CONUS (Continental United States) COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) is paid to military members who are stationed in areas of the United States which are considered to have a significantly higher cost of living than the national average.
In the FY 1995 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress approved CONUS COLA to provide compensation for variations in non-housing costs in the continental United States.
An area is considered high cost if the non-housing cost of living for that area exceeds the threshold percentage (currently 108%). Under CONUS COLA, when the threshold is set at 108, members absorb at least 8% of the average expenses above Standard City, or the national average cost of living. This means that members assigned to locations where the average local costs are greater than 8% above the national average for non-housing costs and the threshold for that year has been set at 108, will receive CONUS COLA to offset their additional expenses. For example, an area with a COLA index of 115 would be eligible for a COLA payment of 7%. An area with a COLA index of 107.9 would not receive CONUS COLA.
CONUS COLA varies by paygrade, years of service, and whether or not the member has dependents.
For 2008, there are 56 areas in the Continental United States eligible for CONUS COLA.
Below are the current CONUS COLA rates for enlisted members without dependents. To determine the monthly pay rate for CONUS COLA, note the rate below, then multiply the rate by the multipliers for the specific locations shown on this chart.
Rate is based on paygrade and years of military service.
CONUS COLA Rates