The Permanent Change of Station (PCS) season is here, and lots of people are thinking about whether a Do It Yourself (DITY) move is right for their situation. Here are some things you need to know:
It's Not Called A DITY Move AnymoreThey're now called Personally Procured Moves (PPM), to reflect the fact that you don't have to do it yourself. You can use the money to hire professionals or non-professionals for any part of the process. You can pack yourself, load yourself, and hire someone else to drive. You can pack yourself, hire loaders, and do the driving yourself. You can use one of the companies that will bring large containers to your house, which is nice if there will be storage en route. The possibilities are endless.
You Should Get Three WeightsThe regulations require that you have the truck weighed three times: once at the origin, while empty, once at the origin, while full, and once at the destination, while full. Claims can and are rejected for a missing weight ticket, and a discrepancy can result in your receiving the smaller amount. This is a relatively new change, so don't skip any weighing because "I didn't have to it that way last time."
The Allowance Is Taxable IncomeThe Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) will issue separate W-2s for PPM allowances in January. This money must be included in your taxes, though you can also deduct your expenses.
Partial PPMs Are Good For Lots of SituationsSplitting your household goods allowances into two parts, some moved by the military contracted movers and some done with a PPM, can solve a lot of PCS problems. A partial PPM can be tiny, just a car's worth, or it can be an entire truck's worth.
Situations that might warrant a PPM:
- If you have a boat that needs to be towed. (Be sure to check the regulations. They change.)
- If you have items in a storage unit.
- If one part of the family is moving before or after the main household goods shipment.
- If you have items that you don't want the movers to touch.
You May Not Make Much MoneyBack in the olden days, a PPM was a great way to make some money on your move. The rules have changed over the years, and now there is no guarantee of a profit for your hard work. Every move is different, so there are no hard rules. It seems obvious that you could figure out your costs ahead of time and see if the military reimbursement exceeds your costs, but sometimes it isn't simple.
Obviously, this doesn't cover everything you need to know about doing a DITY/PPM...just enough to get you thinking and asking the right question. You can learn more at the Military.com series on PPMs, starting with The Personally Procured Move (PPM): An Overview.