PCS refers to Permanent Change of Station orders. When military members are given their PCS orders, they must move from one duty station to another. Fortunately, the military pay for PCS, but it has some limitations. Your move is usually handled either by the transportation management office (TMO), or you can opt for the do-it-yourself (DITY) move. Either option comes with its own pros and cons.
How Does the Military Pay for PCS?
While the military pay for PCS, the amount depends on your pay grade and the number of dependents. We’ve mentioned that there are two ways you can plan your move: TMO or DITY. If you choose the TMO route, it is certainly less hassle for you because they will plan the move for you. The TMO will have partnerships all over the country. Hence it will be easier for them to coordinate the delivery of your things to the new station. However, this does not necessarily mean that this is the most cost-effective way. If the weight or distance of the PCS is greater than what the government is covering, then you will have to pay for the remaining balance. On average, service members spend about $1,700-$2,000 in non-reimbursable costs per move, which could be due to additional expenses you may incur during the move. Remember, the government does not cover costs associated with temporary housing, such as hotel stays and food, during your transfer to the new station. Make sure to consult with your military branch and transportation office to find out what costs will be and won’t be covered. This will help you financially prepare for the move.
On the other hand, DITY offers you the opportunity to make some extra cash. This is because the government will reimburse you 95% of what it would cost them to move your things up to your maximum authorized weight allowance. In other words, if you spend much less than what the government expects, you still get 95% of their estimated cost. The military will also supply you with $25,000 in insurance coverage. For this reason, there is a high appeal for the DITY option. The downside of this is that it does mean you will have to monitor and coordinate everything for your move. Unlike the TMO, where you can be more hands-off, this one will require you to do your research and find the best commercial moving company for your destination.
Now that you know how the military pay for PCS, you will start to feel more confident about your move. But be aware that you must keep a record of all your expenses. You never know what is reimbursable or not, so it is best to keep track of all the money you spend. Perhaps the government will reimburse you for expenses you did not know were included. The key to managing your finances for your PCS transfer is to be prepared and keep track of everything.