United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Feb 19, 2020

§ 403.
Basic allowance for housing
(a)
General Entitlement.—
(1)
Except as otherwise provided by law, a member of a uniformed service who is entitled to basic pay is entitled to a basic allowance for housing at the monthly rates prescribed under this section or another provision of law with regard to the applicable component of the basic allowance for housing. The amount of the basic allowance for housing for a member will vary according to the pay grade in which the member is assigned or distributed for basic pay purposes, the dependency status of the member, and the geographic location of the member. The basic allowance for housing may be paid in advance.
(2)
A member of a uniformed service with dependents is not entitled to a basic allowance for housing as a member with dependents unless the member makes a certification to the Secretary concerned indicating the status of each dependent of the member. The certification shall be made in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense.
(b)
Basic Allowance for Housing Inside the United States.—
(1)
The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe the rates of the basic allowance for housing that are applicable for the various military housing areas in the United States. The rates for an area shall be based on the costs of adequate housing determined for the area under paragraph (2).
(2)
The Secretary of Defense shall determine the costs of adequate housing in a military housing area in the United States for all members of the uniformed services entitled to a basic allowance for housing in that area. The Secretary shall base the determination upon the costs of adequate housing for civilians with comparable income levels in the same area. After June 30, 2001, the Secretary may not differentiate between members with dependents in pay grades E–1 through E–4 in determining what constitutes adequate housing for members.
(3)
(A)
The monthly amount of the basic allowance for housing for an area of the United States for a member of a uniformed service shall be the amount equal to the difference between—
(i)
the amount of the monthly cost of adequate housing in that area, as determined by the Secretary of Defense, for members of the uniformed services serving in the same pay grade and with the same dependency status as the member; and
(ii)
the amount equal to a specified percentage (determined under subparagraph (B)) of the national average monthly cost of adequate housing in the United States, as determined by the Secretary, for members of the uniformed services serving in the same pay grade and with the same dependency status as the member.
(B)
The percentage to be used for purposes of subparagraph (A)(ii) shall be determined by the Secretary of Defense and may not exceed the following:
(i)
One percent for months occurring during 2015.
(ii)
Two percent for months occurring during 2016.
(iii)
Three percent for months occurring during 2017.
(iv)
Four percent for months occurring during 2018.
(v)
Five percent for months occurring after 2018.
(4)
An adjustment in the rates of the basic allowance for housing under this subsection as a result of the Secretary’s redetermination of housing costs in an area shall take effect on the same date as the effective date of the next increase in basic pay under section 1009 of this title or other provision of law.
(5)
On and after July 1, 2001, the Secretary of Defense shall establish a single monthly rate for members of the uniformed services with dependents in pay grades E–1 through E–4 in the same military housing area. The rate shall be consistent with the rates paid to members in pay grades other than pay grades E–1 through E–4 and shall be based on the following:
(A)
The average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in that military housing area.
(B)
One-half of the difference between the average cost of a two-bedroom townhouse in that area and the amount determined in subparagraph (A).
(6)
So long as a member of a uniformed service retains uninterrupted eligibility to receive a basic allowance for housing within an area of the United States, the monthly amount of the allowance for the member may not be reduced as a result of changes in housing costs in the area or the promotion of the member.
(7)
(A)
Under the authority of this paragraph, the Secretary of Defense may prescribe a temporary increase in the rates of basic allowance for housing otherwise prescribed for a military housing area or a portion of a military housing area if the military housing area or portion thereof—
(i)
is located in an area covered by a declaration by the President under section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5170) that a major disaster exists; or
(ii)
contains one or more military installations that are experiencing a sudden increase in the number of members of the armed forces assigned to the installation.
(B)
The Secretary of Defense shall base the amount of the increase to be made in the rates of basic allowance for housing for an area on a determination by the Secretary of the amount by which the costs of adequate housing for civilians have increased in the area by reason of the disaster or the influx of military personnel, except that the increase may not exceed the amount equal to 20 percent of the rate of basic allowance for housing otherwise prescribed for the area.
(C)
A member may be paid a basic allowance for housing at a rate increased under this paragraph only if the member certifies to the Secretary concerned that the member has incurred increased housing costs in the area by reason of the disaster or the influx of military personnel.
(D)
Subject to subparagraph (E), an increase in the rates of basic allowance for housing in an area under this paragraph shall remain in effect until the effective date of the first adjustment in rates of basic allowance for housing made for the area pursuant to a redetermination of housing costs in the area under this subsection that occurs after the date of the increase under this paragraph.
(E)
An increase in the rates of basic allowance for housing for an area may not be prescribed under this paragraph or continue after December 31, 2019.
(c)
Basic Allowance for Housing Outside the United States.—
(1)
The Secretary of Defense may prescribe an overseas basic allowance for housing for a member of a uniformed service who is on duty outside of the United States. The Secretary shall establish the basic allowance for housing under this subsection on the basis of housing costs in the overseas area in which the member is assigned.
(2)
So long as a member of a uniformed service retains uninterrupted eligibility to receive a basic allowance for housing in an overseas area and the actual monthly cost of housing for the member is not reduced, the monthly amount of the allowance in an area outside the United States may not be reduced as a result of changes in housing costs in the area or the promotion of the member. The monthly amount of the allowance may be adjusted to reflect changes in currency rates.
(3)
(A)
In the case of a member of the uniformed services authorized to receive an allowance under paragraph (1), the Secretary concerned may make a lump-sum payment to the member for required deposits and advance rent, and for expenses relating thereto, that are—
(i)
incurred by the member in occupying private housing outside of the United States; and
(ii)
authorized or approved under regulations prescribed by the Secretary concerned.
(B)
Expenses for which a member may be reimbursed under this paragraph may include losses relating to housing that are sustained by the member as a result of fluctuations in the relative value of the currencies of the United States and the foreign country in which the housing is located.
(C)
The Secretary concerned shall recoup the full amount of any deposit or advance rent payments made by the Secretary under subparagraph (A), including any gain resulting from currency fluctuations between the time of payment and the time of recoupment.
(d)
Basic Allowance for Housing When Dependents Do Not Accompany Member.—
(1)
A member of a uniformed service with dependents who is on permanent duty at a location described in paragraph (2) may be paid a family separation basic allowance for housing under this subsection at a monthly rate equal to the rate of the basic allowance for housing established under subsection (b) or the o
(2)
A permanent duty location referred to in paragraph (1) is a location—
(A)
to which the movement of the member’s dependents is not authorized at the expense of the United States under section 476 of this title, and the member’s dependents do not reside at or near the location; and
(B)
at which quarters of the United States are not available for assignment to the member.
(3)
If a member with dependents is assigned to duty in an area that is different from the area in which the member’s dependents reside, the member is entitled to a basic allowance for housing as provided in subsection (b) or (c), whichever applies to the member, subject to the following:
(A)
If the member’s assignment to duty in that area, or the circumstances of that assignment, require the member’s dependents to reside in a different area, as determined by the Secretary concerned, the amount of the basic allowance for housing for the member shall be based on the area in which the dependents reside or the member’s last duty station, whichever the Secretary concerned determines to be most equitable.
(B)
If the member’s assignment to duty in that area is under the conditions of a low-cost or no-cost permanent change of station or permanent change of assignment, the amount of the basic allowance for housing for the member shall be based on the member’s last duty station if the Secretary concerned determines that it would be inequitable to base the allowance on the cost of housing in the area to which the member is reassigned.
(C)
If the member is reassigned for a permanent change of station or permanent change of assignment from a duty station in the United States to another duty station in the United States for a period of not more than one year for the purpose of participating in professional military education or training classes, the amount of the basic allowance for housing for the member may be based on whichever of the following areas the Secretary concerned determines will provide the more equitable basis for the allowance:
(i)
The area of the duty station to which the member is reassigned.
(ii)
The area in which the dependents reside, but only if the dependents reside in that area when the member departs for the duty station to which the member is reassigned and only for the period during which the dependents reside in that area.
(iii)
The area of the former duty station of the member, if different than the area in which the dependents reside.
(4)
A family separation basic allowance for housing paid to a member under this subsection is in addition to any other allowance or per diem that the member receives under this title. A member may receive a basic allowance for housing under both paragraphs (1) and (3).
(e)
Effect of Assignment to Quarters.—
(1)
Except as otherwise provided by law, a member of a uniformed service who is assigned to quarters of the United States or a housing facility under the jurisdiction of a uniformed service appropriate to the grade, rank, or rating of the member and adequate for the member and dependents of the member, if with dependents, is not entitled to a basic allowance for housing.
(2)
A member without dependents who is in a pay grade above pay grade E–6 and who is assigned to quarters in the United States or a housing facility under the jurisdiction of a uniformed service, appropriate to the grade or rank of the member and adequate for the member, may elect not to occupy those quarters and instead to receive the basic allowance for housing prescribed for the member’s pay grade by this section.
(3)
A member without dependents who is in pay grade E–6 and who is assigned to quarters of the United States that do not meet the minimum adequacy standards established by the Secretary of Defense for members in such pay grade, or to a housing facility under the jurisdiction of a uniformed service that does not meet such standards, may elect not to occupy such quarters or facility and instead to receive the basic allowance for housing prescribed for the member’s pay grade under this section.
(4)
The Secretary concerned may deny the right to make an election under paragraph (2) or (3) if the Secretary determines that the exercise of such an election would adversely affect a training mission, military discipline, or military readiness.
(5)
A member with dependents who is assigned to quarters of the United States or a housing facility under the jurisdiction of a uniformed service may be paid the basic allowance for housing if, because of orders of competent authority, the dependents are prevented from occupying those quarters.
(f)
Ineligibility During Initial Field Duty or Sea Duty.—
(1)
A member of a uniformed service without dependents who makes a permanent change of station for assignment to a unit conducting field operations is not entitled to a basic allowance for housing while on that initial field duty unless the commanding officer of the member certifies that the member was necessarily required to procure quarters at the member’s expense.
(2)
(A)
Except as provided in subparagraphs (B) and (C), a member of a uniformed service without dependents who is in a pay grade below pay grade E–6 is not entitled to a basic allowance for housing while the member is on sea duty.
(B)
Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary concerned, the Secretary may authorize the payment of a basic allowance for housing to a member of a uniformed service without dependents who is serving in pay grade E–4 or E–5 and is assigned to sea duty. In prescribing regulations under this subparagraph, the Secretary concerned shall consider the availability of quarters for members serving in pay grades E–4 and E–5.
(C)
Notwithstanding section 421 of this title, a member of a uniformed service in a pay grade below pay grade E–6 who is assigned to sea duty and is married to another member of a uniformed service is entitled to a basic allowance for housing subject to the limitations of subsection (e).
(3)
The Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Department of the Navy, shall prescribe regulations defining the terms “field duty” and “sea duty” for purposes of this section.
(g)
Reserve Members.—
(1)
A member of a reserve component without dependents who is called or ordered to active duty to attend accession training, in support of a contingency operation, or for a period of more than 30 days, or a retired member without dependents who is ordered to active duty under section 688(a) of title 10 in support of a contingency operation or for a period of more than 30 days, may not be denied a basic allowance for housing if, because of that call or order, the member is unable to continue to occupy a residence—
(A)
which is maintained as the primary residence of the member at the time of the call or order; and
(B)
which is owned by the member or for which the member is responsible for rental payments.
(2)
The Secretary concerned may provide a basic allowance for housing to a member described in paragraph (1) at a monthly rate equal to the rate of the basic allowance for housing established under subsection (b) or the overseas basic allowance for housing established under subsection (c), whichever applies to the location at which the member is serving, for members in the same grade at that location without dependents. The member may receive both a basic allowance for housing under paragraph (1) and under this paragraph for the same month, but may not receive the portion of the allowance authorized under section 474 of this title, if any, for lodging expenses if a basic allowance for housing is provided under this paragraph.
(3)
Paragraphs (1) and (2) shall not apply if the member is authorized transportation of household goods under section 476 of this title as part of the call or order to active duty described in such paragraph.
(4)
The rate of basic allowance for housing to be paid to the following members of a reserve component shall be equal to the rate in effect for similarly situated members of a regular component of the uniformed services:
(A)
A member who is called or ordered to active duty for a period of more than 30 days.
(B)
A member who is called or ordered to active duty for a period of 30 days or less in support of a contingency operation.
(5)
The Secretary of Defense shall establish a rate of basic allowance for housing to be paid to a member of a reserve component while the member serves on active duty under a call or order to active duty specifying a period of 30 days or less, unless the call or order to active duty is in support of a contingency operation.
(6)
(A)
This paragraph applies with respect to a member of a reserve component who performs active Guard and Reserve duty (as defined in section 101(d)(6) of title 10).
(B)
The rate of basic allowance for housing to be paid to a member described in subparagraph (A) shall be based on the member’s permanent duty station, even during instances in which the member is mobilized for service on active duty other than active Guard and Reserve duty.
(C)
(i)
During transitions in service status from active Guard and Reserve duty to other active duty and back to active Guard and Reserve duty, or following the start of new periods of service resulting from a change in orders, a member described in subparagraph (A) shall be considered as retaining uninterrupted eligibility to receive a basic allowance for housing in an area as provided for under subsections (b)(6) and (c)(2) so long as the member remains on active duty without a break in service.
(ii)
Clause (i) does not apply if the member’s permanent duty station changes as a result of orders directing a permanent change in station with the authority for the movement of household goods.
(iii)
For purposes of clause (i), a break in active service occurs when one or more calendar days between active service periods do not qualify as active service.
(D)
Subsections (d)(3) and (o) also apply to a member described in subparagraph (A).
(h)
Rental of Public Quarters.—
Notwithstanding any other law (including those restricting the occupancy of housing facilities under the jurisdiction of a department or agency of the United States by members, and their dependents, of the armed forces above specified grades, or by members, and their dependents, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Public Health Service), a member of a uniformed service, and the dependents of the member, may be accepted as tenants in, and may occupy on a rental basis, any of those housing facilities, other than public quarters constructed or designated for assignment to an occupancy without charge by such a member and the dependents of the member, if any. Such a member may not, because of occupancy under this subsection, be deprived of any money allowance to which the member is otherwise entitled for the rental of quarters.
(i)
Temporary Housing Allowance While in Travel or Leave Status.—
A member of a uniformed service is entitled to a temporary basic allowance for housing (at a rate determined by the Secretary of Defense) while the member is in a travel or leave status between permanent duty stations, including time granted as delay en route or proceed time, when the member is not assigned to quarters of the United States.
(j)
Aviation Cadets.—
The eligibility of an aviation cadet of the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard for a basic allowance for housing shall be determined as if the aviation cadet were a member of the uniformed services in pay grade E–4.
(k)
Administration.—
(1)
The Secretary of Defense shall prescribe regulations for the administration of this section.
(2)
The Secretary concerned may make such determinations as may be necessary to administer this section, including determinations of dependency and relationship. When warranted by the circumstances, the Secretary concerned may reconsider and change or modify any such determination. The authority of the Secretary concerned under this subsection may be delegated. Any determination made under this section with regard to a member of the uniformed services is final and is not subject to review by any accounting officer of the United States or a court, unless there is fraud or gross negligence.
(3)
Parking facilities (including utility connections) provided members of the uniformed services for house trailers and mobile homes not owned by the Government shall not be considered to be quarters for the purposes of this section or any other provision of law. Any fees established by the Government for the use of such a facility shall be established in an amount sufficient to cover the cost of maintenance, services, and utilities and to amortize the cost of construction of the facility over the 25-year period beginning with the completion of such construction.
(l)
Temporary Continuation of Allowance for Dependents of Members Dying on Active Duty.—
(1)
The Secretary of Defense, or the Secretary of Homeland Security in the case of the Coast Guard when not operating as a service in the Navy, may allow the dependents of a member of the armed forces who dies on active duty and whose dependents are occupying family housing provided by the Department of Defense, or by the Department of Homeland Security in the case of the Coast Guard, other than on a rental basis on the date of the member’s death to continue to occupy such housing without charge for a period of 365 days.
(2)
The Secretary concerned may pay a basic allowance for housing (at the rate that is payable for members of the same grade and dependency status as the deceased member for the area where the dependents are residing) to the dependents of a member of the uniformed services who dies while on active duty and whose dependents—
(A)
are not occupying a housing facility under the jurisdiction of a uniformed service on the date of the member’s death;
(B)
are occupying such housing on a rental basis on such date; or
(C)
vacate such housing sooner than 365 days after the date of the member’s death.
(3)
An allowance may be paid under paragraph (2) to the spouse of the deceased member even though the spouse is also a member of the uniformed services. The allowance paid under such paragraph is in addition to any other pay and allowances to which the spouse is entitled as a member.
(4)
The payment of the allowance under paragraph (2) shall terminate 365 days after the date of the member’s death.
(m)
Members Paying Child Support.—
(1)
A member of a uniformed service with dependents may not be paid a basic allowance for housing at the with dependents rate solely by reason of the payment of child support by the member if—
(A)
the member is assigned to a housing facility under the jurisdiction of a uniformed service; or
(B)
the member is assigned to sea duty, and elects not to occupy assigned quarters for unaccompanied personnel, unless the member is in a pay grade above E–3.
(2)
A member of a uniformed service assigned to quarters of the United States or a housing facility under the jurisdiction of a uniformed service who is not otherwise authorized a basic allowance for housing and who pays child support is entitled to the basic allowance for housing differential, except for months for which the amount payable for the child support is less than the rate of the differential. Payment of a basic allowance for housing differential does not affect any entitlement of the member to a partial allowance for quarters under subsection (n).
(3)
The basic allowance for housing differential to which a member is entitled under paragraph (2) is the amount equal to the difference between—
(A)
the rate of the basic allowance for quarters (with dependents) for the member’s pay grade, as such rate was in effect on December 31, 1997, under this section (as in effect on that date); and
(B)
the rate of the basic allowance for quarters (without dependents) for the member’s pay grade, as such rate was in effect on December 31, 1997, under this section (as in effect on that date).
(4)
Whenever the rates of basic pay for members of the uniformed services are increased, the monthly amount of the basic allowance for housing differential computed under paragraph (3) shall be increased by the average percentage increase in the rates of basic pay. The effective date of the increase shall be the same date as the effective date of the increase in the rates of basic pay.
(5)
In the case of two members, who have one or more common dependents (and no others), who are not married to each other, and one of whom pays child support to the other, the amount of the basic allowance for housing paid to each member under this section shall be reduced in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense. The total amount of the basic allowances for housing paid to the two members may not exceed the sum of the amounts of the allowance to which each member would be otherwise entitled under this section.
(n)
Partial Allowance for Members Without Dependents.—
(1)
A member of a uniformed service without dependents who is not entitled to receive a basic allowance for housing under subsection (b), (c), or (d) is entitled to a partial basic allowance for housing at a rate determined by the Secretary of Defense under paragraph (2).
(2)
The rate of the partial basic allowance for housing is the partial rate of the basic allowance for quarters for the member’s pay grade as such partial rate was in effect on December 31, 1997, under section 1009(c)(2) of this title (as such section was in effect on such date).
(o)
Treatment of Low-Cost and No-Cost Moves as Not Being Reassignments.—
In the case of a member who is assigned to duty at a location or under circumstances that make it necessary for the member to be reassigned under the conditions of low-cost or no-cost permanent change of station or permanent change of assignment, the member may be treated for the purposes of this section as if the member were not reassigned if the Secretary concerned determines that it would be inequitable to base the member’s entitlement to, and amount of, a basic allowance for housing on the cost of housing in the area to which the member is reassigned.
(Pub. L. 87–649, Sept. 7, 1962, 76 Stat. 470; Pub. L. 88–132, § 10, Oct. 2, 1963, 77 Stat. 216; Pub. L. 89–718, §§ 49(a)(1), 54, Nov. 2, 1966,
cite as: 37 USC 403