SCHWETZINGEN, Germany — Service members living "on the economy" in Europe and concerned about their housing costs are encouraged to complete the annual Overseas Housing, Utility and Move-in Allowance surveys in February.
The survey is only available online, and will be accessible starting Feb. 1 and must be completed by Feb. 28 by service members stationed in Europe and living in privately leased houses or apartments, said Army Maj. Randy Johnson, 266th Finance Command deputy finance operations director.
The link to the survey can be found at https://www.perdiem.osd.mil/oha/survey/feboha.html.
Maximum participation in the survey is essential because the Department of Defense Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance committee will determine next year's allowances and reimbursements to service members based upon the results, Johnson said.
"These rates are based on the actual expenses that service members incur," he said.
The questionnaire is similar in scope to previous surveys, Johnson said. Respondents will report the average monthly cost of utilities and routine household maintenance. To complete the utility portion of the survey, service members should base their responses on the actual cost of the utility and maintenance services, he said. For the move-in portion of the survey, service members will be asked to report actual moving expenses such as purchases of refrigerators, washing machines, transformers, voltage regulators, utility hook up and installation charges.
The survey can be completed at the service member's work place or home. If it cannot be completed during one session, the respondent can stop and complete it later. However, once started, the work can only be completed on the same computer.
Maximum participation is strongly encouraged because the results could impact every service members' allowances, Johnson said.
"We need maximum participation in order to ensure that we establish accurate reimbursement rates for utilities and moving expenses so the government can establish a realistic standard," he said. "We must be fair to the [service members] but we must also be good stewards of the taxpayers' dollars."
For more information about completing the survey, service members should contact their local finance and accounting office, Johnson said.