The Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) increase for 2019 is currently proposed at 3.4% after seeing a .3% increase last year and no increase in 2017. It should be noted that the National Defense Authorization Act plan proposes 3.4% every year but typically falls far short of that increase.
The 2019 BAS increase would be effective January 1, 2019.
Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) is used to pay for food for Enlisted Soldiers and Officers. Beginning on January 1, 2002, all enlisted members were given full BAS, but pay for their meals (including those provided by the government) such as through a meal card management system.
BAS is calculated based 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.
Basic Allowance for Subsistence is considered non-taxable income. Meal deduction amounts, as well as other deductions and expenditures can be found on a leave and earning statement (LES), which is updated monthly.
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