Thursday, July 17, 2008

Smart planning leads to smooth moves

Moving does not have to be a daunting task. With some planning and guidance from your Transportation Management Office (TMO) you can greatly reduce the anxiety many people associate with moving.

To make your move easier, take an active role and do some homework in advance before meeting with your TMO. Learn about the different types of military moves, moving tips and resources that are available to you and your family. Here are some options to keep in mind as you plan your move.

Permanent Change of Station (PCS) Allowances and Entitlements
Allowances and entitlements associated with CONUS (within the contiguous 48 states) and OCONUS (outside the U.S.) moves change periodically, so check with your finance office on the exact amount. The installation housing office can assist you with arranging for temporary lodging, real estate resources and the availability of government housing.

Household Goods
Household goods (HHG) are all items associated with the home such as furniture and appliances, and all personal effects that can be legally transported by an authorized commercial transporter. The following items are not categorized as HHG:

  • Automobiles, trucks, vans and similar motor vehicles
  • Airplanes, mobile homes, camper trailers and farming vehicles
  • Live animals including birds, fish and reptiles
  • Cordwood and building materials
  • Items for resale, disposal or commercial use rather than for use by the member and dependents
  • Privately owned live ammunition

    Personally Owned Vehicle (POV)
    If you are moving overseas, only one POV can be transported at government expense. There may be some restrictions, or you may have to pay an import duty fee. Consult with your TMO if you want to make arrangements for a second POV.

    Do-it-yourself (DITY) movesor Personally Procured Transportation Moves
    DITY⁄PPM moves put you in charge of your move, and with planning, can put extra money into your pocket. Under this program, you receive an incentive entitlement payment of 95% of the Government Constructive Cost (GCC). You are then responsible for using this money to fund your move – and whatever is left over is yours to keep.

    The government can authorize an advance operating allowance to defray upfront moving expenses. Move allowances are determined by your rank and family members. A typical advance is 65 percent of your move allocation. After the HHG are delivered to you home you collect the remaining 30 percent. The TMO⁄Joint Personal Property Service Office (JPPSO) can give you a prediction of your reimbursement based on the weight of your goods. It is up to you to provide an accurate weight estimate.

    For example, if your move allowance is $5,000 and the cost of the move is estimated at $2,000, you will keep the $2,750 (95 percent of $5,000 is $4,750) difference. Under this program you may move your HHG yourself using a rental truck, your own vehicle or a portable moving container. If you are considering a rental truck, be sure to factor in the cost of fuel, mileage charges and penalties if you run over schedule. In the past, a DITY⁄PPM move consisted of driving a cumbersome truck or hitching a trailer to your car while hoping that nothing goes wrong. Now, with portable containers you do not have to drive the truck, rush to pack your things and worry about filling up the truck with expensive fuel. With the portable containers, you load the container, they do the driving and provide storage if needed. You can get to your next duty station at your own pace with no stress. Just remember to include the add-on costs of the weight tickets and figure the difference between your estimated reimbursement and expected expenses to determine if the DITY⁄PPM option is the right one for you.

    The DITY process follows these basic steps:

    Contact your TMO⁄JPPSO. The TMO⁄JPPSO can become very busy, especially during the height of the moving season. Call them to set up an appointment well ahead of your move, preferably two months in advance. In the case of DITY moves, you will receive a form that must be submitted at your next destination to receive reimbursement.

    Decide on the strategy for your move. (HHG move or DITY⁄PPM)

    Choose from the options available for a DITY⁄PPM move. (POV, truck, trailer or portable moving container)

    Pack and load your belongings
    Travel to your new home
    Unload your belongings
    File for Reimbursement from the government and provide the government with the weight tickets and receipts for moving expenses.