Understanding Your Entitlements
Will this be reimbursed?
Do I need to save receipts?
How much do we get?
All common questions that are frequently asked about in spouse groups everywhere during PCS season. Everyone knows there are entitlements that you can receive, but there is a lot of uncertainty in how much they are or how they are to be utilized. This common confusion often leads to there being entitlements that are not used or even maximized to the greatest extent possible.
Let us break down easy here….
Household Good Entitlements:
Weight Allotment – This is the maximum weight that the military will pay to move for you. It is based off your rank and if you do or do not have dependents. If you are your weight allotment, then you will be billed for the excess weight if the military moves you.
Pro-Gear Allotment – The service member is allotted up to 2,000 pounds in pro-gear weight, and the spouse can be allotted up to 500 pounds for pro-gear. All pro-gear must be declared up front and meet the definition criteria to count.
Transportation Allowance – Reimbursement of use of personally owned vehicles for the mileage you drive.
Per Diem – This covers your lodging, meals and incidentals during your authorized travel days. You are also only paid for the travel days that you use, example – if you are authorized 8 travel days and only use 5 travel days then you are only paid for 5.
Below is the chart as of July 2020 from the JTR Chapter 5 for Per Diem Rates:
For example in calculating Per Diem for my current location Per Diem is $151
Service Member: $151
Spouse and Children above 12 years at 75% = $113.25 (x2 for my family = $226.50)
Children below 12 years at 50% = $75.50 (x2 for my family = $151)
Total = $528.50 per travel day that my family would receive.
TLE – For CONUS moves this is 10 days combined on either end of the travel days for lodging. You do need to save your receipts for TLE as you are only reimbursed for the days you use. The receipts also need to be itemized by day and have a $0 balance.
TLA – This is the OCONUS version of TLE. You have 5 days stateside but can be authorized up to 60 days once arriving at your OCONUS location depending on the housing wait.
Dislocation Allowance (DLA) – Partially reimburses a service member for miscellaneous PCS relocation expenses. This flat rate amount is again determined by your rank and dependent status. Many families use this entitlement to ship a car, for housing deposits, house cleanings, or for any overage expenses they may have such as lodging. Many services do authorize an advance DLA payment if requested.
In addition to the above entitlements in which many are reimbursed after signing in at your gaining location, many services have authorized service members the use of the Government Travel Credit Card (GTCC) as a way to pay for expenses and not be out of pocket on so much.
If you are also performing a PPM (Personally Procured Move) you can be authorized a percent advance of what your reimbursement entitlement is as well.
It is always a good idea to save all receipts for your move. Doing this 1) allows you to verify against your payments what you were reimbursed for and 2) to identify any costs that were not reimbursed (either non reimbursable such as excess hotel days, or overage costs such as your hotel being above the government rate). For any expenses that are not reimbursed, you can claim them on your taxes to help reduce your taxable income. (See the IRS website for info on moving expenses).