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Making the Final Move

Whether you are hesitant or ready to move after the death of you loved one, it is helpful to understand the housing options and moving benefits available to survivors – as well as some practical steps to take – that may assist your move when the day comes.

Housing and allowances

Government housing

If you are living in government housing as an authorized dependent, you are eligible to continue living in government housing for a year from the date of your loved one’s death. Should you decide to move out of government housing before the 365th day after your loved one’s death, you will be paid a basic allowance for housing, known as BAH, for the unused 365 days at the current rate of basic allowance for housing for your loved one’s pay grade. Access the BAH calculator here.

If you should desire to remain in quarters past the 365th day, a written request must be submitted to the installation commander via the appropriate housing office. If approved, rental charges at the current rate may be applied, as the BAH entitlement ends 365 days after the date of the member’s death. If you are in leased government housing, the 365 day rule and payment of BAH for any unused days still applies.

Non-government housing

If you are not living in government housing at the time of your loved one’s death, you will be provided a lump-sum payment of 365 days BAH at the current rate for your loved one’s pay grade.

Surviving spouses who are service members

If you are a surviving spouse and a member in the armed services, you are also eligible to receive BAH as an authorized dependent. This allowance is paid in addition to any other pay and allowances to which the surviving spouse is entitled to as a service member.

Storage of household goods

If you want to relocate but need more time to decide where to move, the government can temporarily store your household goods for up to one year. Any temporary storage beyond one year will be at your own expense and will only be possible if you send a written request explaining the extenuating circumstances to the transportation office handling your move. Contact your transportation office for assistance.

Your last move

You are also authorized one relocation move at government expense that must be completed within three years of the death of your loved one. A request for an extension may be made if necessary. For help, contact your casualty assistance officer or the transportation office at the installation nearest to you.

Steps for making the final move

Survivors are often overwhelmed in the days following the death of a loved one. It can be difficult to remember all the details involved in a move. Here is a simple checklist of steps to take to ensure a smooth move:

Step 1: Make an appointment with the transportation office. Use Move.mil to locate the nearest transportation office. There you can opt to schedule your move. Select the link for “first time users.” Select your spouse’s branch of service. Create your Defense Personal Property System, or DPS, account. Schedule your move online via the DPS.

Step 2: Take inventory of your belongings. Include as much information in your inventory as possible: item names and descriptions, condition, number of items, serial number, receipts or value and pictures. Store your inventory in a safe place, like the cloud or a safety deposit box.

Step 3: File claims for your travel. Visit the Defense Travel Management Office website to find the most recent per diem rates. Find claim-filing information and forms under the Defense Travel System. Save your receipts for lodging, gas and food.

Step 4: File claims for lost or damaged belongings. You have nine months to file claims that may be eligible for repair or full replacement value from the Defense Finance and Accounting services and 75 days after the date of delivery to report lost or damaged items via the DPS.

We know this is a difficult time for you and your family. Support is available for you each step of the way. Military OneSource can refer you to professionals that will help you get organized, provide guidance on financial decisions, explain housing allowances and teach you how to manage the stress and grief of moving without your loved one. Call 800-342-9647. OCONUS/Overseas? Click here for calling options.

You can also reach out to your casualty assistance officer, your long-term case manager, and the Military and Family Support Center, as well. Remember, you will always have a place in the military community.