Per Diem Question

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Wanted to see if some experienced folks could share some of their wisdom here:

Wife and kids are coming with me for terminal class starting on 5/13. Looking at housing options, it seems the monthly rate would be well below the monthly per diem. What are the options you have to receive the per diem(government p card, cash voucher, etc). Basically, want to confirm that I can pay my rent using my personal CC and still receive the $57 daily per diem to pay off my credit card balance? If that makes sense.

Also, We are looking at moving up a week early to get situated. Will this throw a loop in anything?
 

yup

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Pay for the housing on a personal card, submit a voucher, get the full per diem as direct deposit. I think that's how it works. They only give you per diem starting the day before class starts, and it might be meals & incidentals only (no housing).
 

twn

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You can pay in your own and the govt will pay you the full rate. that is what I did and that's what I suggest you do as well.

You can move a week early but you will pay for it on your own. Govt only covers the day before your class starts
 
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So I'll just plan on paying with my personal card and assume they will explain the process for submitting a voucher ahead of time. Thank you both!
 
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So I'll just plan on paying with my personal card and assume they will explain the process for submitting a voucher ahead of time. Thank you both!
You’ll have one day In basics when you’ll actually go to the travel office and you’ll submit a voucher as a class. You’ll get a login for e2 travel website where you’ll upload a receipt from when you paid rent. Definitely pay in advance and get reimbursed for housing: you’ll take home more per diem that way. Also if you’re looking for a less expensive option a guy in my class stayed at Waters Edge apartments with his wife and daughter and they gave him a 4 month lease. Just something else you could look into. Feel free to pm me if you have any questions as I just finished in OKC a few months ago
 

randoturbo33

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You need a receipt, and if you choose to sign a lease or something you need to provide proof that the apartment was listed publicly - a Craiglist posting would be okay. As others have said, unless you have zero financial ability to do so, you should 100% pay out of pocket and get reimbursed. For one, you get to keep any savings under the $57, and you also get to rack up some pretty significant credit card miles/cash back/points/whatever you want. You won't actually file for reimbursement until your 15th day in OKC, and then every 30 days thereafter, which means you won't see your first per diem check until close to a month after you arrive, so make sure that you have the cash on hand to handle that.

You can save a lot by signing a lease, but it comes with some risks. We had a guy who ignored all the warnings and signed a lease because it would save him something like $300 a month versus some other places he looked, but he ended up failing out of Basics and was on the hook for 3 more months of a lease in a city he no longer lived in. I know no one intends to fail out, but it's just one more potential source of stress, and all of the recommended places will let you leave with zero notice if you have to and give you a refund for unused days. If something like another shutdown were to happen, this would apply there - the per diem would be cut off, but anyone on a lease would need to pay out of pocket. Also keep in mind that depending on your track, study groups will be absolutely essential, so you might find yourself driving an extra 30-45 minutes every day to get to study groups if you choose to live somewhere on your own.
 
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You need a receipt, and if you choose to sign a lease or something you need to provide proof that the apartment was listed publicly - a Craiglist posting would be okay.
Kind of a “no shit, Sherlock” question, but I’m assuming a posting on something like apartmentguide.com would work?
 

randoturbo33

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So if my class date is 4/29, when can I expect to get any sort of paycheck?

You're starting right at the beginning of a pay period, so your first actual paycheck won't be deposited until May 21. Your first per diem check will probably come a few days before that, likely sometime in the week of May 13, but it could be earlier or later depending on how long it takes to get your PIV card and for travel to process your voucher.
 
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yup

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you’ll upload a receipt from when you paid rent
Just a receipt that the housing provider gives you, right? It shouldn't be an issue if I use a family member's credit card (i.e. not my own name on the card)?

and yeah, my first real gov't paycheck will be for $280.80, before withholdings. Coming in on the last three days of a pay period!
 
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Just a receipt that the housing provider gives you, right? It shouldn't be an issue if I use a family member's credit card (i.e. not my own name on the card)?

and yeah, my first real gov't paycheck will be for $280.80, before withholdings. Coming in on the last three days of a pay period!
That’s correct. Have your housing provider email you a receipt if they don’t do that already. I stayed at Kim’s and they email receipts
 

KEEPER4560

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Have some money saved up. As others said it takes a bit for that first per diem check to come through. Think mine was like a month. Definitely pay the housing provider with a personal credit card so you can get the rest of your money back(vs the gov credit card that takes the max amount out even if you’re paying less).
 

DL0509

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340
Also for those going to the academy you can change payment methods with the folks that process the per diem. Say you don't have the money up front to pay the provider have them bill the FAA, after you get your first per diem check switch to self pay.
 
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