Another government ordered move and you are short on cash. You tried to save extra money in a moving fund, but these orders arrived quicker than you expected. You have a great job and your income is a big part of your family’s budget. What will you do?
A little-known provision of military pay is called “advance pay.”
Advance pay is neither an entitlement, nor a guarantee, but may be an option your service member can request, if there is a need, before, or shortly after, a PCS.
Advance pay is a type of pay available to help offset the cost of a move and cover extraordinary expenses such as: loss of a spouse’s income, down payment on a home, or cost of maintaining two households. Advance pay is just that – an advance of your service member’s basic pay.
DoD Instruction 1340.18 provides the nitty-gritty details about advance pay. A service member may be eligible to apply for 1-3 months of advance pay, and the repayment period ranges from 12-24 months. A service member can make a request to receive advance pay 30 days prior to a PCS, or 60 days after a PCS.
The service member’s administrative department can help process the necessary paperwork, form DD 2560. Remember, you must be able to demonstrate why the funds are needed. A shopping spree, or a new pool, does not count as an unmet need. Your service member may be asked to complete a budget, or financial worksheet, outlining the additional costs related to the move.
If your service member requests more than 1 month of basic pay, the request will need to be reviewed by the service member’s immediate command. Likewise, if you request a repayment period exceeding 12 months, the service member must justify the extended payback period.
- Advance pay is an interest-free advance of the service member’s basic pay and must be repaid. This means the service member’s pay will be reduced each month during the repayment period.
- Advance pay must be repaid, even if the service member voluntarily or involuntarily separates from the service. You borrowed against your future earnings and must pay it back.
- Your advance pay is taxable income, and may impact your income taxes. Be sure to consult with a tax professional to review your specific situation.
Personal stories from families who have applied for advance pay suggest having your justification and supporting paperwork ready. Many families are able to receive 1 month of basic pay with a 12 month repayment period. Anything beyond 1 month of pay and a 12 month repayment may require additional financial counseling and documentation. Be sure to fully understand the cautionary notes before your service member requests advance pay.
Have you requested advance pay? How did it impact your family’s PCS budget?