Spring is in the air, and that means peak PCS season is fast approaching. If you are anticipating PCS orders, it is time to get moving. You want your household belongings in beach-body shape when they hit the scales. We’re here to help you trim down your move and get confident about meeting your PCS weight allowance.
What Is PCS Weight Allowance?
Your orders will include your rank to determine how much you can move to your new location. As your rank increases, so your moving allowance increases too. Stay within your allowance to avoid additional charges after delivery.
Expert Tip – Did you know you can split your weight allowance into multiple shipments? A PCS shipment can control prized possessions and daily use items during a personally procured move. Meanwhile, government-provided movers can help with the other household goods shipment.
If you have any questions, your local transportation office can help you divide your belongings’ weight into PCS shipments.
Contact your local transportation office for help with:
- Special Circumstances
- Entitlements Questions
- Transporter/Moving Day Issues
OCONUS PCS Weight Allowance
For an OCONUS PCS, you may have unaccompanied baggage as a part of your weight allowance. UB is rushed to your new location while you are waiting for the arrival of your belongings.
Suggested Read: OCONUS PCS Move: An In-Depth Guide & 15 Expert Tips
Military Move Overweight Charges
If you go over PCS weight allowance with any part of your PCS, it could take some time for the charges to catch up to you. Avoid getting a nasty surprise for your wallet, and work to ensure your HHG shipment is not overweight. All overages will be charged to you if you don’t stay under your weight allowance.
Expert Tip – When estimating the weight of your home, calculate 1,500 lbs per room + large appliances.
Don’t get caught with pricey overages for your upcoming PCS move. As of August 2013, the minimum excess cost typically ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars if you go over the maximum military weight allowance. EEK!
Use Move.mil’s tools to help you decide what type of move is best for your family. Some types of PPM move may mean you end up with extra cash in your pocket. Make a careful plan if you count on making a profit to be sure your efforts are successful.
To calculate your PCS reimbursement amount, start with your moving allowance. Enter your rank, dependency status and move type to determine your moving allowance.
Use the Weight Estimator to tally the estimated weight of your household belongings following industry standards. Enter the number of items you own on the list and then calculate by category and total.
Get an estimate if you will be hiring an independent moving company for your PPM. Or estimate the cost of moving expenses such as gas, boxes and other supplies.
Subtract your moving expenses from the reimbursement amount provided in your PCS paperwork from the transportation office. If your total is a positive number, that is the amount of money you could pocket, minus a 22% tax, in a PPM. A negative number means a PPM may not be the best option for your PCS.
2021 PCS Allowance
Joint Federal Travel Regulations
*Note 1 / Note 3
|Permanent of Station (PCS) Without Dependents||Permanent Change of Station (PCS) With Dependents
|O-1/W-1/Service Academy Graduates||10,000||12,000|
|E-9||13,000 *Note 4||15,000 *Note 4|
|E-3 and Below||5,000||8,000|
|Service Academy Cadets/Midshipmen||350 *TDY Weight Allowance|
NOTE 1: Includes a Uniformed Service regular and Reserve Component member, and an officer holding a temporary commission in the US Army/Air Force.
NOTE 2: For this table, a member “with dependents” is a member who has a dependent eligible to travel at Government expense incident to the member’s PCS. Actual dependent travel has no bearing. Incident to a member’s first PCS after:1. The death(s) of all of the member’s dependent(s)or2. A divorce that leaves the member with no dependent(s) eligible to travel at Government expense, the member has the weight allowance of a member “with dependents”
NOTE 3: A member appointed from an:
1. Enlisted/warrant officer grade to a commissioned officer grade, or
2. Enlisted grade to a warrant officer grade or rating is authorized the grade’s weight allowance:
a. Held on the member’s PCS authorization/order effective date used for HHG transportation, or b. From which an appointment was accepted, whichever is greater.
3. Upon reversion, the member is authorized the military weight allowance of the grade held:
a. On the member’s PCS authorization/order effective date then being used for HHG transportation or
b. Before reversion, whichever is greater.
NOTE 4: A member selected as Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Sergeant Major of the Army, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, or Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard is authorized a weight allowance of:
1. 17,000 pounds with dependents or
2. 14,000 pounds without dependents For a PCS authorization/order issued on or after receiving notice of selection to that position and for the remainder of the military career.
PCS Move Tips
1. One of the top tips organization pros give is to get rid of anything you haven’t used in the past year or two. Military families, this is true for you! Don’t move unopened boxes from one PCS to the next. If you didn’t open a box at all after your last PCS, donate or trash the contents. If you didn’t need it in your previous home, you will be OK without it.
2. Don’t move anything waiting for repair, damaged or incomplete. Looking at you — single socks, discolored sheets and threadbare towels! There are probably single-use kitchen gadgets that you can leave behind too! As Alton Brown, host of the longtime Food Network TV show Good Eats, teaches, “Death to Unitaskers!”
4. Take photos of your household belongings to update your home inventory before the start of packing quickly. Consider using an app like Sortly, named The Balance.com’s Best Overall Home Inventory App of 2021.
5. Plan for a mid-month move for the best chance to get the dates you choose. If you want a real challenge, schedule for late June and early July — the busiest time of PCS season.
6. Be sure that you don’t leave trash accessible for packing when the movers arrive. Anyone want to pay overweight fees for relocating a full trash can or old toilet brushes and molding shower curtains?
7. Stop watering plants three days before you plan to move them with you. Prep should start a week in advance, according to MarthaStewart.com. Prune, clean the soil and place in lightweight plastic planters.
8. Don’t assume all PCS moves are the same. If you are separating from active duty, your PCS may be different. You can read more about military separation in our latest blog!
9. Party your way into a PCS! Playing party host uses up food, drinks, party decorations and maybe even wrapping paper for farewell party favors. Plus, blow off some PCS stress! We recommend a hard-rock headbang with Metallica. See Rolling Stone’s poll for the 10 Best Metallica Songs.
More like this: Reduce the Stress of Moving through Preparation
Think of staying within your PCS weight allowance as the battle of the bulge for your household. It may make sense to sell large items if you are facing a long-distance move. You also want to be sure you understand the typical home size for your new neighborhood. Furniture and appliances that fit at your last station may not fit at your new station. Be sure you know what won’t work before you ship anything.
Find tons of information on your new military community at MyBaseGuide. MBG has the up-to-date info you need to settle into your home, from the best restaurants to top schools and outstanding recreation options.
Last Updated: March 23rd, 2021
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