What Active-Duty Members Need to Know for a PCS Move Back to the US

When you’re assigned a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move back to the United States from an overseas station, you want to be prepared to make your move smoothly and easily, armed with the knowledge you need to ease the transition. Firefighting’s Finest Movers & Storage can help you navigate this situation, because we’ve been there before. Our company was founded by firefighters who are also former members of the military. Here are some important factors and steps you need to consider to take the headache out of your PCS move back home.

Understand Entitlements and Benefits

Begin to familiarize yourself with the entitlements and benefits available for a PCS move. This includes allowances for moving and travel expenses, temporary lodging expenses, and shipment of household goods. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) and Military OneSource are reliable sources for detailed information on these entitlements.

Start Planning and Organizing

Planning should begin as soon as orders are received. This includes arranging transportation for family members and pets, organizing important documents, and scheduling appointments with the transportation office for moving household goods. Utilizing checklists and timelines provided by military resources can be extremely helpful.

Get the Jump on Your New Living Situation in the US

If you already have a home waiting for you when you get back, you may need to consider giving notice to tenants if you rented your property while you were away, or you might need to check in with your property manager to get it prepared for your return, contact a cleaning company, and make sure your home isn’t in need of any immediate updates or repairs. If you’re without lodging awaiting your return, you will want to apply for on-base housing or explore off-base housing markets. Tools like the Housing Service Office (HSO) and Automated Housing Referral Network (AHRN) provide valuable assistance in this area.

Healthcare and Education

Maintaining the continuity of healthcare and eductation for you and your family is something that you should not overlook. Start researching school districts and educational opportunities in your new home area. This will give you an idea of what to expect and may inform your decision-making process if you are going to be looking for a new residence. The School Liaison Program offers information you might find invaluable. For healthcare continuity, Tricare provides guidance on transferring healthcare services.

Financial Preparedness

A PCS move can have significant financial implications. Service members should create a budget to manage moving expenses and understand the cost of living in the new location. Financial counseling services available through military support programs can provide guidance.

Cultural Adjustment and Community Integration

Returning to the US after an overseas assignment can require a period of cultural readjustment. Service members and their families might face challenges in acclimatizing to life back in the US. Support systems like Military Family Readiness Centers and community groups on military installations can offer resources and programs to assist in this transition.

Employment for Spouses

Spousal employment can be a significant concern during a PCS move. Resources like the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) and the Department of Defense Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program can assist spouses in finding employment in the new location.

Transportation of Vehicles and Pets

Shipping vehicles and moving pets require specific attention. Service members should understand the policies and costs associated with vehicle shipping and pet relocation, including quarantine regulations if applicable.

Legal and Administrative Requirements

You will want to update your legal documents, including wills and power of attorney. Don’t overlook administrative tasks such as updating your DEERS (Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System) information.

More Support Services and Resources

Numerous support services are available to assist with your PCS move that can offer guidance on every aspect of the PCS move, from logistics to emotional support. We’ve linked to many of them above, but for easy access, here’s a list of the topmost-used sources.

  1. Military OneSource: This platform provides a comprehensive range of resources for military moves, including relocation assistance and personalized support. It offers detailed information about military bases worldwide, check-in procedures, housing options, and contacts for various programs and services​​​​​​.
  2. My.Move.Mil: Developed by USTRANSCOM, this site supports the relocation of military families during PCS. It’s a newer system currently available by invitation and will gradually become more widely accessible. Service members can use it for move scheduling and to get assistance with their relocation process​​.
  3. Plan My Move: This service, available through Military OneSource, allows military service members and their families to create custom PCS checklists tailored to their specific move, whether CONUS or OCONUS. These checklists include tasks with links to related resources, making it easier to manage and track all aspects of the move​​.
  4. Military.com: Offers tips and advice for preparing for a PCS move, including deals to help manage PCS-related expenses. This site can be a helpful guide for service members looking to ease the financial burden of moving​​.
  5. MyMilitaryBenefits: Provides support resources for military moves, including counseling services through the Military and Family Life Counseling Program. This can be especially beneficial for families dealing with the stress and anxiety associated with moving and adjusting to a new location​​.

If you need assistance with your military PCS move back to the U.S., call Firefighting’s Finest Moving & Storage. Our off-duty firefighters provide efficient, safe, and professional commercial and home moving services. Guided by integrity, we’re the reliable moving partner you can trust. Founded in 2001 by two off-duty firefighters, we’ve grown to serve not only the Dallas/Fort Worth area, but also Houston and Austin as well. A locally-owned-and-operated business, we exceed all state and federal requirements for a moving company and can handle all your moving needs. Call 844-715-6625 or get an online estimate.