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Programs & Services > Allowances > Frequently Asked Questions > Living Quarters Allowance (LQA)

Living Quarters Allowance (LQA)
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated: 10/21/10

  1. Is a DoD civilian employee assigned to a foreign area authorized an LQA?
  2. How is LQA paid?
  3. Is LQA authorized if residing in government quarters?
  4. Is the LQA based on family size?
  5. Is there a web site where the actual LQA rate information is available?
  6. I have some specific allowance and LQA questions. To whom should I ask questions about my personal situation?
  7. Is advance LQA authorized?

1. Is a DoD civilian employee assigned to a foreign area authorized an LQA?

You are if a Living Quarters Allowance (LQA) was granted by your employing activity as a recruitment incentive. While Department of State (DoS) is responsible for setting LQA rates, your employing activity is responsible for determining eligibility under the regulations in DSSR, Chapter 100, Section 130 and the DoD Civilian Personnel Manual - DoD 1400.25-M, Subchapter 1250. To determine your eligibility, or other questions pertaining to LQA, please contact your CPO/CPAC. For your Service representative's name and phone number please go to the 'Directory' bar on this home page and click on 'Civilian Advisory Panel'.

2. How is LQA paid?

LQA is based on the annual cost of living quarters and is paid biweekly. The annual LQA rate is divided by the number of days in the calendar year to obtain a daily rate and then multiplied by 14 to obtain a biweekly rate.

3. Is LQA authorized if residing in government quarters?

No - When an employee to whom an LQA has been (or could be) granted is furnished government-owned or -leased quarters at no personal cost, LQA terminates on the date immediately preceding that on which the G OV'T quarters are made available. Exceptions to this occur if employees occupy government-owned or leased quarters only during the temporary absences of the regular occupants and at the same time are obliged to maintain their own quarters.

4. Is the LQA based on family size?

Yes - but family size is only one factor. LQA rates are established based on 'quarters groups'. Civilian personnel are divided into quarters groups based on their personnel classification and/or grade (see table below). A DO D civilian employee who is a GS-12 falls into LQA group 3. LQA is also based on family status (WF - "with family" and WOF - "without family").

Quarters Groups Personnel Classifications
1 Chief of Mission (22 U.S.C. 802(9) & Career Ambassador (22 U.S.C. 867)
  FS GS AID (FC) Department of Defense
2 SFS & 1-2 SES/SL/ST
& 14-15
11-14 Wage Grade DoDDS
WG WL WS TP
3 3-5 10-13 7-10 14-15 12-15 11-19 Schedule C; Bachelor's Degree;
Step 4 and above, and
schedules D-F, K, L and M-O.
4 6-9 1-9 1-6 1-13 1-11 1-10 Schedule C; Bachelor's Degree;
and Step 1-3.


DoD National Security Personnel System (NSPS)
(*) Employee in this Pay Band who has 15 years of U.S. Government services may be assigned
to Quarters Group 3 the discretion of the DoD Component.
Pay Schedules Quarters Group 2 Quarters Group 3 Quarters Group 4
Professional/Analytical (YA) Pay Band 3 Pay Band 2 Pay Band 1
Technical Support (YB)

 

Pay Band 3 Pay Band 2*, Pay Band 1
Supervisor/Manager (YC) Pay Band 3 Pay Band 2 Pay Band 1*
Student (YP)

 

 

Pay Band 1
Scientific & Engineering
Professional (YD) Pay Band 3 Pay Band 2 Pay Band 1
Technician/Support (YE)

 

Pay Band 4, Pay Band 3 Pay Band 2*, Pay Band 1
Supervisor/Manager (YF) Pay Band 3 Pay Band 2 Pay Band 1*
Investigative and Protective Services
Investigative (YK) Pay Band 3 Pay Band 2 Pay Band 1
Fire Protection (YL)

 

Pay Band 4, Pay Band 3 Pay Band 2*, Pay Band 1
Police/Security Guard (YM)

 

 

Pay Band 2*, Pay Band 1
Supervisor/Manager (YN) Pay Band 3 Pay Band 2 Pay Band 1*
Medical
Physician/Dentist (YG) Pay Band 3, Pay Band 2

 

 

Professional (YH) Pay Band 3 Pay Band 2 Pay Band 1
Technician/Support (YI)

 

Pay Band 3 Pay Band 2*, Pay Band 1
Supervisor/Manager (YJ) Pay Band 4, Pay Band 3 Pay Band 2 Pay Band 1*
Defense Civilian Intelligence Personnel System (DCIPS)
Pay Plan and Band Quarters Group
IE (DISES), IP (DISL), IA Bands 4 & 5 2
IA Band 3 3
IA Band 1 & 2 4

(The grade equivalents in the above table are for purposes of establishing LQA rates only.)

5. Is there a web site where the actual LQA rate information is available?

Yes. LQA rates are set by Department of State (DoS) for government civilians assigned to foreign locations. DoS uses actual reported cost data to set quarters allowances. Refer to DoS 'Section 920' web site, go to the side menu and select �Allowance by Location' for the country of the applicable LQA rate or �Allowance by Type' for the LQA rate of the country.

Note: Each page contains multiple country listings. To view information for a specific locality, you may need to select the country and then scroll down to see that particular information.

Example: A DO D employee, GS-12, with dependents, assigned to Helsinki, Finland is authorized annual LQA of $15,500. A GS-12 falls into �Quarters Group' 3 per the �Personnel Classifications' chart in Q4/A4. Select (1) DOS website, (2) �Allowance by Location', (3) select the country (Finland), (4) look for the specific locality name (Helsinki). If the locality is not listed use the 'Other' rate , and (5) Based on the table above in question 4, a GS-12 falls into 'quarters group' 3. A GS-12 (with family) assigned to Helsinki, Finland is authorized an annual LQA of $15,500 . LQA rate information is provided in US dollars, not local currency. There is an additional LQA if there are 2 or more dependents in addition to the employee.

6. I have some specific allowance and LQA questions. To whom should I ask questions about my personal situation?

Please contact your Agency's representative who handles allowance issues for employees assigned to foreign areas. For your Service representative's name and phone number please go to the 'Directory' bar on this home page and then click on 'Civilian Advisory Panel'. Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee (PDTATAC) staff does not have cognizance over, nor information about, LQA

7. Is advance LQA authorized?

Please contact your Agency's representative who handles allowance issues for employees assigned to foreign areas. For your Service representative's name and phone number please go to the 'Directory' bar on this home page and then click on 'Civilian Advisory Panel'. Advancing LQA is done IAW the Agency/Service regulations based on DSSR 133.3 requirements.

 

 

     
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