell, Ky, and we purchased a home when my husband was an E5. Our mortgage payment then was about $400 less than BAH, and once he made E6, BAH was twice our mortgage. So, it was definitely more than enough. The house is a 4 bedroom, 1600 sq ft house.

  2. Kristin says:

    My husband is new to the Army and has been at his first duty station for 3 weeks. I, currenty on the other side of the country, am in the middle of a very well known nursing program working on my BSN. His Sgt. told him that without me being there that he cannot recieve BAH unless I move. With nursing you cannot just stop and pick up where you leave off in school. I would have to start over in the program and throw away everything I have worked for. Again I am new to this so I do not know all of the rules. However, I have talked to family members that are in the service and they recieved BAH when they were stateside without their spouse. Do you have any ideas as to what we can do?

  3. John says:

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  4. mia says:

    I got divorce and my ex whos in the army was taking BAH and other monetary benefits stating he was married for over a year. He was living with his co-worker and telling at the army he was still married. I recently found he got me on deers for a year and so after divorce when I had problems with the id of my kid. Do his action can affect the child support hes giving, because at base they told me he owe what he took extra by lying. Currently he some how cut the child support by half even with court order. What can I do?

  5. Sarah Pear says:

    We recently PCSed to Ft Sam Houston and used a free service that helped us find a great rental home. It’s called Housing 1 Source – http://www.housing1source.com. They took care of all the hassles, and we were able to move in right away. I think they are just in San Antonio now, but may expand to other installations soon.

  6. Charnae says:

    So i am going to get married to my soldier next Febuary. How long will all the paperwork take to get into a home? He is getting deployed in mid march. Will we have enough time to get everything all figured ot and organized?

  7. lisa burns says:

    I hav been with my partner 4 almost 4 yrs nw an we hav a 2yr old girl, we dont live 2geva an we find it hard bein apart. Is there no help that the army can give us even if we not married? he posted dwn south an me an my daughter are here in bolton. I always thought u had to be married but ther has got to be something they can help with we hav a child, help wiv housing is the main need for support i would get work when dwn there. hope to hear from you soon lisa

  8. Jarom says:

    I have a friend who is going to be moving into base housing soon. She would love to see all this great information you have on housing. What’s the best way to figure out the average cost of everything?

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