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When you have orders for a Permanent Change of Station (PCS), the Department of Defense (DoD) issues entitlements in the form of monetary allowances. These entitlements can help offset the cost of your PCS, but to qualify for them, you need to keep careful records and file claims on time.
A moving allowance is the overall weight of your household goods (HHG). Your HHG moving allowance is tied to the Service member's rank, move type, and the number of dependents in your family. In general, the higher the rank, the more weight you're permitted to have. There might be other circumstances that entitle you to more weight, so it's recommended you check with your local transportation office to confirm these amounts.
Keep in mind that any cost to move HHG above your moving allowance will be charged to you after delivery. It's important that you stay within your weight perimeters. Check out this PCS checklist for ideas on how to prepare for your PCS and purge unwanted items.
Temporary Lodging Expense
When you PCS, the DoD issues Temporary Lodging Expenses (TLE). TLE is given to partially offset the cost you incur for lodging and meals when you are PCSing. The Service Member will need to pay for lodging with their government travel cards. Rates are subject to change, but currently, TLE can be reimbursed up to $290 a day.
Continental United States (CONUS) PCSs authorize up to 10 days of TLE either at the losing installation or the gaining installation or any combination of the two. Usually, you can find temporary lodging on installations in the form of a Navy Lodge or Air Force Inn. If your installation does not offer these options, you can seek lodging in town on the economy. For more information about TLE, see the TLE FAQ Page.
Travel Per Diem
Per diem allowances are designed to partially reimburse you for food expenses while you're PCSing. Per diem for dependents is 75% of the Service members rate for each dependent 12 years and older and 50% of the rate for dependents under 12 years old.
Per diem for dependents is 3/4 of the member's applicable rate for each dependent 12 years old or older and 1/2 of the member's rate for each dependent under 12 years.
When you choose to drive your car to your next installation instead of shipping it, the DoD will reimburse you for the cost of gas. The mileage reimbursement rates offered by the Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO) can help offset the cost of driving cross country. Just make sure you file claims on time, or the DoD isn't required to reimburse you.
Personally Procured Move
As we covered in our Personal Procured Move (PPM) post, if your family decides to do a PPM this PCS season, you might end up making money on the backend of your move. Based on the weight of household goods you're transporting, the government will reimburse 95% of the estimated cost of your move. So if it ends up costing you less, you get to keep that money.
Dislocation Allowance (DLA) is a flat sum issued by the DoD. It's meant to cover extra expenses relating to your PCS and is based on pay grade and dependent status. DA is not issued automatically. The Service member has to submit a claim to their installation travel office as part of the PCS process.
Rates change annually. Find 2021 DLA rates here.
It's no surprise that PCSing can be a challenging experience for military families. However, these entitlements might mean that you won't break the bank in the process. Remember that most of these entitlements are paid after your PCS when you've arrived at your new installation. In some instances, you might be eligible to receive your PPM or DLA ahead of time. You can check out the Department of Defense's moving website and their entitlements overview for more information.
Looking for more answers on delayed goods, inconvenience claims, and DITY moves? Check out move.mil for answers to these questions and more, or visit the Department of Defense Customer Moving Portal for more information.