Army

April 26, 2012

Understanding the PCS move claims system

By Captain Robert Aghassi, Claims Judge Advocate
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Moving is part of life as a Soldier.  Unfortunately, moves often result in the loss and damage of the items being shipped.  Whether it is a scratch on a family heirloom, or a box of your favorite DVDs that disappears during the move, such losses can be traumatic.

The military claims system is designed to help Soldiers recover such losses.  It is also designed to ensure that the moving company responsible for the loss and damage is held accountable.

The best way to ensure you will be compensated for loss and damage during a move is to take a few precautions before the move.  This is the best time to document what you own and to ensure that you have the insurance coverage that you need.  Documenting what you own is perhaps the most important thing to do before your move.  Ensure that you save receipts, bills, appraisals, high value item inventories and other proof of ownership.  Another way to document what you own is to take pictures or videotape of the items in your house immediately before the move.

When the packers arrive to pick up your household goods, you should be ready for them.  You should have already decided what items you want the movers to pack and what items you will hand-carry to your new assignment.  When the movers have completed packing your household goods and loading them onto the truck, they will present you with an inventory of all your belongings.  You should check this document carefully to ensure that it is accurate.  Do not argue with the movers; simply list your disagreement on the form.

After the move, Soldiers have 70 days to notify the local claims office of loss and damage.  This means that after your household goods have been delivered, you have 70 days to unpack them and note any loss and damage on the reverse side of DD Form 1840R. Thoroughly inspect your items.

When you turn in your DD Form 1840R, the claims office will provide you with forms and information on how to complete your claim.  At this point you will need to get repair estimates and other documentation to substantiate the amount of your loss.  You have two years from the date of the original delivery (not from the date you turned in your DD Form 1840R) to file a claim.  If you are late in filing your claim, the government will not be able to pay you anything.

The Army claims system is designed to help you.  However, you also have the responsibility to protect yourself.  If you keep proper records of what you own and promptly document damages that occur during the move, you should be able to recover the fair value of your loss.  If you have any questions, contact the Fort Irwin Claims Office at 760-380-3614, Building 288.

 


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