The thought of having to pack up all of your belongings and move to a new location every few years is not an act the average person would look forward to. However this is the reality faced by many military service members and their families. When a member of the military receives a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) it signals the time has come to move to another duty location. Whether this is your first move or you have a few moves under your belt, the following tips can be useful in making the relocation more efficient and less stressful for the entire family.
Tips for a Smooth PCS
Meet with your mover. The transportation office should provide you with the name of the company that will be providing services during your move. Do not wait until the last minute to contact the mover, instead make arrangements approximately three months prior to the move. This will allow ample opportunity for the company to schedule a meeting to determine how much time will be needed to pack and load your belongings.
During this meeting you should be sure to show the representative all areas of your home, including the garage and any storage areas. This will give the representative an accurate picture of what has to be done and how long it will take to get the job finished. You should also use this meeting as an opportunity to discuss any items that will require special handling. The transportation company is only responsible for items they pack, therefore you should consider this before packing any items on your own.
The packing process. Before any items are packed, take pictures to serve as proof of the condition of the items before the move. If items are damaged during the move, you will have documentation to support your case if there is a dispute as to the condition of the item prior to moving. It is recommended that items which have personal or financial value be kept on your person during the move. This may include important paperwork, jewelery, photos or family heirlooms. You will also need temporary storage for essentials that cannot be packed prior to the move. Make the move easier for small children by talking with them before hand, so they know what to expect as well as allowing them to keep a few items during the move.
The day of the move. Someone representing your family should be present during the packing, loading and delivery of personal and household belongings. You will be asked to inventory your property and code boxes to indicate if they were packed by the owner or if the condition is unknown. Before setting out for your new location, you should check your home and property one more time to ensure nothing has been left behind. Once you are sure everything is packed, you will sign and date a bill of lading which authorizes the transportation company to move your property.
Arrival at new location. If you are moving directly to your new house the movers will be delivering your goods to that location. It is imperative that a family representative be present when the movers arrive and throughout the unpacking of goods. As boxes are unloaded, check them off of your inventory list as received.
It is your responsibility to tell the movers where you would like the boxes placed as well as checking for any items that have been lost or damaged in the move. Remember, the DoD now offers full replacement value for personal property that is lost or damaged. In the event you are unable to move into your new home immediately, contact the new housing office’s settling- in services for information regarding where your property will be delivered and stored until you are ready to move.
DITY Moving Tips
There is also a voluntary do-it-yourself (DITY) program which may be an option for military service members who prefer to move their belongings personally. If authorization and approval for this program is granted, the service member will be paid 95% of the amount of money the government would have paid for the move.
It is important to address any questions regarding the PCS to the appropriate office to ensure all necessary actions have been taken and benefits for which you may be eligible are received.