The 2008 Overseas Housing and Utility Allowance survey for Germany-based servicemembers begins March 18.

Running until April 17, the Web-based survey gives troops living in off-post houses and apartments the opportunity to report how much they’ve paid for housing and utility expenses in the last year.

Maximum participation in the survey, found here, is encouraged, said Master Sgt. Rhonda Thomas-Evans, 266th Finance Command operations sergeant major. “If [troops] do the survey across the board … it does affect the funds that the soldiers get,” Thomas-Evans said. “The end result is going to be dollars in the pockets of soldiers.”

The Department of Defense Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee will determine next year’s allowances and reimbursements to servicemembers based upon the results, according to a news release from the 266th.

Thomas-Evans said if soldiers want to be compensated accordingly for their housing costs, they’ll participate.

Troops who respond are asked to report the average monthly cost of utilities and routine household maintenance, and should base their responses on the actual cost of the utility and maintenance services, the release stated.

Participants should allow at least 30 minutes for the survey. To save time, having monthly rental and utility expenses could be helpful. Work or home computers will work for the survey, and if a servicemember can’t complete it at one time, he or she can return later, but only from the same computer.

“We need maximum participation in order to ensure that we establish accurate reimbursement rates for utilities so the government can establish a realistic standard. We must be fair to the soldiers but we must also be good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars,” the release said.

For more information about completing the survey, or to find out about similar surveys for those stationed outside Germany, contact your local finance section.

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