Cost of Living

The cost of living in the US can vary significantly from that in the UK and even across different States within the US. As a general rule this cost of living is higher in the US than you may be accustomed to, and so while living in the US you will receive an allowance designed to contribute towards those costs. There are 2 types of cost of living allowance:

  • Local Overseas Allowance (LOA). Paid to the majority of serving members of the Armed Forces.
  • Cost of Living Addition (COLA).Paid to all UKBCs and a few Armed Forces attaché accredited posts.

In order to evaluate these allowances, the MOD employs an independent company called Employment Conditions Abroad (ECA) to provide cost of living data. Twice a year (usually March and September), staff based overseas are invited to participate in a survey to help inform these values. A reminder of these surveys will be sent around these times. Staff and families are encouraged to collate information in the months leading up to the survey dates, but please make sure you use the latest authorised survey form.

Participation in the survey does affect the value of the allowance.

In addition to the already mentioned Cost of Living data surveys, ECA also carry out a Location Rating survey. This survey contributes to the Environmental Factor that you may receive as part of your LOA, and also your Respite Provision. Your feedback is valuable for ECA in assessing the environmental factors that affect your quality of life at your overseas duty station.

Survey Details

The survey can found here – ECA Location Ratings Survey 2022.

On the opening page, users will be prompted to enter a password, which is Df367z42n – please note this is case sensitive. It is fully mobile, and users may save their progress at any time.

The deadline is 6 July 2022 and should take no longer than 30 minutes. No research is required. The survey is about gathering the observations of expatriates about the places in which they live – family can be involved if you wish.

If you have any queries or would prefer to complete a MS Word version of the questionnaire, please get in touch and ECA will be more than happy to assist.

As a reminder, this survey is only directed at SP in receipt of LOA.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

If you receive LOA and you wish to complete ECA’s March 2022 cost of living survey, you should use this Survey Questionnaire.  As LOA is based on a generic overseas cost of living, prices must not be sourced from any military bases or facilities (e.g., BFPO, NAAFI, BX or Commissary) but from commercial outlets. Travel to collect prices will not be considered as duty travel.

Please collect prices by 16th March and return the questionnaires by 24th March. Please send the completed surveys to: colparticipation@eca-international.com  . If you have questions about the process of completing the survey, or need more time to take part, please contact ECA at the same E-Mail address.

As a thank you to participants, ECA will be conducting a prize draw for all respondents after the survey, with multiple prizes available for the winners.

If you receive COLA and you wish to complete ECA’s March 2022 cost of living survey, you should use this Survey Questionnaire.  The survey must be completed by a UK based civilian, serviceperson or their spouse.

The questionnaire contains several sections covering day to day goods and services plus sections on sports & social clubs and domestic staff.  ECA appreciate that this can be a time-consuming process to complete. However, your contribution is considered an extremely valuable addition.  To help you ECA would be happy to receive questionnaires completed by more than one person, you may wish to do this if you consider that might be an easier way to complete it. 

Please collect prices by 16th March and return the questionnaires by 24th March. Please send the completed surveys to: colparticipation@eca-international.com . If you have questions about the process of completing the survey, or need more time to take part, please contact ECA at the same E-Mail address.

Last Updated: Jun 10, 2022 @ 3:14 pm

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