COLA change for AF installations within Germany

A slight decrease in the Cost of Living Allowance will soon affect
military members at U.S. Air Forces in Europe bases in Germany.

Because of the results of the recent Living Pattern Survey and Retail
Price Survey, the  Per Diem Committee is calling for changes in
COLA throughout the KMC.

The survey results are also causing adjustments at other U.S. services’ installations within Germany.

“The impact on USAFE locations is relatively minor,” said Col. James
Behring, USAFE Financial Management director. “COLA baselines in Italy,
England, Turkey, Iceland and the Azores will stay the same and our
bases in Germany will see a slight decrease.”

The adjustments will take effect on Jan. 1, 2006, after the holiday
season, and be spread over a two-month period, said Colonel Behring.

The exact dollar amount of the change will depend on various factors
such as the military member’s rank and number of dependents, he said.

“To put the results of the recent surveys in perspective, Airmen can
look at normal fluctuation in COLA, which is adjusted every two weeks
depending on the strength of the dollar,” Colonel Behring said. “The
drop as a result of the surveys that will begin in January is equal to
the increase in COLA in September.”

COLA is a nontaxable Department of Defense allowance paid above and
beyond regular military compensation intended to help offset a change
in purchasing power for Airmen living overseas. Military members can
look up their current COLA rate on the Department of Defense Per Diem

The Living Pattern Survey is conducted every three years to gather
information about shopping behavior and the costs of goods and services
at each overseas location and to ensure good stewardship of the
American public’s money, Colonel Behring said.

The upcoming COLA decrease is more reflective of the rising cost in the
United States, not from a decrease in the German economy or a
significant change in on-base versus off-base shopping habits, said the

More information about how COLA rates are calculated is available at:
(Courtesy of USAFE News Service.)