Air Force overseas finances

Airmen may be authorized to receive certain entitlements while stationed in the KMC, and should be familiar with them to help with financial planning. It may take a few pay periods before overseas entitlements show up in Air Force paychecks. Check leave and earnings statements to verify entitlements were started.

Advance military pay
To help meet extraordinary costs related to moving, Airmen can request an advance of one month’s base pay minus deductions. Any Airman is authorized an advance up to three month’s pay with commander’s approval. Advance pay must be used for move-related expenses. An advance can be drawn up to 60 days after arrival, but may be authorized for 61 to 180 days with commander’s approval.

Cost of living allowance
Military members assigned to the KMC are entitled to cost of living allowance, which helps offset the cost of certain goods and services in Germany, as compared to the average cost of the same goods and services in the United States.

The COLA rate depends on grade, years of service, and the number of command-sponsored dependents in the overseas area. When the dollar-to-euro rate increases, COLA decreases. The allowance starts automatically upon move into a permanent residence. For Airmen living in the dormitory, COLA starts the day they arrive at Ramstein. If family members didn’t travel with the sponsor, COLA will be adjusted when they arrive and file travel vouchers.

Basic allowance for housing
With-dependent rate basic allowance for housing Type II (without variable housing allowance) won’t stop unless moving into permanent government quarters. Single-rate BAH Type II for officers and enlisted members E-5 through E-9 and dual-military couples in-processing together is not affected. Single servicemembers E-4 and below must go to the Vogelweh Housing Office to have BAH authorized or a dormitory room assigned.

Temporary lodging expense
To be entitled to Temporary Lodging Expense, Airmen must have had at least one other duty station. Up to five days TLE is authorized for staying in the local area with friends or relatives. If staying in billeting or a local commercial facility, a copy of a receipt, two copies of orders and a non-availability letter are required to claim TLE for commercial lodging.

Temporary lodging allowance
Reimbursement is authorized for 60 days, payable in 10-day increments. Extensions are available from the Housing Referral Office for a maximum entitlement of 120 days.

Use a government travel card to make lodging payments. First-term Airmen without the GTC may arrange with billeting to pay the bill within 30 days.
Dislocation allowance

If moving dependents to Ramstein, a designated stateside base, or to a follow-on base, Airmen are entitled to dislocation allowance. Airmen without dependents are also entitled to DLA when transferred to a new permanent duty station and government quarters are not assigned. Currently, DLA is equal to two months BAQ at the applicable with or without dependent rate.

Overseas housing allowance
A supplement to BAH, overseas housing allowance helps pay the rent and utilities. Before looking for a house or apartment, check with the Housing Referral Office or finance to determine maximum rental ceiling. Exact rent is paid, not to exceed the authorized ceiling. Utility allowance is also available each month, not included in the rental ceiling. If electricity is metered and paid separately from rent, the full utility allowance is authorized, a flat rate based on marital status. Utilities with a fixed cost will be covered by rent. For example, if basic rent is €850 per month and an additional fixed €50 per month for water, rent is considered €900.

Value added tax relief
The Value Added Tax relief program gives Airmen the opportunity to buy German goods and services without paying sales taxes. There are three VAT programs: purchase orders for goods valued less than €2,500 ; forms for purchases of more than €2,500 and the Utility Tax Relief Program for KMC members residing on the local economy. The Ramstein VAT office is in Bldg. 2122, 480-5309 or 06371-47-5309. The Kleber Kaserne office is in Bldg. 3201; and the Pulaski Barracks office is in Bldg. 2917.

Family separation allowances
Family separation allowance provides partial compensation for additional expenses incurred during periods of government-enforced family separation. At Ramstein, married servicemembers are authorized two types of FSA.

FSA-I is payable for residing off base without dependents due to non-availability of government quarters. The amount payable is equal to “without dependent rate” BAQ for each grade, normally paid the day before dependents arrive or for a maximum of 60 days from the date of a housing contract, whichever comes first. However, for Airmen serving an unaccompanied tour, the entitlement continues throughout their tour.

FSA-II is paid when families are denied concurrent travel and sponsors are serving on an accompanied tour, or if the government does not allow dependents to accompany Airmen, such as for medical reasons.
Privately owned vehicle shipment

The Transportation Management Office can provide information regarding reimbursable expenses associated with the shipment of an authorized POV.

Full-time employees receive a post allowance to compensate in part for the higher price of many goods and services overseas. Post allowance is nontaxable and based on salary, number of dependents and the category for each duty station. Most self-sponsored employees hired from the United States receive living quarters allowance to pay for most of the expense of housing, heat, electricity, water and sewer service. LQA is a nontaxable, reimbursement based on expenses. Although LQA is adjusted periodically, civilians may ask for an adjustment if there are major changes to expenses to avoid under or over payments. Details on entitlements for civilian employees are available on the Ramstein Civilian Personnel Flight home page and at the finance office at Ramstein, Bldg. 2108. Customer service hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.