Moving to a new home every few years is an exciting yet stressful part of being in the military. Understanding your PCS entitlements will make this chaotic time a bit more tolerable as you embark on your next great adventure.
From purchasing packing supplies and protecting your personal goods to paying for a moving company and driving across the country, there’s a lot to do and even more to pay for along the way. On top of the obvious costs, things like coffee, fast food and gas can add up! That’s why it is so important to stay organized, make a plan and keep your receipts.
Since the military may ask you to PCS every 1-4 years, they have helpful programs and financial benefits to help ease you through the process. To help out even more, we’ve compiled information about the latest PCS entitlements and Dislocation Allowance (DLA) Rates, among other benefits, that you will need for your upcoming orders.
Know what PCS entitlements you’re looking for? Jump right to that info by clicking the links below.
- Dislocation Allowance (DLA)
- Per Diem Pay
- PCS Mileage Reimbursement
- Personally Procured Move (PPM)/Do-It-Yourself Move (DITY)
- PCS Entitlements Calculator
More Like This: Check out our Military Move: An In-Depth Guide & Expert Tips!
1. Dislocation Allowance
Often abbreviated as DLA, your Dislocation Allowance is a flat sum meant to cover the secondary expenses of moving on PCS orders. You don’t receive this sum automatically, though. You’ll need to be proactive in submitting a claim to your current installation’s travel office as part of your PCS process. There’s also an additional benefit you may want to consider called a Secondary DLA. This allowance is for those military members whose PCS orders change after they’ve already relocated.
Your 2023 Dislocation Allowance will depend on several factors, including your current rank and if you have any dependents. Military members with dependents usually see anywhere from $700 -$1,000 extra in DLA. Lucky for you, rates for 2023 DLA went up by a decent amount, so if you’re PCSing in 2023, you can expect a little bit extra from the government!
2. Per Diem
Your next set of PCS entitlements comes in the form of a daily allowance. Any time you travel on government orders, including PCS moves, you’re entitled to military per diem pay. Per diem is how the military reimburses you for daily costs associated with a move, such as lodging and on-the-road meals.
Whether you’re just moving across the state to the next nearest base or heading off for a few years at an OCONUS station, you’ll receive a daily allowance for each day you’re on the road (or in the air). So your meals, snacks and other incidental expenses, while you and your family are on the go, will be covered.
More Like This: Are you PCSing overseas? Review our OCONUS PCS Move: An In-Depth Guide & 15 Expert Tips (2022 Edition) to stay ahead of the game!
3. PCS Mileage Reimbursement
If you’re driving yourself or your family in your own vehicle during your PCS move, those miles will start to add up! As you add miles to your car, the cost of gas will also add up. Luckily, the DoD will reimburse you for the distance you have to travel on PCS orders. The mileage reimbursement rates offered by the Defense Travel Management Office will help offset the cost of traveling via your own car or truck.
They even offer mileage rates for an aircraft for the few of you who happen to be flying a private plane or helicopter to your next station. This policy also applies to motorcycles if you’re a two-wheel type of service member.
Mileage reimbursement is paid out on a per-mile basis. That means that you’ll get a certain amount of money for each mile traveled, so keep a close eye and record what your odometer says as you travel. For example, those PCSing in 2023 can expect to receive $.22 back per mile as they drive to their next station.
4. Personally Procured Move
While you do have the option to have the military hire movers to transport your things to your next base for your PCS, a lot of people choose to do the work themselves. A Personally Procured Move (PPM), which is also referred to as a Do-It-Yourself or DITY Move, lets you control every aspect of the moving process.
Furthermore, based on the weight of the household goods you’re transporting, the government will reimburse you for up to 100% of the estimated cost of your move. So if it ends up costing you less, you get to keep that money!
A PPM has benefits and drawbacks. On one hand, you don’t have to rely on someone else to safely transport your household goods across the country to your new station. On the other hand, it takes a lot more time, effort, and planning to move your household all by yourself across the country every few years. Your choice will depend on how much effort you’re willing to put into each move, and what you think is the best choice for you and your family.
Expert Tip: Don’t get caught with pricey overages for your upcoming PCS move. As of August 2013, the minimum excess cost is approximately $100 per hundred pounds over the maximum military weight allowance, which is about $1 for every pound you go over. So, make sure what you’re transporting is under your weight allowance to avoid these extra charges.
Don’t know how your weight allowance works? Learn everything you need to know here: What is Your PCS Weight Allowance? In-Depth Guide & 6 Tips.
PCS Entitlements Calculator
With all of these PCS entitlements, it can be difficult to understand how much money you’re going to receive. It can also be tough to calculate exactly how much you will end up covering during your move in the long run.
Thankfully, there are plenty of tools on the Internet that can help you with budgeting for your PCS move, including a PCS entitlements calculator. This tool will lay everything out for you in a simple and easy-to-digest way.
By now, you probably know that PCSing is anything but easy. However, knowing all about your PCS entitlements can make the financial process a lot more manageable. Think about it. When your finances are easier to handle, everything else seems to fall into place.
Depending on how much moving and packing you want to do yourself, you might even come out of your next military move actually making some extra cash. While many of these entitlements, such as mileage or per diem, are only paid during or after you complete your move, you may be able to get an advance on your PPM payment or DLA if you qualify.
For more information, you can check out the Department of Defense’s moving website and their entitlements overview. You should also check in with your base’s travel office to get more personalized information about your PCS entitlements.