Roughly 3,300 of the 3,800 service members stationed at stateside installations (CONUS) will receive more money to cover living expenses this year. The Pentagon released the new rates last month, stating that some 12,300 service members will receive approximately $20.2 million on CONUS COLA (cost of living allowance), a taxable supplemental payment intended to ease the financial burden for those who are stationed in areas where living expenses are high.
The figure represents a drop of $1.9 million, in comparison to the 2019 rate. Another 4,100 service members will see their CONUS COLA decrease, with 6,400 no longer receiving the allowance altogether and 1,100 will see their allowance remain the same.
The CONUS COLA rate calculation is based on the prices of transportation, goods and services, federal income taxes, sales taxes, and miscellaneous expenses. Service members whose expenses are at least eight percent higher than the national average. Those stationed at Oakland, Calif., San Francisco, Calif., and Staten Island, N.Y., will see the highest allowances. The largest increase compared to last year took place at St. Joseph, Mo. Willow Grove, Pa., and Detroit saw the steepest drop.
CONUS COLA allowances range from $32 to $60 per month for service members with dependents, and $22 to $45 per month for those without dependents.