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Webinar: What do the PCS Rules and Regulations Say?

by Lizann Lightfoot - April 11th, 2022

Webinar: What do the PCS Rules and Regulations Say?

Our guest is Megan Harless, PCS Reform Advocate

Watch the full interview here:

DoD Updates: We have been getting questions about POV claims. If you discover something isn’t working right after you pick up your vehicle, you have up to 7-10 days after pickup to file a claim.

Until the end of the calendar year, personally procured moves (PPMs, formerly DITY moves) are being reimbursed at 100%. The paperwork may still say 95% because this is a temporary change, but the 100% reimbursement is valid.

Read more about shipping your personal vehicle during a PCS here.

What are the PCS rules and regulations that people need to know about?

There are several PCS regulations you should know about.

DTR Part IV Appendix B: This one is called the Tender of Service, and is the contract between your Transportation Service Provider (TSP) and the Department of Defense (DoD).

DTR Part IV Attachment K1: This is referred to as the “It’s Your Move” document. If you have questions about boats, firearms, pro gear, and unique questions about moving, this document can help you find answers.

JTR Chapter 5: This governs your financial entitlements, per diem, travel, lodging entitlements, and what you can be reimbursed for before, during, and after a military PCS.

DTR Part VI Attachment G6: This one is all about claims, liability, mold in a shipment, the TSP’s responsibility in picking up damaged items, etc. 

Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO): This is where you find out details about the number of days authorized for your move, the DLA (Dislocation Allowance) for this year or next year, etc. 

One of the most controversial questions is about pro gear and spouse pro gear. What actually qualifies for pro gear and where do you find the answer?

There are two locations to research pro gear, and they reference each other:

DTR Part IV Appendix K1 Page 9 – 10

JTR Chapter 5, para 054309

The service member’s pro gear is anything military-issued and anything specific to their job or MOS. A mechanic or flight person could have tools count as pro gear. The allowance is up to 2,000 pounds.

Spouse pro gear is more strict. It is defined as related to your job or community involvement. So this could include camping equipment if you are involved in Scouts. If you are a business, you cannot include inventory and things for sale, but you can include raw materials and tools. We get a lot of questions about homeschooling gear. Right now, homeschool supplies are not considered spouse pro gear unless you have a teaching certification. Pro gear is excluded from the overall weight calculations, so they are really cracking down on what is included. We have recommended that homeschool supplies get included, but they are not approved yet.

Everyone has a million plastic totes that we use to store things. What do the PCS rules and regulations say regarding plastic totes?

This is the regulation to reference: DTR Part IV Appendix B Page 16-17. The moving companies are liable for anything they take possession of. It is at the company’s discretion to verify contents and repack if they deem it necessary. They are liable for it, regardless of who packed it, so they want to limit claims and damage.

If you use plastic totes, they should not be used for non-temp storage. Everything has to be unpacked and repacked in cardboard boxes for non-temp storage. Those locations aren’t climate controlled and heat can damage the plastic over time. They aren’t as durable as cardboard for stacking. It is better to transition to Tough Boxes instead, because they are stronger and sturdier. It is an investment, but they are less likely to be repacked. 

Let's talk high-value inventory. Some companies give you the form to fill out, others say that it's anything over $1000. What can actually go on the high-value inventory, and where do I find the list?

You can find it on the DTR Part VI Attachment G6, page 15: "High-value items are limited to currency, coins, jewelry, silverware and silver service sets, crystal, figurines, furs, objects of art, computer software programs, manuscripts, comic books, baseball cards, stamps, and other collectible items or rare documents that have a value in excess of $100.00 per pound. For purposes of determining the contractor’s liability, all such items must be deemed to weigh at least 1 pound. A collection of Compact Disks (CD) and Digital Video Disks (DVD) must not be considered high-value items. However, individual CDs or DVDs with a value in excess of $50.00 must be considered a high-value item."

Items that are $100 per pound are the baseline for being considered high-value. Generally speaking, if they let you fill out the high-value inventory form, include anything that is irreplaceable, hard-to-replace, sentimental, sports memorabilia, antiques (get them appraised if possible). Then if something happens, you can base the claim on the appraisal. 

If we're moving from New York to California, how do I find out how many travel days we are authorized? Also, do we get paid for each travel day authorized?

This is on the Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO) website. You are authorized 350 miles per day. Take the total distance you will be traveling during your PCS and divide by 350 to find out how many days you are authorized. If the remainder is less than 50, you don’t get an extra day. But if it’s over 50, you will get an extra day.

You are authorized a flat rate per diem for travel days, which should include gas, food, and lodging. The service member gets a flat rate, the spouse gets 75% of the service member’s rate, and the kids get 50%. You only get paid for the days you actually use in your authorized travel days. 

We hear a lot about shipments being overweight or close to it, and then emails from DPS with the weight can often be worrisome. Where can we find information about the reweigh process and the PCS rules and regulations regarding our rights?

Weighing and reweighing shipment details are in DTR Part IV Appendix B, Page 9. You should receive a weight entered into DPS with an automatic email generated that reflects that rate. At the bottom, it will say that the weight does not include the exceptions for military pro gear (up to 2,000 pounds for service members) or packing materials (10% of your total shipment). Those weights are taken off by DPS. 

You can request a reweigh, but you will need to do it before your Household Goods arrive. This year, we have a new change: if you are 10% under or over your weight, it should get flagged for a reweigh automatically.

If you request a reweigh (which you can do), you can request to be present and they will send you a date and address for the weigh station. If you think you have excess packing materials, you can have them load all of the packing materials onto the truck and weigh the truck with it after the unpacking process, and you can use that to demonstrate that the materials were excessive. 

Some families experience their shipments being late and are then authorized an inconvenience claim. What is covered in the inconvenience claim, and where do I find that information?

DTR Part IV Appendix B, Page 11 is where you will find PCS rules and regulations regarding inconvenience claims. If your Required Delivery Date (RDD) is met, you can’t file an inconvenience claim. During peak season, they should have ten days to deliver your stuff from storage. During non-peak season, your shipment should be delivered within five days. You should know what makes you eligible and what doesn’t, so you can work through the expectations. 

This year, there are two ways that inconvenience claims are paid out. The baseline rate is meals and lodging per diem for the service member only. You don’t need to have receipts and you can go up to seven days. This is a good option if you were already “house-camping,” not staying at a hotel, and brought an air mattress and towels or other household items with you already.

If you don’t like to house camp and were planning to stay in a hotel, you can look at the list of items and find out what will be reimbursed. It won’t be nice state-of-the-art cooking ware. It will be a basic air mattress and cookware set, one set of towels per person, and that will be claimed through your TSP. You need to save receipts of those items to request reimbursement. The TSP company has the right to pick up those items afterward. Some companies pick them up and donate them to homeless shelters, others don’t, so check with your TSP before giving anything away.

Learn more about filing an inconvenience claim here.

There are always questions about claims and liability, and what exactly they are to cover. Talk to me about liability, and then also replacement vs repair.

This information is on the DTR Part VI Attachment G6. The military contracted transportation service provider (TSP) is liable for $6 per pound up to $75,000. If a box goes missing, they look at the cubic size of the box from the inventory and figure the reimbursement on seven pounds per cubic foot of the box. This figure comes into play if the TSP can't itemize the exact contents of the box.

This is why it’s important to keep lists of your box contents, your home library, etc. This will only go up to 12,000 pounds of goods, so if your entire shipment is destroyed, you need to keep a renter’s insurance or personal property insurance carried with you THROUGH your move. Do not cancel them when you move! Those insurance companies may not cover damage, but they will cover loss to fire or mold after the TSP has paid their share. For some people, $75,000 may cover your entire home and replace everything, but for other people it won’t, so understand the cap and keep your other insurance.

Prior to 2017, the coverage was only up to $4 per pound and $50,000, so it has improved over the years. 

Replacement vs repair

As for Replacement vs repair, all claims after a PCS are covered at FRV (Full Replacement Value). If a TV is damaged, it doesn’t matter what you originally paid for it. You will be offered what it costs to replace now. Some companies will offer you repair costs. You can take either the repair cost or the repair process. If you use your own person for repairs, get a statement from them first predicting the cost, and submit that quote with your claim. If the cost goes above that estimate, you will pay any additional costs out of pocket. The other option is to ask the TSP to handle the repair for you. You can ask them to help coordinate a repair person and to cover the full cost of repair. 

Antique items can be repaired. Look up an antique furniture restoration company that specializes in these types of items and finishes. Seek those specialists who are certified to do the work, or ask your TSP to recommend a certified restoration company. Repair is usually cheaper than replacing these antique items, so the TSP wants to help repair the item.

Some things can’t be repaired. In those instances, you will be looking at the appraisal value of your item. It’s worthwhile to have an appraisal before your PCS, because then the TSP must offer you that value rather than the replacement value of a modern piece of furniture from a basic furniture warehouse. 

Sentimental items are difficult to price. If it is something custom or was made for you, then have it appraised and included in your appraisal process. The appraisal should include the cost of the materials and a statement detailing what it would cost to recreate that item for a paying customer. Save that statement, and then you have something to refer to for the essential value.

Watch the full session regarding PCS rules and regulations here.

Lizann Lightfoot

Lizann Lightfoot

Lizann Lightfoot, the "Seasoned Spouse" is a professional writer and speaker for the military community. After two decades with her service member, she has completed 7 deployments, 6 PCS moves, raised 5 children, and published several books for military families. Her most recent book is "Open When: Letters of Encouragement for Military Spouses" published Sept 2021 by Elva Resa. You can find Lizann's articles and resources at SeasonedSpouse.com

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