ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- A policy change addressing how payments are made for non-temporary storage costs charged to Soldiers retiring or separating from service went into effect Dec. 1, 2014.

Under the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) policy change, Soldiers who separate from service are responsible for making direct payments to the operators of storage facilities 180 days after the effective date of separation. Retirees must begin making direct payments one year after the effective date of retirement.

The JTR allows Soldiers who retire or separate from service a shipment of household goods, or an NTS lot, moved into a storage facility after retirement or separation. The government then pays the storage costs up to 180 days after separation or one year after retirement. Storage costs beyond the authorization period is the responsibility of the retiree and separatee.

Prior to this recent change, the government continued to fund storage costs on behalf of former service members beyond their 180-day or one-year entitlement period. Storage costs were fixed at the government rate, which is generally lower than the commercial rate charged by storage facilities for commercial customers. Service members were required to reimburse the government for storage costs outside the authorized storage period at the government rate.

On Dec. 1, 2014, the new policy went into effect and the government ceased funding storage costs outside the entitlement period. All former service members, whether retired or separated, are now responsible and must commence payment for any storage costs when their entitlement expires. The government will no longer act as an agent or go-between, and the government will authorize service providers to convert storage lots to commercial accounts in the names of the individual retired and separated Soldiers.

Letters informing retirees and separatees of these changes began going out in late January 2015.

Not later than 45 days before the first day of the month when the NTS authorization is due to expire, the Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO) must notify the customer. If email contact has not been made with the customer by the 45th day, the PPSO must send a certified letter to the customer of the impending NTS authorization expiration. Soldiers must contact the operator of the storage facility to begin making payments at the commercial rate upon expiration, or remove their goods from storage. Soldiers who separate or retire from service are being informed of the policy change during mandatory face-to-face counseling provided to all retirees and separatees.

Retirees and separatees are informed at the end of the NTS entitlement that the storage converts to a commercial account. The retiree or separatee is responsible for all storage costs to include, but not limited to, the monthly storage cost after expiration, full replacement insurance, and/or loss or damage costs. The retiree or separatee must contact the storage facility to make/obtain the storage costs and make payment arrangements.

Retirees and separatees who have questions about this policy change, or have requests for any additional information on their NTS entitlement including exception requests, delivery, or entitlement expiration dates should contact the transportation office at the nearest military installation.

They may also contact the U.S. Army Sustainment Command at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois at