Last summer was a busy moving season, and this upcoming season promises to be the same for Airmen making a permanent change-of-station move.
To alleviate any potential loss or damage to household goods, members who are moving should learn the rules under which household goods are moved, and prepare for a potential moving claim.
Long before the transportation service provider steps foot into the home, members should take stock of what they own and the condition itâ€™s in. Taking digital photos or a video of high value items and family heirlooms is key. Members should consider keeping their most precious items in their possession during the move.
It may also be a good idea to have a professional appraisal done for items that are difficult to value, such as collectables or antique furniture. 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.
The appraisal can come in handy if the items are damaged in the move, but also in the event of fire or theft. These items can also be placed on the TSPâ€™s high value/high risk inventory list, which adds an extra layer of protection.
Unfortunately, damage does occur on occasion. If that becomes the case, members should be aware that their 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 of any items missing or destroyed during the move. The TSP also has the option of replacing or repairing the item, if possible. If the TSP opts to repair the item, it is 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 of which many are unaware.
First, most Airmen will be required to use the Defense Personal Property System for the claims process. DPS can be accessed online at http://www.move.mil. The FRV program also 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. Members should keep in mind 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, members are required to file a claim directly against the TSP. This claim must be made within nine months of delivery of household goods in order to receive FRV. If the nine-month deadline is missed, the member can still file a claim up to two years from the delivery date but would receive only depreciated valuation.
If a member is not happy with how the claim processing is proceeding, the claim can be transferred to the Air Force Claims Service Center 30 days after filing against the TSP. The AFCSC is a consolidated claims operation with claims professionals who can assist members through the claims process.
Additionally, members negotiating with a TSP can seek assistance by contacting the AFCSC for support.
Finally, if a member receives an offer from a TSP that seems unfair, the member can transfer the claim to the AFCSC. The AFCSC can only pay depreciated valuation in most situations. However, after paying the claim, the Air Force will file an FRV claim against the responsible TSP and may be able to pay any additional award recovered from the TSP. The AFCSC currently has a 98-percent recovery rate against TSPs.
For more information, call (877) 754-1212 and press â€œ1â€ to speak with an expert. Alternatively, members can e-mail the AFCSC at AFCSC.JA@wpafb.af.mil, visit https://claims.jag.af.mil, or go to Facebook and search for â€œAir Force Claims Service Center.â€