Q.I hope you can help me out, because I am at a loss as to what to do. My husband is an E-4 stationed in Japan (for the next three years.) I am in Texas, currently living in my parents’ home with them. My husband lives in the barracks.
I went over with my husband in the beginning, but had pregnancy issues that were not being handled over there, so I came back to the States. Our first child is due any day now.
When my husband did all the paperwork to get the Basic Allowance for Housing set up, I was told I would be receiving $480 per month. It has been three months now of receiving that amount, and I am not able to cover my expenses with that amount of money. BAH is the only support I am receiving.
I have researched online and have seen that the maximum amount of BAH for my location for an E-4 is $1034. Is there a reason why I am not receiving more? Once the baby is born I most definitely won’t be able to make ends meet with the $480 I am receiving.
A. Congratulations on the upcoming birth of your baby. For your difficulty, one solution leaps to my mind: Tell your husband you need more money!
Military regulations require a minimum amount of support for dependants, but no regulation hinders your husband from sending you more than the housing allowance. These budget decisions are entirely your own. You and your husband are free to decide how much each of you needs for living expenses. He could even set up a pay allotment in the appropriate amount.
As far as the housing allowance authorized to you, you do not receive the maximum amount of BAH, because the amount you mentioned is probably the total allowable for an E-4 and dependents at your location. Your husband is at a different location and also receives housing benefits by living in military quarters. Beyond that, I don’t know your situation or how your portion of the housing allowance was calculated.
Your question makes me wonder whether there is some reason you and your husband have not resolved this issue together, but that would be another question.
Q. I think my husband is lying about BAH. Recently, my husband called me and informed me that we would not be getting BAH for a month because he has been moved to another command, and it takes them a month to process this information. Something sounds really strange about this. Do you know where I could go to receive information about this?
A. Military red tape being what it is, it’s certainly possible for processing paperwork to cause delays in pay. When my husband changed commands last year, a paperwork glitch caused a portion of his pay to be delayed for several months. However, since I don’t know the inner workings of your husband’s unit or finance office, I don’t know if this is the case in your situation.
To me, the important issue is that you suspect your husband is lying. Is there a reason you would doubt his word? If you are you separated and the housing allowance is a significant portion of the support you receive from him, perhaps you should consult an attorney.
If you are not separated, then the two of you should certainly sit down and discuss, not only the pay issue, but also your level of trust — perhaps with a counselor.
I have posted links to pay and support regulations on the Spouse Calls blog at http://blogs.stripes.com/blogs/spousecalls/be-informed-about-support-regs.
Terri Barnes is a military wife and mother of three. She lives in Germany and writes Spouse Calls weekly for Stars and Stripes Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and see the Spouse Calls blog at http://blogs.stripes.com/blogs/spousecalls.