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The Final Move


It can be overwhelming to make the final move after your service member dies. But even if you are hesitant about taking this big step right away, it can provide a sense of security to know your housing options and available moving benefits — as well as some practical steps to take — which may help you with your move when that day comes.

Decide where to move

There are a few options you may want to consider when deciding where to move:

  1. Where is the best location for you to find support (near family and friends or near a military installation)?
  2. Would you like to relocate for a job? Finding a job can provide a sense of purpose.
  3. Is the location affordable, allowing you to live comfortably?
Image of Moving Boxes

Moving after the death of a loved one can be an important step toward creating your new normal. Find the support you need.

Understand housing and allowances

If you are living in government housing stateside as an eligible family member, you may qualify to continue to do so for up to a year after your service member’s death. If you want to remain in quarters past the 365th day, you must submit a written request to the installation commander via the appropriate housing office. If approved, rental charges at the current rate may be applied, as the Basic Allowance for Housing entitlement ends 365 days after the date of the member’s death.

If you are in leased government housing, the 365-day rule and payment of BAH for any unused days still applies.

If you are in government housing overseas, the rules may be different according to the status of forces agreement, or SOFA, for that country.

If you are not living in government housing, you may be provided a lump-sum payment for 365 days of Basic Allowance for Housing at the current rate of BAH for your loved one’s pay grade: Access the BAH calculator. This payment may be delayed pending a line-of-duty investigation. If your service member is not found to have died in the line of duty, the lump-sum payment will not be provided.

You are also authorized one relocation move at government expense that must be completed within three years of your service member’s death. The policy for your final relocation is contained in The Joint Travel Regulations (JTR), Section 051104.

If you are a surviving spouse and a member of the armed services, you are also eligible to receive BAH as an authorized dependent. This allowance is paid in addition to any other pay and allowances to which you are entitled as a service member.

If you want to relocate but need more time to decide where to move, the government can store your household goods for up to one year. Any storage beyond one year will be at your own expense and will be permitted only if you send a written request to the transportation office explaining your circumstances. Contact your transportation office for assistance. For more information, you can also visit the JTR, Section 0518, HHG Storage.


Organize the steps to make your final move

Survivors are often overwhelmed in the days following the death of their service member. It can be difficult to remember all the details involved in a move. Consider the following suggestions to help plan your move:

Use the MilitaryINSTALLATIONS tool to locate and contact your nearest transportation office. There, you can opt to begin the process of scheduling your move.

  • Your transportation office can help you register for a DPS account.
  • New users can create an account with or without a Common Access Card. However, it’s suggested to use a nongovernment email address, because this is where you’ll receive all future DPS correspondence.
  • After creating an account, you’ll receive an email with your username and a link to create a password. You must create a password within 24 hours to complete the registration process.

Once your login credentials are complete, you can begin the steps of creating a shipment. Your transportation office can walk you through the process.

If you’re unable to access DPS or are getting security errors, contact the DPS Help Desk.

For more helpful resources, visit the Moving Your Personal Property page for more information and tools to make your move successful.

Include as much information as possible in your inventory. The number of items and their names, descriptions and condition, serial number, receipts or value and pictures. Store your inventory in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box.

Visit the Defense Travel Management Office website to find the most recent per diem rates. Find claim-filing information and forms under the Defense Travel System. Save your receipts for lodging, gas and food.

You have nine months to file claims that may be eligible for repair or full replacement value from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, and 180 days after the date of delivery to report lost or damaged items via the DPS. Claims filing information can be found on the Personal Property Claims Fact Sheet.

For assistance, connect with your Military and Family Support Center. You can also watch this eTutorial about Making the Final Move to better understand the process and benefits available for surviving spouses.


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