The Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) did not increase in 2017 for the first time in many years due to the average price of food in the US not increasing.
The 3.4% increase would be effective on January 1, 2017, if approved by the FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act. Typically Congress and the President agree on a final version and sign into law in December.
BAS is calculated on the current cost of food in the United States as recorded by the Department of Agriculture. Just as Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) correlates with the overall cost of living in a given zip code, BAS correlates with the cost of food in the given zip code. BAS, however, is not affected by the presence or absence of dependents, whereas BAH is a higher figure for service members with dependents.
BAS is not intended to cover all food-related expenses, but rather to aid in these expenses. The additional monthly stipend that service members can receive while overseas or when stationed in costly areas, known as Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), will not be affected by the proposed BAS rate.
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