COLA living pattern survey needs Airmen living expense input

Capt. Kimberly Layne
435th Comptroller Squadron

The 2005 European Living Pattern Survey began Monday to allow Airmen the opportunity to provide input about actual cost of living expenses while stationed in the European theater.

The inputs will be used by the per diem committee to establish the cost of living allowances which is a monthly entitlement paid to all military members stationed in a high cost area.

“In the KMC, (cost of living allowance) varies from $486 a month for an E-1 without dependants to $1,764 a month for an O-10 with five dependants,” said 2nd Lt. Greg Surratt, 435th Comptroller Squadron deputy chief of financial services.

Every three years the squadron conducts a living pattern survey to determine the shopping habits of military members stationed overseas. He said the survey results and the regular currency fluctuations will determine whether COLA is increased or decreased.

Only military members, with dependants, who have been on station for at least three months, are eligible to take the survey. Single Airmen and Soldiers’ COLA rates are determined by the rates of their married peers.

Civilians are not eligible to complete the survey because they receive a post allowance, which is computed differently from COLA, said the lieutenant.
This year, more locations are being surveyed and the sample pool is larger. A Web site is activated during the survey period, said Lieutenant Surratt.

Participants are asked to input a survey ticket number, which should be the last six digits of their social security number, and the locality code of GM 700.

The survey ticket numbers are used to allow participants the flexibility to save the survey and complete it at a later time in an effort to encourage maximum participation.

“This is our chance to provide feedback to those who decide our allowances,” said Lieutenant Surratt. “Twenty minutes of your time might end up putting more money in your check every month, so I encourage every eligible person to participate.”

The survey, which runs through June 17, can be found at Call Lieutenant Surratt at 480-5414 for more information.