PCS (Permanent Change of Station) Checklist for the Military Mama
Acquire Outprocessing Checklist
It is a common saying in the military that every checklist has a checklist and nothing is more frustrating when you have your family all prepped and ready for a move only to find out that there was one checklist item to outprocess your base that you missed. The military member of the family needs to locate this checklist ASAP and refer to it often!
Create a PCS Binder
This tip has been a game-changer for military families! Put together a binder of all of your personal documents, car titles, birth certificates, marriage license, all the things! The number of times these documents are randomly needed along your move can be alarming and you will be stopped in your tracks if you accidentally had them packed with the movers.
Determine HOW you will move
Part of the checklist mentioned earlier will include speaking with a TMO (Travel Management Office) coordinator. Having that secured so that you can put your packing day on the calendar is a major step. Then you can work from there to coordinate if you plan to drive, fly, or ferry (Alaska PCS). Keep in mind, the military will pay for one of your vehicles to be moved!
Something to be aware of is the cost reimbursement that you may receive from a full DITY (do-it-yourself) move. This type of move is not for everyone but if done correctly, could mean a large financial bonus for a military family!
It is recommended to call as soon as possible to the housing office at your incoming base to get on the on base housing waitlist. Whether you have orders well in advance or you have minimal notice, finding housing can be difficult and it’s nice to have a backup plan - even if you plan to live off-base!
Certain bases will require additional healthcare checks to ensure your family is qualified to move to that assignment, but regardless, it is recommended that you call your local doctors to make any last appointments. You never know how difficult it may be to find physicians taking new patients at your new assignment, it’s less stressful to knock those out where you are and are comfortable!
That being said, if you are on Tricare Select, begin calling around at your new assignment to scope out your options for in-network providers and ideally, begin setting up new patient appointments.
A PCS is a great time to reevaluate if your current insurance plan is working for you and your family. Moving is a QLE (qualifying life event) that allows you to switch TRICARE plans outside of open season so take advantage of this chance to switch or stay where you are at!
Appointments for prenatal and postpartum can be difficult to schedule in the midst of a move. If you are in this season, do not wait to schedule until you arrive. These offices often have long wait times for appointments. Call well in advance to get yourself set up.
And now you don’t have to worry about baby feeding appointments! With Simplifed now covered by TRICARE for 6 virtual appointments for breastfeeding, formula feeding, and baby feeding consulations starting at 27 weeks, military parents can now stress less if they are PCS’ing during this big season! To get setup (with no referral needed!) text ‘BOOB’ to 888-458-1364 to be put in touch with your personal baby feeding expert!
Looking for support?
Through all the up’s and down’s on the rollercoaster that is military life, Wives of the Air Force is here to provide resources, community, and encouragement! Check them out at www.wivesoftheairforce.com, on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest!
Xo, Jen + Kirst
About Jen + Kirst
Neither of us saw ourselves marrying into the military so when our time came, we were way in over our heads. After our desperate Google searches in an attempt to set our expectations for our new lives came up short, we felt called to make a difference for other Wives of the Air Force (WAFs) walking this same road.
Wives of the Air Force was created in the spring of 2018. We both feel so blessed and grateful for the community that has grown out of this resource and love hearing from all of the incredible women rocking this lifestyle across the globe.