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Allowances: Per Diem

May. 10, 2010 - 03:16PM   |   Last Updated: May. 10, 2010 - 03:16PM  |  

Per diem is a daily allotment for the cost of food and lodging for service members on government business or temporary duty away from their home station. The military also pays per diem for lodging and transportation during a permanent change-of-station move.

Lodging costs are reimbursed with a maximum amount set for each area.

The General Services Administration oversees per diem rates for the continental U.S.; the State Department oversees the program for foreign countries; and the Defense Department handles per diem for U.S. locations outside the continental U.S., such as Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

The allowance for the cost of lodging, meals and incidental expenses ranges from as low as $4 per day in Egypt's Sinai region to $622 per day in Awashima, Japan. In the U.S., it generally runs about $100 to $300 per day, although some high-cost areas have higher rates.

U.S. per diem rates are based on food and lodging costs gathered each year in more than 440 locations. Locations that are not specifically listed qualify for a standard per diem rate of $116 per day.

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