Thursday, November 8, 2012

Preparing Your Family for a Permanent Change of Station (PCS)

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Inform Spouse & Children

While your family knows that duty changes are an integral part of military life, informing them as early as possible when you learn of a permanent change of station is an important first step in preparing for a smooth transition.

First, of course, tell your spouse. He or she can begin preparation early. And you both can decide when and how to let your spouse’s employer know of the impending move.

Early discussion will give your children a chance to prepare themselves for the transition, as well as to spend time with friends, take pictures and exchange contact information before the move.

Bottom line: Make your family a part of the moving process at the outset. Help them learn more about the new location, including schools, job options, the local attractions and more. You can turn potential trauma into possible delight by building excitement and anticipation.

Visit Your Base Transportation Office and Finance office

It’s important to review all of your leave, travel and relocation entitlements with the Base Transportation Office and Finance Office as soon as you receive your orders. You can also encourage you family to visit for details including:

Travel Entitlements - mileage, per diem and dislocation allowance
Basic Allowance for Housing
Temporary Lodging Expense
Family Separation Allowance
Enlisted Meal Deductions
Advance Military Pay
Advance Basic Allowance for Housing
Cost of Living Allowance
Overseas Housing Allowance - OCONUS Only

Contact Movers or Freight Shippers

If your new station is more than a hundred miles away, contact long-distance movers early for price quotes and availability. Save money by packing everything yourself. And if your move is a relatively small one, consider splitting your household goods between a small move specialist (to move your furniture and other large, unboxed items) and a freight shipper (to transport boxes). The reason? You can save here too. With both types of service, cost is based on weight. (Movers call it “dimensional weight,” which is a way of translating the amount of cubic feet your items will occupy on a truck into normal weight.) Freight transport costs less per lb. than a moving service.

Call Housing, Realtor or Landlord

Be sure to provide as much notice as possible to the housing office if you are living in government quarters, to a Realtor if you need to sell a home, or to a Landlord to place a rental property on the market.

Inform School, Church and Community Groups

Notify schools, churches and community groups you belong to so that they can prepare to transfer records to your new location and assist with the transition.

Notify Utility, Cable, Phone, Newspaper & USPS

Contact utility, cable, phone newspaper and any other companies you do business with to stop service and notify them of your forwarding address. Contact other businesses like your bank, credit card companies or anyone that sends you mail to change your address. Complete a change of address form at the post office.

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