Civilian post allowance to double for most in S. Korea
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Post allowance for Department of Defense civilian employees living in most parts of South Korea will double beginning with the pay period ending July 7, officials said Friday.
The increase is for those living and working in Seoul, Osan and Uijongbu, according to a civilian personnel office announcement. The rate will go from 5 percent to 10 percent of base salary.
Post allowance is calculated based on spendable income, the money a person spends off base for goods and services on the South Korean economy. Civilians in South Korea became eligible for post allowance in July 2002. Since then, the rates have fluctuated based on the dollar’s currency exchange rate.
Under the previous post-allowance rate, a civilian with no dependents making between $42,000 and $44,999 would get $990 yearly; under the new figure, that person will get $1,980 annually.
Employees can calculate their specific allowances at www.state.gov/m/a/ als/1736.htm.
Post-allowance rates vary greatly depending on where people live oveseas. For civilians at Yokota Air Base, Camp Zama or Misawa Air Base in Japan, along with those on Okinawa, the post allowance is being increased from 25 percent to 30 percent.
Post allowance in South Korea is going up because of the won’s strengthening value against the U.S. dollar. On Friday, that rate was at 1,164 won per dollar.
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 it’s 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 calculating the percentage.
Servicemembers in South Korea are eligible to receive a Cost of Living Allowance from the military. Servicemembers here began receiving payments last July, after years of complaints about not getting a COLA despite South Korea’s relative costliness.