The entitlements that come with military Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves are confusing. There are a variety of allowances and reimbursements. The part of those allowances that applies to the days you are actually moving are often called travel allowances. There are two parts to the travel allowance: MALT and Per Diem. Both MALT and Per Diem are authorized for regular PCS moves, retirement moves, and separation moves.
Monetary Allowance In Lieu of Transportation (MALT)
MALT is the allowance that pays for actually driving your cars from your old duty station to your new duty station. The allowance is based on the distance as calculated using the Defense Table of Official Distances. MALT is calculated using the rate of $.17 per official mile (effective 1 January 2020).
If your move includes dependents, you are eligible for MALT for two vehicles, if two vehicles are actually driven. In some cases, MALT may be authorized for additional vehicles. This is not automatic and requires justification for the need.
If you are eligible to drive multiple vehicles, but choose to drive just one, you may be reimbursed the difference to be put toward the cost of shipping your second vehicle privately.
If the direct route between the two duty stations includes parking fees, ferry charges, road, bridge, and/or tunnel tolls, reimbursement for these costs is authorized.
For each authorized travel day, you will receive per diem to offset the cost of meals and lodging. For 2020, the service member receives $151 per authorized travel day. Accompanying dependents over age 12 receive 75% of full per diem, $111.75, per day. Accompanying dependents under age 12 receive 50% of full per diem, $74.50, per day.
The number of authorized travel days is figured by dividing the official distance by 350 (the number of miles you’re expected to travel each day.) If you have any remainder, then you are authorized the extra travel day. For example, if it is 1254 miles between the two duty stations, then you will be authorized four travel days. (If the distance is less than 400 miles, you only get one day.)
The travel allowances for the drive between the old and new duty stations is typically more than enough to cover the actual expenses incurred.
The Other Allowances
Military moves include a wide variety of allowances. Other allowances you may be eligible for include:
- Dislocation Allowance
- Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA) and/or Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE)
- Movement of household goods and/or Personally Procured Move (PPM), formerly Do It Yourself (DITY) reimbursement
Make sure you understand all these reimbursements – we slept on the hard floor for far too many PCS moves before I learned about TLE! And I’ve heard of far too many people who never requested DLA. That’s a ton of money!
Make sure you’re prepared to write off any allowable expenses on your taxes. See What Military Moving Expenses are Tax-Deductible?
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