As a servicemember, you know that relocations — or a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) — are part of the agreement. However, that doesn’t make moving less stressful.
What can help ease some of the mental and financial strain is staying organized and understanding your PCS entitlements so that you can make the most of each move.
The military offers servicemembers several entitlements to help offset the cost, and the pressure, involved with relocating. Take a look at your options:
Also known as DLA, dislocation allowance is a flat sum designed to cover your incidental and extra expenses associated with fulfilling your PCS orders. The amount of your allowance depends on your pay grade and your dependent status. Dislocation allowance is intended to pay for some miscellaneous costs related to moving that aren’t reimbursed otherwise, such as utilities or rent deposits. It likely will not cover all of your expenses.
It’s important to note that this payment is not given to you automatically. You must proactively submit a claim to your base travel office in order to take advantage of it.
Also, if your PCS orders change after you’ve relocated, you may also be entitled to the Secondary DLA benefit.
To learn more about how much you may be eligible for allowances related to an upcoming move, check out the current 2020 DLA rates.
Travel per Diem
As a servicemember, you are entitled to per diem compensation any time you travel, including relocations. You will receive travel pay for each day you are on the road, including meals, lodging, and other incidentals for you and your family. You can use the Defense Travel Management Office’s per diem calculator to determine what your per diem allowance will be. Rates vary based on the state, county, or country where you are traveling.
Another entitlement you may receive is reimbursement for every mile you drive on orders, including for relocations. Take a look at the DTMO’s mileage reimbursement rates to determine how much you can expect to get. Rates are available for cars, motorcycles, and private planes. Reimbursement amounts change regularly, so be sure to double-check right before your move if you want to know the exact amount you’ll be receiving per mile.
When it comes to your actual move itself, you have two choices: The military will hire movers for you through the Relocation Assistance Program, or you can do it yourself. Moving yourself is referred to as a Personally Procured Move (PPM) or a Do It Yourself (DITY) move. Even with the DITY move, the government reimburses 95% of the estimated cost of your move based on the weight of your belongings — up to the military allowance — letting you keep the difference if it costs less to do it yourself. The government also provides $25,000 in moving insurance in case of an accident.
VA Home Loans
While not a PCS entitlement, should you decide to purchase a home in your new community, be sure to talk to a mortgage expert who can help you qualify for a VA Home Loan, which provides significant advantages over traditional home loans. The biggest cost saver is that you are not required to place a down payment on your house.
Although no PCS is easy, these entitlements can at least remove the financial burden that comes with any relocation. You should talk with your base’s travel office to ensure you take full advantage of the moving entitlements for which you qualify.
Simplify Your Relocation with Financial Advice from AAFMAA
Moving can be an overwhelming process. Don’t add unexpected finances to the list of stressors. AAFMAA’s financial experts can help you understand and utilize your PCS entitlements to ensure your move doesn’t break the bank.
Call 1-910-390-1873 or email MemberBenefits@aafmaa.com today to speak with one of our Membership Coordinators and learn more about how AAFMAA can help.