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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Dec. 16, 2020

New BAH rates are out

By MyCG Staff

The Department of Defense just released the 2021 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) calculator.

Coast Guard members and their families can calculate their BAH payment using the 2021 BAH calculator

On average, 2021 BAH will increase on average 2.9 percent. Actual BAH increases vary by location.

The 2021 BAH increase will be effective Jan. 1, 2021, and service members will see the increase in their pay on Jan. 15, 2021. New BAH rates will affect all military members, including veterans using the GI Bill.

One of 12 new housing units at USCG Station Jonesport, where the Coast Guard station is the centerpost of a small fishing village in rural "down East" Maine.Beginning with the 2012 BAH rates, the Department of Defense is publishing the average percentage breakdown between rent and utilities for each Military Housing Area.

This additional information will assist Service members with making informed housing choices when relocating to a new area.

The 2021 Basic Allowance for Housing, as part of a robust military compensation package, continues the member out-of-pocket expense element at five percent of the national average rental housing cost by pay grade. This means that members must absorb out-of-pocket a standard amount equal to five percent of the national average BAH rate for their pay grade/dependency status.

The out-of-pocket expense amounts incorporated in the 2021 Basic Allowance for Housing rates vary by pay grade and dependency status and range from $70 to $158 monthly. These set-offs are standard amounts applied to all BAH rates.

Even with the out-of-pocket expense amounts, the overall military pay and benefits package remains competitive and healthy. 

Cities with higher home rental costs, such as Honolulu, Chicago, and Los Angeles have very high BAH rates to offset those costs. Small or rural cities such as Tacoma or Colorado Springs have lower rental costs and are assigned a lower allowance. 

A uniformed service member stationed outside the 50 states and the District of Columbia, who is not furnished government housing, is eligible for an Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA).