Soldiers Will Once Again Get Pre-Move Cash, Army Chief Says

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Moving can be stressful for Soldiers and their families; however, the right tools and the right planning can help ensure all goes smoothly. (U.S. Army/Aiko Brum)
Moving can be stressful for Soldiers and their families; however, the right tools and the right planning can help ensure all goes smoothly. (U.S. Army/Aiko Brum)

All soldiers facing a military move will once again be eligible to receive a cash prepayment thanks to a policy change made early this month, officials announced today.

"One thing we put in place is, you get the dislocation allowance up front, which, for a lot of young families, is a big deal and we're going to make that happen," Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said today at the annual Association of the United States Army’s annual conference in Washington, D.C.

Dislocation Allowance, or DLA, is a cash payment of about $1,000 to $4,000, based on rank and whether the service member has dependents. The allotment is designed to cover some of the expenses not otherwise reimbursed by per-diem rates.

Related: Troops Issued Government Travel Cards for PCS Expenses

In the past, DLA was dispensed before a military move, giving military members some pocket money to cover moving expenses up front. But a 2014 change directed soldiers to instead use their Government Travel Card for those expenses, with DLA payments dispensed after the move was complete. That system was notoriously problematic, however, as finance offices were slow to pay those bills, leaving soldiers to pay them out of pocket or face late fees and credit score problems.

Soldiers are once again eligible to receive DLA before a move as of Oct. 10, said Robert Steinrauf, who directs plans and resources in the office of the Army's deputy chief of staff.

"The intent of that [previous] policy was to benefit the card holders, and you had the convenience of using the charge card," he said. "Effective on the 10th of October when they signed that policy, that's when you can have DLA put into your bank account ... and alleviate some of the challenges there."

It was not immediately clear whether soldiers would still be expected to use the travel card for all reimbursable PCS costs in addition to receiving DLA up front. Army public affairs officials present at AUSA said they were unaware of the DLA policy change.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@monster.com.

Read More: Better Planning, More Oversight: Army Lays Out PCS Changes

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