Web survey helps DOD set off-post housing allowance in South Korea
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — U.S. servicemembers in South Korea are being asked to report how much they pay in utilities and move-in expenses to help set future reimbursement rates for off-post housing.
The Overseas Housing Allowance Utilities and Move-In Expenses Survey began Nov. 5 and continues through Dec. 28.
“This is the gauge that we report back to the Department of Defense, saying here’s what the costs are in this area,” Col. Darryl Murch, director of the 175th Financial Management Center, said during a phone interview Thursday. “With that, they can see if the allowance is doing what it’s intended to do, which is reimburse you.”
The annual OHA utility allowance offsets utility costs not included in rent payments. To take the OHA part of the survey, respondents have to enter in their average monthly payments for their utility and maintenance expenses for the past 12 months.
The move-in allowance portion of the survey calculates how much servicemembers spend on essential items not included in their rent, such as air-conditioning units, space heaters and water filters. The survey explains them as “costs to make your dwelling livable.”
Monthly utility costs increased by an average of about 10,000 won, or about $11, last year’s survey showed, Murch said. It took about six months to calculate the results of that survey.
Civilian workers are not included in the survey.
Servicemembers can complete the survey in about 25 minutes, Murch said.
The survey is available at https://www.perdiem.osd.mil/oha/survey/novoha.html or at http://175fmc.korea.army.mil.