Over the past years, military service members and veterans have seen significant changes to their pay and benefits, including a 4.6% increase in basic pay in 2023 and an average rise of 12.1% in the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). These increases aim to address the surging cost of living, especially housing, while still considering other rising costs, such as healthcare. Various benefits, like healthcare, retirement benefits, VA loans, GI bill education benefits, and more, have been highlighted as essential to maximize during one’s military career.
- In 2023, military service members saw a 4.6% increase in basic pay, the largest since 2003, with discussions underway for a potential 5.2% raise in 2024. Basic pay is determined by rank and length of service and adjusts annually.
- The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) increased by an average of 12.1% in 2023 to reflect the rising cost of housing nationwide. The largest percentage increase was at Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, California, where troops received an average 38% rise compared to 2022 rates.
- Reviews are ongoing regarding the calculation of BAH, which provides service members not living on base or in government-provided housing a cash supplement to rent housing at local market rates.
- Despite the significant pay raises, there are concerns about the impact of rising costs on military families, especially in healthcare. Even small changes in anticipated pay raise calculations can significantly affect military families’ budgets.
- Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee plan to establish a special panel to explore issues surrounding service member pay and benefits, with proposals not expected until late 2024 at the earliest.