HomeProjectsProject Management ToolsWhat are USAID's Allowances Such as Per Diem, Danger Pay and Cost of Living Allowance?

What are USAID's Allowances Such as Per Diem, Danger Pay and Cost of Living Allowance?

In addition to base salary rates (click here how to calculate these), USAID follows the allowances and benefits set by the Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR) and volumes 3 and 14 of the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) and volume 3 of the Foreign Affairs Handbook (FAH).

In general, the following allowances and benefits can be provided:

  Description More Information
  Source: http://aoprals.state.gov
Foreign Travel Per Diem Allowances:

The foreign travel per diem allowances provide for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses when an employee is on temporary duty overseas.

To learn more about the regulations pertaining per diem, please visit the Electronic Code of Federal regulations, Title 41 here.

More information on per diem rates overseas (outside the US) can be found here: http://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem.asp

We suggest you always check the per diem rates before you travel, because they may change frequently.


Cost of Living Allowances: The cost-of-living allowances relate to excess costs that you may incur as a result of your employment overseas. The allowances may include:
  • Post Allowance (also known as COLA or Cost of Living Allowance)
  • Foreign Transfer Allowance
  • Home Service Transfer Allowance
  • Separate Maintenance Allowance
  • Education Allowance
  • and Educational Travel

An important note: The cost-of-living allowances are not considered a part of taxable income  for US tax payers.

More information can be found in U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual Volume 3 - Personnel.

COLA: Click here for the percentages of COLA per country.
Recruitment and Retention Incentives: In order to provide incentives and recruit employees to posts where living conditions are difficult or even dangerous, USAID may allow:
  • Post Hardship Differential
  • Danger Pay
  • Difficult-to-Staff Incentive Differential (also known as Service-Needs Differential)

For US tax payers, they are included in taxable income.

Danger Pay: Click here to check out the danger pay per country. Post Hardship

Differential: Click here to check out the post hardship differential per country.

Quarters Allowances: These include:
  • Living Quarters Allowance
  • Temporary Quarters Subsistence Allowance
  • Extraordinary Quarters Allowance
These are provided to reimburse employees for substantially all housing costs, either temporary or permanent, at overseas posts where government housing is not provided.

For US tax payers, these allowances are not included in taxable income.

Annual Living Quarters Allowance: Click here to check out the annual living quarters allowance per country.
Other Allowances Other allowances - mainly for civil servants only, include:
  • ORE (Official Residence Expense)
  • Representation Allowance
  • Evacuation-related payments
  • Advance of Pay
Contractors normally have there own set of "other allowances."
Source: http://aoprals.state.gov


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