A lower-than-expected participation rate among some Europe-based troops has prompted the military to extend the deadline for completing a survey on utility, recurring maintenance and move-in housing expenses.

Military personnel now have an extra two weeks to fill out the online Overseas Housing Allowance Utility and Move-In Housing Allowance Survey, the results of which could impact how much money they are paid. The new deadline is June 17.

Officials hope for a 70 percent participation rate. But as of Monday, it hovered around 25 percent among troops stationed in 15 European countries tapped for the annual survey. Troops in Germany and Spain had a 27 percent participation rate, and Italy, 26 percent. Belgium has one of the highest, 51 percent.

About two weeks ago, when participation numbers looked low, military officials sought to have the survey deadline extended, said Lt. Col. Thomas Seelig, policy and operations director for the 266th Financial Management Center in Germany.

Officials aren’t sure why active-duty personnel who live off base aren’t completing the online survey, especially since the input is used to determine troops’ utility portion of their housing allowance.

"I wish I knew," said Francesca Rodriquez, the Italy coordinator for overseas housing and cost-of-living allowance programs.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Stoerrle said he would have taken the survey, if he’d known about it. "Now that I know, I’ll take the time to do it," said Stoerrle, stationed in Naples.

The online survey, which takes about 40 to 50 minutes to complete, asks participants to estimate monthly and annual utility rates and whether they incurred any move-in costs, such as service activation fees.

"The bottom line: Military personnel are encouraged to take these surveys because the results impact their pay," said Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Wendy Snyder.

To complete the survey, go to

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