Plan My Move: Great PCS Moving Checklists & More

Woman packs moving box

If you’ve received new orders, it’s time to fire up a powerful tool that can help you take charge and master your move. Plan My Move is a Department of Defense online tool that simplifies the moving process, breaking it down into clear, manageable steps for both experienced and first-time movers, as well as family members and loved ones.

Plan My Move helps you create personalized moving checklists, and offers tips about housing, transportation, finances and more. This online tool puts you and your family in charge of a smooth relocation to your new duty station.

Personalized moving task lists and tips

Plan My Move is easy to use. Simply answer a few questions and the tool creates lists tailored to your unique needs. As you provide more details about your upcoming move, your checklists will become more detailed as well. New features enable you to:

  • Choose whether to view your tasks by topic, or in a chronological timeline
  • Edit checklist items
  • Add checklist items
  • Rearrange the order of checklist items with drag and drop
  • Revisit and continue previously saved checklists(s)
  • Save your checklist in a variety of formats

Need more info about your new duty station?

The MilitaryINSTALLATIONS website is your one-stop shop for information on DOD installations worldwide, for all service branches. Check out how easy it is to find resources and contacts for your current installation, or for the one where you’re being reassigned. You can:

  • Search a directory of installations and services, complete with websites, maps, program offices, phone numbers and email addresses.
  • Create your own downloadable personalized installation booklet with the information you are most interested in, such as check-in procedures, housing, child and youth programs, transportation and more.
  • Eligible users can log in to get local community information about schools, amenities and home values.

Want to talk to a live person?

Military OneSource can help answer questions about allowances and benefits, COVID-19 travel restrictions, housing, schools, spouse employment and more. Consultants are available 24/7/365. Call 800-342-9647, use OCONUS dialing options, or start a live chat.

In addition to Military OneSource, your installation Relocation Assistance Program can also help you plan for a successful move. Learn how to put the military Relocation Assistance Program to work for you.

Tap into all the available relocation resources and master your next move.

Supporting Your Service Member and Their Family Before a Military Move

child playing in moving box

Service members move every few years in what is called a permanent change of station or in short a PCS. After PCSing a few times, military families tend to become pros at moving. But even those who have relocated many times can feel overwhelmed when those official military PCS orders arrive.

Your support can go a long way in easing the stress of a military move. Even if you live too far away to watch the kids or pitch in with the packing, there are ways you can make it easier for your loved ones to prepare for a PCS.

Everything you need to know about PCS

Military moves are different than moving as a civilian. Learn the ins and outs of a PCS so you will understand your service member’s experience.

Your service member has two options for a PCS move, but can do a mix of both:

  • A household goods move, in which the government provides a moving company to pack and transport all household goods.
  • A personally procured move, in which service members hire their own moving company or pack up and transport all household goods themselves. The government will pay your service member 95% of their cost to hire a moving company. A PPM move is allowed only within the continental United States.

Your service member will receive a PCS notification before orders arrive, but will not be able to schedule the move until orders are in hand. Military families may feel in limbo during the time in between because plans are always subject to change. So, while your service member and their family may look at schools and homes in the new location, they shouldn’t make any commitments until orders arrive.

There are other differences between military and civilian moves, including:

  • There is a weight limit on household and other goods that may be moved to the new location at government cost. The weight limit increases with rank and number of dependents. For example, a single service member at the rank of E-1 may transport up to 5,000 pounds of household goods. They are allowed another 2,000 pounds for their work-related equipment and vehicle. At the high end of the scale, an officer at the rank of O-7 with dependents can ship up to 18,000 pounds of household goods plus 2,000 pounds of work-related equipment and a personal vehicle.
  • The cost to transport a pet is not covered. However, your service member may be reimbursed for some or all of the cost of quarantine in countries where that is mandatory.

Helping your service member prepare for a PCS

Ask your service member and their family how you can help them. If they don’t have specific suggestions, here are some ways you can ease their pressure and lift their spirits as they prepare to PCS.

  • Be a sympathetic ear to your loved one. When frustrations or fears build up, having someone to vent to can be a big relief. Talking through problems can also lead to solutions.
  • Become familiar with the new duty station so you will have some knowledge of the area before your service member arrives. You can find information on MilitaryINSTALLATIONS.
  • Encourage your loved ones to stay positive and to connect with their installation Relocation Assistance Program, where they can receive an array of services to assist with their move.
  • Put together a playlist of songs or podcasts if your loved ones will be traveling a long distance to the new duty station.
  • Create a photo album of your service member’s time at their duty station. Fill it with pictures of friends, important places and memorable experiences.

If you live close by:

  • Provide a few meals along with disposable dinnerware and containers. You might also organize a meal train where friends and neighbors take turns bringing meals. Not having to worry about making dinner can be a huge relief in the midst of packing – particularly when cookware is already boxed up.
  • Lend an inflatable mattress and linens to your service member and their family if they will be staying behind a night or two after the movers pick up their furniture.
  • Pitch in to help clean the home after it’s emptied out for the move.
  • Watch your service member’s children or pets on moving day.

If you live far away:

  • Arrange for meal delivery from a local restaurant or takeout place on a night when you know your service member will be busy packing.
  • Give a gift of a cleaning service to deep clean the home after everything is moved out.
  • Send a gift box of activities for the trip.

Resources for a smooth move

There are a variety of resources to help make military moves as easy and safe as possible. Pass these along to your loved ones if they’re not aware of them.

  • is the Department of Defense customer moving portal. Your service member can register as soon as the PCS orders arrive.
  • Plan My Move is an online tool that helps military families create personalized moving checklists, offers tips about housing, transportation, finances and more.
  • MilitaryINSTALLATIONS is where you can find information about each military installation, the surrounding community and more. Your service member can also create a customized installation booklet with key resources and installation information.
  • lists housing near military installations.

No matter how you support your loved one, the important thing is that they know you are there for them. Text messages, letters or emails from you will remind them that they’re not alone, no matter where they are.

PCS: The Basics About Permanent Change of Station

Moving truck in front of house

A permanent change of station is part of military life. Experiencing different parts of the country and the world is a unique benefit of military service. In fact, travel and visiting new cultures may have been among the reasons you joined the military.

More than 400,000 service members PCS annually, so you can expect PCS orders to be part of your military career.

Received PCS orders?

Military OneSource moving experts can help you with moving tips, information about your new duty station and everything you need to master your PCS.

Overseas? OCONUS dialing options.

What your PCS orders include

Unlike temporary travel assignments, permanent change of station orders are a longer-term assignment, generally two to four years. Broadly speaking, your orders will tell you where you’ll be moving to – either CONUS or OCONUS.

  • CONUS: Moves inside the continental United States
  • OCONUS: Moves outside the continental U.S. These are typically overseas moves, but OCONUS moves also include Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. territories.

Your orders will also include:

  • Issue date
  • Issuer’s name
  • Order number
  • Authorized locations

If you are going to coordinate your move through the military, you will need to have this information handy.

Organizing your move

Moving is rarely simple, and in times of global uncertainty it is more important than ever to know the best ways to organize the logistics of your move and act fast once you get your orders. The Department of Defense provides a variety of resources to help make your PCS as easy and safe as possible:

  • Military OneSource is available 24/7 anywhere in the world with expert moving consultants and online tools and resources to help you get organized and settled. Call anytime to speak with a consultant, or set up an online chat. Learn more about how our experts can help you master your move with this information about moving in the military.
  • is the official Department of Defense customer moving portal. It provides comprehensive information about all aspects of moving, including entitlements, household goods, privately-owned vehicles, weight estimators, scheduling your move and much more. If you want to coordinate your move through the DOD, register with as soon as you receive your PCS orders. After you have registered your move, contact your local Household Goods/Transportation Office for further information. They can help you with questions about entitlements, scheduling and more.
  • Plan My Move is an online tool that helps you create custom checklists, access information about entitlements, benefits, points of contact at your new installation and more. Answer a couple of questions and you’re on your way to organizing your move.

Relocation assistance and resources

There are a variety of resources both online and through your installation to help you transition before, during and after your move:

  • Your installation’s Relocation Assistance Program is a great source of information and support for moving and getting settled at your new duty station. Relocation experts offer pre-departure briefings, newcomer orientations, and a wealth of information about job opportunities, child care and more. Find out how to put the military’s relocation assistance program to work for you.
  • The MilitaryINSTALLATIONS website provides comprehensive information about each military installation and the surrounding community. Search for programs and services, access information on temporary housing, check-in procedures, schools and more.
  • The military sponsorship program helps service members and families settle in after a PCS. This program is available to all service members and families no matter where you are moving to. Your unit will assign a service member of similar rank and family make-up to help you learn the ropes at your new duty station. Learn more about how sponsorship can help you settle into your new home.
  • And check out the Blog Brigade website to see what other service members have to say about moving.

Personally procured moves for do-it-yourself movers

If you prefer to organize your move yourself, you may be able to choose a personally procured move. You are eligible for a PPM when you have PCS orders, a temporary duty assignment, or face separation, retirement or assignment to, from or between government quarters.

During a PPM move, you coordinate the move of your household goods yourself without using any military moving services. This means that you are responsible for all the planning and communications that a military-coordinated move usually handles. Doing it all yourself can mean added stress and possible problems.

But military moves don’t have to be exclusively one or the other. You can use some military moving services and manage other parts of the move yourself. For more information, contact your installation Household Goods/Transportation Office or ask a Military OneSource moving expert.

Whether this is your first PCS or you’re a seasoned professional, let Military OneSource help you master your move so you can get on with your mission.

PCS Moves in a COVID-19 Environment

Moving men with protective face masks in front of house

Current as of June 15, 2020

Protect your health while moving

Learn about five measures you can take while moving during the current pandemic.

The Department of Defense relocates more than 400,000 personal-property shipments for service members, DOD civilians and their families each year across the globe. The department is committed to making these permanent change-of-station moves safe — especially during the coronavirus disease 2019 outbreak. Protecting people takes top priority.

As the COVID-19 world situation slowly improves, the DOD is basing personnel movement and travel decisions on conditions in specific areas. That means military moves are beginning to pick up again. Whether you are PCSing inside or outside of the continental United States, the DOD has new safety measures in place to empower you and your family and make your move safe.

Below, you’ll find answers to questions about safe PCSing. Understanding of COVID-19 is rapidly changing, so continue to check our Coronavirus Updates for Our Military Community page for updates.

How will I get details about my move?add

What protections are in place for moves?add

When did the department put these measures in place?add

What if my movers aren’t following safety rules?add

What is an example of “swift corrective action”?add

How do the new measures empower me and my family? add

Who will make sure movers comply?add

What are my responsibilities? add

Use the Military Installations website to find the phone number for your installation’s housing office or Military and Family Support Center.

Stay up to date on all the latest information on COVID-19. For updates and information specific to your location, visit your installation’s official website or follow your installation’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram platforms. For Department of Defense updates for the military community:

What Do Travel Restrictions Mean for Military Families?

A globe and a map

Current as of June 3, 2020

The Department of Defense will begin phasing out travel restrictions in areas where conditions allow. The DOD put the restrictions in place to limit the spread of coronavirus disease 2019, to protect your health and to keep the military force effective and ready.

Below, find answers to the most frequently asked questions about travel. For more information about the restrictions, see Understanding the State of Travel Restrictions.

Q: When will the travel restrictions be lifted?add

Q: What conditions must be met to resume unrestricted travel?add

Q: How will the decision be made to lift travel restrictions at my service member’s installation?add

Q: What are the travel restrictions? add

Q: Who do the travel restrictions affect? add

Q: What is government-funded travel?add

Q: My recruit is waiting to go to basic training. What should we expect?add

Q: Is my service member allowed to go on leave? add

Q If my service member is TDY in the United States can they come back home?add

Q: My service member is already on leave outside of their local area. What should they do?add

Q: My partner is a service member and I would like to visit relatives out of state. Is that allowed? add

Q: What about people who work at the Pentagon and travel on official business?add

Q: Are there exceptions to the travel restrictions? add

Q: Can my service member ETS and retire within the directive window?add

Q: Will any other exceptions be granted? add

Q: How will the travel restrictions affect my service member’s special or incentive pay? add

Travel restrictions outside the continental U.S.

Effective April 20, the Department of Defense has extended the 60-day stop movement order for all official overseas travel through June 30. This order applies to foreign travel, permanent change of station moves, temporary duty and personal leave. It will also impact exercises, deployments, redeployments and other global force management activities.

Q: We were preparing to PCS back to the continental U.S. Will we be allowed to return home? add

Q: My service member is on leave in CONUS from duty overseas. Can they return to their duty station? add

Q: My service member is on leave overseas. What should they do? add

Q: My reservist is on active duty overseas and due to return home soon. What should we expect? add

Q: Will my service member receive an allowance if ordered into quarantine while on TDY in a Level 3 country? add

Travel restrictions and your PCS logistics

Q: I just learned that my PCS has been put on hold. But my household goods have already been picked up for transport. What should I do? add

Q: What about my POV? I have an upcoming appointment to drop my car off at the Vehicle Processing Center (VPC). What should I do? add

Q: I left my vehicle at the Vehicle Processing Center. How can I get it back? add

Q: We already ended our lease and don’t have a place to live. add

Q: Will the military cover our temporary housing until we can travel? Can we put the charges on our government travel card? add

Q: What kind of help is out there for a service member and family delayed in his/her PCS? add

Want to find the phone number for your installation’s housing office or military and family support center? Find those and more on MilitaryINSTALLATIONS, an online information directory for military installations worldwide.

Understanding of COVID-19 is rapidly changing. For updates and information specific to your location, visit your installation’s official website.

For Department of Defense updates for the military community:

Take Command of Your Move With These Tips

Couple lays on floor surrounded by moving boxes

Moving can be the start of a great family adventure. As you get ready to pack up, consider these tips which can make your next move easier and allow you to focus on the exciting opportunities that await at your next home. Military OneSource provides relocation professionals as well as online tools and personalized support that will help you master your move.

  1. Start planning right away. For resources to plan your move, Military OneSource has you covered.
    • As soon as you know where and approximately when you’re moving, you can build a personalized timeline, and get packing tips, to-do lists and checklists with the Plan My Move online tool.
    • Use to schedule your move.
    • Learn about your new installation and the community around it with MilitaryINSTALLATIONS. This online tool has contact information, articles, maps and photos about installations worldwide.
    • Use to find housing near your new installation.
    • Military OneSource offers many other planning resources to help you master your move.
  2. Tell your children.

    Ensure a Safe PCS During the Pandemic.

    Protecting people takes top priority. Find out about new safety measures the Department of Defense has put in place to keep you and your family healthy and comfortable.

    Moving can be a challenging experience for children. There are a few steps you can take to help them navigate the emotional rollercoaster of packing up and shipping out. Military Kids Connect is an online community specifically designed to help military children ages 6-17 deal with the unique psychological challenges of military life, including frequent moves.

    Tell them about the move as soon as possible. And be sure to reassure them that the important things in life – such as how much you love them – won’t change.

  3. Take inventory.
    A key part of a successful move is knowing exactly what’s going with you. The good news is technology makes this part easier than ever. With a smartphone or computer, you can record the name, description and condition of everything in your home. Download free home inventory software at or ask your insurance company for inventory app recommendations.
  4. Be prepared to wait for your stuff.
    The location of your new home will determine a lot of things – including how long it takes for your household goods to arrive. If you are moving overseas, be prepared for it to take several months for your furniture and your car to catch up with you. A packing tip: even if you’ll only be without your household goods for a few weeks, make sure you have the important items you’ll need in the meantime included in your unaccompanied baggage or with you.
  5. Follow these hand-carry packing tips.
    There are a few essential items that you’ll need to keep with you at all times during your move, especially vital documents. These include:

    • Orders
    • IDs, driver’s licenses, Social Security cards and passports for every member of your family
    • Marriage, divorce, birth and naturalization certificates
    • Medical information and medication for each family member
    • Housing information, including your insurance information and inventory
    • School and employment records
    • Vehicle documents
    • Precious or irreplaceable items.
  6. Know where to turn for answers.
    Line up a sponsor and other points of contact at your new installation to ensure you have people to turn to if you have urgent questions. Also, if anything is damaged or lost during the move, you’ll need your insurance company information and your inventory on hand to file insurance claims.
  7. Be as flexible as possible.Part of ruling your relocation is expecting the unexpected. There are a lot of variables to consider when planning – and each of them can mean changes, delays or even an expedited move. Don’t finalize your personal plans until you have orders in hand.

    Summer is the busiest PCS season. Don’t assume move dates are set until they are confirmed.

  8. Don’t forget those last-minute things
    As you get ready to leave your current house for the last time, don’t forget to forward your mail and make sure your pets are ready for the move. Need to change health care providers? Do so at TRICARE.

Don’t fret. With these moving tips, some preparation and a bit of luck, your next move will be worry-free. Seize your adventure and master your move by tapping into the professionals and resources at your local relocation assistance offered by the Military and Family Support Center and Military OneSource. Call 800-342-9647 for assistance.

A Family Checklist for Moving OCONUS

Runners begin the half marathon in Afghanistan

When you receive orders for a permanent change of station overseas, you will have a lot of preparation to do before you move. Fortunately, Military OneSource and the installation’s Military and Family Support Centers provide assistance to service members and family members who are making a permanent change of station.

Consider these helpful steps to plan your move overseas

When you receive orders, Military OneSource or your installation-level relocation assistance program are your places to turn to assist in this journey. As soon as you receive your orders, it’s time to start planning. Here are some of the first things to consider:

  • Obtain command sponsorship: If you intend to take your family with you overseas, you’ll need to obtain command sponsorship. This designation, which will appear on your orders, ensures your family will receive travel compensation, housing support and legal protection in your host country.
  • Think housing: Whether you stay in government housing or receive an overseas housing allowance, there are certain things to consider before you leave, including how much stuff to bring.
  • Set up your move: Visit or contact your transportation office to set up the logistics of your upcoming move as soon as you receive your PCS orders. Follow this moving checklist, and a few other steps to make your move a smart move.
  • Check your finances: Moving can be costly. You’ll likely face unexpected expenses even with the military picking up your tab for travel and household goods. Be sure you’ll be able to cover any last-minute surprises and keep records of reimbursable expenses. If you need assistance, financial support services are available.
  • Don’t overpack: Take inventory of all your belongings before the movers arrive and decide what you’ll really need. Find out your “household good weight limit” and stick to it. If you don’t need something, don’t bring it. Remember, it will likely take a while for your regular household goods shipment to arrive.
  • Prepare for a new culture: Even the most seasoned travelers may experience surprises when moving to a new country. A new language, new food and different customs take some getting used to. One of the best ways to prepare: attend a Far Away Places Workshop; which is specifically designed to help you and your family anticipate and prepare for moving to a foreign country.

Resources to ease your move overseas

The resources to help with your transition are already in place. These include the relocation assistance program, emergency financial help and the military-wide sponsorship program.

  • Contact your Military and Family Support Center to talk to a relocation assistance service provider. These experts can provide information, education and resources, including the Far Away Places workshop and online tools to help you navigate the moving process or connect you with additional resources like those below.
  • Use Plan My Move: Military OneSource’s online moving tool can help you make smoother work of an overseas permanent change of station.
  • Check out MilitaryINSTALLATIONS, an online directory of information about U.S. military installations worldwide.
  • Sponsorship: A sponsor can be your very best resource for figuring out what your life will look like overseas. Sponsors can tell you about your new unit and life on base, as well as fill you in on cultural norms and quirky customs. They might even pick you up at the airport.
  • Help for kids: Kids are resilient — and military kids are more resilient than most. Still, it’s important to prepare them for the huge change of an overseas move. Your current and new installations will both have the resources to help.
  • Family members with special needs: If you have a family member with special needs, consultants with the Exceptional Family Member Program can help you make sure their needs are met during your move.
  • Health care: Contact TRICARE to notify them of your move and discuss your options for care at your new location.
  • School liaison: Many installations have a school liaison program to serve as a bridge and facilitator between schools and military families. Find your installation’s school liaison contact information on MilitaryINSTALLATIONS by searching for “School Liaison Office/Community Schools” under programs or services.
  • Housing: Contact the housing office on your installation to begin the process of finding a place to live in your new location. Also, is a service that connects service members and their families with housing rentals located near military bases.

Embrace your new home and community

Living overseas gives military families a wonderful opportunity to experience the world as very few others can. It takes some work, but with the right preparation you can have the adventure of a lifetime.

Planning Your Move – The Essentials

For sale sign outside of a house

As soon as you know about a move, you can start preparing your plan of action. Make lists and take inventory of your belongings so that when your items arrive at your new duty station, you can take accurate stock. You may have to wait some time for your belongings to arrive, especially during peak PCS season. In the meantime, carry your family’s essentials and communicate openly with your loved ones about the moving process.

Use these strategies to prepare for your move:

Make to-do lists and take inventory.

Organization and discipline make any task more efficient. While you’ll have plenty of help from movers when the boxes are loaded, take a detailed inventory of all your items so that unpacking and settling into your new home will go as smoothly as possible. With an inventory, you can also account for any lost or damaged belongings.

Relevant Articles :

Relevant Resources :

Talk to your family about the move.

Seize the adventure of your move and talk openly and often with your entire family about the upcoming changes. While it’s an exciting time, it can also bring uncertainty, especially for children. Explain to them that the move is a chance to explore a new place, make some new friends, and that even in a new location, the love and support of their family will not change.

Relevant Articles:

Relevant Resources:

Make the move easier for your pet and you.

When you’re preparing for a move, having a pet can add another layer of complexity. Spend time upfront planning and preparing so you can ease the stress of moving for both you and your pet. Find out how.

Relevant Articles:

Carry the essentials.

Depending on your new location, you might be waiting for some time for your boxes to arrive. Carry everything you absolutely need upfront for your move. This includes personal and financial information, identification records, passports, health records and any documents that will be critical to making the transition to a new location, such as school enrollment forms. Also, carry any valuable family heirlooms or special pieces on your person.

Relevant Articles:

Relevant Resources:

Learn the PCS basics.

Living overseas is the adventure of a lifetime and a chance to see the world. The logistics for this kind of big move depend on your family, pets, your rank and the timeline of your move. Within the U.S., the military provides packers and movers or offers a do-it-yourself option, depending on your circumstances and budget.

Relevant Articles:

Relevant Resources:

How to Inventory Your Belongings

Man operates a camera

Taking inventory of your belongings is one way to master your move and take control of your permanent change of station. Don’t leave the tracking of your items up to the movers. Knowing exactly what you’ve got and where it’s stored will make for a smooth transition when you unpack in the new home. Here are some tips on how to conduct an inventory:

Received PCS Orders? Make your move a smart move.

Once you receive your PCS orders, it’s important to coordinate your move immediately. Follow seven steps to make your household goods move a smart move.

  • Take pictures and videos of your items.
  • Record the serial numbers.
  • Keep your inventory list in a safe place like the cloud or a safe deposit box.
  • Update your list often.

The movers will inventory your household goods, but their list won’t account for the value or condition of your belongings. Conduct your own inventory to cover all your bases.

Technology makes it easy

You’ll just need a smartphone or a camera and a computer to make the list. You can also download free home inventory software at, or ask your insurance company for a recommendation. Here’s what to record:

  • Item name, description and condition.
  • Number of items, (for example, “12 pewter forks”).
  • Model and serial number, if applicable.
  • Purchase information: where and when you bought it, the cost, an estimate of its current value, and whether you have the receipt (shoot or scan it if you do).
  • Photo data, such as filename or number, and how it’s tagged in your files.

Now it’s time to take photos or videos of your valuables. Record specific brand names for any high-priced items. To get top-quality photos and video, follow these steps:

  • Unclutter the area. Put away your stray socks and tidy up around the house before you photograph your valuables so they can be clearly seen.
  • Capture every room and photograph everything. Shoot high-value items separately, and don’t forget small items; they can add up if you need to replace them all. Don’t forget to shoot the camera or digital device you’re using, too.
  • Shoot from all sides to show the condition and any brand names. Write the serial number on an index card or sticky note to label the item before you photograph it.
  • Open cabinets, drawers and closets. Get close-up shots of these areas for an overview of what’s inside them.
  • Don’t forget the garage or attic. Shoot both inside and outside to capture everything.
  • Talk while you walk when shooting video. You can add a lot of details if you narrate your video. Make some notes beforehand so you don’t forget any details.
  • Keep your list, photos and/or video somewhere safe. They won’t help you much if they get lost it in the move. Keep a flash drive copy in a fireproof safe or a safe deposit box, use a cloud storage site or ask your insurance company if they have an electronic storage option.
  • Don’t forget to update your inventory. You’ll want a record of any new items you get, too.

Make a list, update it and keep it safe. A strong inventory will make unpacking in your new home much smoother so that you can seize the adventure of your move.

Check out other ways you can master your move with Military OneSource »

Filing a Claim After Your Military Shipment is Delivered

Woman writing down notes

Sometimes PCS moves don’t always go as planned. For those times when the movers lose or damage your household goods, you can file a claim to get the full or partial replacement value of such items. Here are the basics to filing a claim for belongings that are lost or damaged during your PCS.

Submitting a Notification of Loss or Damage Form Report in DPS

When you need to file a claim, go to the Defense Personal Property System. Before filing a claim, a good place to start is to submit a Loss or Damage Report. This report notifies the moving company that you intend to file a claim for lost or damaged items and allows you more time in filing a claim and submitting paperwork.

You still need to file a claim after submitting a Loss or Damage Report. However, submitting this form/report, which is optional, could encourage the moving company to settle any damages or disputes sooner, and at the very least it gives you more flexibility in the process.

Below are the important dates when filing a Loss or Damage Report in DPS. You have:

  • Up to 75 days after the delivery date to sign into DPS and submit a Loss or Damage Report.
  • Up to nine months after the delivery date to submit itemized claims for any lost or damaged items in DPS.
  • Up to 60 days for your transportation provider to pay, deny or make a counter offer on your claim.
  • Between nine months and two years after the delivery date to file a claim directly with your TSP for a depreciated value. You may contact the military claims office should you need assistance to receive partial replacement value for any missing or lost items not submitted initially.

If you do not submit the Notification of Loss or Damage form/report first, you have only 75 days to submit itemized claims. Learn more about the ins and outs of the claim process.

Need Help with Your PCS Move?

Turn to relocation assistance professionals to help you plan, address questions and provide resources at any point before, during or after a move.

Reporting lost or damaged household items in DPS

If any of your household items are lost or damaged, you can receive full replacement value of that item(s), if your claim is filed with your TSP within nine months after the delivery date. The carrier will repair or pay to replace the damaged or lost item with the same make and model or one of comparable qualities and features, if the same item cannot be found. The military claims office can help you resolve disagreements with your moving company.

Note: If you immediately recognize something as damaged on your delivery date, the moving company could offer you up to $500 the same day, called a “quick claim.” Payment will be made within five calendar days of your delivery date. You can only accept compensation for an item once, so you can’t file claims on those quick claim items later.

Submitting an itemized claim in DPS

Before creating your claim in DPS, gather as much information about the lost or damaged item as possible. Keeping photos, receipts and details of expensive or important items can be very helpful throughout the process.

In addition to any photos or receipts you have, know the item’s manufacturer, inventory number, cost at purchase, year of purchase, extent of damage and repair estimate. The more details you have, the better.

If you started with a Loss or Damage Report within DPS, you can pull loss/damage items directly onto your claim without retyping the items once you log in to DPS to create your claim.. If some items that were lost are now found, you can remove them before you submit the final claim.

Stay on top of the process and continue to follow up with the moving company. Remember to transfer the claim to your military claims office if you are unable to reach agreement with the moving company at any time during the process.

Privately owned vehicle claims

There are four options for filing a privately owned vehicle claim: on-site settlement, IAL claim, military claim and inconvenience claim. The most popular option is on-site settlement, which is a combination of part repair or replacement costs plus labor. This claim is done at the Vehicle Processing Center for claims of $1,500.00 or less.

You can find more information about claims at the FAQ section of PCSmyPOV. Each POV claim option gives a different level of service and convenience. Find what works best for you.

Provide Feedback

You will have an opportunity to evaluate your household good or unaccompanied baggage shipment by submitting a customer satisfaction survey (CSS) after your shipment has been delivered. Whether your move was a positive or negative experience, your input will help decrease or eliminate future problems for others during their PCS move. To access the survey, log in to the Electronic Transportation Acquisition website and select “Defense Personal Property System (DPS).”

If you need help at any point in the claims process, you can contact your military claim office to point you in the right direction. Please go to and select your service branch MCO for more details.

The relocation assistance program professional can walk you through any stage of the moving process. To find your nearest program, go to MilitaryINSTALLATIONS, then select relocation assistance program and your installation from the drop-down menu.