Find the CONUS COLA calculator or see the CONUS COLA locations. The 2019 Continental United States (CONUS) Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) rates take effect on January 1, 2019.
CONUS COLA Calculator
2019 CONUS COLA By The Numbers
- Approximately $22.1 million will be paid to 15,000 service members stationed in CONUS in 2019
- $7 million less than last year.
- $59 a month is the highest possible CONUS COLA that a service member can receive
- Service Members
- 15,000 service members will receive CONUS COLA (`3,000 member decrease from the previous year)
- 7,900 will see an increase in their CONUS COLA payments
- 2,600 members will see a decrease
- 15,000 members will no longer receive CONUS COLA
- 2,000 will see no change
- Approximately 2,500 service members will now receive CONUS COLA
- 45 areas dropped from the COLA list
- MHAs with the Highest CONUS COLA rates:
- Staten Island, N.Y. 7%
- San Francisco, Calif. 6%
- New York City, N.Y. 6%
- Oakland, Calif. 6%
- MHA with the Largest Increase in CONUS COLA:
- Santa Clara County, Calif. 3% to 5%
- MHA with the Largest Decrease in CONUS COLA:
- Atlantic City, N.J. 7% to 1%
- 3 MHAs will now receive an index
- 8 will receive a CONUS COLA index increase
- 3 will receive a decrease
- 8 will no longer receive CONUS COLA
- 2 MHAs will remain unchanged
- For non-MHA areas (non-metropolitan counties):
- 2 counties will now receive an index
- 2 will have an increase in their index
- 37 will lose CONUS COLA
2019 CONUS COLA Locations
Conus Cola Locations
|Santa Clara County||5%|
|New York City||6%|
|Philadelphia, PA / Camden, NJ||1%|
What is CONUS COLA?
CONUS COLA is a taxable supplemental allowance designed to help offset higher prices in the highest cost locations in CONUS that exceed the costs in an average CONUS location. Rates can increase, decrease, or remain the same depending on the non-housing prices in a duty location as compared to non-housing prices in an average CONUS location.
How CONUS COLA is Determined
By law, a contractor provides cost data from each military housing area (MHA) for the following categories: transportation, goods and services, federal income taxes, sales taxes, and miscellaneous expenses. Data is adjusted to account for the amount of Basic Allowance for Subsistence, an allowance meant to offset the costs for a member’s meals, and for cost savings gained from shopping at commissaries and exchanges. This information is compared to the same cost data for an average CONUS location (standard city), which serves as a benchmark. The resulting ratio is called an index. By law, a CONUS COLA rate is only prescribed when the index meets a threshold of 108 percent, meaning the costs for non-housing types of goods and services in a particular location are at least 8 percent more expensive than the standard city. An index in excess of 108 percent would qualify for CONUS COLA (e.g., a location that is 10 percent more expensive would qualify for a 2 percent COLA index).