16 Benefits of Families Living on a Military Base + Pros and Cons
Should you live on post or base? Or, should you live out in town? What is the best thing to do? Where will you have a better life? Most families have this debate several times throughout a military career. All branches of military services have revamped programs to ensure that families are provided with a variety of excellent support for children, spouses and other dependents. Here is a list of the many benefits provided to families who live on military bases.
Conveniently located ATM machines
Child and youth programs
Medical, dental and veterinary clinics
Commissary, Exchange, fast food and gas station services
Chaplain offices that offer a variety of personal assistance/counseling in faith and relationship in quite a few denominations
Teenage youth centers with after school homework help and other activities
Art and vehicle repair centers
Club dining, dancing and events
Unique and Extraordinary Benefits
The Red Cross assist in emergencies to contact families.
Emergency relief loans for those in financial distress, and college education centers as well as up to 75% tuition assistance for dependents and/or scholarships.
Families that have the opportunity to live on base also enjoy rent free dorms/barracks, apartments, townhouses or houses (depending on rank and marital status), free electricity and water utilities. General exterior upkeep is usually done by all occupants on a fair rotating schedule. The maintenance usually covers grass cutting, weed removal, laundry room upkeep and stairwell order and cleanliness. These incredible benefits are covered by military regulations whether a person is stationed within the United States or overseas.
Single service members are authorized to live in barracks/dorms.
Married service members of enlisted rank often are compensated in their pay to cover their rent or mortgage.
Officers and higher ranking members normally are authorized to live on post at a decent distance from dorms/barracks to avoid fraternization on personal time.
Living on base is a great privilege that is earned by the service member for themselves and family members; however it can be taken away by violating the rules that come along with it. Living on base is a great convenience as everything is near and secure from security threats, and children and service members can learn and be safe at work. However, service members are held financially responsible for any damages made to government housing and must perform general maintenance of the area according to governing regulations, and family members need to act appropriately. Any violation of the regulation is cause for a variety of military punishments that the service member may suffer in order to ensure respect for government property and privileged use of it.
Pros and Cons of Living on Military Base
If you are on post or base, you will be a lot closer to the military community. This is one of the best things about living on post. You can be around other military families and military spouses. This can make for a much better experience during a deployment as everyone around you knows what that is like.
Close to work
When you live on post or base, you will be close to your service member’s place of work. They will have more opportunities to come home for lunch and see you during the day. They won’t have as long of a commute, you should be able to save gas money, and traffic won’t be as much of an issue.
Close to playgrounds
If you have small children, being close to a lot of playgrounds is a nice perk of living on post or base. You will be able to walk to at least one of them, if not more than one. This makes it much easier to get your kids outside and arrange playdates.
Save on utilities
Overall, living on post or base will allow you to save money on utilities. Sometimes living off post means paying a lot more for these each month. This is one way living on post will allow you to save money.
Save on rent
Depending on where you are stationed, living on post can save you money on rent. While you won’t receive any BAH for living on post or base, you won’t have to spend more than the BAH amount like you might if you live off post or base.
Closer to people
Being on post or base means you are going to be closer to the people you live near. This isn’t always a good thing. You will probably have to share a wall, and that can get old fast. There will always be people coming and going, and if you are used to having more space, you may feel cramped.
Because there are more people in a closer area, living on post or base can be louder than living off. There will always be something going on, and people love to get together. If you want a quieter life, post or base might not be the best place for you.
Can’t get away from work
Because you are closer to work, your service member might not be able to get the distance they want during their off hours. Living off post or base can put more miles between you and the military. Some families prefer to have some space, and you simply can’t find that when you are on post or base.
Not as much of a choice
By living on post or base, you won’t have as much of a choice on the home you will live in. For one thing, they are divided by rank. They also can look quite similar. If there are a lot of families on the waiting list, you might have to take the first available unit.
While having kids nearby for your children to play with is a good thing, having so many kids around can also get a little frustrating. There will always be a child knocking on your door to play, and they don’t always follow the same play hours that your house does. You will have to set firm limits and make sure your children understand the rules about playing in your local neighborhood.
During your time as a military family, you may live on and off post or base depending on where you live. Some places might be better for base living, while others would be best to live away from the installation. Think about the pros and cons of living on post or base, and make a decision that is best for your own family.