Troops are eligible to receive housing stipend when attending training

Service members who attend training classes are eligible for a daily stipend to cover housing costs at their training location.

Troops in the Air Force, Space Force, Navy and Marines Corps who attend professional military education or training classes are now eligible for a daily stipend to cover housing costs at their training location.

A new policy allows service members to collect extra pay based on their Basic Allowance for Housing at the without-dependent rate to cover housing expenses at their second location.

Troops are eligible for this daily stipend if they are stationed at their training location for under a year and return to their primary duty station, where they must maintain their primary residence. Service members are not eligible for the stipend if they live in no-cost government housing.

Service members will still receive their Basic Allowance for Housing stipend at the with-dependent rate for their primary residence where their family resides. If they happen to lose their BAH stipend for their primary residency, they must immediately contact their servicing finance office to correct the error and restart their payments.

“We understand that these short moves, while necessary, can be disruptive to the lives and finances of Airmen and Guardians with families — particularly in situations where they are slated to return to their original duty station,” Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Alex Wagner said in a statement.

“This new allowance gives our service members and their families additional resources to weather these times away without the added stress of financial uncertainties.”

Lawmakers directed the Defense Department to implement the policy as part of the defense policy bill for fiscal 2023.

The Navy and Marine Corps announced the policy in March, and the Air Force and Space Force introduced the changes earlier this month. The Army has yet to update its policy.

The policy changes were incorporated into the Joint Travel Regulation, which establishes travel and transportation allowances for service members. Those changes took effect on Nov. 1, 2023.

Service members who attended training on or after Dec. 23, 2022, and meet the eligibility criteria for the stipend under the new policy will receive payments retroactively.

The new policy is part of a slew of changes the Defense Department has recently introduced to improve quality of life of service members and their families.

A provision in the House Armed Services Committee’s draft defense policy bill for fiscal 2025 directs the Defense Department to increase housing allowance. Since 2016, the department has covered 95% of the housing costs. If passed, the defense bill would require the DoD to reverse the 5% reduction in Basic Allowance for Housing and make sure it covers 100% of the calculated rate for the military housing area.

The provision was adopted last week, but it will have to be voted on by the rest of the House and Senate before making it into the final version of the bill. The House Armed Services Committee’s lawmakers on the quality of life panel recommended increasing BAH in their final quality of life report.

“What we’ve seen over the past few years is that military families are spending more and more out of pocket to obtain safe housing in in the duty station that they’ve been assigned to. Because of skyrocketing housing costs, we know that housing costs have have just shot up all over the country but the stipends haven’t always kept up in the past year,” Jessica Strong, the senior director of applied research at Blue Star Families, told Federal News Network.

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