A list of military allowances, definitions and where to find current rates. Allowances are the second most important element of military pay. Allowances are moneys provided for specific needs such as food or housing. Monetary allowances are provided when the government does not provide for that specific need.
Even better news is that most military allowances are not taxable.
List of Military Allowances:
BAH offsets the cost of housing when service members live off base. The intent of BAH is to provide uniformed service members accurate and equitable housing compensation based on housing costs in local civilian housing markets, and it is payable when government quarters are not provided. BAH rates are based on the service member’s geographic duty location, pay grade, and dependency status.
The Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) is used to pay for food for Enlisted Soldiers and Officers.
Continental/Contiguous United States Cost of Living Allowance (CONUS COLA) is a taxable supplemental allowance designed to help offset higher prices in high-cost locations in CONUS that exceed the costs in an average CONUS location by 8 percent or more. The program affects over 38,000 service members in 27 Military Housing Areas (MHAs) and one other county in CONUS.
Currency fluctuations can affect both Overseas Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) and Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) payments. Military finance centers pay all allowances in U.S. dollars, but many expenses for Service members overseas are in local currency. When exchange rates change, overseas allowance payments are adjusted to ensure that the service member has the same purchasing power as before.
The purpose of DLA is to partially reimburse a member for the expenses incurred in relocating the household on a PCS, ordered for the Government’s convenience, or incident to an evacuation. This allowance is in addition to all other allowances authorized in this Joint Federal Travel Regulation (JFTR) and may be paid in advance.
Government Meal Rate
This provides meals from the daily meals and incidental expense (M&IE) allowance. Every year the rate is reviewed and revised, if necessary.
Government Mileage Rates
Mileage (Allowance) for using a privately owned conveyance (POC) for local/TDY and PCS travel are reimbursed as a rate per mile in lieu of reimbursement of actual POC operating expenses. The following rates are the basic TDY mileage rates for the three POC types (Car, Motorcycle, and Airplane) and the PCS Monetary Allowance in Lieu of Transportation (MALT) rate for which the government provides a mileage allowance.
Overseas Cost of Living Allowances (COLA)
The Overseas Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) is a non-taxable allowance designed to offset the higher overseas prices of non-housing goods and services. It affects approximately 250,000 service members at 600 locations overseas, including Alaska and Hawaii. Approximately $2 billion is paid in Overseas Cost of Living Allowances annually.
Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA)
The Overseas Housing Program enables military members assigned overseas to privately lease housing on the economy. This program encompasses a reimbursement system designed to partially defray housing costs when on-base or government leased housing is not available. OHA is paid to approximately 61,000 members overseas at a yearly cost of $1.9 billion.
Per Diem Rates
Per Diem is a daily allotment to reimburse service members for the out-of-pocket cost of food, lodging, and incidental expenses that occur while on military business or temporary assigned duty (TDY or TAD) away from their home station. Per Diem sets the limit to how much a service member can be reimbursed for meals and lodging.
Permanent Change of Station Allowance
Service members who move from one duty station to another are authorized to receive Permanent Change of Station (PCS) allowances. Examples
TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE (TLA)
PER DIEM FOR PCS TRAVEL
TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE (POC)
DEPENDENT TRAVEL WITHIN CONUS BY OTHER THAN POC
Service members assigned or deployed to locations where the military will not move families receive a Family Separation Allowance of $250 per month to cover expenses incurred during service members’ separation from their families. Service members are also entitled to the allowance if their families are unable to accompany them overseas due to medical reasons.
Active duty service members that qualify for the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program, may be eligible for assistance up to amounts not to exceed $1,100 monthly.
Initial Clothing Allowances – Provided to enlisted members upon initial enlistment or upon other special qualification for entitlement to a prescribed outfitting of uniforms. The initial issue may be an in kind issue or a combination of in kind issue and cash payment.
Extra Clothing Allowances – Additional to initial and replacement allowances and do not reduce, replace or otherwise affect them. Extra clothing allowances provide for unusual circumstances when an enlisted member may require additional uniform items or when an officer (with a permanent duty station outside the United States) or enlisted member may require civilian clothes to perform their assigned duties.
Cash Clothing Replacement Allowances – Provided to enlisted service members upon the anniversary month each successive year following the provision of an initial clothing allowance. Cash clothing replacement allowances are for replacement of required uniform items based on a normal wear rate.
PAC – Pay and Allowance Continuation Program
Replaces the Combat-related Injury Rehabilitation Pay (CIP) program as of May 2008. It provides for service members who incur wounds, injuries or illnesses while serving in a hostile fire area or while exposed to a hostile fire event and are hospitalized for treatment of the wound, injury or illness. The PAC program has several improvements over the former CIP program.