Moving your family and personal belongings for a permanent change of station, or PCS, is inevitable among military families. Whether you look forward to such a move or are dreading it, chances are it will happen. Knowing how military moves typically work and planning accordingly can make the whole process a little more bearable.
The Personal Property Office
Once you get your orders to relocate, contact the Personal Property Office, or PPO, for an appointment. Remember, no two military moves are alike, so even if you’ve had a PCS in the past, this one might not be the same. Various factors including your personal circumstances, your new duty station, and military rules may affect your move. The PPO will help you decide whether you will have a DITY (do-it-yourself) move or a full-service move.
Your Sponsor and New Command
Your sponsor is there to help you in your transition to the new duty station. Usually, your sponsor will reach out to you, but if you haven’t heard from that person in a reasonable amount of time, you need to make the effort. Contact your new command to get a point of contact before you move. The sponsor is especially important if you are relocating overseas or to a remote destination. This person can give you details on host-country culture and practices while also advising you on the nuances of your new community.
DITY Move or Not
The personally procured move, or PPM, is also known as the DITY military move. This option is for military families that want more control over their relocation process. The way it works is that you basically handle hiring the movers, packing everything up, and arranging for the move. The government will pay you the money you would be paying for these services. Many military families opt for the DITY move because they can often find better deals on relocation services and pocket the extra cash.
Though the military has issued your orders for the relocation, you are ultimately responsible to get it done. The best way to make sure that your move goes well is to stay involved from start to finish and actively participate in the process. Knowing the military regulations will also help – this takes us back to #1 – visiting the PPO.
What’s Your Entitlement?
Part of the entitlement is what you are allowed to move – and how much it weighs. If you go beyond that, you will be responsible for the extra cost. The entitlement is actually based on your personal situation and rank.
Your pets are not included in your entitlement, so you’ll need to figure out what you want to do. While your pets may be considered part of the family, the military doesn’t always agree. The government will allow you to move a total of two dogs or two cats within their cost.