July 5, 2012

Program puts claims just one click away

Legal Assistance Office, JAG

Personnel claims allow Soldiers and Army civilian employees to be compensated for property loss and damage sustained during a move. The Personnel Claims Army Information Management System permits Soldiers and Army civilian employees to file personnel claims through the Internet, rather than requiring that claims be hand carried or mailed to the military claims office. Although paper copies of claims will still be accepted, the new program should make it easier to file claims for property loss.

Many Soldiers file personnel claims when their household goods are lost or damaged during shipment; these comprise the vast majority of personnel claims. Personnel claims may also be filed in other situations, such as when Soldiers sustain losses due to fire or flood at on-post quarters.

PCLAIMS can be accessed at Click on the U.S. Army Claims Service link and then click on the PCLAIMS link. The PCLAIMS link describes the rules for filing personnel claims and allow users to fill out the required forms. Users must have an Army Knowledge Online account to use the program. Claimants without an AKO account should contact the Fort Huachuca claims office at the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Building 51102 on Hatfield Street across from the Post Exchange to file claims.

Those using PCLAIMS will be asked to list the lost or damaged property, the purchase dates and costs, and replacement or repair costs. This action is required whether the claim is filed by paper or electronically. Basic supporting documents, such as a government bill of lading for transportation-related claims, estimates of repairs, and photos of damaged property can be scanned and added to the electronic claim.

Once all the necessary information has been entered, the claimant will be asked to verify and submit his or her claim. It will be electronically sent to the claims office which will adjudicate the claim and arrange for payment, as appropriate. The claimant will also be asked to provide an email or telephone number. Providing accurate contact information is critical. If claimants cannot be contacted, payments could be delayed.

PCLAIMS should not be confused with the Full Replacement Value program, the system applicable to household goods and other transportation-related claims, or the Defense Personnel Property Program, a computerized transportation program applicable to many household good shipments. Under FRV and DP3, Soldiers and Army civilian employees are encouraged to file transportation-related claims directly against the carrier responsible for the loss. Claimants only have nine months to file such claims. In return they are paid the full replacement value for their destroyed property.

PCLAIMS cannot be used to file claims against carriers; it can only be used for personnel claims filed against the government. If, however, claimants are dissatisfied with carrier offers to settle claims under the FRV or DP3 programs, they may reject the offers and file their claims against the government. Such claimants can use PCLAIMS to file these new claims, but should contact the Fort Huachuca claims office before doing so.

There is no interface between DP3, which also involves electronic claims filing, and PCLAIMS, so it is important to contact the claims office for specific guidance on how to transfer these claims from a carrier to the military. PCLAIMS is designed to give Soldiers and Army civilian employees more options for filing personnel claims.

For legal assistance questions, call the Office of the Staff Advocate General, 533.2095.

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