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    5 min read

    PCS and ETS and the impact of Covid - 19

    May 12, 2020 8:27:55 AM

    What in the world is happening?  You have orders and maybe you are in limbo waiting for the powers that be to figure out just exactly is going on with your PCS.  Maybe you were the fortunate one who shipped your entire household of furniture before this happened and you have been sleeping on a cot.  Maybe your lease expired and you were ready to purchase a home finally but are unsure of the future.  Below is some time relative information provided by Military Times regarding Travel Restrictions still in place.

    New Travel Restrictions May Impact Your Permanent Change of Station

    Current as of April 29, 2020


    The Department of Defense is taking steps to preserve force readiness, limit spread and protect lives during the global outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019.

    Due to continued safety concerns, DOD has extended domestic and international official travel restrictions through June 30, 2020, but has resumed travel for the categories shown below. You may also want to review the frequently asked questions for more information.

    However, because the understanding of COVID-19 is rapidly changing, continue to check our Coronavirus Information for Our Military Community page for updates.

    Exceptions to the travel restrictions

    Check with your supervisor before traveling. Currently, travel is allowed for:

    • All Global Force Management scheduled deployments and redeployments
    • Service members whose temporary duty ends while the bans are in effect and are returning home
    • Authorized travelers who departed their permanent duty station, are awaiting transportation and have already initiated travel (including intermediate stops)
    • Service members and their families who must travel for medical treatment
    • Medical providers who must travel to treat military personnel or their families
    • Scheduled deployments/redeployments of U.S. Navy vessels and embarked units that are in transit for 14 days and meet restriction-of-movement requirements for current force health-protection guidance
    • Service members who are retiring or separating from duty while the stop movement order is in place

    Exemptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis for travel that is:

    • Essential to the mission
    • Necessary for humanitarian reasons
    • Warranted due to extreme hardship

    Here’s what the restrictions may mean for you, and what steps you can take if you are currently preparing for, or currently in the process of, a PCS:

      • You have already departed for your PCS within the continental United States: You may continue to your final destination.
      • You are just about to PCS: Contact your chain of command right away.
      • Your belongings are packed and you have moved out of your residence but your travel is on hold: Contact your chain of command right away to receive information about entitlements, such as lodging, that may apply to you and your situation. The services also have relief societies that may be able to provide some emergency support.
      • The moving company has already picked up your shipment: Contact your shipping office to check the status of your shipment. It may be in storage in your local area, on its way to your destination or in storage there. To find contact information for your Household Goods/Transportation Office, visit the MilitaryINSTALLATIONS website, an online information directory for military installations worldwide. You can search for information by installation, program or service, or by state.
      • You have confirmed that the stop movement order impacts your PCS, but already submitted your movement request to your personal property office:
        • If your shipment does not have a moving company award, it will be put in a hold status pending further guidance — such as the end of the stop movement order or approval from your chain of command to continue.
        • If your shipment does have a moving company award and pack-out or pick-up dates have been scheduled, your moving company will contact you about postponing those dates.

    Travel Restrictions & PCS

    If you entered into a rental or purchase agreement at your new duty station but are unable to PCS due to travel restrictions, you still have options.

    • Your lease is expiring or you have already sold your home: Contact your chain of command and personal property office. The stop movement order provides flexibility to allow pack-outs and pick-ups to continue and household goods to put into storage locally.
    • You have an appointment coming up at the Vehicle Processing Center:
      • If you don’t know whether the stop movement order applies to you, contact your chain of command.
      • If the stop movement order does not apply to your PCS or your chain of command has approved an exception, keep your Vehicle Processing Center appointment.
    • You have already dropped off your vehicle, but your PCS now has a delay: If you would like to pick up your vehicle, contact the Vehicle Processing Center. Staff can help you make an appointment, retrieve your vehicle and answer questions. For more information on your personal vehicle, visit Move.mil.
    • You have other questions about your personal property shipment:

    Travel restrictions may affect Basic Allowance for Housing entitlements

    Travel restrictions may impact your PCS and your eligibility for BAH in one of the following ways:

    • If you’ve moved, but your dependents had to stay behind, you may be eligible for BAH with-dependents at the old location and Family Separation Housing allowance at the new location
    • If your dependents have moved but you had to stay behind, you are entitled to BAH at the old or new duty station, whichever is more equitable, but not both
    • If you have not yet started your PCS, you will only be eligible for BAH at the old location

    If the travel restrictions are affecting you and your family in one of the ways listed above, you may do the following:

    • Contact your personnel or housing office and the gaining command to see if there are any options for temporary lodging
    • Check with your housing provider to see if your lease or purchase agreement can be delayed
    • Check to see if you may be exempt from the travel restrictions or if you could receive a hardship exception to proceed with the PCS
    • Ask your legal office if you have options under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the rental/purchase contract’s military clause, which may permit you to cancel the contract

    You may also keep up with ongoing changes to travel and housing policy due to COVID-19 at the Defense Travel and Housing Policy website.

    Please reach out to Veterans Housing Network to see how we can help you with your housing situation.  As always, we will connect you with another Veteran Real Estate Resource that will sympathize and understand what you are facing regarding your housing options.  You are not in this alone and together we will triumph over these crazy times.

    MICHELLE ROBERTS

    Written by MICHELLE ROBERTS

    Michelle Roberts, an Operation Desert Shield/Storm Veteran founded Veterans Housing Network in response to the overwhelming need to provide honest, non-predatory, local Real Estate expertise and service to her military family

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