FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — It takes soldiers moments to keep their Basic Housing Allowance, or BAH, documentation up to date, but letting changes slip through the cracks could cost them their careers in the military. army.

In addition to annual BAH recertification requirements, soldiers are required to recertify BAH eligibility following events such as divorce, marriage, or childbirth to ensure they are properly paid.

“During a soldier’s time in a battalion, they may marry and divorce up to two or three times – each life change is a significant event that you are expected to communicate with your human resource professionals,” said the captain. Joshua Miller, Human Resources Officer, 101st Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).

If a soldier fails to convey this information to his command team or an S-1 administrative officer, he could end up receiving a larger BAH allowance than he is entitled to.

Whether or not this soldier intends to raise additional money, the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigations Division may investigate him on suspicion of fraud and possibly name him, jeopardizing his security clearance. and preventing him from obtaining further promotions or assignments.

Titling is the decision to place a person’s name in the “subject” block of a U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Division investigative report.

“Our goal is to avoid a situation where soldiers get to this point of being titled, because once they are, it’s very difficult to undo,” said Capt. Zachary Larson, office of services to the Fort Campbell Staff Judge Advocate clientele. “We’re more in the background trying to undo something that’s already happened; we can offer them a legal analysis and help them write a rebuttal form, but it’s a steep climb.

Miller said it can take up to a year to receive a response to rebuttal forms, with immediate and long-term impacts on a soldier’s career in the meantime. Those whose jobs depend on security clearance may also be effectively forced out of the military.

“You’ll run out of reviews during this time and won’t be able to stand before promotion boards,” Miller said. “If you pick up the pace of things, you’re basically trying to head into a chart because you’re going to have a span of valuations from that period. It’s a ripple effect most of the time with any disciplinary action or investigation, and you could find yourself in a deep hole very quickly.

Commanders can be a force for good by preventing their soldiers from being titled, which in turn increases their unit’s mission readiness.

“[An S-1] can provide the analysis and tell you what’s wrong, but the commander has the power to change it,” Miller said. “There is a report on a monthly basis that a company commander signs called the Unit Commander Financial Report, or UCFR, which actually gives the commander access to pay and entitlements. You can’t really see how they spend their money, but you can make sure they’re getting paid properly by the government.

Leaders who know their soldiers well can spot gaps in the UCFR and work with their soldiers to make the necessary changes.

“Any soldier receiving BAH with dependents without properly uploading documentation through their S-1 will receive an email notification that they have 60 days to correct the deficiency,” Larson said. “Failure to upload the correct documents within the 60-day window will result in an automatic return to BAH with no dependent rate.”

From there, the soldier has 90 days to upload the proper documentation or they could be referred to the Army CID on suspicion of BAH fraud. Larson said most junior enlisted soldiers don’t check their emails daily, so commanders are encouraged to help them stay informed.

“We understand that commanders have all kinds of different thrust, pull and task requirements,” Larson said. “Unfortunately, the administrative side is often put aside until it becomes a real problem. We want this to be at the forefront of people’s thoughts and even encourage soldiers to take responsibility, as it’s a really quick and easy task to do, but it has potentially huge implications for their careers.

For more information or to speak with a legal aid attorney, soldiers can make an appointment at the Fort Campbell Client Services Office, 2765 Tennessee Ave.

Date taken: 05.06.2022
Date posted: 05.06.2022 14:52
Story ID: 420172

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