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My Coast Guard
Commentary | May 8, 2023

How-To: Move your household goods

By Kyle Ford, MyCG Writer

If you’re one of the roughly one-third of the Coast Guard’s military workforce who got orders to complete a permanent change of station (PCS), congratulations on your new adventure. Here’s what you need to know to get your stuff from your house to your new duty station. 

There are basically two options for moving your HHG:  

  1. Use a government-contracted transportation service provider (TSP) that will pack out your stuff, pick everything up, and deliver your HHG to your next duty station.  
  2. Do a personally procured move (PPM) where you can hire your own TSP, use a self-service moving company, use your own or rental vehicle or trailer, or any combination of the above.  

Household goods counseling 

Whatever type of HHG move you are doing, it all starts with in-person counseling at your local transportation office (TO) or online through the Defense Personal Property System (DPS).  

If you decide to self-counsel through DPS, you must register for a username and password with a valid civilian email account. Registration can take up to 72 hours so don’t wait to sign up.  

Once you request HHGs shipment in DPS, you must provide a copy of your signed PCS orders to the origin TO in order to complete your service request.  

For more information regarding your HHG entitlements, visit the following: 

The transportation industry’s peak season runs from May 15 to Aug. 31, with the busiest times between June 15 and July 31. Book your moving providers as soon as possible to ensure a smooth transition. And never cancel or sign a housing rental agreement, or buy/sell your home until you have verified with your local TO that your requested dates have been confirmed by the TSP. 

Personally Procured Move (PPM) 

With peak moving season fast approaching, it may be difficult to get a government-contracted TSP that can meet your moving needs. If you decide to do a PPM, you will receive 100% of the government’s expense to the TSP that falls within your authorized weight allowance published in the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR).  

Please note that this is not a reimbursement for your individual moving expenses; you will be reimbursed what it would have cost the government to do the move for you.

So if you rent a moving truck for $3,000 and you only move 100 pounds of your HHG in that truck, you will receive what it would have cost the government to move that 100 pounds from your old to your new permanent duty station, explained Matt Falor, the Coast Guard’s Government Travel Card Program Manager 

If you spend that same $3,000 for the truck but you move 8,000 pounds, you will receive what it would have cost the government to move 8,000 pounds. 

Remember, you are responsible for understanding your HHG entitlements and the PPM process. If you plan to complete a PPM, please review the Coast Guard’s PPM Checklist. Because many Coast Guard members use TOs from other military branches, this checklist will ensure your PPM claims are compliant with current Cost Guard procedures. The checklist offers guidance on receiving accurate weigh tickets (among other things), especially if you are towing a privately own vehicle (POV). 

To authorize your PPM, you will need an Application for Personally Procured Move and Counseling Checklist, DD Form 2278 from your point of origin TO. DPS generates this form. If you do not get an authorized DD Form 2278, your claim will not be eligible for the incentive payment. However, you can try to fix this with an “after-the-fact” memorandum based on circumstances beyond your control. For example, severe weather conditions, medical emergencies, or short-fused PCS orders that prevented proper PPM counseling. 

You must provide certified empty and full weight tickets from a public weigh master or government scales nearest to the origin, destination, or any combination thereof. Both the empty and full tickets must have your name and employee identification number, clearly indicate which vehicle is being weighed, and whether the weight ticket is for an empty/full vehicle or trailer. Vehicle registrations may not be substituted for an empty weight ticket for a PPM claim. PPM claims submitted without proper weight tickets will be reimbursed only for actual costs as documented by submitted itemized receipts.  

There is a new process for this move season that eliminates the need to mail documents to the Coast Guard Finance Center (FINCEN). The new PPM Claim submission app is online. The new online portal allows you to transmit your documents electronically, provide any information FINCEN requests, and be able to track your claim throughout the process. When the claim is paid, you’ll get an e-mail notification. Please review the Coast Guard’s PPM Claims Application V1.0 Quick Reference Guide for detailed instructions.

Weight allowances  

If your HHG shipment goes over your weight allowance, you will be responsible for any extra shipping or storage costs. One good rule-of-thumb method for estimating the approximate weight of your HHGs is to figure 1,500 pounds per room not including storage rooms or bathrooms, then include the estimated weight of large items like appliances and items in the garage, storage rooms, etc. Your estimates are not official and can’t be used to refute excess weight charges. If you don’t agree with the TSP weight listed, you may request a re-weigh through your DPS account, the TSP or the destination PPSO, but you must do it before your stuff is delivered.  

Military married to military 

If you are married to a member of the Coast Guard or other military service, you must inform your HHG counselor at your point of origin as they may request to combine their HHG allowances for one shipment. Weight allowances cannot be combined after delivery.  

Professional books, papers and equipment 

Each servicemember is allowed 2,000 pounds in professional books, papers, and equipment – or professional gear (progear). Spouses are allowed up to 500 pounds of progear. You must certify that the professional gear is necessary for official duty at your next station. You cannot combine your gear with that of your spouse. You must claim your professional gear prior to receiving your HHGs. There will be no waivers for progear not accounted for on inventory sheets prior to receiving your shipment.  

Gun safes 

You are allowed the weight of a gun safe (maximum 500 pounds) in addition to your authorized weight allowance. The make and model of the gun safe(s) must appear on the inventory. 

Full Replacement Value (FRV) protection 

If your personal property is lost, damaged, or destroyed while in the TSP’s care, you can receive $10,000 per shipment or $6 times the net weight of the HHG shipment, or gross weight of the unaccompanied baggage shipment, not to exceed $75,000 whichever is greater. You are responsible for correctly submitting a damage claim within the prescribed timeline. Understand that the claims submission is a multi-step process through the Coast Guard Judge Advocate General. Incorrect claims or claims submitted beyond the prescribed timeline may result in reduced compensation. You always have the option of purchasing extra insurance through a third party for higher value shipments and items.  

If you are doing a PPM and contracting your own TSP, be aware that full replacement value insurance may not be included, and any damage claims must be handled privately with your contracted TSP. 

Shipping a Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) 

If you are authorized to ship a POV to, from, or between outside the continental United States (OCONUS) locations, you must make sure all vehicle safety recall notices are resolved prior to arranging shipment. See specific information on POV safety recalls

If you decide to ship a second POV at your own expense in the continental United States (CONUS) please review the guidance found in the Joint Travel Regulations paragraph 052902 to determine requirements, reimbursement, excess costs and restrictions that may apply to your respective vehicle, destination and dependency status. 

Members shipping in CONUS are not entitled to reimbursement for delivery to, or pick-up from, the carrier. Your orders must reflect entitlement and maximum reimbursement to ship a POV. You must provide proof of ownership of your POV.  

If you are physically unable to drive or there is insufficient time, Coast Guard Military Pay and Compensation Division (CG-1332) may authorize you to ship your POV CONUS.  

Government travel credit card (GTCC) usage 

You are now allowed to use your government travel card to move your personal HHG. If you do not have a card, you are strongly encouraged to apply for one to allow for this option.  

If you choose to conduct a personal procured move (PPM), you are encouraged to request advanced payment amount equal to 60% of the PPM monetary allowance as authorized, while the GTCC is authorized to cover the remaining 40% of PPM monetary allowance subject to the following conditions:  

Applicable to members who have PCS orders to/from all 50 states.  

Members requesting a PPM must receive counseling from their local Transportation Office (TO) in conjunction with their Personnel and Administration (P&A) office.  

The maximum allowance authorized on the GTCC is 40% of the monetary allowance on the authorized PPM.  Coast Guard Mutual Assistance also remains ready to assist any members with a loan to cover the remaining costs if they do not possess a GTCC.   

The GTCC shall not be used to obtain, arrange for, or pay for short-term storage in transit (SIT), long-term non-temporary storage (NTS), any government reimbursable storage of HHG, or shipment of any vehicle.  

Here are the eligible/allowable expenses while performing a PPM move:  

  • Rental: trucks, trailers, hand/appliance dollies, furniture pads  
  • Weighing fees/cost for weight tickets 
  • Authorized moving company services 
  • Tolls (only on rental trucks) 
  • Packing/crating materials (non-reusable items) 
  • Rented blanket wraps 
  • Gas (rental trucks only, receipts required) 
  • Boxes (no totes) 
  • Shipping containers: e.g., Pods, when used for transporting HHG only and not for storage. 

Customer Satisfaction Survey 

If you used a government-contracted TSP, you must fill out a Customer Satisfaction Survey within seven days of each completed HHG shipment. After your shipment is complete, look out for a link via email and text message. The online survey can be completed on a personal computer or mobile device. These surveys are important, since your responses directly impact the moving company’s future business with the Department of Defense.  


In the News

  • Expansion of government travel card use for PCS season 
  • Members: Enrollment in the Special Needs Program can benefit your family and make your PCS process easier