U.S. servicemembers and their families living on the economy in Japan and on Okinawa are being asked to reveal how much they spend on utilities and recurring maintenance to help determine future reimbursement rates.

The Overseas Housing Allowance Utility/Recurring Maintenance Expenses Survey began Tuesday and continues through May 14. It’s conducted annually by the Department of Defense’s Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee.

Ron Stewart, U.S. Forces Japan budget analyst, said the review collects data necessary to set the allowance paid to troops living in private housing overseas.

“If servicemembers are paying more for their monthly utilities than at the time of the last survey, there should be an adjustment,” Stewart said.

The Overseas Housing Allowance, aimed at covering most housing expenses, features three elements, he said: rental ceiling, utility and recurring maintenance allowance, and move-in housing allowance.

He said currency fluctuations play a big part in determining calculations. Similar to cost-of-living allowances, housing amounts also vary with the exchange rate.

The survey asks military members to report their average monthly utility and maintenance costs. Gathering all receipts and other documents before starting will expedite the process, Stewart said.

DOD civilians are not included in the survey.

USFJ officials said the survey takes about 30 minutes to complete. It’s available at: survey/aproha.html.

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