Some servicemembers will soon qualify for the Basic Needs Allowance (BNA), which will provide additional income to their families to help them better afford basic needs and reduce their food insecurity. Eligibility rules for the BNA will increase the household’s allowable gross income to grant more servicemembers to qualify for the additional income.
According to the DOD’s Office of Financial Readiness (FINRED), the Basic Needs Allowance (BNA) is a “supplemental monthly allowance for servicemembers who have dependents and gross household income that falls below certain federal income thresholds.”
The application process varies by military service and must follow the service-specific guidance. The servicemember must apply for the additional allowance, and all of their dependents must be registered with Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). If approved, the BNA will be calculated as the difference between 130% of the current year’s Federal Poverty Guidelines applicable to the servicemember’s location and household size minus their preceding year’s gross household income, divided by 12.
In certain situations, the BNA may affect a household’s eligibility for Family Supplemental Subsistence Allowance or other government assistance programs. Therefore, a BNA application could be declined allowing the family to maintain their eligibility for these programs. This decision should be made with an experienced counselor. Individuals can choose not to apply even if they are certified for approval.
How do I apply for Basic Needs Allowance?
According to FINRED, each service will provide instructions regarding the BNA application process, including when each military service will begin accepting applications. Information can be found at FINRED BNA.
Do I have to recertify to receive the Basic Needs Allowance annually?
Yes, you must reapply for BNA annually to ensure you meet the qualifications for your household size or to identify if your gross household income has changed.
Is the Basic Needs Allowance Taxable?
Unlike the other allowances such as the Basic Allowance for Housing, the BNA is considered a taxable income. You can find out more here:
Branch of Service Contacts:
- Marine Corps
- Air Force: Call Total Force Service Center at 210-565-0102, or visit https://mypers.af.mil/app/ask to chat with an Active Duty myPers Total Force Service Center Agent
- Coast Guard: Contact the Division of Military Compensation at [email protected]
- Army: Army has begun screening and identifying Soldiers who may be eligible through the chain of command and personnel readiness reviews. Contact your unit for more information.
For further details, Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) has compiled a BNA FAQ page. Additional resources can be found on FINRED’s BNA page.
You may also email the AAFMAA Member Benefits team with questions about BNA and other areas for your personal financial readiness by emailing [email protected]. Or call 888-270-8418, option 2, then option 2 again.