The Ultimate PCS Military Move Guide for Any Military Spouse
PCS, or a Permanent Change of Station, is a stressful time in any military family’s life. Sometimes, marriages crumble during this time. Don’t let the stress, insecurity and hard work endanger your family’s harmony. Above all, stick together! Sometimes, your destination will be a place of your dreams, other times, not so much. Don’t worry. Even the most desolate sounding station can end up being one of your favorites if you give it a fair chance.
What to Expect from a Regular PCS Move
Your military member will meet with the local official in charge of obtaining a moving company to pack your household goods and transport them to your new duty station. You will be given a date when the movers will be at your home and an expected date that your household goods will be delivered to your new duty station. Warning, the movers will swarm over your home, usually at least one person per room. The object is to finish the job as quickly as possible. For the shadier operators, the intent is also to maximize the weight of your goods as much as they can. When the movers come, call all the friends you’ve made and have at least one person in every room. It is the only way to keep weight real and to make sure breakage doesn’t happen easily.
What to Expect of a PPM Move
You have two choices in moving your belongings if you are in CONUS. You can let the military contract with a commercial moving company or you can try to move your goods yourself. This is known as a Personally Procured Move. In the PPM program, you can use your vehicle, such as a truck if you only have a few goods, a rental such as a moving truck for rent or you may borrow a vehicle. You will get travel allowance, mileage and per diem payments from the government, as well as $25,000 of insurance coverage. Sometimes, an advance can be made. Look closely into this program to be sure that you qualify. You absolutely can make money from a PPM move, but calculate what you can expect and be certain that it is worth your effort. Make certain your family has the skills to pack and load carefully and professionally.
Living in Military Housing
In nearly every case, you will be financially better off living in base housing. Yes, you will lose your quarters allowance, but in return you get a rent-free home and paid utilities. You will have no bills except your home phone, cable and Internet. By living in base housing, you will have neighbors who understand your lifestyle, who can be there when your military member is on extended duty, and can help in any time of need. You and your kids will have friends that have a lot in common with them. Some families want to buy a home “on the economy.” This is a real gamble and you should treat it as such. This is more wisely done when this is your last posting before retirement. Otherwise, you must be sure that the surrounding community would be glad to buy your home in a hurry if you have an unexpected transfer. You could hire a realty firm to manage the rental of the home, but that is also a risk. Be careful and think twice. You will be expected to keep your military quarters and its yard in good shape. Ordinary good housekeeping; that is, treating the home as if it is your own, is all the military asks. At the end of your PCS, when your home is empty, there will be an inspection of the quarters and your grounds. This inspection is quite extensive and they inspect every inch. The inspectors tolerate no roaches or other vermin. Most savvy military families hire a professional quarters cleaner, usually a current or retired military family member. They will guarantee your home will pass inspection for a price they quote you up front. If the first inspection fails, they will clean the quarters until they pass. You pay, then leave. Be aware that the cleaner the home, the less the cost will be.
Spouse Employment After a PCS Move
A spouse sometimes has a very difficult time finding employment after a move. Those who have jobs such as nurses, teachers or other jobs that transfer nicely have the upper hand. It is usually a matter of transferring a license. The Dept. of Defense states that 85 percent of military spouses either want or need work, so you have some work ahead of you. Their qualifications are high, 84 percent have some college education, 25 percent have a bachelor’s degree and 10 percent have an advanced college degree. To advance their career and help with their family income, these spouses need meaningful work, but may end up being a cashier at the Post Exchange. The Military Spouse Employment Portal is one place where all services have their jobs for spouses programs and mentorships for those looking for work. There are some jobs that can be performed everywhere if you have the skills to work in one of these jobs, it will certainly help your PCS transition. These jobs are called “portable careers” and are what The Military Spouse Program focuses on. We assist you with finding online training options for many portable careers in the medical field and more. You want a career that is in high demand, which means that finding job placement is easier. Unlike other transferable careers, portable medical careers don’t require years of university education. You can finish training in a matter of months at a fraction of the cost of university tuition. Plus in-demand careers are also approved for MyCAA scholarships. Other jobs using computers at home are customer service jobs, sales jobs, etc. There is nothing wrong with jobs like bartender, line cook, baker, writer, etc. Once you’ve been trained for these jobs and have some experience, you can have them in your back pocket to travel nearly anywhere with an ability to find a good job quickly. Plus, how cool would it be to sharpen your professional knife skills in a restaurant in Paris? You may want to research these kinds of jobs so that you have no downtime except your travel to the new station.
Requirements for Spousal Education Loans and Grants
MyCAA can offer $4,000 toward an associate’s degree, vocational training or toward professional licensing. There is a really big “but” here. It only applies toward spouses of the lower ranks, i.e., E1-E5, W1-W2 or O1-O2. MyCAA won’t pay for spouses of more senior members nor will it pay for bachelor’s, master’s or PhD degrees. The program will not pay for those programs that “give” you a computer, etc. Download Your Free PCS Move Guide
If you are interested in learning with Brighton College’s Military Spouse Program, contact us today, online or at (866) 253-3884. Let’s have a conversation about your future.