When people enlist in the military, they receive a substantial number of perks, including several allowances to help cover the cost of food and housing. These allowances date back to the military's origins when the government covered the costs of those who served the country.

What Is BAS?

BAS stands for Basic Allowance for Subsistence. It's a sum of money paid to military personnel for groceries and meals. The amount usually goes up each year to account for cost of living increases. 

It's not a sum that gets paid directly to the grocery store or restaurant, but a monthly amount the service member receives to help offset costs. Some personnel may qualify for a cost-of-living allowance if they live in a region where costs are substantially higher. 

One important note with BAS is that, unlike BAH, the monthly amount is not tied to a service member's dependent status or pay grade. Everyone who qualifies receives the same amount, whether it's at the BAS or the BAS II rate.

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What Is BAS II?

This is an additional program that provides extra support to those who live in unaccompanied quarters at a permanent station and don't have access to government-issued meals. It's not a common occurrence and requires that the Secretary of the Military Department sign off on the allowance. BAS II is double the amount of BAS.

BAS Rates Over the Past Decade





January 1, 2024




January 1, 2023




January 1, 2022




January 1, 2021




January 1, 2020




January 1, 2019




January 1, 2018




January 1, 2017




January 1, 2016




January 1, 2015




Note that during 2016 and 2017, and then 2018 and 2019, the BAS rate did not change year over year. The largest increase in BAS rates, 11.20%, came in 2023 to help military members combat inflation. 

For the year 2024, a 3.40% increase was approved due to the increasing cost of groceries and the cost of a meal dining out, as determined by an analysis carried out by the US Department of Agriculture. 

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Is BAS Taxable?

One of the perks of military allowances is that they are not considered taxable income. This is to prevent service members from receiving less money than the stated rates.  

Are There Restrictions on San Diego BAS Rates?

There are a few restrictions that the military places on its BAS rates. For example, those new to the military, such as those going through officer or basic training, are not eligible, unless they have continuous prior enlisted service. 

Any service member taking excess or educational leave will not be eligible for the monthly allowance, nor will any personnel that has gone AWOL.