Published January 11, 2016
What Is COLA?
Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA) is designed to help members pay for the excess costs incurred when assigned to an OCONUS location or one of the limited CONUS locations authorized
How Is COLA paid?
-Paid as a daily rate
-Starts day member arrives to new PDS; Stops day prior to departure from PDS.
What Is COLA based on?
COLA, unlike BAH, is not just based on the member's dependency status but also the member's rank, years of service, and if they reside in GOV'T QTRS (dorms).
How often is COLA adjusted?
COLA is adjusted once a year based on data furnished by the Commands overseas. For currency fluctuations, the Defense Travel Management Office Allowances Branch can adjust COLA as often as every payday. Of course, just as it takes time to process an allotment change, it takes a while for a COLA change to show up in your pay.
Who is entitled to COLA?
Any member stationed in the OCONUS area (see below):
*Member without Dependents:
-Members in the dorms on a meal card will receive the reduced rate (9)
NOTE: LES will show number of dependents 9
-Members in the dorms that are not on a meal card will receive the single rate (0)
-Single members living off base or in Privatized Housing will receive single rate (0)
*Members with Dependents:
-Members with dependents will receive the dependent rate (1-5)
NOTE: Dependent rate COLA is maxed at 5
**If dependents are not medically cleared for travel, are not command sponsored and/or not currently living with the member, the member will receive single rate or the applicable with dependent rate**
-Members that have dependents but are still living in the dorms will receive reduced rate (9)
What if my dependents leave?
Members must report to Finance that his/her dependents have left the OCONUS area and will be gone for more than 30 days.
If a member's dependents leave the state for more than 30 days temporarily, COLA will be reduced to the applicable amount (i.e. member has 4 dependents but 3 leave, it will be reduced to 1).
NOTE: COLA will stop effective 30 days after departure
If the dependents are traveling on orders (Early Return of Dependent, PCS, and Student Travel) or leaving permanently, then COLA will stop the day prior to dependent's departure.
What if my dependents return?
The member needs to report to Finance to show proof of their dependents return (i.e. Airline itinerary) and fill out a DD Form 114 certifying the number of dependents that returned.
What documentation will I need to change my COLA rate?
**IT IS THE MEMBER'S RESPONSIBILITY TO INFORM FINANCE OF ANY CHANGES TO THEIR COLA RATE**
Leaving the dorms:
*AF Form 594 from Dorm Management
NOTE: Dorm Management will bring 594 to Finance; New COLA rate will start on the day you out processed the dorms
*Child- Birth Certificate and Command Sponsorship letter from MPS
*Spouse- Marriage Certificate and Command Sponsorship letter from MPS
*Dependent's return- Proof of dependent's arrival (i.e. Airline itinerary)
How soon will my COLA rate be paid?
Once proper documentation has been turned in, changes will come into effect at the Mid-month or EOM paycheck.
If you have any additional questions please e-mail email@example.com or call 377-2787.