Dislocation allowance now available before PCS moves
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Dislocation allowance now available before PCS moves
FORT MEADE, Md. -- Soldiers and their Families can now receive
dislocation allowance ahead of a permanent change of station move
after the Army updated its policy in an effort to reduce the burden of
moving.

The new policy is effective Oct. 10, when Gen. James C. McConville,
chief of staff of the Army, and Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy
signed the policy. Soldiers who possess an individually-billed
government charge card are eligible for the advance payment.

Dislocation allowance, or DLA, partially reimburses Soldiers for the
expenses incurred while relocating to a new duty station on PCS orders.

Payment rates can range from about $978 to nearly $5,000, based on
rank or if a Soldier has dependents. The allowance does not have to
be paid back.

The change comes after McConville asked for a review of certain
policies to alleviate the peak PCS season that occurs every summer.

"His intent was to try and lessen the burden of a PCS move on Soldiers
and Families," said Larry Lock, chief of compensation and entitlements
at the Army's G-1 office. "This was just one of those areas that we took
a look at and saw that we had the policy flexibility to make those
changes."

The new policy modifies a 2014 policy that directed government charge
cards to be used for all PCS travel and relocation expenses. That policy,
officials said, was to benefit cardholders so they wouldn't have to pay for
moving expenses out of their own pocket.

Officials still urge Soldiers to use their travel cards for PCS moves.
"The new policy change only affects DLA," Lock said. "The policy still
requires the use of the government travel card for all other travel
allowances."

To request a DLA advance, Soldiers need to fill out the Defense Finance
and Accounting Service Form 9114. Or, they can receive the DLA after
their move is completed when their fill out their Defense Department
Form 1351-2 travel voucher.

ADDITIONAL POLICY CHANGES

The Army is also pursuing efforts to ease other challenges during PCS
moves.

One initiative being considered is getting Soldiers their orders 120 days
before their PCS date, said Maj. Gen. Michel M. Russell, G-4 assistant
deputy chief of staff.

Russell and others spoke last week during a family forum at the
Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition.

Further, the Army is developing a knowledge-based smartphone
application to assist with the household goods, or HHG, process, he
said. The app will streamline all HHG resources and policies into one
location, allowing Soldiers and their families to discover benefits that
can help them before, during, and after the HHG process.

"People are not aware of all the benefits that they have," Russell said
at the forum. "One of the things that we're going to get after is making
sure everybody understands how to empower themselves and take
back the household goods move."

At another family forum last week, McConville said the Army is even
looking to incentivize "do-it-yourself" personally procured moves for
families interested in doing so, which could put less strain on
commercial movers during peak periods.

Soldiers are now eligible for 95 percent, and sometimes up to 100
percent if approved, of what the government would pay a commercial
mover as part of a personally procured move.

The change to an automatic 100 percent payment for PPMs, which
currently make up less than 2 percent of all PCS moves, is currently
being worked on.

"If we can look at the feasibility of giving additional incentives for
people to perhaps do their own move," Lock said, "it can at least
leverage some of that bottleneck commensurate with that peak season."

For the most recent change to DLA, Lock said it was a necessary thing
to do to help Soldiers and Families.

"If we have the flexibility to do it," he said, "without bringing on additional
burden administratively for the Army and at the same time helping
Families, it's a win."
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