COLA is Cost of Living Allowance. You normally get this when you are overseas. There's also a few locations that are CONUS, but you receive COLA. This allowance is designed to offset the higher cost of living. You receive this when your duty station is above the US average in non-housing costs.

The amount is different for people with dependants and without dependants. COLA is based off the zip code of your duty station. Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City are just a few locations that will qualify you for COLA.

Defense Travel Management Office has a list of locations that qualify for COLA CONUS.

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