The 2021 Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) rate is budgeted to increase 3.3% for the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy. If enacted enlisted members would receive $385.01 per month (an increase of $12.30) and officers would receive $265.15 per month (an increase of $8.47). The 2021 BAS rate is effective January 1, 2021.
Requested BAS Rate Increase by Branch
Army BAS: 3.3%
Source: Army Fiscal Year 2021 Budget
Air Force BAS: 3.3%
Navy/Marine Corps BAS: 3.3%
About Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS)
Upon completion of initial basic training, the BAS pay allowance is for Enlisted Soldiers and Officers to offset the cost of grocery and food-related expenses. However, meals (including government-provided meals) must be paid for directly by the service member. BAS funds may be made available with a meal card management system. Note that BAS is intended to offset costs, not to cover ALL food costs. Service members serving overseas or stationed in costly areas may be eligible for an additional monthly stipend via the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA). COLA is not affected by the BAS rate.
BAS is based in the historic origins of the military in which the government provided room and board (or rations) as part of a member’s pay. BAS is not intended to offset the costs of meals for family members.
- Officers entitled to basic pay are entitled to BAS except when in excess leave status or AWOL more than 24 hours
- Officers are not entitled to rations-in-kind and must pay for all meals obtained in a government mess or from an organization drawing field rations while serving on field duty.
All enlisted members entitled to basic pay have a continuous entitlement to BAS except:
- Recruits attending basic military training
- Members attending Reserve/Officer Candidate School without continuous prior enlisted service
- When in an excess leave status
- When absent without leave
- When on approved educational leave
Basic Allowance for Subsistence is non-taxable income. Meal deduction amounts can be found on a Leave and Earning Statement (LES) with other deductions and expenditures and is updated monthly.
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) evaluates current U.S. food costs to determine upcoming BAS rates which correlate with overall cost of food in a given zip code, much like Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is determined by the cost of living in a particular zip code. The key difference between BAS and BAH is that family members are not eligible to receive BAS so the rate remains the same no matter how many dependents a service member may have. BAH on the other hand varies and is determined by the number of dependents a service members has.
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BAS II is the monthly rate payable to enlisted members at a permanent station and assigned to single (unaccompanied) Government quarters, without adequate food storage or preparation facilities, and where a Government mess is unavailable, and the Government cannot otherwise provide meals. The BAS II rate is twice the rate of standard enlisted BAS and must be authorized by the Secretary of the Military Department concerned.