Military Pay for Overseas Assignments
In addition to their regular paychecks, servicemembers stationed overseas receive an Overseas Housing Allowance and a Cost of Living Allowance.
Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA)
The military compensates servicemembers who live off base for rent, utilities and/or recurring maintenance. Servicemembers with dependents are compensated for 100% of their housing costs, while those without dependents are entitled to 90% compensation. The military also offers plans to help cover overseas moving expenses. In 2006, the average OHA was $11,800 for the year. The DoD has an online calculator to help figure out your OHA.
Overseas Cost of Living Allowance (COLA)
The overseas COLA is an effort to ensure that purchasing power is equal between servicemembers based in the United States and overseas. The military takes a random survey of servicemembers and their spending habits while stationed overseas to determine the rate at which the allowance is allotted.