What allowances am I entitled to when making a PCS move?

From the moment you raise your right hand, moving is an inevitable part of military life.

And whether it is your first PCS or your 10th, there are certain pay and allowances you are entitled to. Some allowances vary based on rank and marital status, while some are fixed by location.

Other than advances in pay or housing allowances, most costs involved with your PCS move will be reimbursed once you have completed your move.

Either way, you should be aware of what you are entitled to.

Travel and relocation allowances

DOD provides travel and relocation allowances to help you with moving expenses.

  • Per Diem: Per diem will reimburse you for meals, incidentals and lodging while you are traveling to your new duty station. Per Diem varies from country-to-country, state-to-state, and even communities within countries and states. For current rates, visit the Defense Travel Management Office at https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/perdiemCalc.cfm
  • Monetary Allowance in Lieu of Transportation: MALT is used as mileage reimbursement when you or your family drives to your new duty station.
  • Dislocation allowance: DLA partially reimburses you for miscellaneous moving costs and is usually paid once per PCS.
  • Advances: You may be authorized an advance of basic pay or allowances such as, Basic Allowance for Housing or Overseas Housing Allowance. These can be requested to help cover moving related expenses. Before taking an advance, be sure you understand the ins and outs.

Temporary lodging allowance and expense

  • Temporary Lodging Allowance: TLA partially defrays the cost of temporary lodging and meals while you wait for housing outside the continental U.S., for a maximum of 60 days upon arrival and 10 days when leaving. Some exceptions can apply.
  • Temporary Lodging Expense: TLE partially reimburses the cost of temporary lodging and meals during moves with the continental U.S., and is payable for five or 10 days, depending on circumstances.

Dislocation Allowance

Some service members may be entitled to a Dislocation Allowance.

A DLA partially reimburses service members for incurred household moving expenses. The household move must be required by a PCS, evacuation or — in some cases — ordered for the government’s convenience. Generally, only one DLA is permitted in a fiscal year.

Below, find the answers to some frequently asked questions about DLA.

Any service member moving their household on PCS orders and who is not assigned to live in single-type government housing ó such as the dormitories or barracks ó should receive a DLA.

Basically, if you receive a Basic Allowance for Housing, or are above pay grade E-5 and choose to not stay in single-type government quarters, you will probably receive a DLA.

However, if you are in an E-5 or below and are assigned to live in the dormitory or barracks, you will not be eligible.

Nor will you receive DLA when moving from your civilian home (the place you lived when you entered active duty) to your first duty station ó unless you move with dependents. And finally, DLA is not authorized when leaving active duty service.

DOD travel perks

Service members and families can also take advantage of these travel perks:

  • DOD Dine Smart Traveler Rewards is a program that allows DOD travelers to earn points every time they use their Government Travel Charge Cards to pay for meals at participating restaurants while on official travel. Rewards points can then be redeemed for gift cards. With a one-time enrollment, your Government Travel Charge Card is linked to the Traveler Rewards program, and your points are automatically tracked. Since DOD policy requires travelers to use GTCCs for all official travel expenses, including meals, itís easy to participate. The program includes an available mobile app to find nearby participating restaurants. To learn more about DOD Dine Smart, visit https://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/dinesmart.cfm.
  • TSA PreCheck: TSA PreCheck is free for DOD civilians and service members. This includes reservists, National Guardsmen, members of the Coast Guard, and students at the U.S. service academies. When booking travel, service members just need to insert their CAC ID number in the Known Traveler Field and they automatically qualify for TSA PreCheck. This works for official travel, like PCS, or for leisure travel. Dependents ages 12 and under can go through airport security with a participating traveler.

Shipment of household goods

The government pays for you to ship your household goods, unaccompanied baggage, privately owned vehicle, and professional gear. Weight limits are based on your rank and dependent status. For more information, see Page 14.

Personal financial management programs

Making a PCS move can cause financial headaches, and leave many service members scratching their heads. Experts at your local personal financial management services office can help, as they offer one-on-one counseling, classes, education and additional information to help service members and their families successfully manage their personal financial responsibilities.

As with all PCS-related matters, contact your Transportation Management Office as soon as possible, and visit www.militaryonesource.mil.

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