Service members who are forced to move from their unaccompanied housing to off-base housing are now authorized to get the partial dislocation allowance, or DLA.

Previously, only service members required to leave family housing were authorized to get the partial DLA.

As of Jan. 1, 2022, the partial DLA rate was $840.07, according to the Defense Travel Management Office site. It’s a one-time payment at a flat rate, designed to reimburse a service member for at least some of the expenses incurred in moving their household. These moves may be required, for example, when there’s a shortage of housing.

The change was effective May 1 in the DoD Joint Travel Regulation, but it was announced May 23 by Sen. Jacky Rosen, a Nevada Democrat. The allowance was authorized in the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, and Rosen had been pushing defense officials for a year to make the move.

The change impacts all service members ordered to leave their unaccompanied housing, but Rosen has been especially concerned about junior service members.

“Ensuring our service members in Nevada and across our nation receive all of the benefits they deserve is one of my top priorities, especially now, when housing costs are rapidly rising,” Rosen said in a press release announcing the change.

“It was heartbreaking to hear that junior enlisted airmen at Nellis and Creech Air Force bases were ordered to move off-base without receiving their dislocation allowance to pay for the high cost of housing. Over the past year, I’ve made it a priority to press the Department of Defense to fix this issue,” she added.

During a May 3 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Rosen questioned Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall about why the Air Force hadn’t started providing DLA to airmen.

He responded by noting the limitations in the Joint Travel Regulation.

Rosen said junior enlisted airmen at Nellis AFB are averaging about 12 months in on-base housing.

“They’re being forced to move off the base due to shortages,” Rosen said. “The troops are forced to cover their rental deposits and moving costs before they’re eligible to begin receiving their Basic Allowance for Housing.”

Kendall replied that there is some relief available for these airmen who have to move off base, including applying for advance BAH, but added, “They’re not currently getting dislocation allowance because of some limitations in the Joint Travel Regulation.”

Information was not immediately available from defense officials about whether the partial DLA will be retroactive.

“Our priority here at Nellis is taking care of airmen and giving them the tools to succeed. This update to the Joint Travel Regulation does just that by ensuring our most junior airmen will receive the financial support they need when transitioning from the dorms to off-base housing,” said Col. Todd Dyer, commander of the 99th Air Base Wing at Nellis AFB, in a statement provided to Rosen’s office.

Advocates applauded Rosen for her push to get the allowance for troops.

“The Military Officers Association of America commends Sen. Jacky Rosen for her work with the Department of Defense to successfully update the Joint Travel Regulation and authorize partial dislocation allowance to unaccompanied service members ordered to move out of their quarters,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, president and CEO of the organization.

“Years of deferred maintenance and aging barracks have led some installations to shut down their facilities and force young service members to find an apartment, only to be met with soaring prices due to lack of availability and rampant inflation.”

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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