PCS season is upon us! Members can help alleviate potential stress from loss or damage to household goods by learning the rules under which household goods are moved and by preparing oneself for a potential moving claim.
First, inventory what you own and note its condition prior to the Transportation Service Provider stepping foot into the home. Take digital photos or a video of high value items and family heirlooms or consider keeping such items in your possession during the move.
Second, having a professional appraisal done on antique furniture is also a good idea, not just for potential moving claims, but also in case you 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.
Finally, when goods are packed up by the TSP, high-value items may be placed on the high-value/high-risk inventory. This special inventory supplements a member’s household goods inventory and is used by the TSP to protect these high value items such as currency, coins, jewelry, silverware and silver sets, crystal, figurines, furs, and objects of art. Although members are not prohibited from shipping currency and jewelry, the Air Force Claims Service Center strongly discourages this and recommends members move these items personally.
Household Goods Claims
Unfortunately, damage does occur. If you suffer damage, you should be aware your 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 your move or replace the item. TSPs are also required to repair any item that can be repaired. The TSP is responsible for contacting a repair firm.
To utilize this program, most Airmen will be required to use the Defense Personal Property System website (www.move.mil). This website allows Airmen to submit their Loss/Damage Report directly to the TSP. (If DPS is not available for your move, you may also file your Notice of Loss/Damage After Delivery Form (1850/DD 1840R) directly to your carrier by mail, fax, or email within 75 days or contact the AFCSC for assistance). 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, after filing the Loss/Damage report, you are then 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 value. If you are not satisfied with how your processing is proceeding through the TSP, you can transfer your claim to the AFCSC 30 days after filing against your TSP for any reason whatsoever.
Finally, 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. If you receive a settlement offer from your TSP that you believe is unfair, you can transfer the claim to the AFCSC. Although AFCSC can only pay depreciated valuation in most situations, 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 very high recovery rate against responsible TSPs.
Help is Available
If this process seems overwhelming, do not fret! The AFCSC is available to assist Airmen through the claims process. The Ramstein Law Center is also available to provide information. For more information contact the 86th AW legal office.