Military Housing Allowance
The cost of living on Guam can be quite high, and the Department of Defense takes this into account for those who elect to live off base. Generally, E-4’s and below without dependents are required to live on base, but exceptions have been made lately due to a shortage of dormitory rooms on base. E-5’s and above, whether with or without dependents, will normally have the option to live off base with certain restrictions imposed on those with response time limits.
To cover housing expenses on Guam, military personnel receive Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA). OHA is different from state-side Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), in that you don’t get to keep what’s left of your allowance that you don’t spend on rent. The amount you receive is determined on the rental price of the property, but only up to your maximum based on your rank and whether you have dependents or not. For example, if your rental property is $2000 per month, but your allowance is $2450, you would only receive $2000.
Besides OHA, you will also receive a 25% (of your base pay) non-taxable cost of living allowance (COLA).
Utility Expenses on Guam
One of the most commonly asked questions is about the cost of power. The cost of electrical service has dropped significantly over the past year. Keep in mind that power cost is directly related to the price of oil, since we burn fuel oil to generate power. A good way to monitor your day to day energy use so you don’t have any surprises when you get this bill is to sign up for an account at www.MyEnergyGuam.com.