PCS Entitlements You Need To Know

There is much to stress about during a PCS and money often tops the list. A thorough understanding of the entitlements intended to pay for your moving costs will help you to ensure that military orders do not have a negative impact on your finances. Download AHRN.com‘s free worksheet and add it to your PCS paperwork for a head start! 

If you’ve downloaded and filled out your PCS Budget, money might be becoming a significant part of your PCS planning. It is always a good idea to maintain a savings account intended to offset the upfront cost of PCS moves. The military has created a system of entitlements designed to minimize the financial hardship of service members’ frequent moves, but much of the money from those payments is received after your move as reimbursements. Since receiving your reimbursements depends on submit the right paperwork, it’s a good idea to be familiar with what is available.

What entitlements should I receive?

With each PCS, the amount of money in your entitlements will change as several are dependent on rank and dependent status. Each PCS you will receive a dislocation allowance, travel per diem, MALT and payment for any PPM (personally procured move) or Partial-PPM you do.

What is my dislocation allowance?

Your dislocation allowance, or DLA, is intended to cover the miscellaneous costs of moving. If this isn’t your first PCS, you know that little things like extra cleaning supplies and establishing new utility accounts can add up quickly. DLA amount is determined by your rank and dependent status and is based on a chart published each year. In some cases, you may be allowed to take an advance on your DLA by filing a request during your out processing. Find out how much your DLA will be with this 2014 chart.

What is my travel per diem?

When the distance between your losing installation and your gaining installation requires a multi-day drive (DOD expects you to travel 350 miles per day), you will be paid a per diem to cover the cost of meals and incidentals. For each service member, the travel per diem is $123. For each dependent over 12 years old, the travel per diem is $92.25 and for children under 12 the per diem rate is $61.50. The number of days you will be paid the per diem rate is based on the military’s expectation of your travel time.

What is MALT?

MALT is an additional milage reimbursement paid to service members who drive their personally-owned vehicle on a PCS move. Based on the milage between duty stations, you will be paid $.235/mile. There are some restrictions on how many vehicles you can claim this reimbursement for, so you should clarify the details with your finance office during your out-processing.

What do I make if I move myself?

In general, when you do a PPM (personally procured move) or a partial-PPM (where you move a portion of your things), you will paid approximately 95% of what a contracted moving company would be paid by the military. This amount changes based on your weight allowance and the current contracted weight. It is best to talk directly to your transportation office about your specific move details to get more information.

Can I get the money ahead of time?

Much of the cost of a PCS occurs before your move. To accommodate those who do not have an adequate savings account to cover the expenses until reimbursed, most transportation offices will offer some form of an advance on your entitlement payments. Essentially, the transportation office will estimate the amount of entitlement payments you will receive after your PCS and loan you the money before your move.

While this can ease financial hardship for some service members and their families, there are potential pitfalls to be aware of. If there is a paperwork error and you are advanced more money that your entitlements add up to, that additional money can be withheld from your paycheck with no advance notice until it is repaid. You are responsible for ensuring that all paperwork is submitted correctly and that the amounts paid are accurate.

What now?

If you haven’t already started your PCS binder, download your PCS Checklist, budget and choosing a home checklist. Then, download and print your free PCS Entitlements worksheet to create an estimate of your expected PCS reimbursements.

We want to know?

How do you plan for PCS expenses?

Looking for more PCS resources? AHRN.com’s PCS Toolkit has the information you need for a smooth, organized PCS!


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    • 3

      Kristen says

      Roger – an OCONUS PCS is handled a bit differently because of what is often extended time in temporary housing and government funded transportation (flying overseas).

      • 4

        britani says

        Any links to an overseas list? Im having a hard time finding the entitlements we should receive for our OCONUS move.

        • 5

          Kristen says

          Britani – we are actually working on an OCONUS specific worksheet right now! You’re absolutely right, it’s tough information to find!

  1. 6

    Andrea says

    My husband just attended a Smooth Move seminar this morning and was told that our DLA is considered a loan and has to be paid back. My understanding is that we do NOT have to re-pay the DLA. Some clarification on this would be appreciated – my husband said the person conducting the seminar wasn’t really answering questions and didn’t come across as having the most accurate information. Thanks!

    • 7

      Kristen says

      Andrea – that is kind of correct. According the reg, DLA is given to you AFTER your PCS when your service member submits their travel paperwork. But the service member is usually able to take an advance (essentially, a loan based on the estimated DLA you should receive) of a percentage of your DLA. If you choose the advance, when your service member submits their travel paperwork the DLA is disbursed to finance to cover the amount that was advanced (or bay back that loan).

      • 8

        Andrea says

        Okay, so as an E5 he gets just over $2000 DLA. For example, would we be able to get $1000 advance and the remaining $1000 post-move? I guess I don’t want to request advance pay if we have to give money back later, you know? Thanks!

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