GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — The cost of living allowance will increase for service members and families in Grafenwoehr and Vilseck, while it will decrease in Hohenfels and remain the same in Garmisch, according to numbers released by U.S. Army Europe.
The Defense Travel Management Office made the changes based on the November 2016 retail price schedule, also known as the COLA report.
The retail price schedule is developed by price collection teams, who log prices at local retail establishments. Price collectors, for example, collect information on approximately 120 goods and services such as meat, groceries and clothing.
Service members in Grafenwoehr and Vilseck will see a slight increase in COLA as a result of the 2-point increase to the current retail price schedule index. Prices in Grafenwoehr and Vilseck have increased at a greater rate than average prices in the continental U.S. The most significant changes occurred in transportation, domestic help and meat/dairy categories.
COLA will decrease slightly in Hohenfels. Local currency prices in the area were lower in categories including telephone/internet, personal vehicle and clothing. These categories — because they include items representing a large portion of expenditures for service members (e.g. gasoline and internet) — had a substantial effect on the overall COLA index and is the primary reason for the overall decrease.
Those living in Garmisch can expect to see no change in COLA. Prices in Garmisch have increased at generally the same rate as prices in the U.S. Some categories experienced increases and others experienced decreases, but summed together result in no change to the installation’s index.
Increases go in effect March 16, 2017, while decreases go into effect April 16.
U.S. Army Europe is now asking service members in Germany who are residing off-post in privately-leased or rental housing to take part in the annual housing survey.
The survey is instrumental in ensuring accurate housing allowance rates for military families living off post.
This survey is critical for ensuring overseas housing allowance, or OHA, rates are properly set at overseas locations. It directly affects the amount of housing allowance paid to service members.
The survey runs from March 1-31, 2017 and is available at www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/ohaSurvey.cfm?ID=mar-util.