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Planning Can Help Alleviate PCS Stress

A Soldier looks over some paperwork.

Transitioning to or from a permanent change of station may be difficult and challenging. Soldiers and their Families are strongly encouraged to act early and plan accordingly to make the transition a bit easier.

"Soldiers need to read their process order thoroughly from beginning to end because it is the most important thing they can do," said Angela Martin, reassignments branch chief, Directorate of Human Resources.

The process order gives Soldiers step-by-step instructions and takes the guess work out of everything, she said.

Soldiers also have a responsibility to get involved in the decision-making process of the transition.

"We tell them that this is your PCS move," she said. "They decide when their stuff is going to be picked up, they decide when they want to take leave, so they just need to be involved."

One important step for Soldiers and their Families is planning for a travel budget during the move, she said.

"We tell them to get with (Army Community Service) to work out a PCS budget to make sure they have enough cash on hand and money in their bank accounts to cover them," she said. "They may have an expense they don't get reimbursed for until they sign in to their gaining command."

Keeping all receipts of travel expenses, including hotel stays and gas during the transit also is important, Martin said.

Additionally, Soldiers should never buy commercial airline tickets for official travel because they will not be reimbursed for the expense, she said.

Soldiers also need to be in contact with their sponsor at their gaining command, Martin said.

"The sponsor is there to answer any questions a Soldier may have about the new location," she said. "Sponsorship is really a big push right now. Email them if they haven't contacted you."

Most units have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, Martin said, adding that Soldiers can use social media to ask questions they may have about their next duty station.

"Even questions about the difference in weather – the clerk handling their assignment may not know the answer to questions like these," she said.

Soldiers who are being stationed overseas will have additional requirements to fulfill. A mandatory overseas briefing is required and is at 9 a.m. every Wednesday in Room 6, Building 210 on Main Post.

Soldiers going overseas, for example, are strongly encouraged to begin the passport process early for their dependents that will be joining them, Martin said. PCS orders are not necessary to begin the process.

"That's why you've got to make plans – make a timeline of when you need to do things, and that way, maybe it will help alleviate some of the stress," she said. "Everything the Soldier needs to do is basically located in this building, whether transitioning in state or overseas."

If Soldiers have any questions, they should contact the clerk handling their assignment, she said.

"We're here to help you through the process (and) try to make it a little less stressful because (moving) can be very stressful," she said.

ON-POST HOUSING

Soldiers and Families living on post who will be relocating from Fort Riley are strongly encouraged to give their 30-day notice as soon as official orders are received, said Melissa Meyer, deputy community management director, Corvias Military Living.

"That's the most important thing – that'll get things going," Meyer said.

As a convenience, service members and their Families relocating from Fort Riley are only required to do a wipe down clean of their home.

"It's not the white glove that they're typically used to, so that makes it much easier for when they do move out," she said.

Soldiers and their Families moving to Fort Riley are encouraged to apply for post housing as soon as they receive official orders. Applications can be made online or by phone. Families also can visit the Relocation Office in Building 45 on Main Post to apply for housing.

"There is a bit of a rumor about on-post housing and long wait lists," Meyer said. "Many times, people think that there's a long wait for every single neighborhood. That's not the case at all, so we really want to encourage that service member to go to the relocation office and talk to them."

If Soldiers assume they will not qualify, they may miss out on a great opportunity to live on post, she said.

For more information, call 785-239-3163. For more information about Corvias Military Living, call 785-717-2258 or visit corviasmilitaryliving.com. For more information about off-post housing, call the Housing Service Office at 785-239-3525.

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