If the government has notified you of your reassignment (but you haven’t received official orders), you may wonder what will happen next. And while we know that your specific military branch will provide resources for your military move in the future, we’re here to give you a general overview of what to expect when you’re PPM-ing—from deciphering assignment types to finding the best military mover:
What to Know About Your Military PPM
What exactly is a PPM?
A PPM, or personally procured move, (also referred to as a DITY move) is pretty much what it sounds like: a do-it-yourself move. And once your transportation office approves your PPM, you can move in several different ways:
- Renting a portable storage container (like U-Pack)
- Renting a truck or trailer (think: Penske)
- Using your own vehicle or trailer
- Hiring a commercial moving company (for example, United or Mayflower Van Lines)
- Shipping a small package carrier (i.e., UPS or FedEx)
There are two types of PPM moves you can be approved for: either a Member-Elected PPM or an Actual Cost Reimbursement PPM.
So what’s the difference?
The Member-Elected PPM option allows the government to provide a one-time, lump-sum payment to a service member to cover the cost of the move in advance. And it can be applied towards a full or partial PPM, like if you want to hire professional movers for transportation and delivery. Don’t worry: your transportation office will assist you in determining the right amount to request for your move. And the best part? You get to keep whatever you don’t use. For this reason, Member-Elected PPMs are one of the most common options for DIY movers in the military.
On the other hand, the government offers Actual Cost Reimbursement PPM when you’re not approved for government-paid moving help, but you are approved for a PPM. While it does require the service member to pay for their own move upfront, it also allows for complete repayment of anything they spent in the moving process. You’ll just want to make sure your transportation office pre-approves those charges.
What are my responsibilities in a PPM move?
It probably goes without saying that PPM moves put a lot of responsibility on service members and their military spouses. And it can be hard to remember what you’re responsible for, especially if you’re waiting on reimbursement for your move. Here are the things we know you’ll need to handle for sure:
- Getting the right moving equipment and packing materials
- Obtaining your container’s (or trailer’s) empty and full weigh tickets from certified weigh stations
- Purchasing moving insurance
Keeping all your receipts from moving expenses
- Submitting your final settle work paperwork within 45 days of your start date (at the new location)
Bottom line: do your best to stay organized and keep strong records of your entire move process to have the easiest experience. And if you doubt whether you’re taking the right steps, contact your local transportation office for guidance. Good luck, and thank you for your service!
Recognizing assignment types and locations
As you may already know, there are a few different ways the military can reassign you to a new location:
- PCS, or Permanent Change of Station. This order is for service members who recently got a new job or must attend intensive training. The assignment must take at least 20 weeks for you to qualify for a PCS move.
- TDY, or Temporary Duty. This is assigned to a military member when the job or training will take more than 31 days but less than 20 weeks.
- CONUS. Refers to moves that take place within the 48 contiguous states of the US—think US mainland.
- OCONUS. Refers to moves that take place outside of the contiguous United States, including Hawaii, Alaska, and international relocations.
One thing we should mention? Because the military does not allow Personally Procured Moves for OCONUS (or international) assignments, we won’t focus too much on those in this article. However, we still think it’s important to know the difference.
Researching your new home
Being reassigned to a new location can be a nerve-wracking experience for even the toughest soldier, and the best way to prepare yourself and your family for a brand-new environment is to do a little research in advance.
Once you receive your official orders, you’ll know exactly where to go—and you can use several resources to help you get your bearings:
- TO, or transportation office. When you receive orders, you’ll also receive contact from your local TO. This person will break down your move options in an assigned counseling session—including how to use the online Defense Personal Property System (or DPS) to submit your reassignment orders and schedule moving services.
- Military OneSource. Military OneSource is a Department of Defense-funded program that provides resources for military members and their families. It even has a directory of all US military bases and a relocation assistance program.
- Your military sponsor. You will meet with a military sponsor at your new location. This person usually has a rank and military family environment similar to your own, so they can help you adjust to life with your new role.
Please note: If you’re receiving reassignment orders for the first time, you should always contact your local transportation office (TO) first before scheduling your move in DPS.
Scheduling your PPM move
As we already mentioned, you’ll need to upload your orders and create a shipment to get your move officially scheduled with the military. And when you sign in, you can expect to answer several questions about your upcoming move, including:
- Your contact information
- The estimated weight of your household goods shipment
- The estimated weight of your PBP&E (professional equipment)
- Your pickup and delivery locations
- Specialty items (like firearms, vehicles, or large electronics)
From there, the DPS system will ask you to complete additional paperwork (also referred to as dd forms) like a DD1797 Personal Property Counseling Checklist or a DD1299 Application for Shipment and/or Storage of Personal Property—in addition to submitting an application for a PPM move.
Frequently asked questions
What if I need storage?
If you can’t take everything with you when you move, you can request NTS (or Non-Temporary Storage) from your local transportation office. If approved, you’ll be able to leave your extra belongings in a storage facility of your choice during the entire duration of your assignment.
What are the best companies for my military move?
Whether you’re moving with the Army or Air Force, there are several companies we’d recommend for a military PPM move. Penske, U-Pack, and 1-800-PACK-RAT are our top picks if you do not need any assistance packing and loading your own belongings. And for full-service movers, you’ll find United Van Lines and Mayflower Van Lines offer the most experience moving military service members.
How much does the military pay for a PPM (or DITY) move?
In general, the military will pay up to 80% of what it would have cost the government to move you. However, this number could be different depending on the type of PPM move you choose.
What is the difference between a PPM and a DITY move?
There isn’t one! DITY (or “do it yourself”) was the original term, but now PPM (or “personally procured move”) is more commonly used.
Are PPM moves taxable?
Yes, the income received from the military for your move is taxable. If the military pays in advance for your move or reimburses you, you will not be able to claim your move as a tax deduction. Instead, you may have to pay!
Does the VA help with relocation, too?
Yes, Veterans Affairs can assist with military relocation. Its Relocation Assistance Program is especially helpful for service members transitioning out of military service.