If you are a United States service member or military family, you are likely familiar with the concept of PCS moves. If you’re assigned a PCS, it may be very exciting to go somewhere new -- but it’s never easy. It brings a lot of changes to your family’s life, which you’ll all have to adapt to.
Learn more about what you need to know before a PCS move and how Armed Forces Bank can help.
About PCS Moves
PCS moves, while already difficult, are much more complex if you’re heading to an overseas destination -- and sometimes your family may not come with you. PCS moves often bring uncertainty when it comes to timing and other things outside your control. It may happen every two to three years, or even more frequently, depending on special assignments and other factors.
And not only is a military move never easy, but it’s also never free. When making your move, you can expect to be paying many upfront costs as part of the moving process until DLA (dislocation allowance) kicks in.
When planning for your move, you have a few options: you can DITY/PPM (Do It Yourself/Personally Procured Move), or you can have the government move you. All moving plan options have their pros and cons, so think about which may be best for you.
How to Prepare for a PCS Move
When it comes to a PCS move, one of the best things you can do is start your planning as soon as you have orders in hand. Start by making a checklist and preparing a PCS Binder when you receive your RFO (request for orders).
Remember that peak “PCS Moving Season” is between May and August. If your PCS is scheduled during that time frame, it’s even more important to be proactive. You can contact your local Transportation Office to make sure you have a plan and understand all of your options and choices along the way.
Keep all of your documentation and records related to the move in a centralized location, including receipts. Also, be sure you keep a record of all the communications and conversations you have related to the move along the way. Who did you talk to or communicate with, and when? What were the key points of your conversation, or any promises that were made to you?
And it’s a good idea to keep a folder for each duty station PCS, just as you would do for your tax returns -- up to the last two moves.
Be sure you have all of your personal records in order, for the active duty member(s) as well as any dependents. And don’t forget medical records for any of your four-legged family members!
Packing tips and other considerations:
Don't mail or ship irreplaceable (or difficult to replace) personal paperwork/documentation. Always carry it with you. These include passports, other forms of identification, PCS orders, medical records, your pets’ medical records, and your PCS binder.
Be prepared for temporary lodging at your current duty station.
Make sure you determine move-out requirements from your current residence.
And if you are relying on the government or a moving company to move your belongings, be sure to have an accurate inventory of your household goods. You could even take a video of your home before the packers arrive.
Here’s our full PCS move checklist.
Arriving at Your New Destination
It can help a lot if you’re able to identify your new housing in advance, as well as your move-in date. Try to find official sites for information rather than relying on unofficial sources. Official sites could include installation websites, Facebook pages, and unit Facebook pages.
Remember to secure temporary housing if your new housing -- military lodging, VRBO, apartment, home, etc. -- will not be available to you upon arrival at the new duty station.
When you arrive at your new housing, make sure you complete change-of-address paperwork with the USPS, or be prepared to have your mail held for up to 30 days.
Don’t forget to establish utilities in alignment with your move in date at your new location. You don’t want to show up to a home with no electricity or water! And when you move in, inventory all your belongings once they arrive. Report any missing or damaged items, file claims, and keep complete records throughout that process if necessary.
If you have children who will be attending school, make sure you have a plan in place. They will need to enroll, become oriented to the new school, and they may need to get physicals or complete other requirements.
How a Military Access Loan Can Help
PCS moves are complicated, and they’re often tough on a family’s finances. But an Access Loan from Armed Forces Bank1 can help. We’re committed to serving those who serve.
Our Access Loan gives our military community access to the funding you need with a fast and easy approval process. This personal military loan has flexible credit options for Armed Forces Bank clients as well as active duty or retired military borrowers with less-than-perfect credit. Available Access Loans range from $750 to $15,000.
How Does the Access Loan Work?
- Apply online in just minutes
- See instant-approval status
- Receive and accept the loan offer
- Get quick access to the money in an Armed Forces Bank account
If you are already an Armed Forces Bank client your loan will be deposited directly to your account. If you are new to Armed Forces Bank, a new Access checking account will be set up first. Then, your loan proceeds will be deposited there.
Armed Forces Bank Access Loans offer expanded credit options for existing Armed Forces Bank clients; credit options for borrowers with little or no credit history; fixed terms and monthly payments to simplify your budget; and automated payments so you'll never miss one.
If you are looking to build or improve your credit, check out our secured credit builder credit card.
Let Armed Forces Bank Help Make Your PCS Move Easier
Armed Forces Bank is a family-owned military bank with a mission to provide a superior banking experience with fast, easy and personal service. Our Military Access Loan can give you access to the cash you need without breaking your budget. And it can help make your PCS move easier.
Get quick access to the cash you need. Apply today!
1 Subject to credit approval.