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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Feb. 14, 2023

BNA is now payable to eligible Coast Guard members  

By Martin Berman-Gorvine, MyCG Writer 

The new basic needs allowance (BNA) program has launched, providing an essential monthly allowance to support eligible Coast Guard members who voluntarily apply.  

The program will help low-income families who are struggling with high inflation rates and other economic hardships. It is scheduled to run through Dec. 31, 2027, unless Congress decides to review and continue after that date. 

Eligibility is available to members whose gross household income (GHI) and household size for the most recent calendar year place them below 130 percent of federal poverty guidelines (FPG) for the geographical location of their permanent duty station, and who have finished initial entry training (IET).  

“It is our responsibility as leaders to take care of our members. We don’t want members to face financial hardship because they made the decision to serve their country,” said Dr. Donna Navarro, acting Assistant Commandant for Human Resources. “This allowance helps address the increasing inflation rates that can be so damaging, allowing our members to know their families are cared for while they maintain operational readiness.”   

The Coast Guard will consider your entire household income—including military pay and allowances, income from other household members, investment income, and any other household income. In a sample BNA calculation provided by the Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI), a service member stationed in Ohio with a five-person household and a prior calendar year GHI of $39,947 would receive $189 per month. Applicants will have to provide documentation of their GHI.  

“We will continue to work with our DOD partners and elected officials to ensure our military members are taken care of. This is just one of those means,” Navarro said. 

Coast Guard Academy cadets and midshipmen are not eligible. Others who get certain income increases or have had their income changed due to disciplinary action may also be ineligible. You also may not be eligible if you are on a non-pay status for any reason, or if the number of dependents in your household changes. 

Members will have their eligibility documented via the new Basic Needs Allowance Screening Eligibility Worksheet (CG-7431A), which will be filed in their Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). Once you receive notice of potential BNA eligibility, you must submit a BNA application within 90 days. This proactive step is required; you will not get the BNA automatically. To apply, fill out the new Basic Needs Allowance (BNA) Worksheet (CG-7431)  Both of these forms are available on the Pay and Personnel Center’s forms and worksheets website.  

The full text of DoDI 1341.15, "Basic Needs Allowance," is available here

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