Prepare for potential moving claims now|
Posted 6/30/2011 Updated 6/30/2011
by Capt. Jennifer Kindred
ESC Staff Judge Advocate Legal Assistance Office
6/30/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- This summer promises to be a very busy moving season for PCSing Airmen. 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.
Before the Tranportation Service Provider (TSP) arrives, take stock of possessions and their condition. Take digital photos or a video of high value items, family heirlooms and also consider moving these items personally.
Having a professional appraisal done on any antique furniture is also a good idea, not just for any potential moving claims, but it can come in handy in the case of 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 the 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.
There are very specific rules regarding the use of this special inventory and movers should inquire with the TSP or the Air Force Claims Service Center (AFCSC) regarding these rules.
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. Those that do suffer damage should be aware that property is covered under the provisions of the Full Replacement Value (FRV) 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 a move or replace the item. TSPs are required to repair any item that can be repaired, as well. 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 recent changes to the process. First, most Airmen will be required to use the Defense Personal Property System (DPS) 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 the move, those PCSing can also file a Loss/Damage Report through the AFCSC website at https://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, movers are required to file the claim directly against the TSP. This claim must be made within nine months of delivery of household goods in order for someone to receive FRV. Those that miss the nine month deadline can still file a claim up to two years from the delivery date, but would receive only a depreciated valuation.
Those not happy with how the claim processing is proceeding can transfer the claim to the AFCSC 30 days after filing against the TSP, for any reason or no reason whatsoever. Additionally, those that are negotiating with the TSP and would like someone within the Air Force to assist should contact the AFCSC for support.
Anyone who receives an offer from the TSP that is believed to be unfair can transfer the claim to the AFCSC, as well. 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 an additional award recovered from the TSP. The AFCSC currently has a 98 percent recovery rate against responsible TSPs.
The AFCSC is available to assist Airmen through the claims process. There is never any long voice mail menu. Call DSN 986-8044 or 1-877-754-1212 and press 1 to talk to an expert or email AFCSC.JA@wpafb.af.mil.