The following information was obtained from several resources to include the Fort Gordon Army Community Service and the Fort Sam Houston Installation Service Agencies. Moving is never easy! This information will help you prepare for your Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move. This information is generic, meaning it should apply to almost all moves, not just moves to or from any specific installation. However, local laws, rules, etc. may change some of this information. ALWAYS ASKthe local offices involved with your PCS for specific information.
Table of Contents
Relocation Entitlements There are nine separate relocation entitlements for which a soldier may qualify. Some entitlements are applicable only for CONUS moves, some for OCONUS moves, and some for either. DO NOT ASSUMEthat you will receive any of these allowances; ask your local finance office to get the best information.
Dislocation Allowance (DLA)
DLA is intended to help with all of those miscellaneous costs of moving, such as connecting utilities, paying deposits, and the like. It is available for CONUS and
• DLA is NOT PAID on your last military move. Check your orders to be sure. If the “MDC” code is a 7, you are not authorized DLA.
• TLE is not authorized on the last move. TLE became payable on the first move to a permanent duty station in October 1999.
Advance pay is simply an interest-free loan using your future military earnings as collateral. Available in CONUS and OCONUS.
• Up to three months’ base pay may be authorized with documentation.
• Usually repaid over 12 months.
• Many soldiers get into serious financial trouble with advance pay. Remember that this is a loan, not extra cash to use as you wish. Advance pay should only be used to pay extraordinary costs of a PCS move.
Move-In Housing Allowance (MIHA)
This allowance is available only OCONUS. It is intended to pay for onetime rent related expenses, modification of homes for security reasons, and the initial cost of making a home habitable.
• Only available at certain locations.
• State Department determines whether a location is “high threat.”
Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA)
Not to be confused with TLE, TLA is for OCONUS only. It is intended to help pay for the cost of lodging and meals while awaiting permanent lodging.
• TLA is figured based on a formula that is much too complicated to explain here.
• Usually paid for a maximum of 60 days when arriving OCONUS and 10 days when departing OCONUS.
Advance Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA)
OHA is paid in some OCONUS locations to cover the difference between BAH and the actual cost of off-post rental housing.
• Once housing has been located, take a copy of your lease to the appropriate office and complete a DD Form 2367.
• Advances are usually limited to 12 months of OHA.
Advance Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH)
This advance must be approved by the unit commander. It is generally limited to 3 months BAH CONUS and 12 months OCONUS. Remember that this is not extra money, it is an advance on the normal BAH and will be deducted from monthly pay.
Transportation of Household Goods
When service members are on orders to overseas assignments they have a hold baggage shipment. The weight of this shipment depends on the rank of the service member and should include immediate need items. Furniture items, to include large screen TVs may be prohibited in this shipment. This shipment is sent in a very thick walled cardboard box and will arrive at the service member’s duty station approximately 30 days from the day it is shipped. Service members assigned to Germany without a pinpoint assignment are limited to 500 pounds unaccompanied baggage. Family members on an accompanied overseas tour are also entitled to hold baggage not to exceed a maximum of 1,000 pounds for the family. The weight is figured according to the age of the family member. Once dependent travel is authorized, family members' baggage and household goods will be shipped. Household goods shipments include everyday living items and the furniture a service member and their family may own.
NOTE: Contact the transportation office at your new installation immediately upon your arrival!When your household goods arrive, the office must be able to contact you within two hours, or your shipment will go into storage and delivery may be delayed.
Overseas shipments are generally packed in large crates that are then sealed for movement. Stateside shipments may be packed directly on a moving van for movement to the next duty location. These shipments will leave around the same day as picked up and will be held in storage at the next duty assignment awaiting notification of delivery address if not previously known.
There are two kinds of storage: temporary and non-temporary. Temporary storage is used when the service member is enroute or has yet to secure housing. There is a 90-day limit on temporary storage; extensions can be requested through the gaining transportation office. When the soldier is ready for delivery, the transportation office must be notified. Non-temporary storage includes those items that will not be needed by the service member or their family members for the duration of their overseas tour. It is important for individuals to realize that this is not a shipment you can request things from; the whole lot goes into storage and remains there. Service members may need to request an extension of their non-temporary storage if their rotation date back to the States changes and more time is needed. This request is processed through the transportation office that did the nontemp storage paperwork; failure to do this may result in the service member having to pay storage fees.
Some service members on overseas orders would rather have their extra items shipped to a designated location rather than have the government store them. In this case the transportation office will schedule another pick up at the service members home and have the items shipped to the specified location. Service members electing to do this must make sure that the designee stated on the transportation paperwork will be available to take possession of the shipped items. Upon completion of the overseas tour, the service member will again elect an additional shipment if these items are to be returned to his household.
Privately Owned Vehicles (POV)
This shipment applies to overseas tours only; stateside moves require the owner to transport their own vehicles. POV storage is not authorized except when the service member is on a restricted tour and POVs are not authorized. In this case, the service member must visit the transportation office to get authorization before putting the POV in storage. The service member must pay for the storage and request reimbursement when they PCS back to the U.S. Service members who are entitled to ship a POV must take extra steps to assure this shipment goes smoothly. Transportation office will advise service member of the location of the nearest port for shipment. Upon receipt of orders, the service member should call the port to see if the vehicle may be shipped in advance and what other steps they should take to prepare the vehicle for shipment. This may include removing all dirt from on, under, and inside the vehicle, making modifications to the engine or exhaust, and obtaining written permission from the lien holder to ship the vehicle outside the United States. Service members have up to one year from their overseas travel date to ship a vehicle. Owners that ship a vehicle overseas from the US are entitled to a return shipment from overseas. Vehicles purchased overseas may have to be shipped at owner’s expense. Service members desiring to ship more than one vehicle overseas have a few options. They can locate a private shipping company and make arrangements with them to transport the vehicle or they may call one of the coastal ports to request information on space available shipment of POVs. Space available shipments are generally on US military supply vessels that may dock at locations a good distance from the service member's duty assignment. For example, the US Navy does space available POV shipments from the East Coast, but all vehicles must disembark in
Boats are considered household goods. Their weight counts against the total allowance. Within the U.S., any boat, with or without trailer, shorter than 14 feet will be shipped with the rest of the household goods. Boats, with or without trailers, over 14 feet long will require a special one time only shipping contract; this will be done by the transportation office. The service member is responsible for any extra expenses incurred for moving the boat, such as lift-on and lift-off services, or any other incidentals not normally involved with moving standard household. Shipping of boats can be VERY expensive, especially OCONUS. Charges can easily exceed $4,000. Storage of boats is authorized if soldier is moving OCONUS. Storage is usually self-storage and will be reimbursed upon return to the US. Within CONUS, soldiers are authorized to DITY move a boat to save money, even if the government moves other household goods.
Soldiers are authorized to move either a mobile home or household goods, but may not move both. A service member may elect to contract for a mover or may have the government move the mobile home. Movement of mobile homes usually requires a substantial out-of-pocket expense for the soldier. Government moves generally cost more. The transportation office will need at least 30 days notice in order to contract for movement of mobile homes. Some items (grandfather clocks, items that may fall or be damaged) cannot be shipped in a mobile home and will have to be shipped separately at the soldier's expense.
DITY (Do IT Yourself) Moves
The DITY program is offered to active duty service members as an alternate method of moving their household goods. Participation in this program is voluntary. The service member has the option of a DITY move, a government move, or a combination of both, called a partial DITY. Under the DITY program the service member is paid a monetary incentive of up to 95% of what it would have cost the government to move the actual weight or authorized weight, whichever is less. A DITY move must be authorized in advance of the actual movement by the Transportation Office using DD Form 2278. The move itself may be accomplished by using a POV, trailer, or rental service. The actual vehicle to be used must also be approved in advance. A service member may borrow a vehicle for use if they have a letter of authorization from the owner. In all cases utilizing a POV, the service member must provide POV registration to the transportation office at the time of the counseling. An advance operating expense, which is part of the total incentive, is authorized in connection with the DITY move if the service member will be utilizing a rental vehicle. No advance is authorized for service members utilizing POVs or to service members separating from the service. The cost of this move is at the soldier’s expense with payment upon completion of the move. Service members who do not process through the transportation office prior to making a DITY move will not be entitled to any incentive pay; they may receive only reimbursement of actual cost of the move, provided that receipts are produced.
• Actual moving costs that exceed the cost that the government would have spent are at your expense.
• You must obtain a certified weight ticket for the empty truck and the loaded truck.
• Vehicles are not included in the weight.
• You are authorized an advance of up to 60 percent of what it would have cost the government to move your goods.
• The vehicle used must be approved in advance.
• Final settlement is based on the actual weight moved.
• You must settle within 45 days of the start of your move. Settlement is done on a separate voucher, not the travel voucher.
• You will receive a separate W-2 Form for the DITY move. You must save this form and include this amount as income when filing your tax return. KEEPYOUR RECEIPTS so that you can take an adjustment to income on your tax return. Otherwise, you will end up paying tax on the entire amount of the DITY move pay.
• Obtain information and approval from the transportation office PRIOR TO making any arrangements with the rental company
• Map your route to new station to prevent additional miles/days charges. You local ACS office may be able to assist with trip planning.
Renting Moving Vans or Trucks
• Check and compare military rates and requirements
• Make reservations early.
• Remember to get a certified weight of the vehicle/trailer both empty and full. You cannot liquidate your claim without certified weights.
• Confirm vehicle size/capacity with the rental company. It’s better to be a little too big than a little too small.
• Pack books and other heavy items in small boxes. They are easier to handle that way.
• No box should weigh over 50 pounds.
Shipping Your POV
Within the United States, you must move your own POV by either driving it, towing it, or having someone else move it at your expense. If moving OCONUS, you may be entitled to have your POV shipped at government expense. The successful movement of your POV is a result of proper advance preparation and planning. It’s your POV. Ask questions. Be involved. Read what you sign. Contact your local transportation office prior to making any plans to ship a POV. The local transportation office can also provide the location of the nearest POV processing center.
NOTE: Ensure you have sufficient funds available in the event of unexpected delays/expenses to, from, or at the POV processing center. Suggest you call in advance. Who Can Ship A POV
The entitlement to ship a single POV is limited to a permanent change of station to, from, or between places overseas; or upon official change in home port of the vessel to which you are assigned. The transportation office will determine your entitlement based on your PCS orders.
- Only one POV owned or leased by you or your dependent and for your personal use may be shipped to your new duty station at Government expense.
- If you desire to make your own arrangements to ship an additional POV commercially, consult your sponsor and transportation office for any restrictions. You may have to pay an import duty on a second POV.
- Your local transportation office has information on specific United States and overseas host nation restrictions.
You may ship at Government expense a POV that does not exceed 20 measurement tons. Exceptions may be granted for medical reasons. A measurement ton equals 40 cubic feet.
A compact car averages about nine measurement tons; a full-size car, about 15. If you ship a pickup truck with a camper, a recreational vehicle, a panel truck converted to a camper, or similar vehicle that exceeds 20 measurement tons, you will be liable to pay transportation costs for any measurement ton in excess of 20. These costs will be collected in accordance with your military service’s regulations. Separatees must pay in advance of shipment. Exterior dimensions determine the size (measurement tons) of a vehicle; therefore, remove truck mirrors and other articles that extend from the vehicle and that could create excess cost.
Insurance and Licensing
United States. In some U.S. states, armed forces or host -nation vehicle registrations, license plates, and licenses either are not valid or are valid for only a very short time. Arrange to obtain these items prior to taking delivery of your POV. Most state motor vehicle divisions will accept registrations of POVs by mail. If you are returning from overseas, make arrangements prior to leaving your old duty station for the continental United States. You should insure your POV before taking delivery. Coverage must meet minimum requirements prescribed by the state where your next duty station is located.
Prior arrangements may save you money, as you will be able to compare prices offered by various insurance companies.
Overseas. Insurance, taxes, and licensing vary from country to country overseas. The best sources of information are your local transportation office and your overseas sponsor. Remember, you are responsible for obtaining insurance and licenses and paying any taxes. Be sure to check on these items well in advance of making your shipment. Insurance is often much more expensive overseas; research this matter carefully prior to making your shipment.
When to Ship
Time limitations on when you are entitled to ship your POV vary among the military services.
For Army and Air Force personnel:
- POVs will be accepted for shipment if delivered to the port within 90 days after the member or dependent has departed for an overseas tour of more than one year or within 30 days after the departure of the member on an overseas tour of duty of one year or less.
- When delivery to the port is delayed beyond 90 days, the POV may be shipped only with the approval of the overseas commander.
- For overseas tours of more than one year, you must have a minimum of one year to serve on the current overseas tour when the POV is delivered to the port.
For Navy/Marine Corps personnel:
- POVs will be accepted when at least 12 months remain to be served at their current overseas duty station at the time the vehicle is delivered to the loading port. An exception is allowed if the overseas area commander or your commanding officer certifies the vehicle is necessary in performance of official duties.
Only self-propelled, wheeled motor vehicles can be shipped. This includes automobiles, station wagons, jeeps, motorcycles, motor scooters, vans, and pickups. Other passenger-carrying, multipurpose motor vehicles designed for overland ground transportation not specifically listed above may qualify; however, these generally require a written certification stating the vehicle is for personal use as a passenger-carrying vehicle. POVs that are modified to be “low riders” must have at least 6 inches of clearance to prevent damage to POV during car carrier load/download. Also, POVs may not have a lift kit higher than 3 inches. NOTE: Host-country restrictions may apply; see your transportation office.