Miscellaneous Expense Allowance

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Miscellaneous Expense Allowance (MEA)

Joint Travel Regulations (JTR), Chapter 5, Part B

The Miscellaneous Expense Allowance is a taxable entitlement.

  1. Eligibility: To be eligible for an MEA, a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) or Temporary Change of Station (TCS) must be authorized or approved and the civilian employee must sign an appropriate service agreement. An MEA is payable when a civilian employee vacates a residence at the old Permanent Duty Station (PDS) and establishes a new temporary or permanent residence at the new PDS.
    1. Civilian Employees Ineligible for MEA. The following personnel are ineligible to receive an MEA:

1) A new appointee assigned to the first PDS to any position, including student trainee, Senior Executive Service (SES) and Presidential appointee.

2) A civilian employee or new appointee on first duty station travel to a foreign area duty location OCONUS is not authorized an MEA under the JTR, but may be authorized the MEA portion of the foreign transfer allowance (FTA) under the DSSR.  The employee will file for the FTA MEA through their local finance office by filing for the expense on a form SF1190.  The MEA portion of FTA is not paid by the DFAS Rome Travel Pay Office.  (See 6. Foreign Transfer Allowance (FTA), for more information)

3) A civilian employee performing RAT, unless a PCS is authorized or approved in conjunction with the RAT and the civilian employee has discontinued residence at one location and established a residence at a new location in connection with the PCS.

4) A civilian employee assigned to a PDS OCONUS returning to the actual residence for separation.

5) A civilian employee authorized transportation for dependents or HHG to or from a training location instead of per diem or AEA under par. 032602.

2.     JTR 054102, Table 5-81 provides Examples of MEA Reimbursable and Non-Reimbursable Costs

MEA Reimbursable Costs

  1. Disconnecting or connecting appliances, equipment, and utilities involved in relocation, and converting appliances for operation on available utilities.
  2. Non-refundable utility fees or deposits.
  3. Cutting and fitting rugs, draperies, and curtains moved from one residence to another.
  4. Reassembly, set up, and tuning of a piano moved for a relocation.
  5. Pet care, child care, or adult care for dependent parents or other adult dependents incapable of self-care at home while the civilian employee or spouse are away on an HHT, or are packing or unpacking.
  6. Losses on non-transferable or non-refundable contracts for medical, dental, food lockers,     education enrollment, or private institutional care, such as those provided only for dependents with disabilities.
  7. Vehicle registration, driver’s license, and taxes imposed for bringing vehicles into some jurisdictions, reinstalling a catalytic converter upon vehicle reentry into the CONUS or non-foreign area OCONUS for civilian employees participating in the DoD POV Import Control Program, securing a bond allowing a POV to be admitted into the CONUS or non-foreign area OCONUS for non-participants in the DoD POV Import Control Program.
  8. Required removal or installation by host country law of automobile parts.
  9. Rental agent fees customarily charged for securing housing in foreign countries.
  10. Miscellaneous expenses connected with cancellation of a contract to purchase a house due to a transfer in the Government’s interest.
  11. A post office box rental fee when rented to provide a constant mailing address between the times a civilian employee departs the old residence and occupies a residence at the new PDS.
  12. Cat and dog transportation and quarantine charges. See par. 054103 for additional details concerning pet transportation and quarantine.
  13. Similar costs.

MEA Not Reimbursable

a)  Purchasing appliances or equipment instead of conversion, the cost for replacing or repairing worn out or defective appliances or equipment, or electrical system upgrades to accommodate an appliance or equipment.

b)  Costs of purchasing clothing, appliances (including delivery cost) and equipment due to relocation.

c)  Costs due to altering, remodeling, or modernizing any structure to accommodate POVs, appliances, or equipment.

            d)  Costs due to structural alteration.

            e)  Expenses due to circumstances, factors, or actions that were not due to the move.

            f)  Judgement, court costs, and similar expenses imposed because of civil action.

            g)  Losses covered by insurance.

h)  Costs incurred for reasons of personal taste or preference and not required due to the move.

            i)  Costs of newly purchased items, such as rugs or drapes.

j)  Damage to or loss of clothing, luggage, or other personal items while traveling to the new PDS.

k)  Additional insurance costs on HHG in transit to the new PDS, or cost of loss or damage to that property.

l)  Medical expenses due to illness or injuries of the civilian employee or a dependent while en route to the new PDS or while living in temporary quarters.

m)  Fines imposed for traffic infractions while en route to the new PDS or for other penalties imposed on the civilian employee or a dependent.

n)  Accident insurance premiums or liability costs incurred while traveling to the new PDS, or liability for uninsured damage caused by accidents for which the civilian employee or a dependent is responsible.

o)  Losses due to the sale or disposal of HHG items because they are not convenient or practicable to move.

            p)  Losses or costs due to selling or buying homes and personal property.

            Higher income, real estate, sales, or other taxes due to establishing a residence in the new locality.

3. MEA Flat Payment Rules:

Pay the lesser of $650 or the equivalent of 1 week’s basic gross pay for an employee:

  1. Without dependents listed on the orders
  2. Dependents and HHG are not relocated
  3. Dependent returns early (see par. 053805) without relocating the HHG when the employee returns and is authorized PCS allowances
  4. Two employees in one household, both incurred separate relocation costs, that do not include common expenses, such as connecting/disconnecting utilities – each authorized MEA at the without dependent rate – lesser of $650 or the equivalent of 1 week’s basic gross pay - - Pay the lesser of $1300 or the equivalent of 2 weeks basic gross pay for an employee:
  5. Dependent(s) listed on orders moves from residence at the old PDS to the new PDS with employee or dependent moves at a later date to join the employee within 1 year
  6. Dependent(s) listed on orders moves from residence at the old PDS to a different residence than the employee’s residence at the new PDS
  7. Two employees on PCS orders move to new PDS and establish residence – only one MEA paid at the with dependent rate

*No receipts required.

*Advance of funds is not authorized for MEA

4.   MEA Above Flat Rate - Itemized:

AO may authorize or approve an MEA in excess of the flat-rate amount if the claim is justified by receipts of expenses incurred, and the total is limited to the following:

  1. Employee's one week salary to include locality, for an employee without dependents at the new permanent duty station (PDS)
  2. Employee's two week salary to include locality, for an employee with dependent(s) at the new permanent duty station
  3. Payment is not to exceed the GS-13 step 10 pay scale

*Submission of employee’s leave and earnings statement (LES)

*Paid in full receipts are required regardless of the amount

Voucher Submission for MEA

  1. DD Form 1351-2 (Travel Voucher/Sub Voucher) – Be sure to review the Civilian relocation DD Form 1351-2 Voucher checklist.
    • You must include the following statement in block 18 of DD Form 1351-2.
      "I certify that I (or "We" if you are claiming family MEA with dependents) have discontinued my (or "our" if you are claiming family MEA) residence at the old PDS and have established a residence at the new PDS."
    •  Include the dollar amount being claimed in block 18 of the DD form 1351-2.
  2. Approving Official’s signature is required if itemizing with receipts.
  3. DD Form 1614 (Travel Authorization/Orders) with all amendments.
  4. Paid, itemized receipts if itemizing
  5. Direct Deposit Form SF1199A

6.   Foreign Transfer Allowance (FTA):

The purpose of the FTA is to help defray an employee's extraordinary but necessary and reasonable costs when he/she transfers to a post in a foreign area. The FTA has four parts, the first part is the MEA portion:

The Miscellaneous Expense Portion is to help cover "miscellaneous" expenses incident to a foreign assignment such as pet transportation; vehicle registration; driver's license; utility fees or deposits not offset by an eventual refund; and conversion of appliances. The flat amount for an employee without family is the lesser of either one-week's salary or $650. For an employee with family it is the lesser of two weeks' salary or $1,300. A higher rate is available if the employee provides itemized receipt (see DSSR 242.1b).

For additional information on the FTA entitlements, please consult the Department of State Standardized Regulation (DSSR)

Miscellaneous Expense Allowance Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? Check out the commonly asked questions.

Page updated July 22, 2019