Posted on Jul 25, 2019
SPC Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic
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I've been in the Army for 3 years, been married for 2, and my wife just joined the Army. She is now in Basic and after filling out all the paperwork I was told to at SRP now that she is enlisted-my BAH has been lowered to the "without dependents" rate. However, she is not receiving BAH, because she is living in government quarters. Now that all makes sense.

My problem is this... I live on-post and on Fort Knox where they luckily BAH-match to the "with dependents" rate. But now that I am receiving the "without dependents" rate of BAH, they (finance) are taking the difference between rent and my new, lower BAH, directly from my paycheck. Now here in Fort Knox, Kentucky the "without" rate is $642 and the house I'm living in is $915 so I'm going to be paying $273 out of my paycheck just to keep living here. Also they back dated my "debt" for getting "extra" BAH to the date my wife joined a month and a half ago, so now I just got a Notice of Indebtedness" of $300ish from finance for that. Now I am living in a nicer house on post (on slotted for “Junior NCO’s”, idk lucky I guess lol) and I’ve already contacted housing about moving to the cheapest house available on post. But as we all know housing on post takes time. I’m still waiting on all of that to see what comes of it. Even so, the cheapest house on post is $815 a month, so I’d still be paying $173 out of pocket to live in the worst house. Which by the way I have friends that live in and are significantly worse than mine (not that it matters..).
And housing off post isn’t any cheaper either for anything decent. I lived off post before, actually had to pay for utilities and such. The house equivalent to where I stay now, is $1000 just for rent. So I understand the reality of the prices.

My contract with housing states I have to pay the "with dependents" rate.
Finance says my wife is no longer my dependent and she's not entitled to BAH.
My BAH has been lowered to the without rate.
On paper it sounds right. I understand that. But I can't get passed how screwed up this all is.

First of all, I live on-post I never saw any of that "extra" BAH I was "getting". We all know it doesn't work like that, so it's really messed up that I'm getting "back debted" (I'm sure that's not a thing but whatever...) Also it seems screwed up that my BAH is getting lowered when my wife isn't getting any. Isn't that the whole point of the BAH drop? I get my BAH lowered because theoretically my wife is also getting BAH. I almost feel like I should just get the regular BAH rate until she exits training and then mine can drop and hers will start. It might sound dumb, but this seems very anti “new army family” (more made up terms I know). Trying to not be a loser about the situation, but my wife is going to 68W AIT, so that will end up with me paying AT LEAST another $865 to possibly $1365 out of pocket, before she gets done with all training.

It all just kinda sucks. Please don't respond with “that's life, those are the rules” I've seen plenty of comments like that on other forums. I just want to know if I have any options.

I’m sorry this was so long, thank you if you read all the way through.
Edited 3 y ago
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SFC Retention Operations Nco
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Your pay sounds correct. Your BAH wasn't dropped because your wife is getting BAH, it was dropped because you qualify for the new rate. Your wife can't receive BAH because she's receiving military housing in the barracks. You have no dependents, so you receive the without dependents rate. If you had dependents one of you would receive the with rate and one would receive the without rate. You're not going to receive an exception to receive a with dependent rate because those rules are based on DFAS regs which are based on federal laws.
Normally, you would not be in housing as a dual military away from your spouse. It sucks, but many split up dual military end up in the barracks without any BAH. So, there's a ray of sunshine there. What you can do is renegotiate your contract. On post housing is not supplied by cost. You are authorized certain houses according to your household size. Some posts have living areas segregated by rank, others don't. That's good for a PFC who gets a 4 bedroom and pays $800 and sucks for an E6 with no kids who warrants a 2 bedroom and pays 1200. So, it's not a matter of moving houses.
Assuming you've gone and explained your issue to housing, they probably said, "sucks to suck, not my problem". If they said something like that, they're probably just a front desk person with no knowledge of the housing program. You will want to talk to the housing manager specifically. You're not the first person to have this problem, and the Army has some system or tool in place to alleviate this. My guess is that they will either grant you an exception to policy and lower your rent temporarily, or renegotiate your contract based on life events.
As for the indebtedness, you can apply to have your command to waive your indebtedness due to it being no fault of your own.
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SPC Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic
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Appreciate the help SFC. I’ll talk to housing again about a possible renegotiation of the contract.
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WO1 Pilot
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SPC (Join to see) I would also read the fine print of your contract. Housing on post generally matches your BAH unless you specifically requested a house in a higher or lower cost area (this option is normally for lower cost housing). Example: when I was an E5, I occupied the same housing area as E1-4 and was charged more than they were due to higher rank.

Dual military will normally be charged the single with dependent rate, but the fine print (at least when it happened to me with Corvias) said “when 2 service members are occupying the house”. Since your spouse has never had PCS orders to that installation as a service member and never occupied the house as a service member, you currently should be charged at a rate equal to single without dependent. I agree with the sentiment that you should head to your housing management office and look into your lease. You should be able to adjust terms based on your change in status/pay.

You also should have signed a CNA(statement of non availability) at some point to keep your BAH at the single without dependent rate, based on your rank. This isn’t as big of an issue unless they do a BAH audit and you do not have one on file.
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SPC Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic
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WO1 (Join to see) Thanks for the help Chief.
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SPC Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic
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So I spoke to housing again and the person helping me spent a good 20+ minutes speaking to the director as I waited. And she came back and told me that the rent can’t be changed because they’re a “flat rate market". But inside my contract there’s literally a check block for “special rate” under the BAH/rent section. I asked about that, but she sort of ignored it. I have a meeting with legal tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes....
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MAJ Rene De La Rosa
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I would dona pay inquiry with finance to determine if this is correct. This sounds fishy with the many moving parts. Good luck.
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SPC Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic
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In case anyone’s wondering, after talking to finance, housing and legal many times with everything I could think of and everything all of you mentioned, I just kept getting the big fat “that’s the way it is” from everybody. The captain at legal who I spoke to told me he’d have an answer within a week and get back to me. After two weeks of no calls or emails I walked into the legal building and he said he forgot about my case entirely and then quickly just read over my lease for a few minutes and said “yeah there’s nothing I can do” he put no effort into the situation whatsoever..... Really loving the Army life right now! SMH...
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SPC Specialist
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I’ve been in the same situation for the past year and a half. Dual Military with dependents. My husband gets BAH with dependents and I get nothing because I was in basic training, AIT, and then deployed. I’ve talked to so many different people and got the same outcome “that’s the way it is”.
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