HEIDELBERG, Germany (April 9, 2008) - Soldiers and family members living "on the economy" in Europe have until April 17 to influence the amount of money they receive from the government to cover their rent and utilities costs.

By taking part in the Department of Defense Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee's annual Overseas Housing Allowance survey, Soldiers and their family members can tell the government how much they spend on rent, utilities, recurring maintenance expenses and some moving expenses.

OHA is comprised of three components: rental ceiling, utility/recurring maintenance allowance, and move-in housing allowance. The committee includes currency fluctuations in its payment calculations. The committee uses the data to compute allowances for military members worldwide.

The survey asks servicemembers to report their average monthly costs for utilities and routine maintenance. DoD officials say the assessment takes about 30 minutes to complete, and survey takers can speed the process by gathering receipts and other documents before starting.

According to the DoD committee's Web site, more than $500 million in OHA is currently paid each year to about 44,000 uniformed members serving at 430 overseas locations.

The typical family received about $11,800 in payments last year, the committee reported.

A link to the survey can be found on the U.S. Army Europe home page at www.hqusareur.army.mil.