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    Streamlining the PCS household goods moving process: GHC leading the way

    Military Family’s PCS ingenuity alerts DoD officials to possibilities, sparking process improvements

    Photo By Jenn DeHaan | Military spouse Valerie McNulty says the use of a GPS tracker placed in her household...... read more read more

    UNITED STATES

    05.14.2024

    Courtesy Story

    U.S. Army Materiel Command   

    By HQDA G4

    The Department of Defense has prioritized the well-being of its service members and their Families by implementing significant improvements to the permanent change of station process. Recognizing the stress, challenges, and disruptions associated with frequent moves, the Army is committed to ensuring a smoother transition for its Soldiers, thus enabling them to focus on their duties with minimal distractions.

    Introduction to GHC and HomeSafe Alliance

    A pivotal aspect of these reforms is the adoption of global household good contact, marking the most significant overhaul in household goods management since 2005. With the transition to a single move manager facilitated by HomeSafe Alliance, service members and their Families will now have a centralized point of contact for all their moving needs.

    Recognizing the critical importance of service members and their Families’ belongings, HomeSafe Alliance has introduced HomeSafe Connect—a secure mobile application offering 24/7 customer service and real-time tracking of shipments.

    GHC implementation timeline

    GHC has already received DoD approval, with HomeSafe Alliance commencing service provision domestically in 2024. Service members stationed abroad can anticipate these improvements to begin no earlier than September 2025.

    The Army’s collaboration with HomeSafe Alliance underscores its commitment to supporting Soldiers and their Families through the challenges of relocation. With streamlined processes, enhanced benefits, and a focus on safety and convenience, the permanent change of station experience is set to become more manageable for those who selflessly serve our country. To learn more about GHC and all it has to offer, visit www.MilitaryOneSource.mil/GHC.

    PCS entitlement changes and benefits

    Previously, Soldiers could expect a 90-day lead time for PCS orders. However, with the myriad of tasks Soldiers must juggle, including reporting for duty, finding a new home, and planning for their Families’ travel and transportation, the lead time for PCS orders has been extended to 120-days. These additional 30 days can make a world of difference, providing Soldiers with more time to manage their affairs without feeling rushed.

    In a massive shift for the moving industry to instill peace of mind regarding the handling of their possessions, improvements have been made to quality assurance. Since 2023, they have transitioned from paper inventories to electronic copies, ensuring better legibility, accountability, and clarity of items being shipped. Army Materiel Command household goods inspectors conduct inspections at pick-up and/or delivery to ensure Army and DoD performance standards are met. Punitive action(s) are executed for service failures. AMC performs in-person inspection on approximately 89 percent of Army moves, exceeding the Chief of Staff, Army standard of 75 percent.

    Encouraging Soldiers to manage the moving process as they see fit, enhancements have also been made to the Personally Procured Move referred to as a do-it-yourself, or DITY, move. The reimbursement process has been expedited to an average of four days through SmartVoucher (https://smartvoucher.dfas.mil/), alleviating financial burdens associated with out-of-pocket expenses.

    As of Jan. 1, pet owners now enjoy the benefit of pet travel reimbursement up to $550 within the U.S. and up to $2,000 for international PCS moves, covering costs such as shipping and quarantine fees for one pet, either a cat or dog. Proper documentation is needed for reimbursement.

    Gun safety measures and waivers

    In a bid to promote responsible gun ownership and increase gun safety, service members can now waive the weight of gun safes up to 500 pounds, provided their shipment does not exceed 18,000 pounds. This initiative aims to ensure that service members are not penalized for taking proper precautionary measures to secure their firearms.

    To learn more about current program entitlements, changes, and benefits, visit www.MilitaryOneSource.mil/PersonalProperty to access fact sheets, articles and more.

    My Army PCS Move App

    The Army re-designed its My PCS Move App to include information on entitlements, move types, planning/scheduling your move, claims, Exceptional Family Members Program, Married Army Couples Program, and a direct chat capability with counselors. It is linked to the Digital Garrison App, providing a one-stop shop to installation resources.

    The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School released one moving day video and three household goods claims informational videos that are located on the Army PCS Move App. These videos can also be accessed via the following links:

    - Video #1 - Pre-Move and Moving Day YouTube: https://youtu.be/EL0eMaN7mHU
    - Video #2 – Delivery Day and Filing Your Claim: https://youtu.be/Bk288sGwUPM
    - Video #3 – Transferring your Claim to the Army: https://youtu.be/DdKiMiswT20 or on CLAIMS: https://www.jagcnet.army.mil/PCLAIMSVideo3

    Claims for loss of lithium batteries

    If you are an active-duty Army Soldier or a Department of the Army civilian who received PCS orders and had the Transportation Service Provider deny shipment of lithium batteries, you may file a claim with our office for the loss of those lithium batteries or lithium battery items. Substantiated claims for loss will be at a depreciated rate and in accordance with the Allowance List-Depreciation Guide. Claims for loss of lithium batteries and lithium battery items will sunset in three years. No claims will be paid beyond June 1, 2026. During this three-year period, only ONE claim per Soldier or Department of the Army Civilian will be accepted and considered for payment. To file your claim, go to the Army’s Personnel Claims website at www.JAGCNet.army.mil/PCLAIMS.

    Soldier exception to policy process to request a higher household goods weight allowance

    When Soldier exceeds their maximum weight allowance, they receive notification via two processes: (1) An automatic email from the Defense Personal Property System or (2) a notice of indebtedness from the U.S. Financial Management Command.

    The automatic email states: "The actual weight for the following shipment has been received: shipment picked up on (planned pickup date) from (shipment primary pickup state) moved under the (bill of lading/Government bill of lading number) shipping to (shipment primary destination city, state) weighs (shipment actual net weight). If actual weight exceeds Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) entitlement, DPS has detected the possibility you may have exceeded your (authorized JTR weight allowance). Please contact your destination Transportation Office and request a reweigh of your shipment prior to delivery."

    Upon receipt of one of these notifications, Soldiers may opt to submit an Exception to Policy or have the destination Transportation Office submit an ETP on their behalf to the Army G-4. The ETP contains all actual household goods shipment weights, PCS orders, with a Soldier's statement requesting a higher weight allowance not to exceed 18,000 pounds and financial hardship impact.
    The Army G-4 adjudicates the ETP with a decision sent back to the destination transportation office to notify the Soldier. The Army G-4 also sends the approved household goods weight allowance increase to the U.S. Financial Management Command.

    Joint Travel Regulations paragraph 051402. Exceptions to the Authorized Weight Allowance E. Higher Weight Allowances. Each Service will designate either the secretary concerned or the secretarial process as the approval authority level to authorize a higher weight allowance than that authorized in Table 5-37. No general policy statements are permitted, and higher weight allowances will be authorized only on an individual basis. Any increase must meet all the following requirements:
    1. Must be authorized only for a service member in the pay grade O-5 or below.
    2. Is limited to a total household goods weight of 18,000 pounds.
    3. Must be documented in a written determination from the approval authority that failure to increase the service member's weight allowance would create a significant hardship to the service member or dependent.

    In conclusion, Soldiers and their Families can rest assured knowing that their needs are being met and their concerns are being accounted for. The DoD and Homesafe Alliance are working to make the PPM and PCS moving process as smooth as possible. Innovations such as SmartVoucher, the implementation of the weight exception to policy, and inclusion of pet reimbursement show that the voice of Soldiers and their Families are not falling on deaf ears.

    For additional information, check out the following articles.

    https://www.army.mil/article/246275/here_are_some_helpful_tips_for_the_coming_pcs_season

    https://www.army.mil/article/269205/big_changes_coming_to_improve_pcs_process_pet_reimbursements_will_rise_one_company_handling_all_moves

    https://www.army.mil/article/257684/dod_army_make_improvements_to_pcs_process

    https://www.defense.gov/News/Releases/Release/Article/3434402/department-of-defense-approves-policy-to-reimburse-pet-expenses-due-to-a-perman/

    https://www.defense.gov/News/Contracts/Contract/Article/2834064/

    https://www.defense.gov/News/Releases/Release/Article/3018914/dod-announces-revision-to-joint-travel-regulations-authorizing-transportation-o/source/dod-announces-revision-to-joint-travel-regulations-authorizing-transportation-o/

    https://www.dfas.mil/Portals/98/SmartVoucher%20Mil%20PCS%20User%20Guide%20-%2024%20August%202021.pdf

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    Date Taken: 05.14.2024
    Date Posted: 05.14.2024 18:38
    Story ID: 471281
    Location: US

    Web Views: 213
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