Your PCS Isn't Complete Until You File a Damage Claim
by AmeriForce Media - June 18th, 2021
Congratulations! You’ve made it to what seems like the end of your latest military move. The household goods have been packed, loaded onto a truck, moved to the new duty station, delivered and you are done unpacking.
However, in the corner of the garage you have a pile of things that didn’t quite make it — a broken shelf, a chipped plate or a cracked mirror, not to mention the seemingly new dresser that now has some scratches and dents and a table that doesn’t quite sit leveled anymore. Many people may take it as what just happens when you move and toss the broken pile of rubbish, but in doing so, you’re also tossing out money that belongs to you.
At the end of each Permanent Change of Station move, you are entitled to file a claim with your Transportation Service Provider to be reimbursed monies to replace or repair those broken and damaged items.
Here’s the deal: TSP is responsible for paying you full replacement value for your item, or the cost to repair the item. If you choose the FRV for that broken desk, you will be paid an amount to get a new desk and would allow the TSP to exercise their salvage rights to the broken desk. If that desk has sentimental value to you and you want to keep it, then you would ask for a repair value for someone to come out and fix the desk. Often, if an item can be repaired, the TSP will pay the repair costs for items.
However, filing a claim on your broken items takes a little more work than just saying, “Hey, this is broken!” As you come across items that are damaged, write down the inventory number of that item, the name of the item, a description of what is damaged and pull out your phone to snap a quick picture of what the damage is.
When you have everything unpacked and ready, take your list and sit down to start your claim on Defense Personal Property System. You’ll input all the information you wrote down, upload the pictures and provide a value of your items. Your TSP, or their assigned claims adjustment company, will review your claim and make an offer. From there you can accept or counter their offer.
There is a specific time frame you have for your claim, which is 180 days from the date of delivery to either submit your claim or file your intent to file a claim.
What is the difference? The intent to file is the tab labeled as “start my loss damage report,” in which as you find damaged items you can start inputting the information into that. Doing this will then allow you up to nine months after your delivery date to submit your claim. If you’re one of those gung-ho folks who gets every box unpacked in a week, you can go right to the tab of “submit my claim” to input all the information and get the process started.
Once you have your claim submitted, your TSP will have 60 days to pay, deny or make an offer on your claim. During this time, they may also ask for proof of ownership or value to substantiate your claim. Be sure to keep all the pictures you took of the damaged items, and a record of any links to items to support the value you claimed.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate your claim to get to full replacement value, or at least a fair value for your items. If the item you are claiming is discontinued and you can’t provide a proof of value, find the closest thing to it using the specifications of the item and use that to counteroffer. If at any time your TSP will not budge on the amount being offered, you can transfer your claim to the Military Claims Office for them to mediate on your behalf for full replacement value.
Don’t leave money on the table by tossing those broken items until you’ve been properly reimbursed by your claim. If you ever need more clarification or have questions, check out the Defense Travel Regulation Part IV — Personal Property.