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    Changes Coming to Mil-to-Mil BAH?

    A friend posted this article on FaceBook regarding dual-service housing allowances. Apparantly, the Senate Armed Services Committee inserted language into the 2016 Defense Authorization Bill to change mil-to-mil BAH.

    Here is a quick quote from the article:

    The Senate Armed Services Committee has inserted language in its version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill that takes a different view. It seeks to end what some lawmakers perceive as an income windfall for dual-service couples by linking BAH payments to what these families actually pay to rent housing at new and future assignments.

    If the full Senate and, later this summer, the full House were to agree to this change, it would be a dramatic compensation cut for dual-service families whose total numbers have grown over the last several years with military recognition of gay and lesbian marital status.

    Under current law, a dual service couple with no children assigned to the same locale can each draw BAH at a lower “without dependents” rate. If the couples have a child or children, the more senior ranking member can draw BAH at a higher “with dependents” rate while the other member continues to draw BAH at the lower “without” rate.

    The Senate bill, in both circumstances, would allow only the higher-ranking member in dual-service marriage to draw any BAH, though at the higher with-dependents rate. The other member would be ineligible for BAH.

    To prevent couples from circumventing this proposed change in law by living in separate residences while assigned to the same area, the Senate committee would direct that the new BAH limit apply to couples “who are assigned within normal commuting distance from each other.”


    Read more: http://militaryadvantage.military.co...#ixzz3bXKrsRvO
    MilitaryAdvantage.Military.com
    As a finance person, this immediately struck me as a pretty terrible idea and not even for the reason you might be thinking. The unintended consequences of this change would be massive. As stated in the article, the law will "prevent couples from circumventing this proposed change in law by living in separate residences while assigned to the same area, the Senate committee would direct that the new BAH limit apply to couples “who are assigned within normal commuting distance from each other.”

    Based on the above, if a couple is legally married only the higher ranking member will receive BAH. What happens when a couple decides to get divorced? Is the lower ranking member expected to live without BAH for however long the divorce takes? That could be years. If not, what documentation will be used to restart BAH?

    Let's say a couple decides to split up. The husband is lower ranking and he moves out and gets his own apartment. Does he have to file for divorce first before finance can restart the BAH? What if after six months the couple decides not to get divorced? Does finance collect back the BAH? This sounds like a giant mess and finance is going to spend an insane amount of time trying to figure out living everyone's marital situation.

    If the above wasn't bad enough, what about same sex couples? They want equal treatment right? Does this mean that if a same sex couple declares their selves married one of them will also lose their BAH? That seems like an incentive for same sex couples to pretend they aren't married which is ironically the exact opposite of how it used to be.

    What say you guys?
    Last edited by SomeRandomGuy; 05-29-2015 at 02:22 PM.

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    Everybody military member should get single rate...there shouldn't be a bonus for having kids...

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    Senior Member Bos Mutus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SomeRandomGuy View Post
    A friend posted this article on FaceBook regarding dual-service housing allowances. Apparantly, the Senate Armed Services Committee inserted language into the 2016 Defense Authorization Bill to change mil-to-mil BAH.

    Here is a quick quote from the article:

    As a finance person, this immediately struck me as a pretty terrible idea and not even for the reason you might be thinking. The unintended consequences of this change would be massive. As stated in the article, the law will "prevent couples from circumventing this proposed change in law by living in separate residences while assigned to the same area, the Senate committee would direct that the new BAH limit apply to couples “who are assigned within normal commuting distance from each other.”

    Based on the above, if a couple is legally married only the higher ranking member will receive BAH. What happens when a couple decides to get divorced? Is the lower ranking member expected to live without BAH for however long the divorce takes? That could be years. If not, what documentation will be used to restart BAH?

    Let's say a couple decides to split up. The husband is lower ranking and he moves out and gets his own apartment. Does he have to file for divorce first before finance can restart the BAH? What if after six months the couple decides not to get divorced? Does finance collect back the BAH? This sounds like a giant mess and finance is going to spend an insane amount of time trying to figure out living everyone's marital situation.

    If the above wasn't bad enough, what about same sex couples? They want equal treatment right? Does this mean that if a same sex couple declares their selves married one of them will also lose their BAH? That seems like an incentive for same sex couples to pretend they aren't married which is ironically the exact opposite of how it used to be.

    What say you guys?
    Doesn't sound like a huge mess for finance really...these are pretty easy to overcome with a set of rules.

    Obviously, same-sex married couples are treated exactly like opposite-sex married couples.

    There would be a financial incentive to not get legally married, I suppose. I'm okay with that...it's almost better than the alternative where we provide financial and living condition incentive (get out of the dorms) for young kids to get married, probably before they should.

    That said...I think this is pretty unfair though. Each member serves in the their own right and are entitled to the compensation for doing so. What if a military member marries a highly paid civiian? Should he/she take a pay cut because that isn't fair? Makes no sense. A person is in the service, draws compensation for it, end of story.

    I don't have any disagreement with sandsjames idea though...one flat rate BAH for everyone, single or married or kids.
    The Voice of Reason

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    Senior Member Absinthe Anecdote's Avatar
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    I think everyone should have to live in a Quonset hut made from corrugated tin like Gomer Pyle did.

    Over 30 years old, still a PFC, and living in a shitty open bay barracks.
    All behold that fancy strutting peacock, the bake sale diva...

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    This wrongly discriminates against individual military members. Each member is entitled to BAH, regardless of who they choose to marry. If this passes, expect the next target to be mil-to-mil household goods entitlements and perhaps even retirement. I can hear it now, "why pay both mil members retirement when most other couples only enjoy one paycheck."

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    Senior Member Rainmaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Absinthe Anecdote View Post
    I think everyone should have to live in a Quonset hut made from corrugated tin like Gomer Pyle did.

    Over 30 years old, still a PFC, and living in a shitty open bay barracks.
    This is the future of the military. The next major war will be fought with low paid draftees and highly paid support contractors.

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    Option 2: Build a whole lot of base housing and force occupancy there prior to authorizing BAH.

    It sounds like a dick move, but BAH is an entitlement to cover housing and if housing is provided then Mil-Mil or Mil-Civ couples would still be provided housing commensurate with their rank and family size.

    I do like @sandsjames idea of one flat rate BAH rate for everyone as well, whether it would vary by location or what not ... dunno. Basic pay could also be increased an eliminate BAH, BAS / COMRATS etc. altogether ...
    The most important six inches on the battlefield ... is between your ears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjölnir View Post
    Option 2: Build a whole lot of base housing and force occupancy there prior to authorizing BAH.

    It sounds like a dick move, but BAH is an entitlement to cover housing and if housing is provided then Mil-Mil or Mil-Civ couples would still be provided housing commensurate with their rank and family size.

    I do like @sandsjames idea of one flat rate BAH rate for everyone as well, whether it would vary by location or what not ... dunno. Basic pay could also be increased an eliminate BAH, BAS / COMRATS etc. altogether ...
    Base housing is being privatized, with full BAH expected as payment. Second, FORCING people to live on base seems fair? Most bases are in ghettos, and the reason many choose not to live on base is so their children aren't forced to attend ghetto schools. Eff them though, right?

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    Senior Member Rusty Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mjölnir View Post
    Basic pay could also be increased an eliminate BAH, BAS / COMRATS etc. altogether ...
    They won't do that, because it would increase retired pay.
    "Well... Uber's going to "driverless" cars soon, and their research probably shows that they're a natural fit (when it comes to getting paid for doing nothing)."
    -Rainmaker, referencing black males

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    Quote Originally Posted by SomeRandomGuy View Post
    Based on the above, if a couple is legally married only the higher ranking member will receive BAH. What happens when a couple decides to get divorced? Is the lower ranking member expected to live without BAH for however long the divorce takes? That could be years. If not, what documentation will be used to restart BAH?

    Let's say a couple decides to split up. The husband is lower ranking and he moves out and gets his own apartment. Does he have to file for divorce first before finance can restart the BAH? What if after six months the couple decides not to get divorced? Does finance collect back the BAH? This sounds like a giant mess and finance is going to spend an insane amount of time trying to figure out living everyone's marital situation.
    Some great questions, and i agree those will definitely be unintended consequences.
    One you forgot to ask.. What defines a "Normal commuting distance from one another"??
    I know plenty of people who commute more than 45 min one way.

    Quote Originally Posted by SomeRandomGuy View Post
    If the above wasn't bad enough, what about same sex couples? They want equal treatment right? Does this mean that if a same sex couple declares their selves married one of them will also lose their BAH? That seems like an incentive for same sex couples to pretend they aren't married which is ironically the exact opposite of how it used to be.

    What say you guys?
    That is a great point. LGBTs want equality, but this law will potentially encourage them to stay 'single' to game the system. Just like straight folk.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    Everybody military member should get single rate...there shouldn't be a bonus for having kids...
    I agree, it also shouldn't vary anywhere near as much as it does based on rank either.

    Quote Originally Posted by FLAPS, USAF (ret) View Post
    This wrongly discriminates against individual military members. Each member is entitled to BAH, regardless of who they choose to marry. If this passes, expect the next target to be mil-to-mil household goods entitlements and perhaps even retirement. I can hear it now, "why pay both mil members retirement when most other couples only enjoy one paycheck."
    Or BAS, and other benefit pays..

    Quote Originally Posted by FLAPS, USAF (ret) View Post
    Base housing is being privatized, with full BAH expected as payment. Second, FORCING people to live on base seems fair? Most bases are in ghettos, and the reason many choose not to live on base is so their children aren't forced to attend ghetto schools. Eff them though, right?
    Bases USED to have their own schools, just to avoid that issue. So why not go back to having them on base?

    Quote Originally Posted by FLAPS, USAF (ret) View Post
    Officers have always been paid less in BAS(rations).

    http://militarybenefits.info/2015-ba...istence-rates/
    Cause officers are required to pay dues to a mess each and every month, unlike enlisted (well except for the E7-9).

    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    What I do notice, however, is that it's easy to see why we do have difficulty saving any noticeable amount of money in the military. It's because it's the highest paid people who are making the decisions about where the money gets cut.
    Just like when a civilian company needs to reduce overhead costs, they fire dozens of low grade to mid grade workers, when firing ONE or two of upper management would save exactly the same amount if not more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rainmaker View Post
    Here's a rule to live by. Anytime Politicians start talking about changing something to make it more "fair" for everyone, cover your butthole.

    It's not better. For a couple of reasons. You get fucked on COLA (even more than now) The reason They want your money in there is because Congress can raid it as piggy bank whenever they want and they are going to take away the protection of the G fund as well. All your retirement is at risk
    Which is why for the longest time i have felt that ALL those in office, whether at the state or federal level, should receive exactly the same pay cut/pay rise mil, police/fire get.

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