Housing allowances for Veteran students using their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits have been spared from the cuts made by the fiscal 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The NDAA, which is essentially the defense budget, was approved this week by the House and Senate Armed Services Committees. One of the most unfortunate provisions in the bill is the one percent decrease to Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) for all active service members that will go into effect next year. The one percent decrease will cost service members and military families a few hundred dollars over the course of the year, but will save the DOD millions.
Earlier drafts of the NDAA originally called for a five percent reduction to BAH over three years. But the final bill as it stands was changed to only one percent due to pressure from Veteran advocacy groups on behalf of active duty service members. Many believe that lawmakers will end up getting their five percent BAH decrease by dropping BAH by one percent each year.
The housing allowance decrease was also supposed to affect Veterans enrolled in college with their Post-9/11 GI Bill. Veteran students, along with paid tuition and a book stipend, receive a monthly allowance for housing (MAH) that is currently the equivalent to the E-5 with dependents BAH rate.
A provision was inserted into the NDAA by the House Veterans Affairs Committee which exempts the Veterans from the one percent reduction in housing allowance that active-duty service members are in line to receive next year.
It is extremely unfortunate that lawmakers deemed it necessary to save money at the expense of service members. It is always important to keep track of what your elected officials are doing in Washington. If their actions are not in line with your wishes, be sure to contact them and let them know. Also, remember their actions when they are up for re-election.
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Military Connection: GI Bill Spared from Cuts: By Debbie Gregory