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PCS season: How to file a claim on Defense Personal Property System

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Summer has arrived, the smells of fresh cut grass and cardboard boxes once again mark the beginning of new journeys for many military families. Yes, PCS season has arrived.

As military members many of you are used to moving often; some of you might even consider yourselves expert movers. But, with any move there is always some uncertainty. Some of that uncertainty may come from not knowing whether your household goods will make it to your next destination in one piece. As someone who just moved to Colorado, I have become very familiar with the claims process. I can tell you first hand that fumbling your way though the Defense Personal Property System in order to file a claim can be a time-consuming and daunting task. I have broken the process into five easy steps to help guide you.
  1. Track and record ALL damaged and missing items. As items are being unloaded into your home, inspect each item. If anything is damaged or missing make sure that damage is recorded by the moving company on the form designated "loss or damage at delivery" (DD Form 1840). Record what is damaged, what kind of damage it is, and the number assigned to that piece of furniture. Once the moving company is gone and you are unpacking boxes, make sure to record all damaged items from the boxes. Again, mark the damaged items on the DD Form 1840R and, on that form, record what is damaged, what kind of damage it is, and the number assigned to the box in which the item was shipped.
  2. Photograph all damaged items. Take several pictures of each item to show the damage from different angles.
  3. Fax the "loss or damage at delivery" and "loss or damage after delivery" (DD Forms 1840/1840R) forms to your carrier after all damage is recorded.
  4. Research how much it would cost to replace or repair the item. This might require you calling around to find a repair quote. Come up with a price that you think is fair for the damage or loss of an item. If you file a claim within nine months you DO NOT have to take deprecation into account. However, if you miss the nine month deadline you eliminate your right to full replacement value.
  5. Log into DPS and file your claim. Log onto www.Move.mil and go to the DPS homepage. Once on the DPS homepage you will see a claims tab. Click on the tab and start a new claim. If you file your claim within 75 days of delivery, you do not need to file a Loss/Damage Report. However, if you do not plan on filing a claim within 75 days of delivery, you must file a Loss/Damage Report and then file a claim within nine months in order to be eligible for full replacement value. When you are filing your claim be sure to include a short statement of the damage as well as the pictures you took. You should upload multiple pictures of each damaged item to show the full extent of the damage. Submit claim.

After you have submitted your claim you are almost finished with your part of the claims process. The carrier has 30 days from the time you submit the claim to contact you about finishing the process. Most likely they will send an adjuster to your house to assess the damage. After the adjuster documents the damage the carrier must make you an offer within 60 days. You will receive an email from your carrier informing you they have made an offer on DPS; you can either accept the offer or make a counter offer. Once you have settled on an offer, you accept it on DPS and you will receive a check from your carrier within 60 days. If you cannot agree on an offer you can transfer the claim to the Military Claims Office and they will review your claim and settle it according to their policy.

Hopefully you will never have to file a claim on DPS, but as many of you prepare for another move it never hurts to be prepared. Visit https://claims.jag.af.mil/legalassistance/index.php or www.move.mil for more information on claims.

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