Among the many pieces of paper and information a service member is given related to their PCS, the PCS prohibited list of items may not seem that important. However, a smooth move can hit a serious speed bump if your commercial carrier leaves you with a pile of household goods they are unable to transport. Avoid a moving day crisis by being prepared to handle your prohibited items!
One of the bright spots of military moving is the ability to hand over the task of packing and loading household goods (again) to the government contracted commercial carriers. While there are plenty of horror stories (I can’t count how many personal friends have opened boxes to find decomposing trash), most carriers provide a valuable and appreciated service to military families. All too often though, the end of a packing down results in the carrier walking the military service member through a pile of items that can not be transported – leaving the service member responsible for either disposing of the pile or figuring out a way to move the items themselves. Amid the stress of a PCS, it is an unwelcome complication.
The Prohibited List:
- Personal baggage when carried free on commercial transportation
- Automobiles, trucks, vans and similar motor vehicles, airplanes, mobile homes, camper trailers, horse trailers, and farming vehicles
- Live animals including birds, fish, and reptiles
- Articles that otherwise would qualify as HHG but are acquired after the PCS authorization/order effective date, except: bona fide replacements for articles that have become inadequate, worn out, broken, or unserviceable on/after the PCS authorization/order effective date, but before the date the bulk of the HHG are released to the TO or TSP for transportation when purchased in the US for transportation, to an OCONUS PDS with authorization/approval through the Secretarial Process Replacement HHG items, in cases in which the original HHG shipment is destroyed or lost, through no fault of the member, during transportation incident to a change of TDY station or PDS
- Cordwood and building materials
- HHG for resale, disposal, or commercial use
- Privately owned live ammunition
- Hazardous articles including explosives, flammable and corrosive materials, poisons, propane gas tanks
What it means for you
There are a few places of this list that tend to catch service members and their families unaware. The key to smoothly navigating the PCS Prohibited List is starting with a thorough and accurate home inventory…. ie: if you are unaware that there are untransportable items buried in the garage it is tough to arrange for disposal! Knowing what you have will give you time to examine your options.
Last minute purchases
Based on anecdotal evidence, there seem to be relatively few incidences of last minutes purchases being an issue. If you do purchase something after beginning your transportation paperwork, the estimated weight of your household goods will need to be amended. When questioned about this item on the prohibited list, a Transportation Office employee explained that it was intended to prevent people from purchasing goods with the intention of selling them after arriving at the new duty station.
Cordwood and Building Materials
I have seen plenty of building material put out for trash collection and heard many stories because of this requirement. Even small amounts of wood are included so finish up those Pinterest projects before your pack out date!
The list of household items that falls under this category is extensive! Essentially, if it is liquid or has a flammable warning label on it, your packers will leave it out. Paint, cleaning supplies, and auto maintenance supplies are common items that qualify. Make a plan to use up what you can in advance of your move and give away or dispose of the rest. Your final days before your PCS will be smoother if these items are taken care of before your pack-out.
Prohibited Items & Your Full or Partial DITY
The number one issue I have witnessed involving the prohibited list falls under DITY moves. Many military families simply take the items that are not transported by their commercial carrier themselves. In the case of full DITYs, they don’t worry about the prohibited list at all.
Unfortunately, that can result in serious penalties and UCMJ action. It is illegal for a service member who will be filing a full or partial-DITY to move any items on the prohibited list. Filing for reimbursement when you have moved any of those items can be considered fraud and is punishable with fines or punitive action. It is vital that ALL PCSing service members are aware of the prohibited items and understand their impact on the finances of the move.
We want to know:
What do YOU do with the items that can’t be transported when you PCS?