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Finance -- Question & Answer Listing  
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Question / Answer

Question:
What entitlements do I have when I relocate?

Answer:
There are several types of entitlements you may be authorized when relocating as part of a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move such as dislocation allowance (DLA), the purpose of which is to partially reimburse a member, with or without dependents, for the expenses incurred in relocating the member's household on a PCS, housing moves ordered for the Government’s convenience, or incident to an evacuation. You may also be authorized Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA), the purpose of which is to partially reimburse a member for the more than normal expenses incurred while occupying temporary lodgings just before or just after the move. Contact your military community's transportation office and/or finance office for specific information on relocation allowances.

Question:
What is a Cost of Living Allowance (COLA)?

Answer:
The Overseas Cost-of Living Allowance (COLA) is an allowance paid to service members stationed in high-cost areas overseas (including Alaska and Hawaii). The purpose of COLA is to help maintain purchasing power so you can purchase about the same goods and services overseas as in the United States. In FY 1995, Congress approved the CONUS COLA to provide compensation for variations in non-housing costs in the continental United States.

Question:
What is an Explanation of Benefits (EOB)?

Answer:
The Explanation of Benefits, or EOB, is the statement you receive after you file a claim with TRICARE or a claim has been filed on your behalf by the doctor. This statement is a summary of the action taken on your claim—how much of the bill was paid by TRICARE and how much is your responsibility to pay (you may already have paid that portion at the time of service). The EOP is not a bill. If you are required to pay for a portion of the services rendered, you will receive a separate statement.

Question:
What is meant by "Direct Deposit?"

Answer:
Direct Deposit is the electronic transfer of a payment from a company or organization into the checking or savings account of an employee, retiree, taxpayer, or shareholder. The most familiar type of direct deposit payment is for payroll, but it can also be used for pensions, Social Security benefits, tax refunds, and other similar types of payments.

Question:
What is the criteria for extensions for filing Federal Income Taxes for service members?

Answer:
Individuals who are unable to finish their Federal Income Tax returns by April 15 can I get an extension by filing a Form 4868, Extension to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, by the April 15th due date. By filing the extension, you avoid the late filing penalty. Note, that filing this form does not extend the time to pay your income tax. You should make an accurate estimate of your tax and send any necessary payment with your Form 4868. If unable to pay the full amount due with Form 4868, you can still get the extension but you will owe interest on the unpaid amount. Special rules apply to U.S. citizens and residents whose home and main place of business or post of duty are outside the United States or Puerto Rico on the return due date, April 15. An automatic two month extension applies if residing overseas. For more information, refer to Publication 54, Tax Guide for U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Abroad.

Question:
What is the difference between whole and term life insurance?

Answer:
Term insurance is designed to meet temporary needs and provides protection for a specific period of time, generally paying a benefit only if you die during that period of time. Term insurance is used to provide coverage of expenses that will disappear at a specific time. For example, you may only need coverage until your children graduate college or until your mortgage is paid off. Whole-Life (or permanent) insurance provides lifelong protection. The full-face amount of the policy is paid upon the insured individual’s death. Permanent life insurance accumulates cash on a tax-deferred basis, and that value can be used to supplement your retirement income or help provide for a child's education.

Question:
What tax-related records should I retain and how long is it necessary to keep them?

Answer:
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recommends that you keep tax-related records that support an item of income or deduction on a tax return until the period of limitation for that return runs out. Contact a tax advisor for more information or visit the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov.

Question:
Where can I cash a check when I relocate and my personal bank account is in another state?

Answer:
You can cash personal checks at your local AAFES facility and usually the Military Finance Office up to a certain amount. There are often checking cashing businesses that will allow you to cash personal checks, but they will often charge you a fee for doing so. You can also use Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) cards at banks other than your own to obtain money from your own bank account. However, you may incur a service charge for doing so. Many service members set up a local savings account to allow them to cash checks locally and maintain their main bank account elsewhere. Banking preferences is a personal choice, but there are many options available.

Question:
Where can I find financial assistance if funds are not available to support my family while my spouse is deployed?

Answer:
The Family Assistance Center (FAC) supporting you during your Soldier's deployment may be able to provide some assistance in securing emergency funds through the Army Emergency Relief program. FAC personnel, in conjunction with the Rear Detachment Commander (RDC), may be able to provide other resources to assist you and your family.

Question:
Where can I get financial counseling to help me get out of debt?

Answer:
Visit the Financial Readiness office at in the Army Community Service (ACS) center for assistance with financial counseling or check your local telephone directory for debt consolidation agencies. Your local financial institution may also be able to provide some assistance.
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