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PCS Information

Helpful Guides
It's Your Move, A Guide to a PCS

Will the Marine Corps pay to move us?
Yes, as long as you were married before the date of his orders to a new duty station were cut, TMO will move your belongings. Or you can do what's called a DITY (Do it yourself move) and you will be reimbursed at a pre-determined level. I suggest not doing this (we did and it was more hassle than it was worth). DLA (Dislocation Allowance) helps defray some of the costs of moving when you have PCS orders.

How does the housing allowance work?
Housing Allowance is for those who live off of base. If you live off base, you receive BAH -- basic allowance for housing. If you choose to live in base housing, which can be located on or off base, you do not pay rent or utilities. You forfeit your BAH. You receive it, then it is taken back -- it's listed on his/her LES (pay stub) as an allotment.

Base housing includes your heat, electricity, water/sewer, and garbage service. Some places (very few) have lawn service contracts, but most you'll need a lawnmower. You pay for your own Cable, Internet, and Telephone services.

Note: If you live off base, make sure your lease has a military clause in it allowing you to break your lease in case you have to PCS again during your lease term.

( Note: Look HERE to find your BAH rates. BAH is based on the duty station zip code, not where you actually live (unless your Marine is overseas on PCS orders (not deployment) and you stayed in the U.S. Then it would be based on your actual zip code.) so make sure to look it up by base zip code.

What is TMO?
TMO is the Traffic Management Office (the movers basically). They may outsource your actual hauling to a company such as Mayflower, but they are responsible for your belongings getting from point A to point B.

Your Marine will have to meet up with them and give them an estimate of how much stuff you have. He doesn't have to be exact on the number of items, but a close estimate is needed. They will have him fill out a form where he fills in how many items you have of such and such (i.e. dressers, beds, clothes, etc.), mainly so the movers know how many boxes to bring.

When the movers get there, they will pack everything for you. If you already have it boxed up, some moving companies will mark them "self-packed", but some will unpack the boxes. They do this for inventory reasons and also to ensure that everything is packed properly. They will write up an inventory list and you will get a copy of it (if they don't give you a copy tell them you need a copy and make sure you get it). Your husband needs to make sure that he lists you as his Agent on the TMO form, so you can accept the shipment when it arrives, otherwise he will have to be there.

More then likely you will be at your destination for a month or more (we had a friend who waited 8 months) before your belongings arrive. So it is highly recommended that you do NOT allow them to pack anything you will need right away (take that stuff with you instead). I suggest taking anything that you would be heartbroken if you lost or if it got broke (i.e. your wedding album, wedding video, or grandma's old china that has been in the family for generations). I also suggest taking at least a weeks worth of clothes for all family members. Remember it could take a while for your stuff to arrive.

I also suggest you photograph, videotape, and get an appraisal on jewelry (if you must pack your jewelry, otherwise this should be taken with you) your more valuable possessions so you have proof if you need to file a claim for them, should they be damaged or lost in transit.

SIDE NOTE: If you are moving away from him voluntarily (i.e. moving home while he is deployed), you will not rate a TMO move. If he is retiring, you are not eligible for a TMO move until his retirement package has been submitted.

We've got orders to move -- What do I need to know, have, or do?
Make sure you have a current Power of Attorney. See the Power of Attorney page if you need more information about that. Your Marine can get it done at the JAG office and bring it home to you. Also make sure you have your marriage license, birth certificates for all, wills, and medical records for all with you (DO NOT PACK THOSE ITEMS)

We're moving out of state -- Do we need to change our driver's license?
You have to work by the rules of the state you are moving to. Some states allow spouses of military to keep their old license, some don't. Guidelines for each state can be found at this link . The military member is exempt from changing their license. Don't forget to call your insurance company, you can have your car registered in your home state but it has to be insured in the state you actually reside in.

How can I check out schools for my kids?
For information on DOD schools - including some in the continental US - check HERE for a listing.

What are the child seat belt laws for each of the states?
Check out Car Seat Laws for the United States and Canada

How can I learn about the different bases we may be sent to?
Check out our USMC Bases Page

What is base housing like?
Housing can range from run-down newly remodeled and gorgeous. It depends very much on where you are stationed. Asking in our forums is probably your best bet for current conditions. Most bases are trying to re-do housing, either by building brand new housing or remodeling the old houses.

Can we have pets in housing?
If you have pets, limit yourself to two. That is the normal limit for pets. Also when you go overseas, quarantine can be lengthy and expensive.

What all does base housing include, and what does it cost?
Base housing is an unfurnished 2 or more bedroom home, usually in single family homes or townhouse-type arrangements. It has a stove and refrigerator. Some have a dishwasher, air conditioning, and/or laundry hookups. You will need to have your own washer and dryer as they are not included. Living in base housing doesn't cost anything, they just keep your BAH.

What about orders for overseas?
Most Marines do overseas tours about every 4-7 years. The overseas tours come in two varieties, and you may not have a choice about the matter.

Unaccompanied. These tours are currently two years in duration. Unaccompanied is just what it sounds like, the Marine cannot bring his family. While he is stationed overseas, he'll receive BAH for wherever you live in his pay, in order to maintain your household.

Accompanied. These tours are 3 years long, and the family can come along. The children will attend Department of Defense schools on base. (See link above to get info on DOD schools.) Be aware that family pets may have to be quarantined, and all family members must receive medical screening before going overseas.

Our Personal Vehicle is being shipped to us. When will it get here?
Check out Where Is My POV

8 Programs that can help you with your PCS Move.

1.) Dislocation Assistance (DLA): The DLA helps with miscellaneous moving costs. And, this benefit is paid once per PCS move. DLA is available in CONUS and OCUNUS and is a multiple of your BAH.

However, the DLA is not available under four conditions:

From home to your first duty station.

When assigned to government quarters, without family members, at new duty station.

When transferred to a nearby duty station, unless a local move of household goods has been preauthorized.

When separating or retiring from the military.

2.) Monetary Allowance in Lieu of Transportation (MALT): The MALT is the amount paid when a member and/or the member’s family drive to their new duty station, based on the Official Military Table of Distances. However, approval is needed before MALT can be paid for more than two vehicles.

Here’s how MALT is figured:

If the first and second vehicle contains: 

One authorized traveler: $.15 per mile
Two authorized travelers: $.17 per mile
Three authorized travelers: $.19 per mile
Four authorized travelers: $.20 per mile

3.) Move-in Housing Allowance (MIHA): The allowance is designed to reimburse you for overseas costs associated with living in privately-owned or privately-leased quarters. It addresses three specific needs: one-time rent-related expenses, modification of homes for security protection and the initial costs of making a home habitable.

4.) Per Diem Allowance: The Per Diem Allowance is designed to reimburse you and your family for the costs associated with meals and lodging when you travel to your new duty station.

For PCS travel using own personal vehicle, your per diem is set at the flat Standard CONUS rate ($99.00 as of 10/1/2005). Your per diem when traveling by commercial means is based on the rate for your new Permanent Duty Station or the rate any delay point if you stop overnight.

Per diem for accompanying dependents is 3/4 of your applicable rate for each dependent age 12 or older and 1/2 of the your rate for each dependent under age 12.

5.) Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA): The TLA is designed to partly offset the cost of temporary housing and meals incurred while waiting for permanent lodging. The benefit is calculated using a formula that factors in the member’s pay grade, number of family members, actual quarter costs, the availability of cooking facilities and the local per diem rate.

Additionally, a single service member is entitled to up to 65 percent of either the cost of meals and incidental expenses or the local per diem rate. A service member and one family member are entitled to up to 65 percent of the local per diem rate. Add another 25 percent for each additional family member under the age of 12, and 35 percent for each family member 12 and older.

6.) Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE): The TLE is designed to partially reimburse relocating members and families for the cost of meals and lodging incurred when temporary housing is needed.

TLE is calculated in the same way TLE is figured.

7.) Advance Basic Pay: This is basically an interest-free loan you can get when you make a permanent change of station move. The collateral is your military salary. You normally repay advance basic pay in 12 equal installments. The advanced basic pay is figured using three months’ basic pay in advance — interest free.

Normally, basic pay advances are paid back over a period of 12 months, starting a month after the allowance is drawn. However, regulations permit a 24-month pay back period under certain conditions. Your base pay and finance office can provide details.

8.) Advanced Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA): Advance OHA is an advance against any projected OHA to cover the difference between the cost of non base rental housing and the BAH. Except in unusual cases, advances are limited to 12 months’ OHA.

The OHA advance is based on your expenses, but normally shouldn't’t exceed one year’s allowances.

Remember: Programs can change, so it’s essential that you ask the installation family center relocation manager for program updates whenever you plan to move.


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