Are you ready?

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Tori Schultz
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
Last year MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, gained 495 members from June to November. This time frame is commonly known as permanent change of station season.

One of the major stressors of PCSing is money and making sure your paycheck is correct when arriving to a new base. Knowing what you are entitled to, can be reimbursed for, and what debts you can inquire during travel is the best way to stay prepared.

First off, for each allowable travel day a member is entitled to $129 a day as per diem. Dependents can also receive per diem if they are on your orders. Per Diem is specifically for lodging, meals and incidental expenses. If you use more than the allotted amount for hotels and food, that is out of pocket.

Secondly, Airmen can be reimbursed for airfare, per diem, temporary lodging expenses, and given dislocation allowance. During travel, an Airman can be reimbursed for mileage, but not gas. The PCS rate for mileage is $0.235 cents per mile, as determined by the Department of Defense Table of Distances.

It is important to note that Airmen are not required to save gas receipts unless they are driving a rental.

"I think it is a common misconception that Airmen have to keep every single receipt," said Airman 1st Class Zhane Herrera, 6th Comptroller Squadron financial technician. "I see members come to our briefing with a folder full of gas receipts and every single receipt for hotels they stayed at along the drive to MacDill."

Thirdly, PCSing affects your leave, meal deductions, and basic allowance for housing entitlements.

Depending on your destination, an Airmen's BAH rate can increase or decrease and entitlements are given during travel that must be stopped when you arrive to your next base.  

"We are not able to stop entitlements until we have the in-processing documents with signatures verifying dates," said Herrera. "We have seen members accrue very large debts because these entitlements are not stopped automatically and when they finally in-process they are hit with the debt and do not understand."

According to Joint Travel Regulations, an Airman is required to in-process with their new finance office within five days of arrival. Airmen should also expect a higher average processing time for vouchers because they can no longer be paid locally. Last year, the average processing time was 38 days after the voucher was sent to the Financial Servicing Center.

An Airman's leave and earnings statement and paycheck will fluctuate when they first PCS.

"We have cut off dates for putting new information into our pay record system that are usually about a week from the paycheck dates," said Herrera. "This means that your BAH isn't always corrected in time for the next paycheck, but the member is back paid or charged to the date they arrived on station because BAH is prorated. "

For more information on the effects of PCSing and your finances please contact the 6th CPTS at 813-828-5377.