Friday, March 28, 2014

Do Peace Corps volunteers get paid? Or do they at least cover all of your expenses?

Peace Corps Volunteers don't get paid in the traditional sense, but we do have some disposable income.

Those of you Americans that pay your taxes contribute to our income each month, so thank you for allowing me to eat, work, and visit other volunteers.

Each Peace Corps site has a budget to work with, and that site chooses how to use that budget. In the Peace Corps Dominican Republic, the volunteers and staff are all paid out of that budget. The money is also used to keep us safe and healthy.

For our part, we a placed in a site and that site determines how much money we "earn" each month. It is a number determined by surveying volunteers in the area and in a similar living condition. We are allotted enough funds to live and work in similar conditions as others in our community. In the D.R. there are typically four "levels" of pay: batey, campo, pueblo, and capitol/tourist. Our site is selected and rated on one of these levels and that determines how much money Peace Corps drops into our local bank account each month. We are paid in local currency, and it is considered a stipend and not a paycheck.

Another fund we receive is our Settling-in Allowance. This is a one time fund meant to afford us bedding, cookery, and make the deposits on our living arrangements. This amount is, too, dependent on where we are living. I will actually receive this twice, because of my site change, but the second time it is only half the amount. The idea there is that we have been in country long enough to have built up some things we need, but we still may need deposits and things for our new location.

We receive other money in our accounts as well, but they are on an as needed basis. As example, when we come into the capitol to see our doctors, we will receive our transportation refunded on the condition that they asked us to come in for treatment. PCDR assumes you will come into the capitol once a month to take care of routine things, and that amount is considered to already be in our stipend. We also receive refunds for things like broken phones (one per service) and doctor prescribed medication.

We also receive money at the end of our service equal to the number of days we served with Peace Corps. The purpose of this money is to "readjust" ourselves to America. It is logically called our "readjustment allowance."

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