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Housing Allowance Rules to Change Dec. 31

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2005 – About 30,000 single servicemembers who live off base and pay child support are likely to see a slight change in their military pay - an increase for some and cut for others -- beginning in January.

The rules regarding the basic allowance for housing differential - an allotment for single members who pay child support -- will change Dec. 31, Tim Fowlkes, the Pentagon's assistant director of military compensation, told the American Forces Press Service.

The change is one of the last parts of a seven-year phase-in of the basic allowance for housing that began in 1998, he explained. The BAH system replaced the old variable housing allowance system.

Under both the old law and the transition policies that have been in effect to implement BAH, single members who pay child support get a BAH differential. After Dec. 31, however, only members who live in government quarters and pay child support will continue to receive the BAH differential, Fowlkes said.

Members who live off base and pay child support will receive BAH at the "with dependents" rate. Previously, they received BAH at the "without dependents" rate, plus the BAH differential.

This "with dependents" BAH rate varies widely based on pay grade and location, Fowlkes said, so some affected servicemembers will notice a slight increase in their pay and some, a slight decrease. Those living in low-cost housing markets are the most likely to notice a dip, he said.

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