Welp, so much for actually HELPING our young junior enlisteds that are married and having to live on the economy…

The Basic Needs Allowance that was finally passed to help the lower ranks was supposed to go into effect in Jan, with wide use based on ‘base pay’, not including BAH (housing allowance) in the calculations for income… Supposedly…

A main point of contention around the Basic Needs Allowance has been whether service members’ housing allowances would be excluded from income eligibility calculations. Defense officials have agreed to exclude the housing allowance for some service members in the total income calculations — but only in high cost-of-living areas as determined by defense officials.

Full article, HERE from Navy Times.

Most of these kids are literally living paycheck to paycheck, and hoping/praying they can put food on the table and gas in the car to get to/from work. This move by DOD is NOT helping…

And there is never enough junior enlisted housing at most bases. I can remember having two E-6s with families sharing a house in Milpitas, CA in the late 80s, just to make ends meet. They were also drawing food stamps! There wasn’t any available on base housing, and if I remember correctly, the housing list had something like an 18 to 24 month wait…

And the military wonders why retention is down, and recruiting sucks… Doh!!!


Grrr… — 12 Comments

  1. If wemMake military service mandatory to serve in Congress and maybe some of these problems would go away…..maybe. But then again with what the left has done to the military I’m not so sure anyone would learn anything from the experience now.

  2. Two tours at Chanute AFB as an instructor long ago. Heard MANY stories of young married students living in shipping containers, the old plywood and 2×2 frame type. Didn’t see them, but I never went to the area they were supposed to be in. Some were said to be “out back” at residences.

    Over my career I’ve had people on WIC, food stamps, and any other assistance they/we could find. The old “If the military wanted you to have a wife you would have been issued one” joke has been and is less a joke and more functional reality than many civilians, including Congress and DoD, think it is.

    The real problem is that with the exception of family and friends of military members, FAR too many of the general public, including politicians, just don’t care.

  3. I haven’t been to an Exchange or Commissary in quite some time but wasn’t the original point to offer less expensive goods to service members to help offset the low pay? My dad (retired) tells me that the Exchange is no longer a good deal on just about everything other than the fact that you don’t pay state sales tax. Other than that, prices are comparable or maybe a bit higher than the big box stores. Commissary? Who knows. The commissary in Alameda NAS was horrible. I went there once and never went back. Wasn’t worth whatever savings might have been available.

    That being said I’d also point out that the standard of living expectation has also increased significantly. My expectations when I set out on my own were a roof over my head, a running car, and food on the table. Big screen TVs, Iphones, etc were never included. I talk to my students (high school) about their expectations sometimes and I’m amazed at the stuff they expect to be able to buy right out of high school and in their first job. (Not saying there isn’t a problem now but when I got out almost thirty years ago the same discussions were being had about enlisted pay and benefits.)

  4. come on guys, where’s your compassion”? Everybody(at least in dc) knows it’s more important to take care of the illegals invading the country than the military supposedly defending it.
    (free housing, food, medical, phones, transportation to other locations etc…)

  5. When I first confirmed pregnancy at the clinic on base one of the first questions the nurse asked me was “do you need help applying for WIC?”

    And there’s a whole thing about the commissaries in Stuttgart. Some geniuses in Congress decided that the four “kasernes” in Stuttgart only needed one commissary. This new grand commissary was to be built on the base with the least family housing of the four. I’ve lost track of what the progress was on that. Families on base were pushing back against the implementation of that plan. Grocery stores on the economy don’t exactly recognize WIC benefits.

  6. Ah, we are back to the Carter Malaise Days. Yay-yippie.

    Bet illegal drug use is way up, too, and that there are portions of bases where officers don’t go without being armed and with backup.

  7. I never lived in base housing when I was in the Air Force. Too junior. I always thought that base housing should have been reserved for the lower grades/ranks, O-3 and E-5 and below.

    The ‘seniors’ could better afford to live on the economy than the ‘juniors.’

  8. Dan- If only… sigh

    Bob- True, especially today!

    Hereso- Yep, that was because the commissaries were ‘too cheap’ and not fair competition… So other than no tax, it’s now equal to out in town.

    0007- No shit… And I’ve got their ‘compassion’ right here…

    Tuvela- Ouch… yeah, WIC etc is NOT recognized overseas.

    Beans- My thoughts exactly.

    Mike- Excellent point!

  9. They really don’t have a lot of money and they’re typically not so good with what little they’ve got. “Look, son,” I tell my eldest, “Stop buying really expensive fast food, you can eat for free on base.” Etc. Still, according to him, real wages have gone down since he joined.

    Shocked by the high prices at Ft. Hoods Exchange.

  10. yeah the only way wife and I(A1C-E3 off base) survived at Key West naval base in ’67-’68 was with her working on the economy and me working at the gedunk at Boca Chica NAS – and that was back when the exchange/commissary was actually a saving place . Also worked as the bookkeeper at the NCO club Campion AFS AK when I got transferred – she was preg and lived with her parents until I got back..