How to Get an Exception to the Coronavirus PCS Stop-Movement Order

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A moving contractor loads a truck with a service member's goods during the PCS peak-season at Scott Air Force Base,.
A moving contractor loads a moving truck with a service member's household goods during the permanent change of station peak-season at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. March 7, 2018. (Sgt. Oz Suguitan/USTRANSCOM/PA)

New rules from military move officials lay out exactly how service members can get an exception to policy, allowing their household goods to be packed and relocated during the global stop-movement order issued last week.

Concerns over the novel coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19, sparked the Pentagon to halt all permanent change of station (PCS) moves, including pack-outs, for 60 days, effective March 16.

Officials said in their initial release that troops with terminating leases and those who have sold their home in anticipation of their move could receive an exception to policy allowing them to have their household goods packed and stored until the stop movement is over.

Under most circumstances, those service members are eligible for per diem payments to help cover the cost of temporary housing, according to guidance released Wednesday.

Related: Army to Offer Special Pay, Assignment Extensions to Ease Stop-Movement Pain

Those policy exceptions, however, are handled by the military services, not U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), which oversees military moves. The new rules help soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and members of the Coast Guard understand exactly how to get such an exception.

"The advisory provides the most current [TRANSCOM] guidance on several aspects of implementing DOD's stop movement orders ... as well as service specific guidance on requesting exceptions to policy," it states. "DOD's stop movement orders provide commanders with the authority to approve exceptions-to-policy: the advisory ensures DoD customers -- and the offices that support them -- understand how to request an exception."

Receiving an exception to the pack-out rule does not necessarily give the service member or their family the all-clear to proceed to the next duty station, officials said. Troops should work with their chain of command if they believe they require that additional allowance.

Exceptions are not required for those moving as the result of military retirement or the end of military service, the guidance states.

Soldiers must get an exception approved by a general officer or member of the Senior Executive Service; sailors must receive approval from Navy Personnel Command or the first flag officer or member of the Senior Executive Service in the chain of command at the Budget Submitting Office paying for the move; airmen must gain an exception from their squadron commander, first sergeant or equivalent; Marines must get a waiver from their detaching commander or officer in charge (0-5 or above); and members of the Coast Guard must receive an exception from Coast Guard Headquarters.

Full guidance on processing exceptions to policy for each service is available on Move.mil.

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com.

Read more: Military.com's COVID-19 coverage

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