OCOLA decrease to affect JBER service members

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Hannah Strobel
  • Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Public Affairs

Alaska’s military Overseas Cost-of-Living Allowance, or OCOLA, is set to decrease by four points. The decrease will be implemented in two phases, dropping two points Nov. 16, 2023. The remaining two points will be dropped at a later date to be announced.

OCOLA is a non-taxable allowance designed to ensure service members assigned to a permanent duty station outside the contiguous U.S. (OCONUS) (i.e., other countries, U.S. territories, Alaska, and Hawaii) maintain an equivalent level of purchasing power as service members stationed within the Lower 48 states.

Overseas Cost-of-Living Allowance (OCOLA) calculations are based on a comparison to CONUS spending power, therefore inflation in CONUS locations has a direct impact on OCOLA. If the continental U.S. prices rise at a faster rate than overseas prices, OCOLA may decrease. This has been a primary cause of OCOLA decreases for several installations over the past year. On the other hand, OCOLA may increase if prices outside the continental U.S. rise at a greater rate than CONUS prices.

Service members can calculate their COLA rate changes using the formula below. The first equation calculates the change for an E-3 with 2 years time in service and no dependents to calculate the change.

For example an E-3 with two years time in service and no dependents currently receives around $318 for two weeks of COLA, they can expect to receive around $295 for their pay from November 16 to 30.

An E-7 with 16 years time in service and three dependents will go from $574 to $533 for the same timeframe. 

An O-3 with four years time in service and no dependents will go from $483 to $448 for the same timeframe.

Visit this page for computation instructions or the DoD OCOLA Calculator to calculate the changes in your pay. 

More information is available on the JBER website.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact Finance Customer Service or work with your chain of command. Walk-in hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can reach the Comptroller Services Portal at https://csp.cce.af.mil/#/ or the 673d Comptroller Squadron organization email at 673cpts.helpdesk@us.af.mil.

OCOLA computation instructions can be found here and Frequently Asked Questions here.