Your military retirement move can be a big step in the transition to civilian life. Retiring military members are authorized a move from their last duty station to a home of selection. This includes the movement of household goods and the transportation of eligible family members.
This post is part of The Comprehensive Military Retirement Checklist. Be sure to read all the other posts that go with the checklist, too!
As with all information on this website, this is not an official source. We gather and distill information so that’s easy to access and understand, but we can’t share every possible variation and exception. Always refer to official sources and verify that information provided applies to your unique situation.
The travel allowances are slightly different for a final move. You will not receive Temporary Lodging or Dislocation Allowances. However, you will receive Mileage Allowance in Lieu of Transportation (MALT) and Per Diem for travel days.
As with any military move, the Move.mil website is an important tool in your retirement move. Your local personal property office is also a great resource, especially if you have specific questions.
Retirement moves are authorized to a home of selection. Your home of selection may be anywhere in the continental United States, and that move will be covered up to the usual weight limit, based on rank and dependency status.
Members may also choose an OCONUS location, but will be responsible for costs that exceed the cost of a CONUS location. That amount is determined by calculating the cost of transporting your entire weight allowance to the farthest possible location from your last duty station but still within the 48 contiguous United States. One retiree talks about how it works in this article: Expat Retiree Profile: Early Retirement in New Zealand (With Kids).
You may schedule this move as soon as you have retirement orders, or wait up to one year after retirement. Extension to the one year limit may be granted for specific situations. Each branch handles extensions a little differently, but generally extensions are authorized for:
- Service member is enrolled in an educational program
- Service member is receiving medical treatment
- Other extenuating circumstances. Examples that are usually given include legal action, delay in selling a home, etc.
That said, the services have shown a wide range of latitude in granting exceptions. My personal position is that if an extension would help, you should definitely request one, but don’t make any plans with the expectation that it will definitely be approved.
Storage (Temporary and Non-Temporary)
You are authorized both temporary and non-temporary storage for your retirement move.
Temporary storage, or short-term storage, is up to 90 days. Your household goods will be moved to the final location you’ve designated, and will be delivered to you from that storage location. Once you’ve designated a short-term storage location, you can’t change it because your household goods have already been moved. Think carefully before choosing the temporary storage option, as you will almost always be responsible for storage costs that exceed the 90 days. I know that 90 days sounds like a long time to get settled, but many things can delay that timeline.
Non-temporary storage, or long-term storage, happens in the area of your last duty station. Non-temporary storage is authorized for up to one year, and extensions may be possible for additional time. Just like extensions on the final move, it’s generally mean for specific reasons and not for the general convenience or preference of the service member, but, also like final moves, it doesn’t hurt to ask. My advice? Assume that it won’t be approved, ask anyway, and be pleasantly surprised if it is.
You will likely be billed for the cost of storage beyond 1 year, but the government will pay the cost of delivery.
Personally Procured Moves
You may choose to do a personally procured move (also known as a Do It Yourself/DITY move) for your final move. The only difference is that, depending on your branch of service, you may not be authorized an advance of the cost of the move.
Short Distance Moves
If you currently reside in government quarters, and are required to vacate those quarters before you have determined your home of selection, you may be eligible for a local area move from government quarters to a temporary local residence. While this does not count as your retirement move, it does require authorization and funding. Situations may vary, and this is something that definitely needs to be coordinated with your local personal property office to ensure that you have the right documentation for the move to be paid.
The last move with the military is a great benefit that lets you get yourself and your belonging to your new home! Understanding the little details can ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible.
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