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PCS entitlements

Getting a grip on the basics.
Jessica Evans Avatar
Photo by Sgt. Amie McMillan

In the military, change is a constant, especially when it comes to relocating. Once you’ve received your relocation orders, it’s time to initiate your Permanent Change of Station (PCS) prep. Familiarizing yourself with the benefits you’re entitled to and starting the required documentation early can significantly ease your transition, helping you avoid a stressful, 11th-hour rush.

Travel expenses

No matter where you’re headed, you’re entitled to ship your Household Goods (HHG) at the expense of the military. When you receive your PCS orders, coordinate with your Transportation Office to schedule the shipment of your HHG. Then, once you’ve arrived at your new installation, you’ll need to coordinate delivery.

Dislocation Allowance (DLA) is a one-time, non-taxable payment designed to partially reimburse you for the costs associated with a PCS. It’s there to help with the incidentals of setting up in a new place — expenses such as deposits, new curtains, or whatever else makes a space feel like home. DLA eligibility varies based on rank, dependency status and whether the move is inside the US (CONUS) or overseas (OCONUS). You must apply for DLA at your gaining installation, so save all your receipts!

Finding a new home can take time. Temporary Lodging Expenses (TLE) help cover hotel stays and meals while you’re house hunting. It’s not a vacation, but it can relieve some stress during the search. TLE rates are based on rank, dependency status and whether or not you’re going CONUS or OCONUS.

If you’re up for it, a Do It Yourself (DITY) move lets you take control and potentially keep some cash in your pocket. You can personalize your moving experience and make sure all of your HHG is handled the way you want. Additionally, the potential for financial savings through a DITY move can be particularly appealing if you’re looking for ways to maximize your benefits and make the most of your PCS. 

Maximizing your benefits: Tips and tricks

Remember that entitlements are there to help, but they won’t cover everything. Creating a PCS budget can keep you from overspending. Factor in unexpected costs, such as a sudden car repair or the need for temporary storage, because PCSing always costs more than you think it will.

Don’t forget to gather your info. No question is too small when it comes to PCS entitlements. Whether it’s your first move or your fifth, each one can bring new challenges. Reach out to your chain of command or the PCS office. They’re there to help.

If you’re selling a home or breaking a lease, keep an eye on the housing market well before your move. Some entitlements can assist with these situations, but knowing the market can help you make informed decisions. To help make it as easy as possible, AAFMAA offers mortgage services all tailored to accommodate the specific circumstances of military life. From refinancing to VA Loans and educational resources, AAFMAA’s services are all designed to provide reliable, comprehensive support. 

PCS entitlements can provide support and resources for the nomadic nature of service. But they’re not set in stone. Policies evolve, and staying proactive about your benefits is key to mastering the PCS process. From the excitement of new orders to the challenge of moving, a solid grasp on your PCS entitlements turns the ordeal into an adventure. So, pack your bags, gather your documents, and get ready to conquer your next PCS with confidence and know-how.

Jessica Evans Avatar

Jessica Evans

Senior Writter

Jessica Evans has more than a decade of content writing experience and a heart for military stories. Her work focuses on unearthing long-forgotten stories and illuminating unsung heroes. She is a member of the Editorial Freelance Association and volunteers her time with Veterans Writing Project, where she mentors military-connected writers.

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