Moving and Money: Allowances and Entitlements

A major consideration when moving involves money and budgeting. Relocation is part of the military lifestyle and allowances and entitlements are provided to help pay for the majority of relocation expenses. Allowances and entitlements vary depending on your family size and where you are relocating. They can also change from time to time. Do not assume you will receive these allowances; some must be requested during your moving counseling session in order to be processed. Check with your finance office or relocation office for the latest information to help you prepare for your move. DoD Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee website provides the latest information on allowances and entitlements.

Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is provided to a service member who does not receive government-provided housing. BAH is a tax-free supplement to help offset the cost of housing. The amount of BAH received varies based on your location, pay grade, and whether the service member has dependents. BAH rates are set by surveying the cost of rental properties in each geographical location. Because housing can be your greatest expense, check your BAH rate before looking for a home. BAH is set based on the installation zip code where the service member is stationed and is intended to cover the cost of renting a home in the local commuting area.

Dislocation Allowance (DLA) is intended to help with relocation costs not otherwise reimbursed when moving a household for a PCS move. It is available CONUS (Continental United States) and OCONUS (Outside Continental United States). DLA is not automatic and must be requested by the service member prior to your move.

Per Diem Allowance is a daily allowance to service members and family members traveling to a new duty station whether CONUS or OCONUS. The rates vary depending on the mode of transportation, age and number of dependents, and the official government mileage between duty stations.

Monetary Allowance in Lieu of Transportation (MALT) or mileage allowance is paid when the service member and/or family drives to the new duty station. MALT is available CONUS and OCONUS. Distance will be calculated based on the official military table of distances.

Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE) reimburses relocating service members and families for the cost of meals and lodging incurred when temporary housing is needed for CONUS moves. The TLE rate is limited as is the number of days TLE can be used.

PCS Travel Advances can be requested by a service member for 80% of the DLA, MALT, and per diem amounts. The remainder will be paid upon processing after the move is completed. This advance does not need to be repaid and can help with your travel expenses and initial start-up costs.

Living Overseas? – Allowances Just for You

Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) is comprised of three components: rental ceiling, utility/ recurring maintenance allowance, and move-in housing allowance (MIHA). OHA is payable to service members living in private housing at their overseas duty station.

Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA) is designed to partly offset the cost of temporary housing and meals while waiting for permanent lodging. TLA is available OCONUS only, including Hawaii and Alaska.

Overseas Cost of Living Allowance (O-COLA) is offered to service members to partially offset high costs when stationed overseas, including Alaska and Hawaii. It does not reimburse expenses, but is designed to offset higher overseas prices of goods and services. The average supplement is $300 per month. COLA is also available CONUS, but at limited locations. For 2009, there are 48 locations CONUS.

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