The Defense Department released housing allowance rates for 2016, as service members head into a second year of cost-sharing increases.
DoD said Dec. 15 that the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates will increase by an average of 3.4 percent starting Jan. 1, or roughly $54 per month.
“The cost-sharing amounts incorporated in the 2016 Basic Allowance for Housing rates vary by grade and dependency status and range from $24 to $57 monthly. This means for 2016, a typical member will need to absorb  percent of the national average housing cost by pay grade,” the department stated in a release.
The 2 percent increase is part of a four-year phase-in to shift some costs to members, with the amount increasing each year by 1 percent through 2018. By 2019 and after that year, members will be paying for 5 percent of their housing costs and utilities.
“This rate computation change slows the growth of certain military pay and benefits in a fair, responsible and sustainable way,” DoD said. “Even with these nominal changes, the overall military pay and benefits package remains robust and healthy.”
The cost-sharing is part of the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, which was signed by President Barack Obama last month.
In a joint explanatory statement from the House Armed Services Committee that was attached to the legislation, lawmakers said they did not want to see the reduction in allowances be used to “justify the collection of out-of-pocket housing expenses, in excess of BAH, from service members.”
Service members can calculate their Basic Allowance for Housing online, and find more information on BAH and rates here.