Benefit Fact Sheet
In addition to salary and bonuses, the Air Force provides allowances to offset the cost of living. These allowances are monies provided for specific needs, such as food or housing when the government does not provide for that specific need. Most allowances are not taxable, which is an additional imbedded benefit of military pay.
In general, active duty officers and enlisted Airmen are eligible for some degree of the allowances stated.
Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH): Basic Allowance for Housing offsets the cost of housing when Airmen live off base. The intent of Basic Allowance for Housing is to provide uniformed service members accurate and equitable housing compensation based on housing costs in local civilian housing markets, and is payable when government quarters are not provided. Basic Allowance for Housing rates are based on the Airmen’s geographic duty location, pay grade, and dependency status. Basic Allowance for Housing is the second-largest piece of compensation for most Airmen. Rates for Service members in 2020 increased 2.8% nationwide. That means Airmen who receive BAH will absorb between $68 and $148 of their housing costs monthly 2020 Rate Calculator .
Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA): Overseas Housing Allowance is used to compensate members for the majority of housing expenses incurred while stationed overseas. Allowance rates are periodically updated based on new cost data and review of currency fluctuations for current rates click here. Overseas Housing Allowance is comprised of three components:
Rental ceilings are computed using actual rents as reported through finance centers. Rental ceilings are set such that 80 percent of Service members with dependents have rents fully reimbursed. Unaccompanied Service members or Service members without dependents are entitled to 90% of with dependent rate.
Utility/recurring maintenance allowance is paid monthly to defray expenses paid directly to utility companies. Payments fully cover the reported utility expenses for 80 percent of the members, based on expenses reported to the Per Diem, Travel, and Transportation Allowance Committee by members receiving the allowance.
Move-in housing allowance (MIHA) is comprised of three components:
MIHA/Miscellaneous--a fixed-rate, lump-sum payment that reflects average expenditures to make dwellings habitable.
MIHA/Rent--an actual dollar-for-dollar payment made in the field for customary or legally required rent-related expenses, such as rental agents' fees.
MIHA/Security--an actual expense component paid for security-related enhancements to physical dwellings when quarters must be modified to minimize exposure to terrorist or criminal threat.
Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS): The Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) is used to pay for food for Enlisted Airmen and Officers. The following are the BAS rates for 2019:
Clothing Allowance : Enlisted personnel are issued a standard wardrobe when they enter active duty and a clothing replacement allowance on their anniversary month. The replacement allowance is paid at the "basic" rate for members with less than 3 years of service, and after that at the "standard" rate. Officers receive a one-time payment after commissioning to buy clothing. No allowance for clothing maintenance is provided. There are several types of clothing allowances to cover both initial allowances and replacements:
Initial Clothing Allowances:
Enlisted members upon initial enlistment or upon other special qualification for entitlement to a prescribed outfitting of uniforms. The initial issue may be an in-kind issue or a combination of in-kind issue and cash payment.
Commissioned officers may be eligible for an initial uniform allowance, payable only once in a career.
Cash Clothing Replacement Allowance : provided to enlisted members to fund replacement of military unique items the appropriate official requires for duty. Allowance begins after six months of active duty service and is paid yearly upon the anniversary month. Cash clothing replacement allowances are for replacement of required uniform items based on a normal wear rate.
Extra Clothing Allowances: additional to initial and replacement allowances and do not reduce, replace or otherwise affect them. Extra clothing allowances provide for unusual circumstances when an enlisted member may require additional uniform items or when an officer (with a permanent duty station outside the United States) or enlisted member may require civilian clothes to perform their assigned duties.
Maternity Supplemental Clothing Allowance: provided to enlisted active duty, Air National Guard and Reserve pregnant Service members. Purchase of the service dress uniform is mandatory. This uniform consists of the maternity jumper and one long sleeve blue maternity blouse. This allowance is paid only once in a three-year period.
Family Separation Allowance (FSA): Airmen assigned or deployed to locations where the military will not move Families receive a Family Separation Allowance of $250 per month to cover expenses incurred during a Service member’s separation from their Family. Airmen are also entitled to the allowance if their Families are unable to accompany them overseas due to medical reasons.
Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance (FSSA): Active duty Airmen that qualify for the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program, may be eligible for assistance up to amounts not to exceed $1,100 monthly.
Cost of Living Allowance (COLA): Airmen assigned to high-cost locations in the continental U.S (CONUS) . or a tour of duty outside the continental United States (OCONUS) are paid a Cost of Living Allowance. This allowance is intended to offset the higher costs of food, transportation, clothing, and other non-housing items. COLA rates are based on the Service member’s rank, duty location, and dependent status. Unlike other allowances, Cost of Living Allowance is considered taxable, however, an additional amount is included to cover the average tax rate.
For more specific information on these benefits and to verify eligibility, please visit the following links:
Basic Allowance for Housing:
Overseas Housing Allowance:
Basic Allowance for Subsistence:
Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance:
Family Separation Allowance:
Cost of Living Allowance:
Permanent Change of Station (PCS) Allowance:
Office of the Secretary of Defense, Military Compensation website: