By Melissa Renahan, Military Spouse and Writer
If you are PCSing for the first time, are an expert PCS’r or if you know someone in the process, our PCS Chronicles can help. In Chronicle #1, we addressed housing options, #2 dealt with your stuff and in #3 we addressed pets and the PCS. In each of these topics, we hope to lower your stress with better and more information and hopefully save you some cash in the process! So, now let’s talk about the actual move itself. If you’re a saver and you’re organized, you can pocket more money by doing the move yourself. Our PPM vs. JPPSO article explores your options (including partial PPM), entitlements and more tips and resources.
“We’ve done both move types and the money we saved wasn’t at all worth my sanity! Plus if the military breaks things during the move they have to pay you for it…” said one Facebook fan.
What to Expect With Your PCS Briefing
It’s Up to You
If your PCS is CONUS, the choice is yours to drive or fly there and let the military movers handle your STUFF, move some of it yourself in the car with you, or – for the brave of heart – move it all yourself. The military compensates you in varying ways for each of these and weighing the pros and cons of each is a good idea before making that final decision.
First off, you are entitled to the following: military members and their families who are PCSing get a flat rate, per day for their lodging, meals and incidentals expenses (M&IE) while traveling. They also get a flat rate, per mile, for each vehicle they drive to their new duty station. Because of this, you do not submit lodging receipts or gas receipts when you file your paperwork to receive your PCS pay at your new duty location. Servicemembers can also request an advance of these monies prior to PCSing to help with the travel costs rather than just a lump sum once you are checked into the new duty station.
Letting the movers do the work: When you fully utilize the Joint Personal Property Shipping Office (or generically transportation office), commonly known as JJPSO, you aren’t really expected to do anything – from packing a box to moving furniture out of one house and into the next.
If the military is moving all of your stuff, you will only receive the per diem and mileage (if you drove) amounts. You do not receive any reimbursement for your household goods, but the military is responsible to reimburse you for anything that breaks in the move, which provide peace of mind for many.
Doing some, or all, of the moving yourself: The Partial DITY and the full DITY means that you are paid a flat, per pound, per mile rate to move your own household goods, in addition to the per diem and mileage money.
Fees and Gas are reduced from the taxable amount – for example, $400 in gas, $1500 UHAUL and $20 in weighing fees are reduced from the total amount of your PCS payment for tax purposes only. You do not actually get the money back. Rental vehicles (like U-Haul) are not reimbursed, but you can claim them to reduce your total taxable amount.
The partial DITY is by far the most popular choice among the military since they get the best of both worlds: money for the weight of the things you are moving yourself (which is also helpful since you can bring things you’ll need right away like some kitchen gear, bedding, an air mattress and even towels) and the guarantee that the military will be moving the heavy stuff.
A full DITY is also when people find themselves looking to downsize and get rid of some of their unnecessary stuff. Rather than hosting an exhausting garage sale, listing select items that will sell and bring in some extra cash before you hit the road on SargesList can really make your move easier.
At the end of the day, doing a DITY or even a partial DITY will most likely get you more money, but you have to factor in the headache of moving with a completely filled vehicle, not to mention maybe having to rent a van or truck; however, it doesn’t matter if you move some of or all of your stuff, the military pays a flat rate and does not reimburse for gas or expenses.
Which is why, for many military families, the DITY option is more trouble than it’s worth.
“After hurting my back just moving furniture within our own house, a DITY will never be worth it to me. You can replace things that get broken, but not the full use of your back!” said one spouse.
- Keep your spouse informed
- Make an educated decision (money isn’t always worth it)
- Make it an adventure!
Here’s to a smooth move!
PCS Chronicles #6 | PCS and Careers for Military Spouses
PCS Chronicles #5 | Your Wheels (POV) and Your PCS
PCS Chronicles #3 | Pets and Your PCS
PCS Chronicles #2 | Moving at High Speed, Low Drag
PCS Chronicles #1 | Housing First!