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Webinar: New Year, New Changes

by PCSgrades - January 7th, 2021

This webinar and blog was originally published in 2021. Click here for the most updated PCS webinar.

DOD updates (2021 updates): 

PPM’s (Personally Procured Moves) are now being reimbursed at 100% of the government’s constructive costs. This was a temporary policy during COVID, but has now been approved as a permanent policy change.

The mileage rate for POV’s has decreased from $.17 per mile from $.16 per mile. This is probably because gas prices went down during 2020.

New year, new changes to the DOD policies regarding PCS moves. One of the most common issues is communication. What is changing this year?

This year, your Transportation Service Providers (TSP) are going to have to keep their phone line wait times below 20 minutes between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM, and they must provide customer support on Saturdays when moves are going on. There should no longer be a difficulty contacting someone. Sundays may not necessarily be covered, but they don’t typically schedule packing and pickups on Sundays. These changes take place May 15, 2021. If you are moving before that, they may not apply to you.

There is always bound to be something damaged in the home when furniture bumps walls or scratches door frames. How is this handled?

They are now expected to provide Real Home Protections, so floor coverings should be put down in high-traffic areas. Furniture pads should be wrapped around the front door or anywhere they are carrying things in and out of to avoid these kinds of damages.

What are the new rules with crates and seals?

Right now, seals are not required for crates. Seals can fall off. The new tender of service says that tamper of evidence seals will be required on crated shipments for both CONUS and OCONUS moves. This is a serialized seal that should appear on your inventory, and they should be matched on the inventory sheet upon delivery. If you are moving OCONUS, the customs officials are allowed to open crates to verify contents. Sometimes a crate gets damaged and the company may open it to re-crate it. Some delivery trucks are not crate-capable, so they may remove contents to load them on a truck. But this way, you know when things were opened and there should be a record of the reason. So far there isn’t really an accountability factor. It’s mostly just to let you know that there was an issue and your seals didn’t match. Definitely note that on your paperwork from delivery day so if something goes missing, you can indicate that the seals didn’t match and your crates were opened before being delivered.

How is the claims process getting better and easier for families?

It’s getting a little more family-friendly. We do still have to file claims through DPS, which isn’t always the easiest site, but the customer now has more choices. If you are authorized full replacement value for an item, you can choose to either get paid the replacement cost to order your own item, or you can ask them to purchase the item for you. If they purchase it, they will cover the tax and shipping, whereas if you do it on your own you may be responsible.

When we counter-offer, it sometimes sits there for a while. They now have 7 days to respond to a counter-offer. They still have 60 days to review a claim, make an offer, or deny it. But now it won’t sit in limbo as long. 

The rules for salvaging are that they have 45 days from the date of inspection to send out an insurance adjuster to inspect and validate and determine if they want to salvage anything. After 45 days, if they haven’t asked to salvage by then, you are free to get rid of it, so you no longer need to keep a room full of broken things. 

To repair items, they have 20 days to respond and handle repairs. All These changes go into effect May 15, 2021.

Inconvenience Claims changed in May 2020. There are now two ways to be paid. You can either receive a per diem only for the service member, which is good if you already planned to house-camp and don’t need to purchase much. The other option remains the same as it has been: you can choose from items on an approved list and get reimbursed for replacing those items.  

What are the changes with pick-up dates, and what is the spread window?

It’s supposed to give more flexibility and lead time in the moving industry. Companies can’t push back and delay indefinitely for weather, truck issues, etc. They must pick up within 7 days of your requested moving date. The customer will now get a firm date within 7 days of their requested date. You should know ahead of time exactly what date your packing and pick-up should occur. You should have a date within 7 calendar days of your requested date. There are still some questions about this, so we contacted TRANSCOM for more clarification on this regulation. 

If you do a door-to-door and the company doesn't deliver on time, who can you contact?

You must arrive before the moving truck and have keys to the home before them for it to be a true door-to-door move. Sometimes things happen, and plans can change, but they must deliver by the RDD (Requested Delivery Date) otherwise, you can request the inconvenience claim. You can always contact your local transportation office and the TRANSCOM hotline with those issues. 

The GHC (Global Household Goods Contract) is still moving forward. What's the status?

The contract was awarded last year to a private shipping company. There was a GAO report that pulled back the contract to examine it, but they do plan to re-award it this year. That means one company will be responsible for planning and handling our moves. This should lead to better customer service, and more clarity on who to contact during a move. We will have future guests when the contract is awarded to explain the plan and the process during the transition phase.

Do we need a formal appraisal of furniture to receive reimbursement for damages?

You don’t need it for standard furniture items that can be easily replaced online. But if it’s antique, handmade, or rare, then yes, it is worthwhile to get it appraised. They are obligated to provide full replacement cost or to repair items broken during a move, so having an appraisal helps that go more smoothly. If items are depreciated in value, you may receive reimbursement checks in two stages, but they should total the full replacement cost.

Moving forward, are movers still required to wear masks?

Yes, it is still part of the guidance taking effect in May 2021. The forms they provide when they arrive at your home should show that they have no symptoms, have negative tests, etc. There are a lot of feeling about masks, but this isn’t a place where we can pick and choose which regulations to enforce. Crews need to respect the regulations at all times in all homes. 

What is the update to the TLE language, especially regarding AirBnB?

It used to be that you could use any lodging you want during your travel days, because you receive a flat per diem rate that covers whatever lodging you choose. But the local lodging used for 10 days of TLE on either side of your move used to only cover government lodging. You now can seek additional lodging for TLE, such as AirBnB or VRBO, but only if you check out the government lodging availability first. If there are no rooms available, get a letter of non-availability from the government lodging. Then your private reservations will be reimbursed up to the government rate.

All the rules from the DTR apply to a final move for separating or retiring form the military. The only change is some of the entitlements. Sometimes they will only move you back to your Home of Record or within a mileage restriction, but all the regulations about standards still apply.