Dear Coast Guard Family: Answers to your frequently asked moving questions

Once a month, Coast Guard All Hands will feature “Dear Coast Guard Family,” a column for Coast Guard families by Coast Guard spouse Rachel Conley. Rachel is married to her high school sweetheart, Chief Warrant Officer James Conley, and is the mother of three children. Rachel passionately serves as a Coast Guard Ombudsman and advocate of Coast Guard families. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the United States Coast Guard Ombudsman of the Year Award.

When your Coast Guard journey takes you to a new location, moving can be quite the adventure! To help you navigate the many facets of a military move, I’ve reached out to yeoman Chief Petty Officer Rikki Robson and transportation officer, Maxine Wilson-Bacon to obtain expert answers to some of your frequently asked questions.

Q: What is a Government Arranged Move / Household Goods (HHG) Move?

A: A Household Goods move is a move completed by a government-furnished moving company, also called a Transportation Service Provider (TSP). During a HHG move, your transporter is responsible for packing your belongings and transporting them to your new location. For official guidance on movement of HHG, including setting up your move, weight limits, pro-gear/spousal pro-gear, shipment of privately owned vehicles, and more, check out this ALCOAST.

Q: What is a Personally Procured Move (PPM)? (A PPM is formerly known as a Do-it-Yourself or DITY move.)

A: PPMs can be conducted in a variety of ways: members can use self-service moving companies, privately-contracted TSP, a privately owned or rental vehicle, etc. A member may perform a full or partial PPM and receive the incentive payment of 95% of the government’s constructed expense, not to exceed the authorized weight allowance. There are a number of very specific requirements. Please see the Personally Procured Movements (PPM) of Household Goods (HHG) ALCOAST for complete details.

Q: Are members/families entitled to a pre-move survey/assessment by the moving company?

A: This is required to be completed by the moving company either in person, over the phone, or via a video chat. If this is not happening, then members need to contact the origin Personal Property Shipping Office (PPSO).

Q: Should members/families pre-pack items that the moving company will be shipping?

A: No, items packed by the member/family will have to be repacked by the moving company for liability purposes. The moving company is not liable for damages to items that they did not pack.

Q: What items are members/families allowed to bring?

A: From vehicles, to alcohol, to firearms – learn more about what you can and cannot bring and any associated cost here.

Q: Should members/families tip their movers?

A: No, members and families should not tip their movers.

Q: What should a member/family do if they experience an issue with movers/the moving company?

A: If there are any problems with the moving company, members/families should contact the PPSO, request support from the Quality Assurance Department, and possibly have an inspector come to the residence.

Q: Are members/families entitled to witness crates being sealed onsite? (Example: When moving from Alaska to the continental United States.)

A: Yes, crated shipments should be sealed and witnessed by the member at the residence.

Q: Is required medical equipment included in the maximum authorized HHG weight allowance?

A: No, the Joint Travel Regulations (Page 5C-4) states: A service member or a dependent who is entitled to, and receiving, medical care authorized by 10 USC, Chapter 55 may ship medical equipment necessary for such care. The medical equipment may be shipped in the same way as HHG, but has no weight limit. The weight of authorized medical equipment is not included in the maximum authorized HHG weight allowance. For medical equipment to qualify for shipment under this paragraph, an appropriate Uniformed Services healthcare provider must certify that the equipment is necessary for medical treatment of the service member or the dependent who is authorized medical care under 10 USC, Chapter 55. Please note: required medical equipment does not include a modified personally owned vehicle.

Q: Do movers reassemble and unpack?

A: The movers are required to reassemble any furniture that was disassembled at the start of the move and unpack any/all boxes that you request. Many members/families decide not to ask the movers for a full unpack as they prefer to put items away on their own.

Q: What should I do if items are missing or damaged?

A: Please visit here for guidance and tips.

Q: As a transportation officer, what advice would you like to provide to members/families?

A: Ask questions! Do not base anything off of what another member or dependent may tell you. There are various entitlements for various situations. The PPSO staff at origin will be the most knowledgeable and will be able to guide you through your entitlements. Pay attention to the DPS self-counseling and do not just keep hitting “next” to speed through it. If members read/complete it correctly, they could avoid a lot of problems in their move.

Q: What is Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE)?

A: TLE is intended to partially pay for lodging/meal expenses within the continental United States (CONUS) when temporary lodging is needed just prior to or just after a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move. TLE is a reimbursable allowance based on the location and the number of travelers occupying temporary lodging. TLE cannot exceed 10 days for a PCS to a CONUS PCS and can be divided between the old and new duty station. When PCSing from the CONUS to a location outside of the continental United States (OCONUS), TLE is limited to 5 days (unless otherwise specified in the Joint Federal Travel Regulation). TLE cannot be used in conjunction with per diem – example: when traveling between duty station locations.

Q: What is Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA)?

A: TLA is an allowance that is provided to partially reimburse a member for more than normal expenses incurred while occupying temporary lodging at personal expense outside of the continental United States (OCONUS) due to a PCS move.

Q: What is Dislocation Allowance (DLA)?

A: The purpose of DLA is to partially reimburse a member, with or without dependents (when eligible), for the expenses incurred in relocating the member’s household due to a PCS. Example: to help establish a new household.

Q: What is Per Diem?

A: Per Diem provides reimbursement for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses. It is paid per person, per travel day. When traveling in connection with a PCS transfer, per diem is a set/standard rate (which typically changes each year). The member receives 100 percent of the standard per diem rate per day, dependents age 12 and over receive 75 percent of the standard per diem rate per day, and dependents under age 12 receive 50% of the standard per diem rate per day. If traveling separately from the member, the dependent driving will receive 100% of the standard per diem rate.

Q: What is Monetary Allowance in lieu of Transportation (MALT)?

A: MALT is a mileage allowance for using a privately owned conveyance for PCS travel. The PCS MALT rate typically changes yearly. This rate is currently $0.18 per mile.

Q: Can members request PCS entitlements prior to their move?

A: Yes, members can request 80% of their PCS entitlements in advance.

Q: Can members request advance pay?

A: Yes, advance pay is payable within 30 days of departure on PCS orders, and within 60 days after arrival at the new unit. (In extenuating circumstances, the member’s commanding officer may authorize advance pay to be paid up to 90 days before departing PCS, and up to 180 days after reporting PCS.) The requested amount may not exceed three months base pay. Repayment is required within 12 months. A member can request a repayment period greater than 12 months, not to exceed 24 months, when the PCS move causes unusually large expenses and repayment within 12 months would create a severe personal financial hardship.

Q: Can members/families use campgrounds, Airbnb, VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner), and/or other lodging with kitchenettes?

A: Yes.

When authorized Per Diem: when traveling between PCS locations, receipts are not required because per diem is based on a set/standard rate.

When authorized TLE: an itemized lodging receipt is required and must contain the name and location of the lodging facility, daily lodging costs/taxes, dates, specify the member/dependent’s name, and show that payment has been made.

Q: Can members/families stay with friends and family?

A: Yes.

When authorized Per Diem: when traveling between PCS locations, receipts are not required because per diem is based on a set/standard rate.

When authorized TLE: if you stay with friends/family, you are only entitled to the meal portion of TLE. When completing the travel claim, the name, address, and phone number of the family/friends that you stayed with must be included.

Looking for more information? Check out move.mil! And, don’t forget – there are a lot of resources to support you along the way!

The views expressed herein are those of the author and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Commandant or of the U.S. Coast Guard.

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