U. S. Coast Guard Pay & Personnel Center

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Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS)


‚ÄčIssue: The Coast Guard Pay Manual, Chapter 3, Section A, provides information and policy on officer BAS (OFF BAS) and enlisted BAS (ENL BAS).  

Background: Per title 37 USC 402, all members entitled to Basic Pay are concurrently entitled to BAS and the tax-free allowance is intended to partially offset members’ meals costs.  This allowance is based in the historic origins of the military in which enlisted personnel were provided quarters and rations in-kind as part of a member's pay.  Officers historically provided their own subsistence.  Members not entitled to BAS include:

a.   Recruits attending basic military training (BMT).
b.   Members attending officer training (Officer Candidate School, Officer Training School) or Reserve Officer Candidate Indoctrination (ROCI) who do not have continuous prior active duty or reserve enlisted service [Enlisted members (active or reserve) with no break in service prior to assignment to OCS or ROCI are entitled to receive ENL BAS and will be charged for meals at the discount meal rate while at OCS.]
c.   In an excess leave status.
d.   In an absent without leave status, unless the absence is excused as unavoidable.
e.   On approved educational leave of absence not to exceed two years.
f.    Serving a court-martial sentence that includes an approved (by the convening authority) forfeiture of pay and allowances.
g.   Cadets (who are not entitled to Basic Pay, but may be paid a commuted ration amount when not furnished rations by a government dining facility).

Discussion: Personnel must pay for any government-provided meals they consume – at the Coast Guard Standard Meal Rate (CGSMR), if directed to use the available government dining facility.  Cadets, recruits, & prisoners are the only members subsisted at government expense without charge.  It is CG policy that enlisted personnel assigned to sea duty (permanent or TDY) or to a Class A School be charged the current calendar year CGSMR (currently $11.85/day) by direct offset from each member's pay account for all periods of duty, including liberty.  The daily CGSMR is not charged to enlisted crew members or Class A School students when they are on leave, TDY, hospitalized, or authorized excused absence away from their vessel/unit.  BAS is not intended to offset the costs of meals for family members.  Officers are required to pay cash for meals obtained in a Government mess and are not subject to mandatory CGSMR deductions when subsisting out of a government dining facility.

Effective 1 May 2015 the Coast Guard received delegated authority from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary to set meal rates.  The Food Service Program (FSP) has worked with COMDT (CG-0944) to examine and analyze various patron groups authorized to subsist in the CGDF. The Commandant has established a CG Standard Meal Rate (CGSMR) that covers food costs and a CG Full Meal Rate (CGFMR) that covers food costs and operating expenses.

Rate Payable.  See web site: http://militarypay.defense.gov/PAY/ALLOWANCES/bas.aspx

Because BAS is intended to provide for the service members’ subsistence, rates are linked to the price of food.  BAS rates are annually adjusted by DoD based upon the increase of the price of food as measured by the USDA food cost index.  Annual BAS increases are not linked to Basic Pay increases.  The CGSMR is adjusted annually by COMDT (CG-0944) and has no connection to BAS rates.