Cash Help Available for Military Members with COVID-19 PCS Delays: Pentagon

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Movers pack a military members property into boxes and load it into crates to be transferred to a temporary storage facility in O'Fallon, Illinois, July 1, 2019.
Movers pack a military members property into boxes and load it into crates to be transferred to a temporary storage facility in O'Fallon, Illinois, July 1, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Stephenie Wade)

Service members and families whose military moves have been put on hold thanks to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic could receive financial help from the Defense Department, according to guidance updated Wednesday.

A 60-day global stop-movement order issued Friday and put in place Monday delayed all permanent change-of-station moves worldwide, leaving many troops and families in the process of moving homeless, thanks to terminated leases or sold homes.

Those individuals may be able to receive payments for housing and food while they wait, the Pentagon said Wednesday in updated guidance.

According to the guidance, service members can be put on temporary duty (TDY) orders for their old duty station or an alternate location, and dependents can be authorized per diem. That payment is not authorized, however, If those troops and families are given in-kind lodging or food by the services.

Related: Defense Department Orders 60-Day Troop Travel Ban for Virus-Afflicted Countries

Dependents will also be blocked from receiving the extra per diem payment if they do not remain at their previous duty station, according to the guidance.

"If dependents do not remain in place awaiting transportation, then per diem is not authorized," it states.

The new guidance also clarifies that the travel ban officially blocks only service members -- not their families -- from traveling on leave outside their local area. However, officials urged families to stay home and follow the advice of officials at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

"Government-funded leave is leave by a military member or DoD civilian employee whose leave involves Government-funded travel," it states. "The leave restriction applies only to service members. However, we encourage family members to follow the local authorities and CDC guidance, which may advise limitations on travel."

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com.

Read more: COVID-19 coverage

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