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 HOR or 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, your local personal property office will use 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 cost.
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.
Time Limit Extensions
If you can't make your separation or retirement move within the designated time frame, you can request an extension (usually via email) from your branch of Service.
Extensions won't be given for a service member's personal preference or convenience. Here are the reasons you could be granted an extension:
- Medical treatment. The service member is confined in a hospital or undergoing treatment at a hospital or medical facility.
- Education or training. The service member is attending training or receiving education (on his or her active-duty termination date) to qualify for civilian employment.
- Unexpected events. The service member must explain the specific circumstances that prevent him or her from moving within the time limits. Hardship examples can be legal or administrative proceedings, delays in selling or constructing a home, or any delay associated with separating or retiring from active duty military service.
Each branch of Service has slight variations regarding the process and maximum amount of time that extensions can be granted for. Generally, separating and retiring service members can request extensions in short intervals for no longer than 6 years.
There are exceptions, so please click on your branch of Service to check 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 for separating members, and one year for retirees. If you have not scheduled your final delivery before your entitlement expires, you will be personally responsible for any additional storage costs.
Short term storage (SIT) at your destination up to 90 days. This applies to separating and retiring service members. If your household goods aren't delivered before the 90 days expires, you will be responsible for excess storage costs. You may also lose the ability to file any loss or damage claims with your branch of Service's Military Claims Office.
Pro-Tip: It is recommended that you only use short term storage (SIT) if you know your final delivery address when you separate or retire. If you can't find housing or a place to deliver your household goods, you will be responsible for additional storage costs beyond the initial 90 days. Additional storage costs can be expensive, so please plan accordingly!
Personally Procured Move (PPM) Advances
Your branch of Service may limit monetary PPM advances for retiring and separating service members.
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: Retirees and separating service members can receive an advance of up to 50% of the 95% PPM incentive payment. To receive the advance, 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 retirees or separating service members.
Air Force: Retirees and separating service members can receive an advance 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 not to exceed the written estimate from rental company for cost of truck, equipment, etc., up to 60% of the 95% incentive payment. Separating service members whose active duty termination date has 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 and funding for the move (i.e., memo, letter, or order) that 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 the right steps.
What are the similarities between a PCS and a retiring/separating service member's move?
The amount of household goods you are allowed to move is the same--it still depends on your final rank when you separate or retire from active military service. Determine your weight entitlement.
Privately-Owned Vehicles (POVs)
When you separate or retire from military service, you drive or ship your vehicle(s) at your own expense, just like with many CONUS PCS moves. There are no mileage, per diem, or "inability to drive" allowances, so please plan accordingly.
Retiring or separating service members who want to ship a POV overseas (OCONUS) 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.
Professional Books, Papers, & Equipment ("Pro-Gear")
You and your spouse (if applicable) are still allowed to move pro-gear that was related to your professional duties. Just like with your past active duty PCS moves, service members can move up to 2,000 lbs of professional gear, and spouses can move up to 500 lbs of professional gear.
You have some options for moving your household goods. You can have the government coordinate your entire move, you can coordinate your entire move yourself by doing a personally-procured move (PPM), or you can use a combination of both options. The government can move some of your belongings, and you can arrange, move, and/or hire a company to move the rest. For more information, please reference the section on PPM advances.
Use the PPM Estimator to estimate the incentive costs of doing a PPM.