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Settling In: Top 10 To-Dos After Your PCS Move

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Once you arrive at your new duty station, you’ll have to tie up all the loose ends before you can get settled into your new community. Use these top ten “to-dos” to help you.

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

The military 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 Military and Family Support Center for more 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 for free – such as dishes, cooking utensils or coffee maker – until your goods arrive.

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

For parents with preschool children, contact your installation’s child development center immediately to register because there can be a long waiting list for child care in some areas. You don’t need official orders to request child care, so be sure to start that process as soon as you know where you’ll be going.

Learn more about military child care programs, including how to:

If your child will attend a DOD Education Activity 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 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 EFMP.

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.

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 families benefit from your experience, as well as positively impact your own future moves.

The surveys are read by real humans, and if a transportation service provider 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 in to the Defense Personal Property System and select the Customer Satisfaction Survey tab. If you are unable to log in to DPS you can call the System Response Center at 800-462-2176. Select option 2, next option 1, then option 1.

Once your household goods have been delivered, you have up to 180 calendar days (75 calendar days for household goods shipments picked up prior to May 15, 2020) to inspect your property and provide a notification to the TSP that you plan to file a Loss and Damage Report. To be reimbursed, you must also file a Loss and Damage Report with your itemized claim in the DPS within nine months. Find out more about filing loss and damage claims.

If you have questions about the claims process or need assistance, contact your local transportation office. If they are unable to help, you may contact your service branch military claims office for further assistance. Visit the following service branch moving assistance pages for contact information:

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.

Don’t’ be afraid to get out and about. Use your sponsor. Ask about activities you and your family like to do so you can get connected to those activities in your new community. A good way to help children get settled is to reach out to your installation school liaison for information about youth sponsorship or visit your installation youth programs, schools and parks.

Your children will learn how to join in familiar activities and have an opportunity to meet other military-connected children. Keep in mind that children can have a wide range of emotions during the transition. They could have concerns about starting a new school and making new friends. Listen, support and be there for your children during the transition.

In addition to learning about the activities and programs available for you and your family at the new installation, it’s also a good idea to look into what discounts are available for utility services such as phone, TV, internet and trash removal. If you live off the installation, you are responsible for arranging these services yourself. If you will live on the installation, basic services are provided by the installation. Some companies offer military families a discount, so always ask when you are setting up a new service.

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. Learn how to explore your base and beyond with MilitaryINSTALLATIONS.

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

The Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program provides comprehensive resources and tools for career development, education guidance and employment opportunities to military spouses worldwide. SECO resources include career coaching, the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, a free upgrade to LinkedIn Premium to assist with job searches and networking, and much more.

Installation spouse employment readiness specialists, accessed through your local Military and Family Support Center or service branch, offer hands-on assistance with everything from resume writing and preparing for interviews to resources for portable careers.

If you move due to a PCS and want to transfer your professional license, you can apply for up to $1000 for reimbursement of relicensure or certification fees from your service branch. Learn more about transferring your professional license.

Love working with children? Look into opportunities to work in child development programs.

Getting settled after your military move can be a challenge, but Military OneSource experts are available 24/7 to connect you with information and resources to help you and your family thrive. Call 800-342-9647, use OCONUS dialing options or schedule a live chat.

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