we arrived 3 days ago & today my husband began to check-in.

he went to his squadron, vaw 115, also known as the liberty bells.

vaw 115 {click for more information}

he then checked into psd where all money matters are handled. this is where you’ll submit your travel claims & make sure you’re getting any advance payments, tla reimbursement.

tip #22  make sure to save receipts for hotels & rental cars. food receipts aren’t accepted when you’re pcsing.

then the 4 ring circus walked to medical to begin the check in process which includes,  tricare, medical & dental.

all sponsor’s must be tricare prime, but dependants have an option to be tricare standard. back in the us the kids & i were tricare standard but it is incredibly easy to switch over to tricare prime.

all you need to do is go to the tricare office which is to the left from the medical building, fill out some paperwork & set your PCP {primary care physician}. they process that information in the office immediately, it takes about 5 minutes, which is the amount of time it’ll take you to walk back to medical.  

if you have kids your husband will leave you to handle your check in on your own as he has to check in at flight medical, which is in a different area. he will need his medical record to check in, but he should know this. when you walk thru the door, he’ll go to the right & you’ll go to the left.

once medical verifies that you & your kids are in the system you’ll turn in all of your medical records. remember those are the ones you had to request for your overseas screening back at home.  you will fill out a form stating that medical has 30 calendar days to copy your records. if you want the originals back you need to let them know at that time. we checked in on 5nov so they have till 5dec to copy our records & call me to let me know they’re ready for pickup.

tip #23  scan all your civilian medical records onto a zip drive & keep this in a safe place. in the event that you don’t get your originals back you will have a copy which is better than nothing.

dental is just to the right of medical check in. by now my husband had finished his medical check in so he willingly took the smart car & the kids outside. i was left to check our 2 kids & myself into dental.

i’m grateful he did because had one more left shoe or request for water been demanded i’d have lost it. dental check in is VERY repetitive.

you’ll be filling out the same forms, about 9 total which make up your military dental record. it’s all general health history/hippa forms. the last 4 of your husband’s social will be on every page so get used to writing those 4 numbers over & over.. 

hello, carpal tunnel. how i love thee!

if you have your dental records, which you should, you’ll turn these in now. unlike medical you won’t get these back in 30 days so make sure you have a copy on that zip drive!

when the time comes for you to leave japan you will get both your military medical & dental record to take with you.

we saved the best for last as we then visited the housing office & met with the on base counselor to activate our housing application.

our housing process has been difficult. i believe we were deeply misinformed about on base housing here at NAF Atsugi. we were told that we had to be here in person to activate our housing application & couldn’t find out our number on the waitlist until after my husband checked into his command. if you’re on leave when you arrive in japan, which you will be, checking in takes you off leave. generally people use their 30 days of leave in the US to visit family before coming to japan. we didn’t go that route. instead we came straight to japan hoping we could quickly get housing as the ships were out to sea & we were told the time when they returned was high PCS season. we wanted to beat that. now we’ve been told that we should’ve been informed of the length of the wait for on base housing while we were still in the US.

once you get orders for japan you’ll put in a heat module which the housing office uses to determine housing. then you’ll put in a housing application. once you arrive in japan & your husband has checked into his command & psd you can go to the housing office. you will be greeted by the japanese employees.

to check into housing you’ll need a copy of your orders, dea, page 2 & detaching information report

your counselor will go over the on-base housing wait list check form & housing is determined by rank. your place on the wait list is determined by the check out date from your previous command.

there are 3 housing options here: high rise towers, 2 level garden apartments & townhouses. they generally offer the high rise towers first. if you decline the first offer you’ll have to move off base & will immediately loose the tla allowance.

dogs are not allowed in the towers but if you have a dog there’s no guarantee that they won’t offer you a tower. generally they’ll offer you an apartment.

we almost fell of our chairs when we were told there was a 4-6 month wait for on base housing. i personally wanted to scream. are you kidding me? why weren’t we notified of this before we got here?!

the long wait is due to renovations of one of the towers, which is currently vacant. we thought being #7 on the wait list was a great spot, but it wasn’t & were told we needed to look at off base housing.

4-6 mo. wait for on-base housing!

don’t panic about wondering where to find a house. the housing office compiles a list of available houses & has binders {based on location} that have each listing which you’re entitled free copies too. most of the agencies some speak english, however a few don’t but if you’re interested in that particular home the housing office help you by calling on your behalf to answer questions, translate & set up a viewing time. 

the oha {overseas housing allowance} is determined the same as bah, it’s by rank & if you have dependents. our oha was 210,000 yen, which is about $2,749.41. no that’s not a typo, japanese living is extremely expensive.

if you find a home for $197,000 yen you will only get a check for that amount, so it’s in your best interest to find a home as close to your oha limit.

you will also get a utility allowance which is based on dependents only, not your rank. all ranks get the same amount.

with dependents you a 100% allowance of 98,434 yen which is $1,288.74

without dependents your allowance is only 75% which is 73,825 yen, $966.56

utilities are INCREDIBLY expensive in japan. this is noticeable when you drive around town as you’ll see laundry hanging to dry from lines outside homes & apartments.

despite our preference of living on base we HAD to start searching for a home off base due to the TLA requirements. with excessive wait times for on base housing if you’re not making a sincere effort to find a home off base you could possibly lose your TLA. remember you only have 60 days TLA & if you need to move off base you’ll want to have things set up in advance.

we left the housing office very frustrated and angry.

all i could do was hope & pray somewhere in the near future we’d get a phone call that we had a home.