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The Military’s Dislocation Allowance FAQs

If you’re planning your next military move due to a PCS, you may be able to receive a dislocation allowance.

A DLA partially reimburses service members for incurred household moving expenses. The household move must be required by a PCS, evacuation or — in some cases — ordered for the government’s convenience. Generally, only one DLA is permitted in a fiscal year.

Below, find the answers to some frequently asked questions about DLA.

Any service member moving their household on PCS orders and who is not assigned to live in single-type government housing — such as the barracks — should receive a DLA.

As a basic rule of thumb, if you typically receive a Basic Allowance for Housing — or are above pay grade E-5 and choose to not stay in single-type government quarters — then most likely you’ll receive a DLA.

Generally, if your pay grade is below E-5 and you’re assigned to live in single-type government housing, you will not be eligible.

You also will not receive a DLA when you’re moving from your civilian home — where you live when you signed up for active duty — to your first duty station, unless you’re allowed to move there with dependents.

Finally, you cannot receive a DLA when you’re leaving active-duty service, though other moving services may be available.

How much DLA you receive depends on your pay grade and whether you are allowed to move with dependents. You can get the latest DLA rates from the Defense Travel Management Office, which lists rates based on pay grade and dependent status.

Typically, DLA is paid after you file the right forms with your installation’s finance office, either before or after your PCS move. This differs from branch to branch, but you can expect to receive the DLA about 30 days after filing your paperwork.

You can request an advance of your DLA and some other moving payments, although this is not guaranteed. You’ll need to visit your former installation’s finance office 10 to 15 days before your move and file a request for your commander’s approval.

If approved, you’ll receive 80% of your estimated payment in advance, with the rest paid after you file for reimbursement at your new installation, after your move.

Normally, you can only get one DLA per fiscal year. However, when PCS orders are changed or canceled by your command, you may be able to receive a second, smaller DLA.

To receive secondary DLA, you’ll need to complete your move to the new installation before the original PCS orders were changed or revoked.

Yes, in both cases, you may receive a DLA.

  • Forced to leave base housing – Service members who have to leave government family-type quarters may qualify for a partial DLA even if they don’t have PCS orders.
  • Move due to base realignment and closure – Service members ordered to move from family-type government housing due to a BRAC may receive a full DLA.

However, moving after leaving military service doesn’t qualify for any form of DLA.

For detailed information on DLA, see the Joint Travel Regulations, section 0505 – “Dislocation Allowance (DLA)” – starting at page 5A-16.

If you need more moving help – including free neighborhood reports, relocation assistance and housing resources – Military OneSource is always available to help. Contact Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. OCONUS/Overseas? View calling options.

Note: These instructions have been reviewed by the Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee staff in accordance with DoDI 5154.31, Volume 5, dated 16 October 2015, as PDTATAC Case RR19009.

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