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Defense budget proposes gradual cuts in basic allowance for housing

By Alison Parker
Published On: Feb 26 2014 04:31:52 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 26 2014 04:56:08 PM CST
JACKSONVILLE, ONSLOW COUNTY -

Active duty Marines in Eastern Carolina could see some changes -- starting in their own homes.

Sergeant Anthony Ortiz gets a basic allowance for housing, or BAH -- for living off base.

Department of Defense officials want to lower the amount service members get each month in BAH by 5 percent. They also would no longer receive reimbursement for renter’s insurance. Officials say this would be a gradual change, happening over the next three to five years.

"It's fair," Ortiz said. "Wherever you go, whatever you get, I'm sure they didn't make the decision off impulse They did their research. Everywhere that I have been that I have received BAH, I have been getting pretty much the exact amount of money that you should be getting.”

But officials say that reduction would only apply if active duty Marines move to another base out of state, or for new Marines entering the Corps.

BAH depends on the standard of living where you're based, your rank, and if you have dependents. For example, a sergeant who currently lives in Onslow County would receive a little over $1,000 a month without dependents, a little over 1,200 with dependents.

But should this budget pass congress, a sergeant just moving to this area could get about five percent less in BAH. That would be about $55 to $61 less a month.

“If you move, you're going to have to make a different decision,” Ortiz said. “You're going to have to cut a little bit, but that is the life of the military. You're not going to get luxury 100 percent, every day.”

Now, it’s up to Congress to review the budget next week.

Active duty Marines would also receive a 1 percent raise.