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The PCSing Process + Entitlements

What exactly does ‘PCSing’ mean?

PCS is short for ‘Permanent Change of Station’.  So, if you’re ‘PCSing’ Then you're making a move from one duty station to a new military duty station.  This means an active member of the military is relocating from one Base/Post or Station to another.  So you know what that really means……. Honey We Have Orders.

The PCSing Process

The PCSing process usually starts out with “Honey We Got Orders” or “Do you want the bad news or good news first”? Saying that to some military spouses may be some of the most feared phrases to them, not every military spouse wants to pack up and move.  Just the thought of where will we live, where will the kids go to school or where will I find a job.   However many look at it as a new, exciting change and adventure. They do their homework about the schools for the kids and even find an area in which they would like to live.

As many of you are aware, military families move on an average of once every three years due to receiving and executing orders for a new duty station.   That's more than the national average and next to divorce or death of a relative.  The experts say that moving is rated as the third-highest cause of stress.  

1. Receive/Request Orders

  • Go to S1 Shop or Admin Shop to obtain copies of the orders
  • While at S1/Admin Shop request a Sponsor or Welcome Aboard package from the base you are moving to.

2. Choose a Method for Moving; Government Move or DITY

  • A Government Move visit your Travel Management Office (TMO) to set up a date to go out to your residence and estimate the weight of your household items.

  • A DITY move (Do it yourself) allows you not to have to wait on your household goods, and also you can make some extra money by doing it yourself.  But be prepared because you will probably just have you and your spouse to move everything off the truck and into your new home.  Request information from TMO about Travel Claims and Advance Pay for travel.

  • For both Government Moves and DITY moves check with the insurance provider to ensure your items are insured during transit

Set up a date for TMO to come out and pack up household items

                *** Note: TMO is responsible for breakdown and setup (check TMO Regulations)***

Request /Schedule Permissive Temporary Additional Duty (TAD)  (10 days of house hunting)

  • House Hunting

    1. Buy/Rent (if desired)

    2. Apply for Base Housing (if desired)

  1. Check Out

    1. Pick up all Medical Records for yourself and family, and also your Service Record Book.

    2. Check out of all commands: Medical, Tri-Care, Supply, Armory, Education, Mail Room, etc… You will have check-out paperwork that will tell you exactly where you will need to check-out from.

    3. TMO/Dity move, pack up and move


**Note: for a DITY move the moving truck must be weighed before and after it has been loaded***

  1. Check for direct deposit from advance pay

  2. Travel

  3. Check In

    1. Check with new Command for extra Permissive TAD/ House Hunting (if desired)

    2. Schedule a date with TMO to deliver your household items to your new home.

                           *** Note: TMO is responsible for the breakdown and setup of household goods.    (Check TMO Regulations)***

            Complete any travel claims for damaged/lost household items


I think we all wish the PCSing process was as easy as that.  The first thing we really say is;

NOW WHAT”???? 

The first thing to do when you receive orders is to determine the type of orders you have.  Do you have Temporary Duty (TAD) or Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders?  When many Service Members receive orders it’s like a whirlwind but a well thought out and planned move can actually be a pleasant experience.


I/ We Currently Live on Base/Post 

1. Notify Base Housing that you have received orders if you reside on Base/Post  The local base housing authority can be contacted usually Mon-Friday.

2. Contact your Base/Post-Transportation Office to schedule your move or to double-check the standard procedures for a Do It Yourself (DITY) move.  

DOD, Joined Personal Property Shipping Office

Air Force; Traffic Management Office (TMO)  

Army; Installation Transportation Office.

Navy and Marine Corps; Personal Property Shipping Office

3. If needed schedule any TMO Briefs that are required.  I would always recommend that you attend one if needed or not.  Remember knowledge is power when PCSing.

4. Contact your new Duty Station to request a sponsor to assist you.  Here again I would always recommend this because who knows the area better then someone there already.

I/We Currently Live off Base/Post  

1. Notify your landlord that you have received orders, most require a written notice and a copy of your orders. If a written notice is not required, insist on a written statement from your landlord that they have received your notice and your anticipated departure date. Most will require at least a 30 day notice to vacate the premises to protect you from being charged for any additional rent.  


2. Contact your Travel Management Office to schedule your move or to double check the standard procedures for a Do It Yourself (DITY) move.

3. If needed schedule any TMO Briefs that are required.  I would always recommend that you attend one if needed or not.  Remember knowledge is power when PCSing.

4. Contact your new Duty Station to request a sponsor to assist you.  Here again I would always recommend this because who knows the area better then someone who is living there.

5. Check with your landlord to determine how utilities should be maintained at move out.

6.  If possible plan on attending your move out inspection to ensure that you are not held responsible for issues resulting from previous tenants.  Bring your move-in inspection form with you to the move-out inspection as well as any receipts for cleaning or repairs that you have completed.  Ask for a copy of your move-out inspection at the time competed if possible.

If you placed a security deposit on your current rental do not assume that you will be leaving your current home with a check from your landlord. Most landlords have about a 30 day return policy; this may be dependent on state law and company policy.


What if I have Problems with My Landlord or Property Management Company? 

If you have received orders and are having trouble with your landlord you can contact your Base/Post Legal Office. Make sure that you are prepared for your meeting with the Legal Office by bringing along a copy of your orders, your lease agreements, as well as a copy of any communications that have occurred between you and your landlord.  It is very handy to keep track of your phone calls to and from your landlord if you anticipate any issues.

Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) 

  • Evictions

  • Default judgments

  • Stay or postponement of court

  • Administrative proceedings


The primary purpose of the SCRA is to ease legal and financial burdens on the Military personnel and their families brought on by the demands of the Active Duty Military.

Some of the provisions that were enacted to protect the Military Member include:

  • The ability to terminate property leases. You can generally get out of or terminate without penalty any Residential and Business property lease that began before your active duty assignment.

  • You can also terminate a lease you signed during Active Duty in the event of a change in permanent duty station (PCSing Orders).

  • If the Military Member is being deployed for more than 90 days or more.  The service member must provide written notification of cancellation to the Landlord or Property Management Company.

            *****A VERBAL NOTICE IS NOT ENOUGH*****

So one question that is asked quite often is how much notice do I need to give my landlord?

First of all the notice MUST BE IN WRITING and as a concession to the landlord/ lessor the termination is effective 30 days after the first date on which the next rental payment is due and payable and after the notice has been delivered.  

For example, in the case of a month to month rental if the rental payment is due on the 1st of August and the notice is mailed on the 1st of August then the next rental payment is due on September 1st and the notice would take effect that day and the lease would be terminated on October 1st given that the lessee has left the rental property.

There are a few components that should be highlighted for your knowledge:

  • The Service Member Civil Relief Act makes it clear that any prepaid rents should be returned within 30 days of the termination of the lease.

  • Should be used when a service member is transferring from one duty station to another for a period of more than 90 days

  • This protection covers joint leases, the spouses obligation is terminated along with that of the service member.

  • Termination can be completed by any adult dependent of the service member not just the spouse. For example, an elderly parent that the service member calms as a dependent. An adult dependent is anyone who the service member provides more than ½ of the individual’s support for more than 180 days.

Full and complete details of the Service Member Civil Relief Act can be found in multiple locations on the internet, such as: , , or

Example of 30 Notices of Rental Termination 


From: Me Military at 123 Street Road

To: Landlord/ Property Manager

 In accordance with the provisions of the United States Code,  Title 50 Appendix, section 535 of the Service Member Civil Relief Act (Hereinafter SCAR), you are hereby provided this written notice of my intent to terminate my lease for the premises at 123 Street Road, My State and zip code.

The aforementioned provision of the Federal Law covers Residential Leases involving premises “Occupied or Intended to be Occupied by a Service Member or a Service Member’s dependents”  When the Service Member receives (a) Permanent Change of Station Orders Or (b) Orders for Deployment in excess of ninety (90) days.   I have received such orders, a copy of which attached to this notice.

In the case of a lease wherein rent payments are due monthly and early termination is made under the SCRA, lease termination is effective thirty (30) days after the date on which the next rental payment is due.  Accordingly, this lease is terminated, effective Day / Month / Year

Any security deposit must be returned, but portions of the deposit maybe withheld should there be any damages to the premises caused by me, but not for any condition due to normal wear and tear.  Portions of the deposit may also be withheld for loss of rent, but only up through the aforementioned date of termination and then only if the premises were vacant and actual loss of rent occurred.  If any portions of the security deposit is withheld the landlord must provide an itemized list of reasons and costs.  After I vacate the lease premise you may provide me with the security deposit refund/ itemized list of costs at the following address:  123 Military Road, My State and Zip Code.

Thank you for your assistance and cooperation in my effort to defend our Nation through my Military Service.


Me Military


Encl :  PCS/Deployment Orders

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