U.S. government civil workers in many areas of Japan got a bump in allowance this week just as the dollar wallowed at a low exchange rate.

Post allowances increased 5 points, to 35 percent of spendable income, in Sasebo, Iwakuni, Misawa and Okinawa, according to figures the State Department’s Office of Allowances released Sunday.

There was no change in South Korea this week where the U.S. dollar remained strong. The allowance is meant to offset the cost of living overseas. It is paid as a percentage of what typically an employee or family can afford to spend on goods and services in Japan. The dollar was trading at 98 yen Monday, its lowest point in years, and the drop has eaten into U.S. workers’ buying power.

Civilian allowances are updated biweekly by the State Department. The dollar amount increase varies for each U.S. civilian employee depending on salary, location and family size.

For example, a single employee making $36,000 per year at Sasebo Naval Base received an annual increase from $5,400 to $6,300 in post allowance, according to the State Department.

Post allowance at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni for a family of three with an income of $53,000 increased from $8,760 to $10,220, the agency reported.

Every four years, the State Department surveys civilian workers on their habits of spending on items such as food, housekeeping, home furnishings and equipment, clothes, transportation, health care, entertainment, books and magazines, alcohol and tobacco. That data is compared to cost of living in Washington, D.C., and overseas civilian workers are compensated to make their living standard comparable to that of a person with a similar salary and family size in the U.S. capital.

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