Frequent relocations are part of military life. Moving can be challenging and stressful to Department of Defense personnel and their families, but many service members and their families learn to thrive on the new experiences and opportunities for personal and professional growth afforded them through this mobile lifestyle. Relocation service providers help families navigate moving-related challenges by providing counseling, planning assistance, information, referrals and education on how to minimize the stress and maximize the benefits of military life and frequent permanent change of station moves. To ensure a smooth move, start planning early using the many relocation assistance services and tools available.
Basic relocation programs and services
- Individual PCS planning - Most military and family support centers offer one-on-one consultation for anyone needing assistance. In particular, those making their first military move, first overseas move, or those with challenging and complex situations such as special needs family members or financial problems should schedule an appointment with the military and family support center.
- MilitaryINSTALLATIONS and Plan My Move - For managing and planning your move, use these two DoD-sponsored online relocation tools with information on more than 250 installations worldwide. You can estimate expenses, find the forms necessary for housing and household goods, keep a calendar of events and take other necessary actions to ensure a successful move.
- Loan closet - Many basic household items are available to borrow while your personal property is en route to your new destination. Available items typically include pots and pans, dishes, silverware, irons, ironing boards, portable cribs, high chairs and car seats. Generally, towels and bed linens are not available, so these should be packed in your hold baggage.
- Workshops and briefings - Available classes vary from installation to installation, but you can generally find workshops or briefings on smart buying, selling and renting (real estate), budgeting and finance, moving with children, general moving preparation and many related topics.
- Predeparture briefings - Sometimes called Smooth Move or PCS briefings, you and your spouse will want to attend these for sure. You'll get essential information that can prevent you from making uninformed and costly decisions before your move.
- Settling-in services - These may include welcome wagon services, local area tours with child care often provided, or distribution of basic household items to use until your goods arrive. Overseas arrival services may include introductory language classes and cultural awareness training.
- Foreign-born spouse support - Whether you need to know about immigration and naturalization, learning the English language or how to take local transportation, the military and family support center provides assistance, classes and referrals.
- Emergency assistance - If you find yourself in an emergency situation during a move, the relocation office has the resources to provide emergency financial assistance and referrals.
- Transition assistance - The military and family support center is there to provide support as you plan to make your final military move. The staff will help you with this most important transition from military to civilian life, so you and your family complete all required tasks and take full advantage of the resources that are available to make this move a smooth one.
Additional support may include the following:
- Relocation counseling on topics including financial management, housing, stress management, and shipment and storage of household goods
- Assistance in locating affordable housing at the destination location
- Referral to citizenship and immigration services
- Referral to Transition Assistance Programs
- Information on moving costs, housing, child care, spousal employment and managing the emotional effects of relocation
- Providing welcome packets
- Sponsorship training programs