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A close shot of mover carrying boxes out of a moving truck during a military PCS.

The Top 6 Military PCS Entitlements

Feb 22, 2020 | 4 min. read

Relocation and expenses go hand-in-hand, so make the most of military allowances and benefits.

Approximately one-third of active-duty service members receive PCS orders in a given year, according to the Department of Defense. And though you may benefit from a number of PCS entitlements, you may incur a number of unexpected – and unreimbursed – expenses as well.

To keep your out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum, do your homework before you PCS. Take advantage of resources which may be available through the transportation office, finance office and family center at your installation. Find out which PCS entitlements you are eligible for in order to create a realistic budget for your upcoming move.

The Six Military PCS Entitlements You Need to Know About

Dislocation Allowance (DLA)
Dislocation Allowance is intended to offset some of the costs of PCSing, and it doesn’t need to be paid back. The rates change annually and are based on service member rank and number of dependents. Service members with no dependents who will be living on base are not eligible for DLA.

Advance Basic Pay
You can apply for up to three months of your salary to help cover unexpected relocation expenses. But if you think receiving an advance on your pay is a great deal, you may want to think again. Advance Basic Pay is really a loan that, in most cases, needs to be repaid within the year. Granted, the loan is interest-free, so it’s probably better than running up high-interest credit card debt. But you’ll need to be prepared to live on a reduced salary for a while since the installments to pay it back will be taken out of your monthly pay.

Advance Basic Allowance, Housing (BAH)
If you don’t plan to live on base, you may be eligible for Advance Basic Allowance for Housing. Like Advance Basic Pay, this is a loan that typically needs to be repaid within 12 months. The money must be used for housing-related expenses such as security deposits.

Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE) and Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA)
Before or after a CONUS PCS, it may be necessary for you and/or your dependents to move into temporary housing. TLE is a daily allowance to help cover the costs of meals and lodging in these circumstances, up to 10 days.

If you’re moving overseas, you may be eligible for TLA, which provides for temporary housing in your new location for up to 60 days.

Monetary Allowance in Lieu of Transportation (MALT)
If you drive to your new service station, you will receive mileage reimbursement through MALT. The reimbursement rate changes every year, and the allowance is typically available for two cars.

Per Diem Allowance
While traveling to your destination, expenses for daily meals and lodging may be offset by a per diem allowance. 

PCS entitlements are typically based on your military rank and dependency status. The Department of Defense has more detailed information about specific moving allowances – including weight limits for household goods – at

A comprehensive personal financial plan and advice from your Financial Advisor can help you plan for PCSing so you’re more prepared to make the move. To learn more about PCS entitlements and how to budget for your relocation, contact a trusted First Command Financial Advisor today.

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