12,000 More Troops Based in US to Get Cost-of-Living Allowances in 2024

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Verrazano Bridge view from the Engeldrum Bluff, at Fort Hamilton
Verrazano Bridge view from the Engeldrum Bluff, at Fort Hamilton at twilight. (U.S. Army photo by Ephraim Rodriguez)

Thousands more service members, including those living in certain high-cost cities or counties in New York, Virginia, Colorado, California and Oregon, will begin to receive the Defense Department's cost-of-living allowance for the continental U.S. in 2024.

A defense official told Military.com that the latest annual update to the allowance means about 17,000 service members will receive a total of about $26 million in CONUS COLA payments in 2024, significantly more than in 2023, when about 5,000 troops received about $8 million.

Unlike the overseas cost-of-living allowance, known as OCONUS COLA, which changes every month based on currency exchange rates, its CONUS counterpart changes only once a year in areas with high costs of goods and services unrelated to housing. Once an area's cost-of-living index exceeds 108% of the national average, it begins to qualify for CONUS COLA.

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Each additional percentage point in costs beyond 108% adds a percentage point of COLA.

The rate varies by geographic location, rank, years of service and whether the service member has dependents.

Monthly CONUS COLA payments range from $38 to $61 per locality-based percentage point for service members with dependents; and from $25 to $47 for those without dependents. In New York City, for example, with its 12% CONUS COLA, payments range from $456 to $732 per month for troops with dependents and $300 to $564 for those without any.

Some of those who are already receiving CONUS COLA allowances may see their payments go up in 2024. None will go down except in the areas where the rate drops to zero.

New York City residents will receive the highest CONUS COLA in 2024 at 12% (up from 8% in 2023), followed by Staten Island, N.Y., at 6% (up from 3%); and San Francisco at 3% (up from 1%).

Service members in the following areas will no longer receive CONUS COLA in 2024:

  • Detroit
  • Essex County, Massachusetts
  • Hampden County, Massachusetts
  • Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Service members in the following areas, listed with their locality-based percentage point to calculate the ultimate payment, will begin receiving CONUS COLA in 2024:

  • Fort Bragg, California: 1%
  • Los Angeles: 1%
  • Marin/Sonoma, California: 1%
  • Merced, California: 1%
  • Oakland, California: 1%
  • Santa Clara County, California: 1%
  • Gypsum, Colorado: 1%
  • Long Island, New York: 3%
  • Westchester County, New York: 1%
  • Portland, Oregon: 1%
  • Blackstone, Virginia: 1%

In addition to the CONUS COLA increases in some areas, troops are getting the biggest raise in basic pay in more than two decades, at 5.2%, once they start receiving their 2024 paychecks. At the same time, the Basic Allowance for Housing is going up by an average of 5.4%, while the Basic Allowance for Subsistence rises only 1.7% for the year.

Related: 2024 Military Pay Dates

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