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PCS Entitlements: A Detailed Overview Of What To Expect

PCS entitlements are an essential component of the moving process for service members. These benefits, designed to mitigate the financial and logistical burdens that come with a Permanent Change of Station (PCS), play a crucial role in military relocations. Whether you’re a seasoned service member or a newly enlisted recruit, understanding these entitlements can significantly ease your transition.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the specifics of PCS entitlements, offering a detailed overview to help you navigate this process with confidence. From travel allowances to shipment of household goods, and temporary lodging to Dislocation Allowance (DLA), we aim to make this often-complicated subject easier for military personnel and their families.

Join us as we demystify the PCS entitlements, equipping you with valuable information that will make your next military move smoother and more manageable.

Understanding PCS Entitlements

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When you are in the military, you are bound to experience a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) at least once in your service tenure. It’s an inevitable aspect of military life, involving moving from one duty station to another either within the country or internationally. During such relocations, understanding PCS entitlements becomes paramount.

Definition of PCS Entitlements

PCS entitlements are a series of benefits or compensations offered by the military, handled by your local pay office, designed to ease the financial and logistical burdens that service members and their families often face when moving from one duty station to another. These entitlements cover a variety of expenses, including but not limited to:

  • Mileage Reimbursement: As part of your travel allowances, you are typically entitled to a mileage reimbursement, which covers the transportation costs for you and your dependents from your old duty station to your new one. These expenses generally include mileage, lodging, and meals incurred during your travel.
  • Shipment of Household Goods: This entitlement allows you to ship your household goods from your old station to your new one. The weight limit depends on your rank and whether or not you have dependents.
  • Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE): TLE is an allowance given to partially offset lodging and meal expenses incurred while awaiting housing at a new PCS location.
  • Dislocation Allowance (DLA): The DLA is intended to help with miscellaneous moving costs. It’s usually paid once per PCS move.

Understanding these entitlements, provided by the Defense Travel Management Office, can significantly reduce the stress associated with PCS moves. This knowledge ensures you fully leverage the resources available to you, from mileage reimbursement to the average weight allowances for your household goods.

The Importance of PCS Entitlements

For military families, PCS moves can be both an adventure and a challenge. Uprooting your life to relocate to an entirely different location often brings significant financial, emotional, and logistical stress. That’s where PCS entitlements step in to offer crucial support.

Understanding and utilizing these entitlements can:

  • Alleviate Financial Burden: PCS moves can be expensive. From transportation costs to the expenses of setting up a new home, the costs quickly add up. PCS entitlements provide financial support, helping cover these costs and reducing out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Ease the Moving Process: The logistics of moving, especially on short notice, can be complex and daunting. Entitlements like a shipment of household goods and Temporary Lodging Expenses (TLE) can ease these logistical challenges, making the moving process smoother.
  • Provide Stability: PCS moves can disrupt your family’s routine and stability. Benefits like the Dislocation Allowance (DLA) aim to offset these disruptions, providing resources to help establish your new household.

Read More: Military Move Stress Management Techniques and Strategies

Different Types of PCS Entitlements

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Understanding PCS entitlements is the first step toward a smoother relocation process. The various allowances and reimbursements can significantly offset the financial strain that comes with moving. Let’s delve deeper into some of the primary types of PCS entitlements that you may be eligible for during your move.

1. Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE)

The Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE), managed by your local pay office, is designed to offset the cost of temporary housing you may need when transitioning to or from your permanent duty station. You might require temporary lodging at your previous location while your belongings are packed and shipped or at your new station while you await permanent housing.

The specifics of TLE include:

  • TLE can cover up to ten days of temporary lodging expenses, which can be split between the old and new locations.
  • It includes lodging expenses as well as meal costs.
  • TLE is based on the per diem rate for your location and the number of dependents you have.
  • To claim TLE, you will need to keep all receipts related to your temporary lodging and meals.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to check with your finance office to understand exactly what TLE covers and how to claim it.

2. Dislocation Allowance (DLA)

The Dislocation Allowance is intended to help with miscellaneous moving costs that aren’t covered by other entitlements. It’s designed to make the moving process less burdensome and more financially manageable.

Key aspects of DLA include:

  • DLA is usually paid once per PCS move.
  • The amount of Dislocation Allowance (DLA) you receive depends on your rank, your dependency status, and the guidelines set forth by the Defense Travel Management Office.
  • DLA is intended to cover miscellaneous moving costs, like utility connection fees, rental deposits, and other expenses associated with setting up your new home.

While DLA is automatically paid to most service members during a PCS move, certain exceptions exist, so it’s advisable to confirm your eligibility.

3. Monetary Allowance in Lieu of Transportation (MALT)

If you opt to drive to your new location, the Monetary Allowance in Lieu of Transportation (MALT) is an entitlement designed to help cover your travel costs. MALT is calculated per mile and is based on the Official Military Table of Distances.

Some key points about MALT include:

  • MALT is calculated based on the distance from your old station to your new station.
  • It’s paid per authorized vehicle, with a limit of two vehicles per PCS move.
  • You’ll need to keep track of your mileage to accurately calculate your MALT.

Always double-check with your finance office to understand how MALT is calculated and paid.

4. Per Diem

The per diem allowance is designed to cover meal and incidental expenses while traveling from your old station to your new station. This allowance is in addition to MALT and is calculated based on the number of travel days authorized for your move, your rank, and the number of dependents traveling with you.

Important points about per diem include:

  • Per diem rates can vary by location and are typically broken down by meals and incidental costs.
  • For each day of travel, you’ll receive a certain per diem amount to cover meals and incidental expenses.
  • Like other allowances, you should keep all receipts associated with your travel expenses.

5. Move-in Housing Allowance (MIHA)

For those relocating overseas, the Move-In Housing Allowance (MIHA) is designed to cover the costs of making your new residence habitable. This can include installing security systems, sanitary units, or even storage units.

MIHA specifics include:

  • MIHA is only applicable for overseas PCS moves.
  • It’s divided into two categories: MIHA/Miscellaneous, which covers miscellaneous expenses related to making your residence habitable, and MIHA/Rent, which covers the cost of lease agreements or rental expenses.
  • The allowance varies depending on the country of your new station and the number of dependents.

Remember, understanding these different allowances and entitlements, whether for average weight allowances or for travel expenses, is crucial to ensure you, as a military member, are not leaving any resources untapped.

In special circumstances, your local transportation office can guide you through your options. Always consult with your finance office or transportation office for guidance regarding your specific circumstances.

The PCS Moving Process and Its Entitlements

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Navigating a PCS move can be challenging, but understanding the process and the accompanying entitlements can make the transition smoother and more manageable. Here are seven steps to help you navigate through your PCS move.

1. Receiving PCS Orders

Receiving your PCS orders is the first step in the moving process. These orders will provide essential information about your new station, including its location and the expected report date. It’s critical to read your orders carefully as they form the basis for planning your move.

After receiving your orders:

  • Confirm your report date and location.
  • Begin researching your new location, looking into housing options, local amenities, schools, and other essential factors.
  • Inform your current command and your family about the orders.

2. Attending a PCS Briefing

Once you’ve received your PCS orders, the next step is to attend a PCS briefing. These briefings, typically offered by your installation’s transportation office, provide crucial information about the moving process.

During the PCS briefing:

  • You’ll learn about the different moving options available to you.
  • You’ll receive details about your PCS entitlements.
  • You’ll get an overview of the moving process, from scheduling your move to submitting claims for damaged goods.

3. Choosing a Move Type

The next step is choosing the type of move that best suits your needs. You have three main options: a Do-It-Yourself (DITY) move, a government-contracted move, or a combination of both.

For a Personally Procured Move (PPM), also known as a DITY move:

  • As a service member, you’ll handle all aspects of your move, from packing to transporting your goods.
  • You’ll receive a reimbursement based on the weight of your goods and the distance of your move.

For a government-contracted move:

  • The government will contract a moving company to pack and transport your goods.
  • You’ll be less involved in the move but won’t have as much control over the process.

4. Scheduling Your Move

After deciding on the type of move, the next step is to schedule it. If you’re going for a government-contracted move, you’ll need to schedule it through the Defense Personal Property System (DPS).

When scheduling your move:

  • Aim to schedule it as soon as you receive your orders, as slots can fill up quickly, especially during the peak moving season.
  • Ensure you have your preferred pick-up and delivery dates, keeping in mind that these are not guaranteed and are subject to change.

5. Preparing for the Move

Once your move is scheduled with your local transportation office, it’s time to prepare. This process involves decluttering your home, organizing your belongings based on weight allowance, and deciding which items to personally procure if you’re undertaking a Personally Procured Move (PPM).

During the preparation phase:

  • Dispose of, donate, or sell items that you don’t want to move.
  • Separate items that the movers won’t pack, such as important documents, jewelry, and items of sentimental value.
  • Prepare a “first-night” box with essentials you’ll need immediately upon arrival at your new station.

6. Moving Day

inconvenience claims, retirement move

On a moving day, if you’ve opted for a move at the government’s convenience, the movers, contracted through your local personal property office, will arrive at your home. They will pack your belongings, considering your maximum weight allowance, and load them onto the moving truck.

During the moving day:

  • Be present to supervise the packing and answer any questions the movers might have.
  • Ensure high-value items are properly recorded on the movers’ inventory.
  • Sign the inventory only after you’ve ensured that everything is correctly listed.

7. Settling in

After the move, it’s time to settle into your new station. This involves unpacking your belongings, checking for any damaged items, and submitting any necessary claims.

While settling in at your new duty station:

  • Unpack systematically and check items against the inventory from the local personal property office, ensuring that your household goods, including any unaccompanied baggage and specialized clothing, arrive safely.
  • File claims for any damaged or lost items.
  • Begin exploring your new community and connecting with resources and services at your new station.

Remember, every PCS move is unique, and your process might look slightly different. Stay organized, keep track of your documents, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your installation’s transportation office or your command if you need help along the way.

Read More: Military Packing Tips That Will Make Your Relocation Smooth

What Are the Services Offered by Military Movers?

When you’re facing a PCS move, you need a moving service you can trust to handle your belongings with care and respect. That’s where Military Movers comes in. We specialize in serving the unique needs of military service members and their families during the relocation process. Below are the various services we offer to make your PCS move seamless and stress-free.

1. Local and Long-distance Moving

Whether you’re moving to a new base within your city or across the country, Military Movers has got you covered.

  • Local Moves: Even local moves can be stressful. We provide full moving services, including packing, loading, transportation, unloading, and unpacking, ensuring your transition is as smooth as possible.
  • Long-Distance Moves: Long-distance moves require a lot of planning and coordination. Our professional movers have extensive experience in executing long-distance relocations with precision and efficiency.

2. Packing and Unpacking Services

Packing and unpacking can be one of the most challenging aspects of moving. Our expert team is here to help.

  • Packing Services: Our team will carefully pack all your belongings, using high-quality packing materials to ensure their safety during transit. We are equipped to handle all types of items, from delicate china to large furniture pieces.
  • Unpacking Services: Upon arrival at your new home, our team will also assist with unpacking. We can help set up your new space according to your preferences, allowing you to feel at home as quickly as possible.

3. Storage Services

Sometimes, moving dates and housing availability don’t line up perfectly. In such cases, you may need storage solutions. Military Movers offers both temporary and permanent storage options.

  • Temporary Storage: If there’s a gap between your moving-out and moving-in dates, we offer secure, climate-controlled storage units to keep your belongings safe.
  • Permanent Storage: If you’re moving overseas or downscaling and need a place to store items you can’t take with you, we offer long-term storage solutions. Your belongings will be safely stored until you’re ready to retrieve them.

4. OCONUS Moves

Overseas PCS moves, also known as OCONUS (Outside Continental United States) moves, have additional logistical complexities. Military Movers have years of experience in managing OCONUS moves.

  • Pre-Move Consultation: We offer comprehensive consultations to guide you through the specifics of an OCONUS move, including customs regulations and shipping limitations.
  • Logistics Management: We handle all the logistics of overseas shipping, ensuring your belongings arrive at your new overseas location safely and on time.

5. Vehicle Transport Services

In partnership with A1 Auto Transport, Military Movers offers vehicle transport services, allowing you to ship your privately owned vehicle (POV) during your PCS move.

  • POV Shipping: We provide secure and reliable vehicle transport services, whether you’re moving within the country or overseas. This service is often available at no cost to you, as it can be included in your PCS entitlements.

Choosing Military Movers means choosing a partner who understands the unique challenges of military relocations. We’re dedicated to providing top-notch service to make your move as easy and stress-free as possible.


Understanding your PCS entitlements is a crucial part of a successful relocation process. By being informed, you can make the most of the benefits offered to you and navigate the PCS process more smoothly.

It’s also important to choose a reliable moving company that understands the unique needs of military service members and their families. With Military Movers, you’re choosing a dedicated partner committed to making your move as easy and stress-free as possible.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote.


What is a PCS entitlement?

A PCS (Permanent Change of Station) entitlement is a set of benefits and allowances provided to military service members when they receive orders to move to a new duty station. These entitlements may cover various costs associated with the move, such as transportation, lodging, and dislocation allowances.

How do Military Movers assist with the PCS process?

Military Movers assists with the PCS process by offering comprehensive moving services. These include local and long-distance moving, packing and unpacking services, storage options, OCONUS moves, and vehicle transport services. We work closely with our clients to plan and execute a smooth, efficient move.

Can Military Movers help with an overseas move?

Yes, Military Movers has extensive experience in managing OCONUS (Outside Continental United States) moves. We offer pre-move consultations, manage all logistics of overseas shipping, and ensure that your belongings arrive at your new overseas location safely and on time.

What is the process for obtaining a quote from Military Movers?

You can request a free, no-obligation quote from Military Movers by contacting us with your specific moving needs. We will work with you to create a custom moving plan that fits your needs and budget.

Do Military Movers offer vehicle transport services?

Yes, in partnership with A1 Auto Transport, Military Movers offers secure and reliable vehicle transport services. This service is often available at no cost to you, as it can be included in your PCS entitlements.

Mia Miller

Mia Miller, a true wordsmith, documents the journey of Military Movers through her engaging blog posts. She ensures that our stories, mirroring our commitment and dedication to facilitating military moves, reach a broad audience.