COLA survey influences paycheck
March 29, 2011
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii - Military personnel in Hawaii can affect their paychecks this year and participate in a Cost of Living Allowance Living Pattern Survey, or COLA LPS, through Thursday.
This survey of families' shopping patterns affects the COLA that military personnel stationed in Hawaii receive each month. The 30-minute online survey asks personnel and their families to identify the off-base retail outlets they use when they shop for food, clothing, restaurant meals, hair care and auto repair.
The survey also requests information on how much military personnel shop on the local economy, or off-base, and how much they shop at the commissary, post exchange and via the Internet. The data collected will be used to adjust Hawaii's COLA.
A COLA LPS is conducted every three years to update the names of the local economy outlets where military families shop, as well as the frequency they shop at these outlets.
An annual market basket survey - the retail price survey, or RPS, - collects the prices of 120 goods and services from these outlets. These prices are compared to those in the continental U.S., and a cost of living index is computed that reflects the difference.
The Hawaii COLA allowance is designed to compensate service members for the difference between the costs of goods and services in CONUS versus those in Hawaii.
All military members assigned to Hawaii as their permanent duty station for at least three months, who don't reside in the barracks or on a ship, should take the survey. This includes Coast Guard, U.S. Public Health Services and Hawaii Army and Air National Guard personnel. Service members are encouraged to take the survey at home with their families to ensure that input is received from the people who actually do the shopping for the household.
Maximum participation is key to a successful Hawaii COLA LPS, and ultimately, a fair and accurate COLA rate.
Who can take survey'
All service members with Hawaii as their assigned permanent duty station for at least three months and who don't live in the barracks or on a ship should take the cost of living survey at www.pacom.mil or https://community.apan.org/pop/. Call 477-8121.