Government travel credit cards used by troops during a permanent change of station (PCS) military move will be placed in a special "PCS status," to allow more time for paying the bill, according to officials with the Department of Defense.
A new Defense Department plan directs service members with government travel cards (GTC), previously used primarily during temporary duty assignments, to also use them to pay for expenses during a PCS. But paying the card, which is the service member's responsibility, is notoriously challenging because reimbursements from the government to troops for expenses charged to the card are often delayed.
To avoid that issue, Defense Department officials said the accounts of card holders with PCS orders will be put into a special "permanent change of station/mission critical" status for up to 120 days. Troops will then have 60 days from the time that they are moved out of that status to pay their card balance before fees or interest is applied.
"This allows sufficient time for filing expense claims and reimbursement," said Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a DoD spokesman. "Service members will not have to worry about settling their account while they are in the middle of a PCS move awaiting reimbursement."
Currently, both the Army and Air Force mandate the use of the card during a PCS for service members who have one. The Marine Corps, which is in the process of implementing the policy, and the Navy, which had a run a pilot program on the subject, do not, officials said.
The Navy's pilot program is currently on hold while Navy officials determine a timeline for requiring the card's use, officials said.
Service members must only charge reimbursable moving expenses to the card. That means things like airfare, lodging and meals can be charged, while expenses like clothing, pet care, parking and traffic fines and batteries cannot. If charges are made for non-reimbursable items the service members will be forced to pay that portion of the bill out of pocket, officials said.
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at Amy.Bushatz@military.com