Updated: January 10, 2024
In this Article

    Find the CONUS COLA calculator or see the CONUS COLA locations. The 2024 Continental United States (CONUS) Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) rates take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. The total amount of CONUS COLA a service member receives varies based on geographic duty location, rank, years of service and dependency status.

    In 2024, roughly 17,000 service members across the country will gain eligibility for CONUS COLA. That’s up from about 5,000 who received it last year. The spike in qualified service members comes after an update to the Department of Defense’s CONUS COLA allowance. The spike affected service members in New York, Virginia, Colorado, California and Oregon.

    CONUS COLA Calculator


    See What You Qualify For

    Select a VA Home Loan Option to Continue:

    Home Purchase
    Home Refinance
    Cash-Out Refinance
    Explore My Options
    Get Started

    2024 CONUS COLA By The Numbers

    • $61 a month is the highest possible CONUS COLA that a service member can receive.
    • Payments range from $38 to $61 per month for members with dependents, and $25 to $47 per month for members without dependents.
    • 4 MHAs no longer qualify for CONUS COLA, but 7 MHAs increased to now receive CONUS COLA. 13 Non-MHA areas are now on the CONUS COLA list.
    • MHAs with the Highest CONUS COLA rates
      • New York City, NY 12%
      • Staten Island, NY 6%
      • Long Island, NY 3%
      • San Francisco, CA 3%
    • MHA with the Largest Decrease in CONUS COLA:
      • Martha’s Vineyard, MA 3% to 0%
      • Detroit, MI 1% to 0%

    CONUS COLA Locations

    Military Housing Areas
    Los Angeles1%
    San Francisco3%
    Santa Clara County1%
    New York City12%
    Staten Island6%
    Long Island3%
    Westchester County1%
    Non-MHA Areas
    Amador County1%
    Mendocino County1%
    Merced County1%
    Sierra County1%
    Tuolomne County1%
    Eagle County1%
    Pitkin County1%
    Summit County1%
    Franklin County1%
    Greensville County1%
    King and Queen County1%
    Lunenburg County1%
    Nottoway County1%

    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).

    Written by Veteran.com Team