Advanced PCS Pay Axed, and Mandatory Government Travel Card Use Arrives for Seafarers

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Kate Horrell is a financial columnist for Military.com.

The Navy will soon require sailors to use a Government Travel Payment Card (GTCC) for all permanent military station change (PCS) changes, the service announced late last year, while also using the MyPCS Travel Voucher system for claims and eliminating advanced travel expenses. in most instances.

The change brings the Navy in line with other military services. Mandatory card use begins July 1, 2022. Sailors should work with their chain of command to request a card.

Using the GTCC for PCS moves can make it easier for service members to manage costs incurred during moves without the need to take advances or pay out of pocket.

While that sounds good, the GTCC program and PCS mandate are causing a lot of concern, thanks to potentially slow repayment and the impact on personal credit scores of not paying the card on time.

It’s a concern that officials acknowledged in their December announcement, saying that GTCC’s association with the new travel voucher system will allow for faster refunds.

“Mandatory use of the GTCC for PCS travel expenses and electronic submission of claims through MyPCS Travel Voucher will help the Navy improve accountability and auditability of funds and reallocate resources for faster claims processing. travel reimbursement,” the statement read.

Sailors can still apply for Advanced Travel Allowance (DLA), but the guidelines say exceptions will only be made for dependents traveling on separate orders or for sailors who are not eligible for the card.

Sailors and other military personnel often have questions about how they are supposed to use the GTCC on their PCS move, how the bill will be paid, what items can be charged to the card, and what happens if there are paperwork issues. – all the right questions.

But first, a disclaimer: always follow the rules given by your branch, chain of command or helpdesk. This information may vary from branch to branch and may change at any time.

What can I charge my GTCC?

  • Accommodation en route between your old duty station and your new duty station
  • Meals en route between your old duty station and your new duty station
  • Temporary accommodation at your former or new duty station (as covered by Temporary Accommodation Fee/Temporary Accommodation Allowance)
  • Fuel for your personal vehicle used as a means of transport for the move or during the move
  • Tolls or ferry fees
  • Rental car, if allowed in your PCS orders
  • Personal moving costs (depending on your agency)
  • Travel allowance type expenses (DLA)

This last one is really tricky. The relocation allowance is a lump sum, based on rank and dependent status and payable to anyone who moves. Although its purpose, as stated by the Pentagon, is to cover the costs of leaving an old home and setting up a new home, there are no specific rules about what it can do. and cannot be used. You don’t have to explain it to anyone. You could literally take your dislocation allowance to a casino and play blackjack with it. (Please don’t.)

But when you use your GTCC for DLA type expenses, there is a liability. So what should it be used for? I’m not a lawyer, but based on my personal experience with nine military moves, here are some ideas of things that are probably reasonable expenses in this category:

  • Have the carpets cleaned when you leave your old home
  • The basics of this target work when you arrive in your new home: toilet brushes, shelf liner, shower curtains, curtain rods, cleaning supplies, etc.
  • Utility deposits

What items cannot be billed to My GTCC?

  • Personal expenses that are not part of the PCS move
  • Airfare, which must be booked through the appropriate office for your branch of service
  • Entertainment of all kinds
  • Medical expenses, even if they occur during the PCS
  • All personal travel days while moving/leave en route
  • Personal moving costs (depending on your agency)

How is the invoice paid?

You must submit a travel expense claim when you arrive at your new duty station, and the system you use to do so depends on your branch. Although your card should be set to critical status for a move and does not require immediate payment, it is still not a good idea to delay your claim.

You will be reimbursed up to the limit of your allowances, including temporary accommodation costs/right to temporary accommodation, travel allowance, monetary allowance in lieu of transport (mileage) and daily allowances for travel days. Any amount exceeding these allowances is your responsibility. If you have any travel allowance left after reimbursement, it should be paid to you.

The Government Travel Charge Card solves some of the problems with PCS, but it’s important to use it correctly and file your application in a timely manner after arriving at your new duty station. Think of it as another tool in your military life toolbox.

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