Financial tips for successful PCS & travel pay
By By Lt. Col. Christine Millard and the 21st Comptroller Squadron, 21st Comptroller Squadron
/ Published June 05, 2018
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- C-P-T-S! Show Me the Money! You may have heard the 21st Comptroller Squadron cheer at a few events. This high energy comptroller staff of professionals is ready to provide you with top-notch customer service for all your finance needs. As we head into the summer months, we often get questions on PCS entitlements and tips to make any PCS, TDY, or even deployment travel voucher a smooth financial transition. To help you prepare, the comptroller team put together several tips to keep your books balanced:
• Keep your receipts — Even for deployment travel. You’ll need your receipts when you file your voucher, and missing receipts is a primary cause for delayed payment. The last thing you’ll want to do is scramble or have to run back home to try to find the receipt for that one last item you need to claim. We recommend keeping an envelope of your receipts or an electronic scan copy where you can locate all your receipts easily. Don’t forget to bring them with you if we’re helping you file your voucher.
• Update your profiles in LeaveWeb and myPay. Make this step is part of your in-processing when you get to your new base. Too many people have leave approvals delayed because they didn’t realize they had to update their own profile in LeaveWeb to attach themselves to their new unit, base, and approving supervisor. Additionally, myPay has an area to update your profile to your new address, ensuring any snail mail correspondence goes to the correct address. Don’t miss out on critical correspondence by having erroneous information on file.
• File your vouchers within five duty days. A few of your pay entitlements change from location to location, for example Basic Allowance for Housing. If your losing station earns a higher rate, you are still entitled to the current rate at your gaining station on the day you arrive, not the date you file your voucher. If you delay filing, you could be accruing a BAH debt. If you earn a higher rate of BAH at your new base, any delay in filing just delays payment to you. Similar goes for filing TDY or deployment vouchers. Many of the big-ticket expenses are required to be charged to your Government Travel Card, which has to be paid on time regardless if you have the travel settlement in hand or not. Don’t cause yourself unnecessary financial stress by waiting to file your vouchers.
• Promptly return calls or emails to finance technicians. Most likely we’re contacting you to discuss an issue with your voucher or notify you of a potential debt. A BAH debt accruing daily is just costing you more money for every day of delay. Most issues we’re calling about concern missing information or receipts, for which we have to hold the voucher, delaying payment until we track down the missing information. As they say, bad news does not age well. Make a priority to call us back, 719-556-4770.
• There are options if you have debt. If we notify you of a debt, we’re actually giving you “due process” with options to settle what you owe back to the government. You can select to repay the debt in monthly payments by payroll deduction, or you can repay by writing a check. Depending on your military status, there are also options to submit a waiver or remission package if you believe the debt is erroneous. All of these are options to the member; however, there is a critical time limit to taking any of these actions. If we do not annotate the selected option in the member’s pay record soon enough, the military pay system will automatically start collecting the debt from the member. Again, please give us a call once you feel you may be in this situation.
• There are options to viewing pay summaries online. Take advantage of myPay to view your Leave and Earnings Statement or travel pay summaries. When reviewing your LES, please read the messages at the bottom, which are input by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and typically give you balances of any debts or advances. Travel payment summaries are also available in myPay, which is handy for travel payment questions outside of normal business hours. If you’re concerned about why a payment is lower than expected, the payment summary is available on myPay 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can help you frame your question to finance when you’re able to visit our office or call.
• Check Virtual Finance for frequently asked questions. While the experts in finance are available during business hours, Air Force Financial Management has built an online resource to help answer common questions. This site has details on PCS entitlements, as well as other common questions. Before you go TDY or PCS, please take a look at the link, https://www.my.af.mil/gcssaf/USAF/ep/globalTab.do?channelPageId=sA1FBF31D23D21F6B0123ED377B730575, or search for “Virtual Finance” on the Air Force Portal, to brush up on the latest entitlements.
As I begin the PCS process myself, I’m also taking my own advice to ensure I know all the PCS entitlements before relocating to ensure I’m making the best decisions regarding my finances. I’ve enjoyed my time as Comptroller for the 21st Space Wing. I’m leaving the base community in good financial hands with our financial experts, Air Force Space Command’s best comptroller squadron for three years running. The 21st Comptroller Squadron is here to help you make the best financial decisions!