Civilians in Japan see increase in post allowance
While U.S. servicemembers in Japan lament a weaker dollar, U.S. government civilian workers might notice a few extra dollars in their pockets this holiday season.
Those civilians will have more disposable income thanks to an increase this week in post allowances by the federal government.
The allowance rates around military bases jumped 20 percent since a previous rate report earlier this month, according to the Office of Allowances at the U.S. Department of State.
Post allowance for all eligible U.S. civilians overseas is set by the State Department.
It was the first increase in post allowances since Aug. 5, according to agency records.
The agency reported no change in post allowances for South Korea-based civilians.
The additional tax-free pay is meant to cushion the sometimes higher costs of clothes, food, entertainment, health care and other expenses overseas.
Civilian workers are compensated to meet living standards for a similar salary and family size in Washington, D.C. Post allowance is expressed as a percentage of “spendable income,” according to the State Department, which defines spendable income as “that portion of salary used to purchase the goods and services included in the cost of living market basket.” The market basket is based on the results of living pattern questionnaires completed every four years.
The dollar increases in post allowances will vary depending on annual salary, family size and location.
For a single civilian employee in Japan earning between $39,000 and $41,999 per year the increase will mean an additional $945 per year, according to State Department guidelines.
The rates are reviewed and reported biweekly by the department.
Prior to the change Sunday, the same single employee would have received $4,725 in annual post allowance, department records show.
Allowance tables are available for different salaries at the State Department Web site http://aop rals.state.gov.
All U.S. military bases in Japan — Atsugi, Camp Zama, Iwakuni, Misawa, Okinawa, Sasebo, Yokota and Yokosuka — have the same 30 percent rates for post allowances, the Office of Allowances reported Sunday.
Servicemembers aren’t getting the same relief.
Their cost-of-living allowances have had shrinking buying power outside of military bases.
As the dollar fell to its weakest point in more than two years, the military said it would keep COLA rates in check to compensate for more favorable exchange rates earlier this year.