GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — All Department of Defense Service members stationed at any of the 11 DOD identified locations in Germany, and who have been on station for at least three months, are required to complete the 2018 Cost of Living Allowance Living Pattern Survey at www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/colaSurvey.cfm?ID=Germany.
The COLA LPS for Germany will be conducted online Oct. 1- 31.
Service members are encouraged to take the survey at home with their families. The survey will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
The survey is important because the data reported in this survey will be used to adjust the COLA for Germany and your participation can influence the COLA rate.
For instance, in March 2017, the cost of living allowance increased for service members and families in Grafenwoehr and Vilseck, but decreased in Hohenfels and remained the same in Garmisch.
The Living Pattern Survey is one of the “Building Blocks” of COLA, conducted every three years to determine the local economy outlets where service members shop for food items, clothing and many other goods and services, such as restaurant meals, hair care, and auto repair. It also asks how much of shopping is done on the local economy, and how much is done at the Commissary, Exchange or on the internet.
Then, during the annual Retail Price Schedule (Market Basket Survey), which is scheduled for November, the prices of 120 goods and services are collected from the outlets identified by service members during the LPS. After the Defense Management Travel Office compares the prices in Germany to those in the U.S., a Cost of Living Index is computed to reflect the difference.
Commanders, human resource offices and service members can directly influence their COLA rate by taking the survey, and by encouraging assigned military personnel and fellow Soldiers to do the same.
Participation ensures COLA provides the purchasing power equivalent to that of the U.S.
The key to success is maximum participation and good data.