The Department of Defense has announced the 2021 Continental United States (CONUS) Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) rates.
CONUS COLA is different than Outside Continental United States (OCONUS) COLA because it is a taxable pay rather than a non-taxable allowance. Also unlike OCONUS COLA, it only changes once each year, rather than monthly, and is based on the cost-of-living rather than fluctuations in exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and foreign currencies.
CONUS COLA is paid to military members stationed in high-cost areas in the US. The rate varies by geographic location, rank, years of service, and dependency status.
CONUS COLA also differs from the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) because it considers the costs-of-living that are unrelated to housing costs when computing the amount. CONUS COLA can also be paid to service members living in base housing, in barracks, or onboard ships.
2021 CONUS COLA Changes
In 2021 most recipients will see slight changes to their payments for the upcoming year.
CONUS COLA monthly payments range from $32 to $60 month for members with dependents and $22 to $46 monthly for those without dependents.
The following Military Housing Areas (MHAs) are eligible for CONUS COLA in 2021
- San Francisco
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
- Essex County
- Hampden County
- Hanscom AFB
- Martha's Vineyard
- Long Island
- New York City
- Staten Island
- Westchester County
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