DoD Updates: We know pet shipping costs are a huge concern for families. This week, the Air Force Relief Society announced they are offering airmen a grant up to $1,000 to help with the cost of shipping a pet overseas when you get OCONUS orders. The SPCA continues to provide military grants to help with pet shipping expenses. Commercial airlines have really reduced the number of pet spaces, and it is still limited on the Patriot Express.
The 7-Day Spread window continues to cause confusion. It is not 7 days on either side of you requested pickup date. It is 7 days starting on your requested pickup date. If they come back to you with a scheduled date that is not in your 7-day spread, then push back on that.
What are the particular regulations everyone needs to know?
The first is the DTR Part IV Appendix B, which is the tender of service between the DoD and the moving company.
Next is the DTR Part IV attachment K1: It’s Your Move documents. It outlines your responsibilities as a customer.
JTR Chapter V: It’s the financial entitlements to everything you have during PCS: your TLA, DLE, etc.
The Claims Liability Business Rules: this outlines everything dealing with a claim–mold, damage, etc.
Finally, the DTMO is the Defense Travel Management Office. The per diem calculator, number of travel days, and other DoD specifics can be found on this site.
What is the difference between DTR and JTR?
DTR is Defense Travel Regulation. For this, think about the physical movement of your household goods, how they are crated and packed, and paperwork you need from the moving company.
JTR is Joint Travel Regulations. This is related to financial entitlements: per diem, split move, etc.
Pro Gear and Spouse Pro Gear: where are those regs?
Pro gear for the service member is anything they use for their job–anything issued from CIF, or equipment related to their job as a doctor or welder, for example. Spouse pro gear is anything related to the job you have now, or any type of community involvement you have, such as Scouts or coaching a team sport. Service members are allowed up to 2,000 pounds. Spouse Pro Gear is allowed up to 500 pounds. You can find more details in DTR Part IV attachment K1, and also in JTR, Chapter 5, paragraph 054309.
They are getting really particular about what you can claim for Spouse Pro Gear. Homeschool materials do not count unless you have a teaching certification. We have brought this up to TRANSCOM many times, and we hope we can change that ruling in the future. Many families are pivoting to homeschooling this year and plan to continue.
What are the new requirements for seals on crates?
Look on DTR Part IV Appendix B page 26. For a few years, seals were not required on crated shipments, but it just changed and is effective as of last Saturday, May 15. The seals should be applied in front of you, at your home, not at the warehouse. If they ask you to wait and do it at the warehouse, it requires your approval. Call your Move Coordinator first if you have a concern, then on the military side you can contact a Quality Assurance Inspector through your local transportation office if you have any questions. If it’s after hours or a weekend, your TSP needs to provide Customer Support from 9-5. Each service has its own customer service number listed on Move.mil for an after hours situation, and there is a hotline number to TRANSCOM where you can have your concern documented.
High-value inventory: what are the forms and regulations for this?
The first place to look is the Claim Liability Business Rules, page 13. Your high value inventory is anything that is over $100 per pound. This could be antiques, china, crystal, collectables, etc. Some companies say it is only items worth $5,000 or more, and that is false. Electronics can be included here, if they are expensive. Kindly remind the company what the regulations are, and what their company has agreed to with a government move. You can call your Move Coordinator or your local Transportation Office with any issues.
You should let the moving company know about high-value items in advance of the packing day, when they do your move inventory sheet. The earlier you let them know, then they can give you the form in advance and bring the proper packing materials. You can sit down and list each item by manufacturer and also the value of each item. Include what it is, what material it is made of, whether it is custom, etc. High-value items should be packed in a sealed box with the tamper-proof seal. High-value inventory gives you the ability to list something specific. Other boxes are given generic labels that won’t be specific enough for a large insurance claim. If china is packed in a box labelled “dishes,” it will be difficult to claim full value. That’s why it’s important to have these items listed individually so if it is broken or missing it can be processed quickly and accurately.
If you aren’t sure of the value for something antique, custom, or vintage, then get an appraisal. It may look like something sold in modern stores, but it was made differently and is difficult to truly replace. Research the market or get a professional appraisal done, and save that paperwork with your essential moving paperwork materials. An appraisal may cost money, but it will be worth it.
For items with an important sentimental value, it’s always best to pack with you if you have the space. Sentimental things can be packed to move with you if you don’t trust the moving company. Some things don’t fit the high-value inventory description, but they could be packed in the box with the other high-value items, even if it isn’t on the specific paperwork because you will get additional piece of mind knowing it is in that sealed box.
How do I find out how many travel days I’m authorized for during my PCS?
First, go to DTMO (Defense Travel Management Office). Their site will tell you how many authorized travel days you have per your particular move. You are authorized 1 travel day per 350 miles. If there are more than 150 miles left, you get an extra travel day. Your per diem that you get per travel day is only paid for each travel day you use, up to your allotted travel day quantity. If you are authorized for 7 travel days, but do it quickly and only stay in hotels 5 days, you will only get per diem those 5 days. If you are authorized 7 days and decide to take it more slowly and make it a vacation lasting 10 days, you will only get per diem for the 7 allotted travel days. You are paid for what you use up to your allotted amount. This is where planning pays off, because you can map out your route, decide when and where to stop. Some kids do well in the car, and others don’t. So if you need to break it up and stop for a ½ day, decide where it is best to do that.
For those moving OCONUS, what is the weight limit for UAB to go by plane, but not by boat?
Generally, if a shipment is under 1,000 pounds it can be flown. If it is over 1,000 pounds, it goes by boat (which is slower). So if your shipment is around 800 pounds, you are more likely to get a faster plane spot. There are details on Move.mil.
Why did I get an email that my weight changed?
If you are within 10% of your weight allotment, or over your allotted weight, then they will automatically do a re-weigh. The government can also do occasional audits and do a re-weigh of certain tickets. When you get a change, know that the DoD will always use the smaller number for your shipment. If you look closely at the email, there is a tiny note that it does not include your packing material deduction (10%) or your Pro Gear deduction. Your local Transportation Office is the only one authorized to remove those deductions. The moving company cannot make that adjustment, because they are paid based on total weight, whereas your local office deducts the amounts that bring your shipment closer to your authorized weight number.
The DTR (Defense Travel Regulations) Part IV, Appendix B, page 11, has all the details about requesting a re-weigh, which you do through your Move Coordinator. You do have the right to be present at the scale. You can also let your local Transportation Office know that you have a shipment coming in. If you want a re-weigh, you cannot accept your shipment. Once they start to unload your shipment, they can’t re-weigh your truck.
House-hunting: is this part of allotted PCS travel time?
No, house hunting is usually un-charged leave days that you are authorized to go find housing. But you do not get any travel money, per diem, or PCS allotment to help with a house-hunting trip. If you choose to travel in advance for house hunting, it must be done out of pocket. PCSgrades exists partially because of this issue, so we have information about base housing and off-base neighborhoods with real reviews from military families on our site. Our Area Guides also have great information about a variety of bases.
Inconvenience Claim: what is covered and where is the info?
There are a few places to learn more about this. The DTR (Defense Travel Regulations) Part IV Appendix B, page 12-15 has details. And you can also find them on Move.mil. At the top of their website is a green box with an Inconvenience Claim fact sheet.
The Inconvenience Claim occurs when your company does not deliver your household goods within a specific window of time, due to no fault of your own. There are two ways to request it. You can either get a per diem rate for the service member only, which is a great option for anyone who was going to house-camp and doesn’t want to save receipts. If you weren’t prepared to camp in your house, the 2nd option is to purchase essential items like air mattresses, towels, pillows, and sheets and to save your receipts for reimbursement. Remember that they will only cover basic store-brand items, nothing name-brand or luxury. If there is something like a natural disaster or a port strike that is outside the TSP’s control, then that does not qualify for an Inconvenience Claim.
Claims and Liability: What is the replacement vs. repair difference for claims?
The Claims Liability Business Rules start on page 4. The liability is to reimburse $6 per pound up to $75,000. If your shipment is only 10,000 pounds then at $6 per pound, your coverage will only go up to $60,000 for example. If you have a catastrophic claim, it may not cover all your losses. So the TSP and moving company will cover the amount they are responsible for, but you will still want private insurance to cover anything else above that. That’s why you should always keep your renter’s insurance active throughout your entire PCS move! Don’t cancel your policy until you have actually received all your household goods and assessed them for damages.
The difference between replacement vs. repair is that the TSP is able to determine whether they want to repair or replace the item. That is their choice. But if they decide to repair it, then you have a choice whether you want them to coordinate the repair, or whether you just want a cash settlement to handle the repair yourself. The flip side to this is that if they choose replacement then you also get a choice. You can either ask them to mail you the replacement item or to give you the cash to replace it yourself. If they purchase it and ship it, then you don’t have to go back and request the tax or shipping cost. If they pay you the full replacement value, then they do have a right to salvage the item. They paid for the replacement item, so it is their right to come and pick up the broken item to be salvaged. If you want to keep the original item, then they can offer you less than the full replacement value.
If you aren’t satisfied with a repair, then don’t sign off on it. Contact your Move Coordinator, and they can either continue to work on the repair, or you can then negotiate and request a replacement item.
What should you do when you can’t reach the TSP in a timely manner?
Always call your Move Coordinator first. If you can’t reach them, contact your local Transportation Office. If that doesn’t work, get on Move.mil under the customer service tab, enter your zip code, and you will get a customer service number hotline number for a help desk in your region.