PCS moves are a big part of military life.
In the upcoming months, military families will see new changes to the ways PCS moves are handled. Some is in part due to the new Coronavirus outbreak and others were positive planned changes to make PCS moves more efficient.
As of now, most military families and service members have a hold on PCS orders.
But when transportation crews can start moving service members again, some new changes — like in-transit alerts — will be coming down the line.
Curious about the new changes?
Here’s what you need to know for current and upcoming PCS moves:
Stop Movement Order in Place
On March 13, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a stop movement order that prevents service members from PCSing. This means moving companies shouldn’t plan to pick-up or pack-out any household goods until confirmed with the Personal Property Officer that it’s okay to continue.
“Deliveries of household goods, unaccompanied baggage, and non-temporary storage lots should continue as scheduled,” according to a DoD immediate release statement.
The temporary ban lasts until May 15 as of right now.
On March 25, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper put a 60-day stop movement order out for all DoD uniformed and civilian personnel and family members overseas.
Military families impacted by the stop movement order should speak to their chain of command and Personal Property Office to determine next steps. This may include the need for a waiver from leadership to continue relocating. Service members with expiring leases or a sold house may have items picked up and stored in a local storage unit until the order is lifted.
Learn more here about what the travel ban means for you.
Soldiers Can Request an Extra Year at Current Duty Station
Because of the current COVID-19 outbreak, movements of service members are delayed thanks to the stop movement order and other directives.
Soldiers who may have been preparing for a PCS have the ability to request to stay at their current duty station for up to a year. New Army guidelines in particular allow for the deferment of assignment if they expect to “face hardship” due to a PCS move.
Of course, not all requests will be granted. This is especially true for those who are considered mission-essential personnel who need to move.
The Army Human Resources Command has an emergency hotline to assist Soldiers and their families with PCS or TDY questions at 1-800-582-5552.
Other Noteworthy PCS Move Changes
According to recent interviews with the press, the U.S. Transportation Command is also working on updating the Mov.mil website, which is the official DoD customer moving portal. This is where military families arrange moving services.
The following changes should begin after May 15, 2020.
In addition to the above immediate changes, here are a few other PCS move updates to expect:
- Movers must pass background checks – In the past, military families have had concerns about transportation employees who hadn’t passed background checks. Under a new rule, the U.S. Transportation Command requires any government contracted transportation provider to run background checks on all employees. Additionally, these employees must be able to get base access requirements.
- Expect alerts during the PCS process – Moving is stressful enough. Add in the fact that strangers are moving your household goods, and it becomes even more overwhelming. In the upcoming months, service members will get important alerts, including an estimated arrival date for their household goods.
- Longer claim process period – Currently, if you need to make a claim regarding a broken or lost item, you have 75 days to notify the moving company. Beginning in May, military families now have 180 days for reporting lost or damaged items.
Given the current COVID-19 outbreak, it’s hard to say what may be delayed when it comes to implementing the changes. Stay in touch with your Personal Property Office at your current command for details on your own PCS orders.
Want more content around PCS orders and moving? Check these out:
- Coronavirus and PCS Orders: What the Travel Ban Means for You
- First PCS Move? Here’s How to Prepare
- 5 Tips for Preparing to PCS With Kids
Need more details on how to handle new PCS orders? Check out Move.mil for moving guides, tutorials, and FAQs.
Feature image courtesy of Fort Benning Public Affairs Office. Photo by Markeith Horace