COLA to decrease for service members in Germany

tight clampBy Sgt. Michael Reinsch
U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

The Cost Of Living Allowance is scheduled to decrease for many service members in Germany starting May 16.

The 2013 Retail Price Schedule found prices for recreation, child care, household help, telephone service, internet, furnishings, and supplies have increased in the U.S. and decreased in Germany, requiring COLA to be reduced in many locations.

COLA is a supplemental pay intended to equalize purchasing power between service members in the U.S. and their overseas counterparts. The amount paid is determined by rank, years in service, number of dependents, and location since prices for goods and services vary depending on the area. Some service members in Germany could see their COLA reduced by more than $200 per month.

As an example, a private first class with less than two years of service and three dependents could see the following COLA changes based on duty station:

• Full Support (military installations are available for service and support): -$100
• Partial Support (military installations are within a 50 mile radius): -$100
• No Support (outside of the 50 mile radius): +$50

No Support communities began seeing COLA increases April 1.

The Living Pattern Survey, conducted for each overseas location every three years, solicits input from service members and families assigned to overseas communities; the USAREUR Military Plans and Policy Division reported high levels of participation in the last survey of German sites. The next RPS for Germany is in November and the next LPS is scheduled for September 2015.