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Settling In: A Checklist for After Your Move

After months of planning you have arrived at your new duty station. You probably have a hundred things on your mind but putting these 10 “to-dos” on top of your post-moving checklist can make life in your new home much easier.

Once your household goods have been delivered, you have up to 75 calendar days (applicable to household goods shipments picked up prior to May 15, 2020) or 180 calendar days (applicable to household goods shipments picked up May 15, 2020 and after) to inspect your property, note all loss and damage not previously discovered and reported at the time of delivery, and provide notice to the transportation service provider, or TSP. In some cases, you have even more time. To be reimbursed, you must also file a Loss and Damage Report and an itemized claim in the Defense Personal Property System, or DPS.

Find out more about loss and damage claims. If you have questions about the claims process or need assistance, contact your service branch military claims office, or MCO. Visit Military OneSource Customer Service Contacts for Your Military PCS, and look in the Claims section for your service branch MCO contact information.

If you arrived at your new location and your household goods aren’t there yet, see if your installation has a loan closet or loan locker. You can borrow essential items at no cost – such as dishes, cooking utensils, or coffee maker – until your goods arrive.

Use MilitaryINSTALLATIONS to see if your new installation offers a loan closet.

Your feedback matters! After your shipment has been delivered, you will have an opportunity to evaluate your household goods or unaccompanied baggage shipment by submitting a customer satisfaction survey. Sharing your feedback could help other family’s benefit from your experience, as well as positively impact your own future moves.

The surveys are read by real humans and if a TSP has a negative trend, they can be suspended (temporarily or indefinitely) for providing poor service. On the flip side, if you find a TSP that did an excellent job, please put that in the survey as well, so we know who to continue to reward with more service contracts.

To access the survey, log on to DPS and select the Customer Satisfaction Survey tab. If you are unable to log on to DPS you can call the System Response Center at 800-462-2176. Select option 2, next option 1, then option 1.

The Department of Defense will pay for some things related to your move, including mileage expenses and dislocation allowance. Learn how to submit your travel voucher online.

Use MilitaryINSTALLATIONS to explore your new duty station. The website offers everything from base essentials to program and service contacts, community information and state resources. Find contact information for installation child development centers, youth programs, school liaisons and more.

Your installation Relocation Assistance Program offers key resources to help you adjust to your new location. Programs, briefings and other services are usually offered at your local Military and Family Support Center, and may include:

  • Newcomers’ orientations and welcome packets
  • Free internet café, with printers, faxes and photocopiers
  • One-on-one assistance from experts on topics ranging from settling into a new community to child care information and getting help with local schools
  • Referrals to the installation personal financial management program or organizations that offer emergency financial assistance

Programs vary by service and location, so contact your local Relocation Assistance Program for more information.

If you were assigned a sponsor before your move, now is the time to tap their knowledge about how things work at your new duty station. They may also be able to show you around and help you and your family get to know your new community.

If your child will attend a Department of Defense Education Activity, or DODEA, school, learn about eligibility and enrollment.

If your child will attend a public school, the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children can make the switch easier for military families moving between states. The compact is applicable in all 50 states and helps children enroll, register for the classes they need and graduate on time.

If you have questions, a Military OneSource education consultant can help you locate schools on and off your installation and advise you on registration. If you have a child with special needs consultants can direct you to resources such as your installation’s Exceptional Family Member Program.

Another great education resource is your installation school liaison. School liaisons serve as a bridge between schools and military families and assist with education-related issues for children grades Pre-K through 12. They know the local schools and community and can help make sure your child’s educational needs are met. Learn more about the wide variety of services offered by school liaisons.

For parents with preschool children, contact your installation’s child development center immediately to register because there can be a waiting list. Learn more about military child care programs such as, expanded hourly options available through Military OneSource, and fee assistance available from

Contact TRICARE and let them know you have moved, especially if you have relocated to a different part of the country or OCONUS. You’ll want to be connected with a new primary care provider. TRICARE can also advise you on dental and vision care. Learn more about TRICARE basics.

If you will live on an installation, basic services such as phone, TV, internet and trash removal are provided by the installation. If you live off the installation, you are responsible for arranging these services yourself. Some companies offer military families a discount, so always ask when you are setting up a new service.

If you’re a military spouse looking for a new job after your PCS, use these helpful resources to jump start your search.

Getting settled after your military move can be a challenge, but Military OneSource experts are available 24/7 to help you find the information and resources to help you and your family thrive. Call 800-432-9647, use OCONUS dialing options, or schedule a live chat.

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