PCS Pay Entitlements
In the United States Armed Forces, a permanent change of station (PCS) is the assignment, detail, or transfer of a member or unit to a different duty station under competent orders which neither specify the duty as temporary, nor provide for further assignment to a new station, nor direct return to the old station. A PCS move is a stressful time for Service Members and their families as they prepare to relocate to a new duty station. A PCS move affects both Active Duty, Separating, or Retiring Military Service Members. There are numerous guides on PCS moves, however, what should be the first step in any PCS move, is understanding what financial entitlements are available to the Service Member, regardless of duty status. Below is a list of pay entitlements available to Service Members and their families.
PCS Pay Entitlements for Active Military Service Members
When completing a PCS move, you will in-process with your local Defense Military Pay Office (DMPO) who will help answer any of your entitlement questions.
MALT is used as mileage reimbursement for service members and their dependents during a PCS move. When a member and dependents relocate on a service member’s PCS move, MALT reimbursement is authorized for two POCs, if used. MALT is paid on a per-mile basis for the official distance of each portion of the travel. The MALT Rate per authorized POC is $.18/mile for PCS travel beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2022 (Applicable to Separating or Retiring Military Service Members).
There are two types of ‘Plus’ (Per Diems) paid during a PCS move to assist you and your dependent(s) with paying for lodging and meals.
Monetary Allowance in lieu of Transportation (MALT)-Plus is authorized to service members traveling by POV. While MALT is paid on a per-mile basis, the ‘Plus’ (per diem) portion is paid on a whole day calendar basis for the allowable travel time. Lodgings-Plus is used to pay for lodging costs associated with a PCS move. This per diem may be paid for any necessary overnight delay or processing time at a transportation terminal or personnel processing center related to a PCS move. Note: Lodgings-Plus and MALT-Plus cannot both be paid on the same day. If there is a day that MALT-Plus and Lodgings-Plus per diem could both be paid to a service member, Lodgings-Plus will be paid. However, Lodgings-Plus and MALT can both be paid to a service member on the same date (Applicable to Separating or Retiring Military Service Members).
TLE is an allowance intended to partially pay members for lodging/meal expenses incurred by a member/dependent(s) while occupying temporary lodging in the Continental United States (CONUS) in association with a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move.
The purpose of DLA is to partially reimburse a member, with or without dependents, for expenses incurred in relocating the member’s household during a PCS move.
Referred to as Do-it-Yourself or DITY moves. For a Service Member (Active, Retiring, or Separating) to conduct a PPM, the following requirements must be met:
- DD1351-2- Completed and signed by Reviewing official
- PCS Travel Orders
- DD2278- Calculated by the Transportation Office*
- Copies of Certified Weight tickets including Gross (full) weight and one for Tare (empty) weight
- Operating Expense (OPE) worksheet- if attempting to reduce your taxable income
- Copy of Paid Rental Agreement
- Copy of vehicle registration when utilizing POV and/or boat/trailer move
*Weight Allowances are based on rank and type of move
Dependent Travel is broken down into two primary areas, Accompanied by Service Member and Not Accompanied by Service Member. If a dependent is accompanied by a Service Member, then they are authorized dependent PCS travel and transportation allowances when completing a PCS move including, advance payments, reimbursement for common carrier transportation procured at personal expense plus per diem, and MALT for POC Travel, plus per diem for the required travel days between authorized points. If the dependents moved to the new duty station and were not accompanied by the service member, a separate DD 1351-2 must be submitted for the dependents’ period of travel. When submitting a separate DD 1351-2, be sure to include all lodging receipts (regardless of amount) and receipts for any reimbursable expense exceeding $75(Applicable to Separating or Retiring Military Service Members).
Advance travel payments may be authorized for the below entitlements if the Member is not a Government Travel Charge Card (GTCC) holder or an advance is not specifically prohibited in the orders. If a member is a cardholder, the GTCC must be used for PCS travel, and advances are not authorized (Applicable to Separating or Retiring Military Service Members).
A useful document that Service members need to be familiar with is the Joint Travel Regulations or JTR. The JTR implements policies and laws establishing travel and transportation allowances for Uniformed Service members and Department of Defense (DoD) civilian travelers. It also implements station and certain other allowances. The JTR has the force and effect of law for travelers and implements statutory regulations and law for DoD civilian travelers. This document provides additional guidelines for the entitlements listed above. It is easy to get bogged down with all the details and things to do when you are getting ready for a move. However, understanding the pay you are entitled to during a PCS move, will make the transition to a new location that much easier.
About the author
Justin Fisher is a currently serving with the Arkansas Army National Guard. His career has expanded two decades and has three deployments. He holds a Bachelor’s in Arts in Communications and hosts a weekly podcast featuring candid interviews with members of the military.