This guidance is to provide pertinent information regarding Subsistence Allowance entitlements to Service personnel assigned to the USA. There are two types of subsistence; Night and Day.

This guidance does not supersede policy contained within JSP 752 or related Defence policy. See JSP 752, Chapter 5, Section 1.

Night Subsistence (NS)


1 April 2021

Hotel Accommodation booked via DHBS

Actuals for B&B or D, B & B

Private Arrangements (PAR)

£35.00 per 24 hour

Defence Hotel Booking Service (DHBS) Procedures

All individuals on official duty are to book their hotels through DHBS.  

DHBS provides MOD personnel hotel accommodation when service accommodation is not available or is inappropriate. Other than in exceptional circumstances, you are expected to use the HBS for both UK and Overseas hotel bookings.  You will be given a unique booking reference – the HRG Trip Reference – to allow you to reclaim your accommodation costs via JPA. 

Email – [email protected]
Phone number – 0044 844 848 4422
Opening hours are Monday to Friday 07:30hrs to 20:00hrs (UK time)
Emergency out of hours – 0203 668 2210

Eligibility to Claim for Night Subsistence in the UK

A claim for NS within the UK must be supported by documentary evidence, as follows:

  • A Non-Availability Certificate (NAC) indicating that suitable Service accommodation and/or messing is not available, or
  • A letter from the hosting Service unit stating that there is no suitable Service accommodation available for the area of temporary duty (including where appropriate the reason why any available Service accommodation is deemed to be unsuitable), or
  • Exemption from occupying Service accommodation granted under JSP 752, Chapter 5, Section 1, paragraph 05.0119.

Private Arrangements Rate (PAR) 

PAR is only payable when no Service accommodation is available and NS would normally be claimed. Under these circumstances, where convenient, Service personnel have the option of making private arrangements to stay with relatives, (excluding their spouse/civil partner), or friends, as an alternative to using hotel accommodation. PAR is paid at a flat rate and covers up to a 24-hour period, to compensate for all expenses incurred during that period (i.e. all meals, accommodation costs (if any), a gift for the hosts etc). No Daily Subsistence may be claimed for any periods for which PAR is paid. Where the claim is for family subsistence, only one PAR claim is permissible per night irrespective of the number of family members who travel together and irrespective of whether or not this includes a Service spouse/civil partner.

Daily Subsistence (DS)

DS is the re-imbursement of actual receipted costs up to a DS limit for expenditure necessarily incurred for food and drink during the day for periods of over five hours’ absence from the permanent or temporary assignment station, when neither a Core Meal in a PAYD Unit or an Entitled Casual Meal in a non-PAYD Unit can be purchased.

DS reimburses breakfast and/or lunch and/or dinner costs, tax and gratuities/service charges, except where NS is also being claimed for the same temporary duty, in which case breakfast costs are contained within NS. Aggregation of DS claims is permitted when Service personnel are away from their permanent duty station for two nights or more, this will enable personnel to submit DS claims over the whole period of detached duty, rather than accounting for expenditure against a daily limit. When aggregation is permitted, claims for receipted items of laundry may also be included within a DS claim.  If receipted items of laundry are included, the daily rates of DS may not be exceeded.  

Service personnel who receive light refreshments, breakfast, lunch or dinner in the working environment or any form of Official Hospitality must not claim DS for the food and drink provided under these circumstances at public expense.

Gratuities & Service Charges

If a gratuity (which is optional) or service charge (which may be discretionary) is included in the bill, it may be reclaimed. It is recognised that countries have different customs and expected percentages vary. As a general rule, any gratuity or service charge not included in the bill may be claimed but should not normally exceed 10% of the value of the bill. However personnel serving in the US are entitled to claim up to 15% of the total bill.

However, a tip or gratuity may not be reclaimed when dining at a takeaway, self service or fast food outlet (e.g. McDonalds). Total reimbursement for food, drinks and gratuities or service charges is restricted to the DS limit.


1 July, 2020

1 Jan, 2021

UK – DS limit



UK – Abated DS rate (when Dinner, Bed & Breakfast provided through the HBS)

£ 4.26

£ 4.26

USA – DS Limit



USA – Special Messing Allowance



DG HO&CS and CDP have recently launched new business travel policies for all personnel.

From 02 Nov 2015 alcohol will no longer be claimable on daily subsistence (DS) claims whilst undertaking business travel, either as part of a meal or if consumed in isolation.

Please see extract regarding why the decision was taken:

As an employer it is right that MOD pays for your required food and drink whilst on duty. However consumption of alcohol at public expense, whilst on detached duty, is not deemed an appropriate charge to the public purse. This applies to both civilian and military staff, and brings MOD in line with the wider trend across Government Departments who have either banned alcohol or are moving to that position.


Claims are to be submitted on line via JPA where possible. Where there is no JPA access, claimants are to submit form F016 to USA SpGp. 

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2021 @ 2:08 pm

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