Air Force

June 29, 2012

Legal assistance tip of the week: PCS season 2012 – Claims

by AFFTC Judge Advocate

Last summer was a very busy moving season and this upcoming season promises to be the same for Airmen who will permanently change station.

Enlisted, officer and civilian employees can help alleviate any potential loss or damage to household goods by learning the rules under which household goods are moved and by preparing for a potential moving claim.

People should take stock of what you own and its condition prior to your Transportation Service Provider stepping foot into your home. Take digital photos or a video of high value items, family heirlooms and also consider keeping such items in possession during the move.

Having a professional appraisal done on any antique furniture is also a good idea, not just for any potential moving claims, but can come in handy should one suffer a home fire or theft. A professional appraisal establishes the value of the item and can be used in the claims process to help establish any loss in value should the item arrive damaged from the move.

When goods are packed up by the TSP, some high value items may be placed on the high value/high risk inventory. This special inventory supplements a household goods inventory and is used by the TSP to protect high-value items such as currency, coins, jewelry, silverware and silver sets, crystal, figurines, furs and objects of art. There are very specific rules regarding the use of this special inventory and Airmen should inquire with the TSP or the Air Force Claims Service Center regarding these rules. Finally, although members are not prohibited from shipping currency and jewelry, the AFCSC strongly discourages this and recommends members move these items personally.

Unfortunately, damage does occur. Be aware that property is covered under the provisions of the Full Replacement Value legislation enacted by Congress in 2006. This means that TSPs are required to pay the full replacement value on any items missing or destroyed during the move or replace the item. TSPs are also required to repair any item that can be repaired. They are also responsible for contacting a repair firm, unlike pre-FRV moves when the member was responsible for tracking down a repair firm.

The FRV program is an important benefit for Airmen and comes with some changes to the process that might not be known. First, most Airmen will be required to use the Defense Personal Property System for the claims process. DPS can be accessed online at www.move.mil. Also, the FRV program requires Airmen to deal more directly with the TSP. For example, the Loss/Damage Report that lists damages and losses Airmen discover after the TSP has completed delivery goes directly to the TSP through DPS. (If DPS is not available for your move, you can also file your Loss/Damage Report through the AFCSC website at claims.jag.af.mil. Remember that filing a Loss/Damage Report is not the same as filing a claim. The Loss/Damage Report simply puts the carrier on notice that an Airman has discovered additional damage or loss since delivery. The Loss/Damage Report must be received by the carrier within 75 days of delivery. Failure to meet the 75-day deadline could result in no reimbursement for loss or damage to those items not noted at the time of delivery.

Under the FRV program, you are required to file your claim directly against your TSP. This claim must be made within nine months of delivery of your household goods in order for you to receive FRV. If you miss the nine month deadline, you can still file a claim up to two years from the delivery date, but you would receive only depreciated valuation. If you are not happy with how your claim processing is proceeding, you can transfer your claim to the AFCSC 30 days after filing against your TSP for any reason or no reason whatsoever. Additionally, if you are negotiating with your TSP and would like someone within the Air Force to assist you, you can contact the AFCSC for support. Finally, if you receive an offer from your TSP that you believe is unfair, you can transfer the claim to the AFCSC. The AFCSC can only pay depreciated valuation in most situations. However, after paying your claim, the Air Force will file an FRV claim against the responsible TSP and may be able to pay you an additional award recovered from the TSP. The AFCSC currently has a 98-percent recovery rate against TSPs.

The AFCSC is a consolidated claims operation of Air Force claims professionals who can assist members through the claims process. The AFCSC is honored to serve those who put service before self every day. There is never any long voice mail menu – just call DSN 986-8044 or (877) 754-1212 and press ’1′ to talk to an expert. Alternatively, members can email us at AFCSC.JA@wpafb.af.mil, visit our website at https://claims.jag.af.mil, or go to our Facebook site by searching for “Air Force Claims Service Center.”




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