At this point in your career, you are probably well versed in the PCS process - making you wonder what the big differences are for this final move. It is recommended that you reach out to your local personal property office for help arranging your move.
What is different about a retiring or separating Service member’s move?
For separating Service members with less than 8 years of continuous active duty: The government will only pay the cost of moving your belongings to your Home of Record (HOR) or your Place Entering Active Duty (PLEAD).
You can still move somewhere else, however you will be responsible any additional costs above what it would have cost to move your entire weight allowance to your Home of Record (HOR) or to your Place Entering Active Duty (PLEAD).
For retirees or separating Service members with more than 8 years of continuous active duty: The government may cover the cost of relocating you to your Home of Selection (HOS), anywhere within the United States, depending upon your type of discharge. Contact your local personal property office for more information.
You can still move outside the United States, however you will be responsible for any additional costs above what it would have cost to move you within the contiguous 48-states. To determine the government cost, the Personal Property Office typically uses the cost of transporting your entire weight allowance to the farthest possible location within the 48-contiguous states from your current station to calculate the government's maximum liability.
If you are separating from your branch of Service and have less than 8 years of continuous active duty, you must schedule your move within 180 days of your active duty release date. Exceptions apply, so contact your local personal property office for move scheduling and specific information for separating Service members.
If you are separating or retiring from your branch of Service and have more than 8 years of continuous active duty service, you must schedule your move within 1 year of your active duty termination date. We highly recommend contacting your local personal property office for exceptions, move scheduling, and eligibility information for retirees and separating Service members.
If you cannot make your separation or retirement move within the designated time frame, you can request an extension (usually via email) from your branch of service. Time limit extensions can not extend the amount of time you can use NTS or SIT.
Extensions are granted for the following reasons (extensions cannot be granted for convenience or personal preferences):
- Medical treatment: The service member is undergoing hospitalization or receiving medical treatment.
- Education or training: The service member is undergoing education or training.
- Other worthy causes: Specific hardship situations, legal or administrative proceedings that preclude the service member from moving within the time limit, unexpected events such as delay in selling/renovating/construction of a new home, or any delay necessitated as a result of separating/retirement from the service.
Each branch of service has slight variations regarding the process and maximum amount of time that extensions can be granted for. Generally, separating Service members with less than 8 years of service can request extensions in 180-day intervals, for no longer than 3 years, while retirees and separating Service members with over 8 years of experience can request annual (1-year) extensions, for up to 6 years.
Select your branch of service to check the specific requirements:
Unlike some PCS Moves, you are only allowed ONE of the following options:
Long term storage (NTS) at origin (the location where you were last stationed) for up to 180 days. If you have not scheduled your delivery before your 180 days expires, you will be personally responsible for any additional storage costs.
Short term storage (SIT) at your destination up to 90 days. If your household goods aren't delivered before the 90 days expires, you will be responsible for the very expensive excess storage costs and you may be ineligible to file any claims within the government Military Claims Office.
Pro-Tip: It is recommended that you only use short term storage (SIT), if you know your final delivery address upon retirement. If for some reason, you cannot secure housing or a place to deliver your household goods, you will be responsible for any additional storage cost beyond the initial 90 days. Additional storage costs can be very expensive - sometimes thousands of dollars a month.
Advance Payment for PPM “Do-it-Yourself” Moves
Advances for PPM “Do-it Yourself” moves may be limited by your branch of service for retiree/separating Service member moves.
Army: No advance payment is made for separating Service members. Retirees can receive an advance of up to 60% of the 95% PPM incentive payment.
Marines: Marine retirees and separating Service members can receive an advancement of up to 50% of the 95% PPM incentive payment. To receive your advancement, you must complete a detailed weight estimation and reach out to your local personal property office (PPPO) to arrange for a local quality assurance inspector to visit your residence to verify your estimated weight.
Navy: No advance payment is given for separating Service member/retiree moves.
Air Force: Air Force retirees and separating Service members can receive an advancement of up to 60% of the 95% PPM incentive payment.
Coast Guard: Retirees and separating Service members still on active duty are authorized an advance NTE written estimate from rental company for costs of truck, equipment etc. up to 60% of the 95% incentive payment. Separating Service members whose active duty termination date have past cannot receive advance payment for PPM moves.
Short Distance Moves
If you were living on base, and your housing agreement requires you to move out of government quarters before you can determine your Home of Selection (HOS) you are authorized a short distance HHG move from the government quarters to a local temporary residence in the vicinity of the vacated quarters. The usual rank-based weight limits do not apply to this "local move" out of government quarters. This local move does not count as your retirement move, but you will need to obtain proper authorization/funding for the move (i.e. Memo, Letter, Order etc), which varies by your service branch. For example, the Air Force will only need your separation and/or retirement order to arrange the local move, where as the Army requires you to obtain a memo from the garrison housing office providing the funding citation to be used for the move. If you have any questions, your local personal property office can help you figure out what the right steps are.
Local moves must take place within a 30-mile radius from your base.
What is the same between a PCS and a retiree or separating Service member move?
Privately-Owned Vehicles (POVs)
You are required to drive or ship your privately-owned vehicles (POVs) primarily at your own expense as with any CONUS Permanent Change of Station (PCS). In some cases, a POV shipment can be requested and authorized if the service member physically cannot drive their car because of geographical or medical limitations.
Retiring or separating Service members who want to ship a POV to an overseas (OCONUS) area may be surprised by the import and customs clearance fees many host countries impose. Since some import fees can be very expensive, we recommend contacting your local personal property office for more information.
You and your spouse (if applicable) are allowed to move Pro-Gear that was related to your professional duties. Just like with your past active duty PCS moves, you can move up to 2,000 lbs of professional gear, and your spouse can move up to 500 lbs of professional gear.
You are allowed to have the government coordinate a move of your household goods with a “Household Goods Move” (HHG), to coordinate your own move with a Personally-Procured “Do-It-Yourself” Move (PPM), or a combination of both options. Use the PPM Estimator to estimate the government incentive cost of doing a Personally-Procured Move.