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Navy plans faster cash for do-it-yourself movers

Feb. 1, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Marcus Williamson
Do-it-yourself movers will get their cash faster under a new program announced by Naval Supply Systems Command. Here, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Marcus Williamson carries boxes to a moving truck in Springfield, Va., in 2009. (Haraz N. Ghanbari/The Associated Press)
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Common problems

Asked about common mistakes made by sailors in the process of Personal Procurement Moves, the Navy’s household goods director offered these problems to avoid:
Missing weight. Sailors need weight certified tickets both at the origin and destination of their moves. If the vehicle isn’t weighed empty at the start and full at the end, there won’t be a certified ticket — and there won’t be a payout.
Jumping the gun. Sailors who make their moves without completing counseling or filling out all the paperwork — especially DD 2278, the basic do-it-yourself application — and then expect payment are out of luck.
Paperwork problems. Sailors must fill out every document in the PPM checklist and save all receipts for moving expenses exceeding $75.
The tax man. Many sailors don’t realize their incentive payment — the cash sailors get for doing their move cheaper than the government would have — is taxable. A W-2 form will be on the way after the move and must be filed with the IRS.
Questions with these or other moving issues can be addressed by the Navy’s household goods office at 855-444-6683 (toll-free) or at householdgoods@navy.mil.
Have you had PPM problems? Any advice for fellow sailors? Send it to us at
navylet@navytimes.com
.

A simple change in how the Navy processes payouts to do-it-yourself movers will get cash into sailors’ hands faster, the service said.

The key part — no more checks.

While some sailors already take advantage of electronic-fund transfer when making their Personally Procured Move, the process will become mandatory as of April 1, the Navy said. A new form for sailors’ electronic-transfer information will be part of the PPM checklist shortly, said Frank Piacine, Navy household goods director at Naval Supply Systems Command, in an email response to questions Jan. 24.

The change won’t mean more money for sailors making “DITY moves” — Piacine said NAVSUP doesn’t use “DITY” any longer, preferring “PPM” instead — but it cuts out a good deal of red tape surrounding check issuance.

Approval for these payouts by the Navy’s household goods audit team takes two weeks at most, Piacine said. But under the current system, sailors could expect to wait an additional 10 days or more to receive their check, then wait longer for that check to be processed by their financial institution.

“The current business process is costly and time-consuming,” Rear Adm. Jonathan Yuen, head of NAVSUP, said in the Jan. 17 news release announcing the changes. “It makes financial sense for the Navy and benefits our sailors’ wallets.”

EFTs will cut that wait by about a week, according to the Navy — especially good news for sailors who might put moving charges on their credit cards and could use the faster payout to pay off the cards before racking up interest rates. It also avoids the nightmare of lost or stolen checks.

Thousands affected

About 25,000 sailors make do-it-yourself moves every year, Piacine said, out of more than 100,000 moves Navy-wide. Cost per PPM can top $20,000 in rare cases, but most are $5,000 or less, with several partial PPMs amounting to only a few hundred dollars.

Sailors unsure about whether PPM is their best option can meet in person with a certified move counselor at their nearest household goods shipping office. The Defense Personal Property system offers counseling and tips online at www.move.mil, and NAVSUP’s online guidance is at www.navsup.navy.mil/household.

The new requirement will be highlighted in a new PPM checklist, Piacine said.

There are no plans for waivers to the April 1 all-EFT rule, but NAVSUP “initially ... will be flexible” with requests for check payments after that date.

Questions about the rule or the forms can be answered by the household goods call center at 800-444-7789. ■

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