The purpose of advance pay is to provide cash for extraordinary expenses that you face when undergoing a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move. It's not supposed to help with your normal day-to-day expenses, but the moving costs associated with a PCS move that aren't necessarily reimbursed by the government.
Advance pay must usually be approved by your chain of command.
Advance pay is usually 3 months base pay minus normal deductions like SGLI, taxes, Tricare, TSP, etc. You normally have to pay the advance pay back within 12 months. You can get advance pay 30 days before your transfer date.
There are also special situations where you can get advance pay; for instance if your command moves to a new location, your unit is assigned to shipboard, your dependents are evacuated from an overseas location, etc. The rules are basically the same in these situations. You are authorized 3 months advance pay and have to repay it in 12 months.
If you are facing a PCS move be sure to notify your pay/personnel office.
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