A dislocation allowance, or DLA, is a monetary allowance paid to eligible servicemembers who undergo a household move due to Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders or an evacuation. It is intended to help offset costs incurred by servicemembers during their move that are not reimbursed by other allowances and moving expenses that are paid during an authorized move. Typically, only one DLA is permitted per fiscal year.

There are three types of dislocation allowance:

  • Primary DLA: Paid to servicemembers who receive PCS orders and to servicemembers who are ordered to move from government family-type housing due to base realignment and closure.
  • Secondary DLA: Paid to servicemembers when a PCS order is amended, modified, canceled, or revoked and the servicemember had already moved before the date on which the order was revoked.
  • Partial DLA: Paid to servicemembers during qualifying non-PCS events, including to those who are required to either occupy or vacate government family-type housing due to privatization, renovation, or another reason specified by the government.

Who is eligible for DLA?

To be eligible for the allowance, a servicemember must be receiving a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and must not live in single government housing, such as barracks or dorms.

DLA is not paid in the following circumstances:

  • To servicemembers not receiving BAH
  • To servicemembers who are separating or retiring from service
  • To servicemembers who are entering service for the first time and have no dependents
  • To servicemembers who have already received DLA within the current fiscal year, except in exigent circumstances

How much is DLA?

The amount of the allowance depends on a servicemember’s rank and whether they have dependents. Those who have dependents are eligible for a higher allowance.

Note that the DLA dependent rate will only be paid if all three of the following are true:

  1. The servicemember has authorized dependents, and
  2. The servicemember’s PCS orders authorize dependent travel, and
  3. The dependents PCS with the servicemember.

Currently, full DLA rates range from $1,700 to $5,800 and secondary DLA rates range from $900 to $4,700. Partial DLAs are authorized at a flat amount – for 2024, that amount is $924.40.

How is DLA paid?

To receive the allowance, a servicemember must file paperwork with their installation’s finance office. The exact procedure varies by branch, but payments are typically made within a month of submitting completed paperwork. To receive an allowance before a move, servicemembers must have express approval; this approval allows servicemembers to receive 80% of their estimated payment in advance, with the rest paid after the move, when a servicemember files paperwork at their new installation.

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

Moving can be expensive, but the military does what it can to lessen the burden. Learn more about preparing for a military move in this blog post and know that Navy Mutual’s educators are available to answer further questions you may have about your military benefits. Contact them at 888-298-4442.