How Long Does a Retiree Qualify for a Final PCS?

Lt. Col. Antonio Copeland receives his certificate of retirement from Maj. Gen. Pete Johnson, U.S. Army Pacific deputy commanding general-south, during a celebration of service ceremony. (U.S. Army/Justin Silvers)
Lt. Col. Antonio Copeland receives his certificate of retirement from Maj. Gen. Pete Johnson, U.S. Army Pacific deputy commanding general-south, during a celebration of service ceremony. (U.S. Army/Justin Silvers)

Dear Q&B,

When I retired from the military, I never made a final PCS move. When is the last possible date retirees can make that move? I heard that you can ask for a yearly extension and have it granted once a year forever.

Sincerely, Retiree on the Move

Dear Retiree,

Deciding where and when to make that final move right after you get out of the military can be hard. You may have found a civilian job at or near your last duty station, but still want to keep the option of moving later in your back pocket. Or you may just not know yet where it is you want to move.

When you retire from the military, you are permitted a last move to whatever location you choose within the U.S., a place that is known as your "home of selection." However, what you heard about being able to receive indefinite yearly extensions for that move is not true -- there are hard and fast time cap rules.

According to the regulation that governs military travel, your final move must be made within one year of your retirement, unless you apply for and receive an extension. Those extensions can be granted for almost any reason, as long as a transportation official signs off on it. You can ask for an extension five times, pushing your final move to six years after your retirement date, according to the regulation.

But transportation officials warn that, like all entitlements, the application of the rules are at the discretion of the individual services. This means that while the regulation may give you a maximum six-year extension, the services may choose to grant a shorter one. The best thing for you to do would be to check with your local transportation office for specifics.

Good luck with your new adventures!

Sincerely, Team Q&B

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