The Department of Defense (DoD) announced last week that troops in 15 metropolitan areas and 21 non-metropolitan counties in the continental United States will be cut off from a cost-of-living allowance starting Jan. 1.
The change will lead to approximately 48,000 troops missing out on the Continental United States Cost-of-Living Allowance (CONUS COLA), according to Stars and Stripes.
Approximately 6,000 service members will remain recipients of the $8.5 million that the Pentagon allocated for the stipend, which is given to troops who are stationed at excessively expensive locations in the lower 48.
The 2022 list comprises 20 non-metropolitan counties and six metropolitan areas, which include New York City, Long Island, and Staten Island in New York; Nantucket, Mass.; Boulder, Colo.; and San Francisco, Calif.
DEFENSE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES HOUSING ALLOWANCE RAISE AND OTHER MEASURES TO ASSIST STRUGGLING TROOPS
The COLA rate is based on information gathered by a contractor, which analyzes cost of transportation, goods and services, federal income taxes, sales taxes, and miscellaneous expenses, according to the DoD.
A location becomes eligible for COLA when non-housing costs exceed 8% above the national average.
Among the locations that were cut in 2022 is the Washington, D.C., area, where troops had received a 1% supplement in 2021. Stipends for troops in Boston and Worcester, Mass., also got the ax.
Troops located in New York City will receive the highest stipend at 6%, which is down from 7% in 2021.
How much COLA a service member earns depends on geographic duty location, pay grade, years of service, and dependency status. The Pentagon explained that monthly payments for each CONUS COLA percentage point vary from $33 to $59 per month for troops with dependents, and from $22 to $45 per month for those without dependents.