COLA rates fluctuate, going up in Japan, down in Korea
The cost of living allowance for U.S. troops living in mainland Japan and Okinawa is up slightly for the second half of July. Many locations saw a two-point increase, according to COLA adjustments made this week by the Pentagon’s Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee.
COLA did the reverse in South Korea, where most locations saw a two-point drop. This comes despite the won’s recent gains against the U.S. dollar. While exchange rate fluctuations are factored into COLA, the allowance doesn’t always catch up immediately with those changes.
COLA is a supplement designed to offset the higher prices of goods and services for servicemembers living overseas.
It’s adjusted up to twice a month.
Military officials say it’s hard to collectively quantify a two-point difference in COLA, since the allowance varies by location, rank, years of service and number of dependents.
An E-5 with eight years of service and four dependents living at Camp Zama, Japan, is earning about $1.76 per day more in COLA for the current pay period than in the first half of July.
In South Korea, that same E-5 at Camp Carroll is making $1.76 less per day with the latest COLA adjustments.
To look up COLA rates, go to http://perdiem.hqda.pentagon.mil/perdiem/.