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U.S. military personnel living in Germany are urged to take a survey this month that could affect cost of living allowance rates paid to troops and their families.

U.S. military personnel living in Germany are urged to take a survey this month that could affect cost of living allowance rates paid to troops and their families. (DOD.mil screencapture)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — U.S. military personnel living in Germany are urged to take a survey this month that could affect cost of living allowance rates paid to troops and their families.

The 2015 Cost of Living Allowance Living Pattern Survey will be open until Oct. 31 and is accessible online. Conducted every three years, it tracks shopping patterns of servicemembers and their families stationed overseas. The data collected help determine how much COLA is paid to military personnel in their country of assignment, according to U.S. Army Europe.

This year’s survey in Germany is only for servicemembers stationed in Ansbach, Garmisch, Geilenkirchen, Vilseck/Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels, Kalkar, Spangdahlem, Stuttgart, Wiesbaden, Pfullendorf, and Kaiserslautern/Ramstein.

The survey seeks to identify where military members and their families shop for food, clothing and other goods and services, including restaurant meals, hair care and auto repair. It also asks how much people shop on the local economy versus on base or on the Internet.

“The more participation we get means a more accurate picture of how members are using the local economy,” Randall Ries, Germany country allowance coordinator, said in a statement.

Next month, the prices of 120 goods and services will be collected from outlets identified by servicemembers during the living pattern survey. The annual Retail Price Schedule is used to compare the prices in Germany to those in the States. On the basis of those comparisons, the Defense Travel Management Office will calculate the Cost of Living Index, which establishes the country’s COLA.

Servicemembers living elsewhere in Europe can expect to take a living pattern survey in coming months.

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