What troops need to know about the basic needs allowance in 2024

by Vern Evans

A new basic needs allowance for low-income military families took effect Jan. 1, 2023. The payout is designed to serve as a safety net for individuals whose total family income, including the spouse’s income, falls below 150% of the annual federal poverty guidelines. But for many members, the housing allowance bumps them above the income threshold.

Just 77 military families across the Air Force, Army and Navy received the basic needs allowance in 2023 — about 1% of almost 6,000 troops deemed potentially eligible for the program, and far less than 1% of the nearly 450,000 active duty enlisted troops with families in those branches.

Service officials continually screen service members and notify those who may be eligible. Once people are told they could qualify, they must submit an application and go through a final income screening to determine whether they can receive the benefit.

DOD policy allows service members who believe they may qualify for the benefit, but haven’t been screened as eligible, to apply on their own. They should contact their financial counselors for help.

Read more from the 2024 Pay and Benefits Guide here.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families.” She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

Read the full article here

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