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Housing & Living – Benefits

One of the great benefits of moving with the military is that you and your family will likely have a number of housing options at your new location. You will also receive a housing allowance and moving benefits to help ease the transition. Use the following information and resources to make the most of your housing benefits.

Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH

  • Basic Allowance for Housing provides equitable housing compensation based on local housing markets to service members stationed in the U.S. who do not live in government-owned housing.
  • BAH is based on local area rental market data and varies by duty station, pay grade and dependency status.
  • To access BAH rates for your location, use the Defense Travel Management Office BAH calculator.

Overseas Housing Allowance, or OHA

  • Overseas Housing Allowance partially offsets the cost of off-base housing for service members stationed outside the continental U.S when government housing is unavailable.
  • There are three components to OHA: Rental Allowances, Utility/Recurring Maintenance Allowance, and Move-In Housing Allowance, or MIHA. For an overview of OHA components and resources, check out the OHA fact sheet.
  • OHA is paid to service members based on paygrade and dependency status. To access current OHA rates for your location, use the Defense Travel Management OHA Calculator.

Contact your overseas installation housing office for information about housing in your new area and to get help with OHA.

Family separation allowance, or FSA

  • Family Separation Allowance is paid when your family members can’t live with you at your permanent duty station – most commonly when transportation isn’t authorized, housing is unavailable, you’re aboard a ship, or your family can’t move because of a medical condition.
  • This allowance is paid as a flat, monthly rate.

Check with your installation housing office for more FSA details.

Dislocation allowance or DLA

  • Dislocation Allowance helps with miscellaneous moving costs.
  • It’s paid generally once per permanent change of station, or PCS move.
  • This allowance isn’t paid if you’re reassigned to government quarters or are unaccompanied and doesn’t usually pay for local moves.


If you need additional assistance to cover the cost of moving, you can apply for an advance of basic pay. This advance can be used to cover:

  • Basic Allowance for Housing
  • Overseas Housing Allowance
  • Moving-related expenses
  • Travel allowances (varies by service branch)

Before taking an advance, be sure to do some research and contact a personal financial counselor at your installation Military and Family Support Center to help with budget planning and any questions you may have. Learn more about resources to make financial wellness happen.

Housing options

As a service member, you have a variety of housing options:

  • Government-owned military installation housing is owned and maintained by the Defense Department and saves you from paying rent and most utilities. Consult your installation housing office/government housing for more information.
  • Single or unaccompanied military installation housing such as “the barracks,” or “bachelor quarters,” are rent-free, but you may share a room or bathroom.
  • Privatized military installation housing is owned by a private-sector company. Your basic allowance for housing can be used to pay rental costs and a portion or all of your utility bill, depending on usage. Contact your installation housing referral office/housing privatization office for information about privatized housing options.
  • Renting a home off the installation gives you more choices, but make sure your lease allows you to get out early if you are reassigned or deployed. Contact your local housing referral office/housing privatization office before you sign a lease.
  • Buying a house lets you select the size, location and amenities you want. However, you need to be prepared to sell or rent it quickly when your next PCS comes.

Learn more about housing options for service members and families and the benefits of renting versus buying.

Relocation assistance

Relocation assistance service providers can help with all aspects of your move, no matter where you are heading. Your installation Military and Family Support Center offers an array of relocation services and programs, including help with housing options, moving costs, child care, schools, spouse employment, cultural adaptation and more.

Confidential, non-medical counseling is available for service members and families to help with adjustment difficulties and ways to manage relocation stress. Connect with a counselor to schedule an appointment 24/7 over the phone, in person, via secure online live chat or via secure video sessions. You are eligible for up to 12 sessions.

Still have questions or need help finding support? Military OneSource consultants are available 24/7/365 to help answer your questions and connect you with the resources you need to master your move and live your best MilLife. Call 800-342-9647, use OCONUS calling options, or schedule a live chat.

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