On average, military families move, or have a permanent change of station (PCS), every two-and-a-half years, each move bringing excitement and change for each family member. These moves can also bring a great deal of added stress, as families must reset and essentially start over in their new environment. Support systems need to be rebuilt. Adjusting to new schools, new jobs, finding a new home, securing childcare, and familiarizing yourself with the new community you are now part of can be intimidating. Not to mention all the updates you must now make because of your move.
Much of the PCS process will be communicated to the servicemember through official channels. But family members can assist in the planning as well and should be aware of updates they can help with before, during and after the PCS. Let’s review what agencies you should contact to ensure services and payments remain up to date.
Maintaining current and accurate contact information with DEERS will ensure you and your family have access to their medical benefits and commissary or exchange privileges. You can update your contact information by signing into your milConnect account online, calling 1-800-538-9552 (TTY/TDD: 1-866-363-2883), faxing updates to 1-800-336-4416 or 1-502-335-9980, or mailing them to:
Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office
Seaside, CA 93955-6771
Sponsors or registered family members can make address changes, but only the sponsor can add or delete family members, and documentation is required. If you need to add or remove family members, you will need to visit a local ID card office. For more information on how to update DEERS, visit tricare.mil/DEERS.
Depending on where you are moving, you may need to change your TRICARE plan upon arrival at your new location. Research your options prior to moving at tricare.mil/. You will have 90 days after your address change in DEERS to make your TRICARE plan enrollment changes, if needed, and find new providers.
Finances, Businesses, and Schools
Before moving day arrives, obtain medical and dental records on all family members and pets to hand carry with you. If you have young kids, start researching schools at your next duty station and contact teachers and school administrators to get transcripts and referral letters for your children and hand carry these items with you as well. Cancel any local memberships you currently have. Contact your bank and financial services (insurance, credit cards, etc.) companies to inform them you are relocating to ensure you have access to money before, during, and after travel. Begin your address change with the U.S. Postal Service and elect to hold mail or have it forwarded to your new address.
Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) uses U.S. Mail to communicate important information about your account. To ensure you receive timely communications, it is important to update your contact information with DFAS. Failing to notify DFAS of a change of address or banking information can result in missing payments. The quickest way to update your information with DFAS is to use myPay. Another option is calling the DFAS Customer Care Center toll free at 1-866-912-6488, Monday–Friday, between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET. You can also submit an AskDFAS ticket. A ticket number will be emailed to you for reference and updates. Please keep track of it until you receive confirmation that your address has been updated successfully.
Let Us Know Your Plans, Too
Finally, it is important to contact AAFMAA and update your life insurance information, including your contact information, current military benefits, and beneficiaries whenever you have a life change. For more information, contact AAFMAA Member Benefits at 800-522-5221, option 2, then option 2 again, or email [email protected].