HEADLINE – COLA rates determined by Soldiers’ LPS input

| January 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

PACOM Seal_v1_2015-02-27_v1

U.S. Pacific Command
Public Affairs

In 2015, the Cost of Living Allowance, or COLA, for active duty military personnel in Hawaii significantly decreased on three out of four islands, and many questions were raised about the COLA determination process.

As a result, the U.S. Pacific Command has obtained approval from the Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO) to do an out-of-cycle Living Pattern Survey, or LPS, during the period of Feb. 1 to March 1, to capture where military and family members shop for goods and services in 12 categories.

All service members need to take the survey. During the last LPS in early 2014, only 4,800 out of 49,680 assigned active duty personnel in Hawaii participated in the LPS. More Soldiers must participate in this survey in order to get good data.

COLA is intended to ensure that outside the continental U.S., or OCONUS, service members have equitable purchasing power for the same goods and services as their CONUS counterparts. Thus, all military are encouraged to participate and have their spouses assist.

The survey asks for primary shopping locations and providers of everything from food to appliances, insurance and Internet providers. Again, the more participation, the better the data.

COLAWhen taking the survey, provide a good overview of your purchases and the locations where you shop in the survey – with as much detail as possible.

The survey is open to all service members who have lived in Hawaii, in on- or off-post housing, or in the barracks, three months or longer.

Service members should provide the link to their spouses who may be the primary shopper. Click on survey link and follow instructions in order to start the survey. Click on the correct island and organization. Read and follow instructions for each section.

You cannot return later once the survey has been opened; however, the survey will not time out. It should take approximately 35-40 minutes to complete.

Following the LPS period, local prices for those goods and services will be collected, and then the DTMO and the Military Advisory Panel will analyze against CONUS prices to determine the Hawaii COLA rates.

The LPS Survey

Click to access the online survey link between Feb.1-March 1 at www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/lps-hawaii.cfm.

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