By Tech. Sgt. Armando Schwier-Morales
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) —
Assistance to reduce the impact of inflated costs on Airmen, Guardians and their families is available through four areas of effort.
Aiming to ease the burden of price hikes, the Department of the Air Force is assessing and enacting support across compensation, entitlements for permanent change of station/household goods moves, personal finance readiness and food insecurity aid.
“Our Airmen, Guardians and their loved ones fulfill critical national security roles on behalf of the nation,” said Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall. “Financial strain due to inflation can create stresses on our teammates, and it is our responsibility as leaders at all levels to do everything we can to use available programs and resources to provide relief, and where appropriate, advocate for additional measures.”
“Real-world events continue to drive up inflation — from the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on our global supply chains, to the economic and energy-related consequences of Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Unfortunately, the rising costs due to inflation have placed an increased burden on our service members and their families,” said Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones. “As we work to implement measures to mitigate those impacts, I encourage all Airmen and Guardians to look at the resources and programs available and see which ones can best help, as well as inform their chains of command who are there to help during times such as this.”
A large effort is being made by Airman & Family Readiness Centers to ensure Airmen and Guardians are not only educated but ready to meet current economic conditions. Airmen and Guardians can contact their local finance or A&FRC for more information. For a detailed breakdown of each area of effort, see below.
– The Military Leaders Economic Security Toolkit, located on the Military OneSource website, offers information and support. The site is updated regularly to reflect challenges and policy changes related to economic security.
– In 2022, Department of Defense Military Base Pay increased by 2.7%, basic housing allowance on average increased by 3.8% and basic substance allowance increased by 2.3%.
– The DAF is working with the Office of the Secretary of Defense on the 14th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation, a DoD commissioned review of compensation principles and concepts for members of the armed forces.
– The DAF supports OSD’s initiative to mitigate the impact of Overseas Cost of Living Adjustment by decreasing rates at a slower pace — no more than a 2-point reduction per month.
– For the 2023 BAH rate calculation effort, the DAF has opted into OSD’s one-year pilot program to accept local market rental data from the Military Housing Privatization Initiative Partners as an additional mechanism to increase sample size and help ensure correct rate-setting. This data will be part of the 2022 BAH-rate setting cycle to calculate the 2023 BAH rate.
– The White House and Congress have proposed a 4.6% pay raise for the military in 2023, the largest in nearly two decades
Entitlements for PCS/Household Movements:
– The Joint Travel Regulation allows for installations to request temporary lodging expense extensions to support on and off-base lodging, which allows Airmen and Guardians to receive their temporary living expense entitlements beyond the traditional 10 days as they await housing following a PCS. Installations may request TLE extensions up to a total of 60 days.
– As of July 1, the DoD adopted the Internal Revenue Service’s increase to the standard mileage rates to reflect on current rising fuel costs. The mileage rate for PCS travel increased from $0.18 to $0.22 per mile, and the mileage rate for TDY travel increased from $0.585 to $0.625 per mile.
– The Joint Travel Regulation was updated with a new authority granting partial dislocation allowance for members directed to move out of government quarters, including single Airmen and Guardians moving out of dormitories. The purpose of the allowance is to partially reimburse a member for the expenses incurred in relocating the household.
– Installation housing offices are assisting members as they PCS with potential housing challenges.
Personal Financial Readiness:
– A&FRCs personal financial readiness program sustains and improves financial literacy and readiness by offering information, education, training, and free personal financial counseling to Airmen, Guardians, and their families. The DAF has also increased the number of Personal Financial Managers available to assist and enhance financial readiness and money management skills for members and their families.
– The Air Force Aid Society continues to support emergent needs such as basic living expenses (e.g., food, rent/mortgage, utilities), vehicles (e.g., payments, repairs, insurance), and childcare costs. Airmen and Guardians can submit requests through A&FRCs.
– First sergeants and A&FRCs assist Airmen, Guardians, and families in need of food security-related grants and loans with referrals to programs such as: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Federal Subsistence Supplemental Allowance program, and the Air Force Aid Society.
– The FY22 National Defense Authorization Act established a Basic Needs Allowance. The BNA Program provides supplemental income for military members and dependents whose gross household income falls below 130% of federal poverty guidelines. The DAF is participating in the OSD working group and will implement OSD guidance once it is published.