COLA to rise for troops in nations that use the euro
March 30, 2008
Troops in Europe will see a slight boost in their cost-of-living allowances, but only because the tumbling value of the U.S. dollar against the euro has hit them so hard in the pocketbook.
Tuesday, the COLA will increase a few points for Europe-based troops in countries where the euro is used as the local currency, according to a Web posting by the Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee. The COLA will not be rising in England.
The allowance serves as a supplement to troops’ pay to offset higher cost of living overseas. It is based on local prices, the buying habits of troops and their families, and local exchange rates.
All of the rate increases that go into effect Tuesday were based on the exchange rates alone, according to the committee’s posting.
So, for example, the daily COLA allotment for an E-7 living in Naples, Italy, with 18 years of service and three dependents increases from $47.78 a day to $49.49 a day. The same servicemember living in Mannheim, Germany, will see an increase from $36.31 a day to $38.22.
Retail price surveys, done annually by the military, are used to compare prices at a particular location to prices in the States. The surveys, along with living pattern surveys done every three years and exchange rates, are used to compute bimonthly COLA rates.
The price-and-living pattern surveys, completed by troops and their families, also compare prices of goods and services on bases and those on the respective local economies, and how much of troops’ purchasing habits are done at base facilities versus stores in town.
In Germany, most areas will see an increase of two points, although troops in some places, including Freiburg, Bremerhaven, Mecklenburg and Hanover, will get a four-point boost.
Troops in Brussels and Antwerp, in Belgium, will see a four-point increase.
In Italy, forces in the more military-populated areas such as Naples, Sigonella, Livorno and Vicenza, will see a two-point rise, while those in Rome and Ghedi, for example, will see the higher boost of four points.
Troops in Souda Bay, Crete, as well as those stationed in Spain and Portugal will also see increases.