Civilian allowances to be reduced in S. Korea
Stars and Stripes May 24, 2004
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Because of the weakening value of South Korea’s won against the U.S. dollar, post allowance for U.S. civilians will be cut in half beginning Thursday, officials said.
Post-allowance classifications for the Seoul, Osan and Uijongbu areas will drop from 10 to 5; the allowance is calculated based on spendable income, the money a person uses off base to purchase goods and services on the South Korean economy.
Civilians in South Korea were first made eligible for post allowance in July 2002. Since then, the rates have fluctuated up and down based on the exchange rate with the dollar.
Under the previous post allowance rate, a civilian with no dependents making between $42,000 to $44,999 would get $1,980 yearly; under the new figure, that person will get $990 annually.
Employees can calculate their specific allowances at http://www.state.gov/m/a/als/1736.htm.
Post allowances are based on comparisons between the cost of goods at an overseas location and the cost of those goods in Washington, D.C. When the costs of goods and services are 3 percent higher than those of Washington, the allowance kicks in.
The State Department’s Office of Allowances uses a three-day average of exchange rates from military banks when recalculating the rates.
On Friday, the exchange rate was 1,153 won per dollar.
Servicemembers in South Korea are eligible to receive a Cost of Living Allowance from the military. After years of complaints about not getting a COLA despite South Korea’s relative costliness, servicemembers here began receiving the payments last July.