Last Updated on June 30, 2023 by Fumipets
The Rules for Reimbursing Pet Shipping Expenses in 2024
Exciting news for service members! Starting in 2024, there will be a reimbursement program in place for eligible pet shipping expenses. This new policy will provide financial support to troops relocating to their new duty stations, ensuring that their beloved pets can accompany them on their journey. Let’s delve into the details and understand how this program will work.
Reimbursement for Pet Shipping
Under the Defense Department’s latest policy, service members on Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders will have the opportunity to receive reimbursement for eligible pet shipping costs. The program allows for reimbursement of up to $550 for moves within the continental United States and up to $2,000 for moves to or from overseas locations.
Implementation and Eligibility
The new policy, scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2024, will not be applicable to the current PCS season and is not retroactive. However, military relief societies continue to offer assistance to eligible families, helping them cover the expenses associated with pet transportation. Since 2021, these relief societies have provided a combined total of $728,000 in financial aid to military families.
Financial Support from Relief Societies
Recognizing the financial challenges faced by military families during the transportation of their beloved pets, relief societies have stepped up to alleviate the burden. The Army Emergency Relief (AER) and Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society have been providing average assistance of around $3,000 per client for pet travel expenses. The Air Force Aid Society offers an average amount of $1,000 per client. These relief societies understand the importance of pets as part of the family and are committed to supporting service members in their pet transportation needs.
The Fine Print: Reimbursement Guidelines
To qualify for reimbursement, service members must incur “reasonable and substantiated” costs related to pet shipping. These costs may include mandatory microchipping, boarding fees, hotel service charges, licensing fees at the new duty station, and pet shipping fees (if flying is involved or the pet is shipped separately). It is crucial to retain all receipts for reimbursement purposes.
For moves outside the continental United States, eligible costs also cover quarantine fees, testing titer levels (antibody blood tests) for entry, and additional expenses beyond the aforementioned items.
When traveling across oceans, service members must utilize government or government-provided travel options for their pets, if available. Failure to do so may result in a denial of transportation cost reimbursement. These government options offer lower costs but are subject to limited availability on a first-come, first-served basis. For detailed information, service members can visit the Air Mobility Command pet travel page.
Furthermore, it is the responsibility of service members to comply with all rules and regulations pertaining to the import and export of pets to qualify for reimbursement. In cases where a pet is denied entry, the service member may be ineligible for reimbursement, as per the Defense Department guidelines.
Assistance from Military Relief Societies
The Army Emergency Relief, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, and Air Force Aid Society will continue their assistance programs for pet transportation costs. AER, for instance, provides zero-interest bridge loans or grants to reduce the financial burden on soldiers until they receive their travel reimbursement. Since 2022, AER has assisted 48 soldiers with $144,000 in aid. The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society has provided $252,973 in zero-interest loans to 87 sailors and Marines. The Air Force Aid Society has offered financial aid amounting to $240,240 to 235 airmen and guardians.
The introduction of the reimbursement program for pet shipping expenses in 2024 brings great relief to service members and their furry companions. By easing the financial strain associated with pet transportation, this initiative acknowledges the importance of pets as integral family members. We applaud the military relief societies for their ongoing support and look forward to service members benefiting from the new policy.
Source: Military Times