Many factors determine a Cost of Living Allowance, or COLA. One of these factors is the Living Pattern Survey. Every three years, the Living Pattern Survey asks service members and their families which local economy outlets they use when they shop for food items, clothing and many other goods and services such as hair care and auto repair. It also asks them how much of their shopping they do on the local economy, and how much they do at the Commissary, Exchange or on the Internet. The data reported in this survey will be used to adjust the COLA for a list of locations including Ansbach.
The Living Pattern Survey is one of the “building blocks” of COLA. The Living Pattern Survey is conducted to determine the names of the local economy outlets where military families shop. Price collection teams then go out during the annual Retail Price Schedule (Market Basket Survey) and collect the prices of 120 goods and services from these outlets. After the Defense Travel Management Office’s Allowances Branch compares the prices in these locations to those in average CONUS, a Cost of Living Index is computed that reflects the difference.
The link to the survey will be active from Oct. 1 through 31 only. Until then the link to the survey (www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/lps-germany.cfm) is inactive.
To learn more about COLA, the survey and other allowances, visit www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/cola.cfm.