Moving tips for the military Family

By Amber Avalona-Butler/ParaglideAugust 13, 2010

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Packing tape, boxes, cleaning supplies and house hunting ... the average Family moves once every six years, but this rate can double for military Families who often relocate according to Army needs. This leads to a gypsy lifestyle, where military Families become expert at all things mobile.

Army Community Service, located on the third floor of the Soldier Support Center, offers a monthly, first-term permanent change of station Money and Moving class for Soldiers and spouses. The volume of information also makes this an excellent resource for Families looking to hone their moving and benefits know-how.

"Anticipating your next move is important because when your orders finally arrive, you may have only a few weeks before you hit the road," according to the military Families money and mobility brochure, which is distributed during first term PCS Money and Moving classes.

According to the military Families money and mobility brochure, "The military Family that travels best is the one that travels light." The brochure says Soldiers receive instructions on a military-sponsored move when they're handed PCS orders. A number of professional and personal factors come into play, including a Soldier's rank, new duty location (continental United States vs. outside the continental United States) and number of dependents.

These factors determine reimbursement rates for temporary lodging expenses, per diem rates, dislocation allowance and other reimbursable expenses.

"Keep all receipts related to your move. Put them in a central place, such as a separate file folder or even a shoe box," advises the money and mobility brochure. Dave Goodman, instructor with the ACS financial readiness program, advised keeping other important documents - marriage certificates, wills, birth certificates, medical documents, military orders, powers of attorney - in luggage or another accessible place.

If possible, submit a change of address with the post office before leaving town to travel to your new home. This ensures that important mail is waiting for you, not caught in limbo. Families without paper shredders may take outdated documents to the Fort Bragg classified destruction building, where materials are shredded "into dust" according to Goodman.

Concerned about basic housing allowance' The allowance is paid at Fort Bragg rates until a Soldier officially arrives at his/her duty station. Family separation allowance applies if a Soldier PCS' to a station before the Family (31 days or more) or without the Family entirely. This applies to OCONUS duty assignments like Korea, or in cases where the Family stays behind to let children finish a school year. FSA currently pays at $250 per month.

Temporary lodging expenses (to offset temporary lodging and meals in CONUS before you sign out of a unit):

CONUS to CONUS maximum benefit 10 days

CONUS to OCONUS maximum benefit five days

Exception to the rule: PCS to Fort Drum, N.Y.; maximum benefit 20 days

$180 per day maximum reimbursement

Soldiers must file a TLE claim at the new duty station to receive reimbursement. On-post lodging restricts pets, so ask for a statement of non-availability from the post lodge. This ensures reimbursement at off-post lodging rates versus. Without the statement of non-availability, TLE reimbursement automatically pays at on-post lodging rates.

Per diem

Authorized for meals and lodging

Standard rate paid without meal receipts, must have lodging receipt

$116 per day for servicemembers; $87 per day for dependents over 12 years of age; $58 per day for dependents under 12 years

This is a flat allowance; Soldiers do not have to justify expenses.

This information applies to government PCS moves. Families may also choose a do-it-yourself or partial DITY move, as long as the combined weight remains at, or below, the total weight allowance.