Moving with the military can be enormously stressful for the whole family. While for the military member it means a new unit at a new base populated by potentially 100 percent unfamiliar faces, it can be equally alien and tense – if not more so – for the non-military members of the family.
The brevity of notice for a PCS (permanent change of station), so common in military life, often jumpstarts the anxiety of the move. Civilian families typically have ample time to prep for a move, but military families aren't granted that luxury. Constantly facing the possibility of a two-week window between orders and report dates, military families need to always be ready for relocation.
Due to extenuating circumstances, it is not uncommon for military families to attempt moves that are financially more burdensome than then ought to be. Although incoming and outgoing command teams and personal sponsors are there to help, knowing for yourself what resources are available can be incalculably beneficial.
Military spouse and columnist Sonya Murdock shared, "Even if my belongings survived the move, I was afraid I wouldn't. So I went to a PCS pre-move briefing sponsored by the Community and Family Services Relocation Assistance Program (RAP).
"These pre-move briefings are held regularly on most military installations and are open to all military personnel and dependents preparing for relocation. The briefing helped me by answering many of the million questions I had. But I did have a couple of questions that weren't answered at the briefing."
Because of the atmosphere of uncertainty surrounding PCS moves, it is important for military families to understand that there are resources and programs available to make the transition less stressful.
Relocation Assistance Programs
Below are just a handful of available resources for military families hailing from all branches. Contact your new installation's military and family support center for more information.
Briefings and workshops: "Smooth Move" briefings or similar workshops are frequently offered to all military members and their families. You can find out when these are hosted by visiting your military and family support center.
One-on-one planning/individualized consultations: There are counselors through the military and family support center who are available and more than willing to help you prep for your move and answer all questions.
Online assistance: http://www.militaryinstallations.dod.mil/ and http://planmymove.militaryonesource.mil/ are phenomenal resources for Internet-savvy families. Also, move.mil allows military families to set up personal belonging shipment and track its progress; the transportation office (TMO) can also help schedule packing and shipment.
Emergency Financial Assistance: Unplanned events can derail your PCS budget, but the military takes care of its own. There are emergency financial assistance programs available throughout the DoD. If you need financial help, contact your relocation service provider, who will then put you in touch with the necessary personal financial management program relevant to your case and installation.
Lending Closet: Every military and family support center has a loan closet full of personal and household items available for military families upon their arrival. From dishware to tables to air mattresses, the lending closet will help you get settled as you wait for your belongings to come. Food Vouchers/Community Resource Referrals: Your military and family support center can help you with the most basic necessities. Don't feel stranded and helpless; there's aid available.
Sponsors: If you have not been assigned a sponsor from your future PCS, call or walk into your current station's relocation office to get the process going.
There is a plethora of available programs, but it is often necessary for the military member to reach out and ask for help. Unfortunately, there is not enough manpower in the relocation offices to reach out to every incoming soldier. That is why it is essential for military members to take the initiative and spread the word about available resources.
These services may be greatly underappreciated because they are greatly underutilized – take advantage of what is offered, even if it takes more effort on your end to dig through the obscurity of military bureaucracy to uncover these resources.
(Article courtesy of Benzinga.)
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