Over the last few years, the Army has worked diligently to streamline permanent change of station (PCS) processes and policies to provide a safe, quality and user-friendly way to move Soldiers and Families. The changes are designed to provide Soldiers and Families options, resources, and flexibility to alleviate moving stress as much as possible. Like last year, the Army anticipates move-related challenges will persist during June, July, August, and possibly into September as a result of moving industry shortfalls. The U.S. market is experiencing a 25 percent reduction in moving company labor that will continue to impact household good (HHG) moves.
To help Soldiers and Families throughout the move process, the Army has made changes including entitlements, an expanded claims notification deadline and a redesigned Army PCS Move App. The Army will continue to strive to hold moving and storage companies accountable, and provide Soldiers and Families better expectation management throughout their PCS process.
Some of the improvements in place for this year’s PCS process include:
- The reimbursement for personally procured moves (PPMs) increased to 100 percent of what it would have cost the government to use a DoD moving company. Soldiers who perform PPMs receive an additional allowance for fuel surcharge, debris removal, grandfather clock servicing, and payment for movement of bulky items: motorcycles, boats, pianos, big screen TVs and hot-tubs. To reduce the administrative burden for Soldiers conducting a personally procured move, G-4 changed the policy to allow the use of on-line commercial standard empty weights for rental vehicles and vehicle registration weights for privately owned vehicles in lieu of empty weight tickets. Full weight tickets are still required to document the actual weight of HHGs moved. Soldiers can elect to obtain an empty weight ticket if he/she believes the commercial standard empty weight is incorrect.
- If Soldiers and Families elect to hire their own moving company, they must ensure receipt of full and empty weight tickets. The Army recommends using a commercial mover who is registered with the federal government at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website, and to check the mover’s reviews on the Better Business Bureau website.
- We updated policies and processes to provide PCS orders to Soldiers and Civilians 120 days prior to report dates to enable better forecasting and scheduling.
- The Army offers reimbursement for inconvenience claims for up to seven days of per diem and incidentals when a moving company fails to pick-up or deliver as agreed.
- U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) increased the claim notification deadline to 180 days after delivery to identify any loss/damage coupled with the choice to repair or receive full repair costs.
- The goal of quality assurance inspectors is to provide an in-person inspection for at least 75 percent of moves. In CY21 the Army inspected 90 percent of approximately 123,000 shipments.
- The SmartVoucher process reduces travel payments to less than two days.
- The Army PCS Move, Digital Garrison, and PCS My POV Apps are available for free download in Google Play and the Apple Store. The Army PCS Move APP is linked with the Digital Garrison APP and provides a plethora of information related to PCS moves such as transportation guidelines, entitlements, locators, claims, moving videos and spouse information - guiding users to the proper resources for a successful PCS transition. The Army PCS Move App has a live CHAT feature with a transportation counselor at the centralized Army Virtual Call Center, phone number 1-800-521-9959.
- The USTRANSCOM 24/7 hotline provides answers for HHG questions (1-833-MIL-MOVE).
Planning is critical in a move. These steps should be followed as soon as orders are received:
Step 2: Visit the transportation office immediately upon receipt of orders to schedule the move and receive counseling. Designate a seven-day calendar spread with desired and last available pickup dates. For personally owned vehicle (POV) shipment or storage to an overseas location, go to PCS MyPOV or call International Auto Logistics at (855) 389-9499.
Step 3: If a HHG pickup or delivery is delayed, Soldiers can file an inconvenience claim with the moving company to be reimbursed for some of the related expenses. To file a claim: A. Notify the Transportation Service Provider (TSP) of your intention to file a claim; B. Request the inconvenience claim form from your TSP; C. Contact your local transportation office for assistance.
Step 4: A new third-party text and email based/smart phone accessible survey process deployed in May 2022, allowing for simplified feedback on both government services provided and moving company performance.
Step 5: Within 180 days, file a claim within the Defense Personal Property System if items were lost or damaged during the move.
Local transportation offices, Military OneSource, and the live chat function on the Army PCS Move app are great resources for information and support during the planning and moving process. Here are links to these key resources:
PPM Approved Movers with rights handbook: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/protect-your-move