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Staff Judge Advocate Claims




CLAIMS DIVISION, OFFICE OF THE STAFF JUDGE ADVOCATE

Mission

Expeditiously and professionally resolve claims filed against the Army in a manner that is fair to the claimant and in compliance with applicable law and regulations. Assist Soldiers filing claims against Transportation Service Providers (TSPs) for damage to household goods shipped at government expense and mediating with the TSP when appropriate. Provide high-quality and proactive claims training, advice, and support to units assigned to Fort Drum.

The Claims Office also receives and processes tort claims against the government, Affirmative Claims (reimbursements back to the US Treasury for expenditures incurred by the U.S. Government from acts or omissions of entities/persons who cause damage to government-owned properties), and Article 139 claims (claims against military personnel).

Hours of Operation

The Claims Office is open Monday – Thursday, 0800-1600. We are closed on Fridays and Federal holidays. If Friday is near your 75th day to turn in your 1840 (pink forms) or 1850 DPS (white forms), just knock and we’ll take care of you!

Location

We are located in Clark Hall, across the street from the Commissary/PX, on the first floor, B1-40. Our office number is 315-772-6584.

Official Facebook Page

We are on Facebook. Join us there for updates and Claims tips! Just search for "Fort Drum Claims Office" to find us.

Types of Claims

Household Goods Claims.  A household goods claim is a claim for loss or damage suffered as the result of a mover's negligence. You must submit notice of the loss or damage within 75 days of the delivery of your property to the carrier using a completed DD Form 1850/1851 (Notice of Loss or Damage). Submission of the completed DD Form 1850/1851 and DD Form 1840/1840R does not constitute filing of your claim. To receive Full Replacement Value (FRV) coverage for your household goods shipment, your claim must be submitted to the carrier within 9 months of delivery.

The Personnel Claims Act, which is the statutory basis for the payment of household goods claims, is not insurance. Rather, it is a gratuitous payment statute that is not intended to provide total insurance coverage. Consider purchasing insurance from your insurance company, especially for items having special value or qualities. Prior to moving, we recommend that you review these documents:

(Select this link for more information about Household Goods claims.)

Other Common Household Claims Issues:

Tort Claims.  A tort claim is a claim against the government for loss, injury, or damage suffered as a result of a government employee's negligent act while in the scope of his or her employment. (more information about Tort claims)

Article 139 Claims.  An Article 139 claim is a claim against members of the Armed Forces of the United States for willful damage to, or wrongful taking of, property. (more information about Article 139 claims)

Affirmative Claims.  Affirmative claims are actions taken by the Claims Office to recover money from third-party payers like insurance companies for debts owed the U.S. Government. (more information about affirmative claims)

Household Goods Claims

To file a claim, anyone who has damaged or missing items from a government-contracted move must file both (1) a notice of loss and (2) a claim. You must submit notice of the loss or damage within 75 days of the delivery of his/her property to the carrier using a completed DD Form 1850/1851 (Notice of Loss or Damage). Submission of the completed DD Form 1850/1851 and DD Form 1840/1840R does not constitute filing of your claim. To receive Full Replacement Value (FRV) coverage for your household goods shipment, your claim must be submitted to the carrier within 9 months of delivery. The website to submit this notice of loss/damage and file a claim for household goods shipment is Move.mil-DOD for Defense Personal Property Program (DP3) claims. If you have questions or concerns, it is highly recommended that you visit our office to discuss the proper Notice of Loss/Damage and Claims filing procedures. We can help you complete this process by faxing the pink/white slip (DD 1840/1840R/1850) to the carrier for you and help guide you along the way. If your claim does not involve DP3, come to the Claims Office for assistance.

Here’s some step-by-step guidance:

For a successful household goods claim you must provide sufficient proof of:

  • Ownership - Recent photos, recent videos, purchase receipts, or statements from those having knowledge will assist greatly to prove ownership.
  • Value - Provide evidence of style, brand, size, quality, model, make, age, and purchase receipts of the missing or damaged items to help establish their value or replacement cost.
  • Tender to the carrier - Ensure that all your property to be shipped is listed on your inventory before you sign at the bottom.
  • A loss in the manner alleged - Ensure that the condition of your property is accurately annotated on your shipment inventory. After delivery, do not dispose of any damaged items without contacting the TSP (for claims filed with the TSPs) or the Claims Office (for claims transferred from the TSP to our office or claims filed directly with our office).

Help substantiate that items were lost or damaged during shipment by doing the following:

  • Save purchase receipts (especially for high value items) and take photos or videos of those items (ideally with the date showing). Consider hand-carrying these items rather than shipping them.
  • Make and retain your own specific inventory of items, especially your most important possessions and ensure they are listed on your inventory.
  • Ask the TSP for a “High Value or High Risk Inventory” for your expensive electronics or collection items.
  • Ensure that all furniture and appropriately labeled boxes are specifically annotated on the inventory, especially high value items. Insist on an accurate count of items and an accurate description of your property, to include the brand name, size, and quality.
  • Ensure that the condition of your property is accurately annotated on the inventory. The “condition at origin” column of the inventory is the location where the carrier will indicate the scratches, dents, or other condition of the specific item on the day of the move. You can dispute the “condition at origin” by using the “remarks/exceptions” block on the inventory.

Recommended actions on the date of delivery:

  • Annotate and describe damaged or missing items to preserve your right to recover on a claim.
  • Before the carrier departs, annotate and describe on the DD Form 1840 (pink form) or DD Form 1850 (white form) all the discovered damage to your property and any missing items. Do not let the carrier convince you it is not necessary to complete the DD Form 1840/1850.

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Tort Claims

A tort claim is an administrative claim filed against the U.S. Government requesting compensation for property damage, personal injury, or death caused by the negligence of a government employee acting in the scope of their federal employment. A valid tort claim consists of a written demand for a sum certain that is signed by a proper claimant and which alleges sufficient facts to allow the government to investigate the claim. Normally, a claim will be presented on a Standard Form (SF) 95. The claim must be filed no later than two years from the date the claim accrued, which is the date on which the claimant is aware of the injury and its cause.  A Standard Form (SF) 91 (Motor Vehicle Accident Report) must be completed and submitted to the Claims Office for all traffic accidents involving a government vehicle. 

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Article 139 Claims

Article 139 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) provides for the filing of a claim directly against a Soldier who willfully damages or wrongfully takes property. A proper claimant includes any individual (civilian or military), business, charity, or state or local government. Article 139 authorizes commanders to direct an investigation into such claims and, if substantiated, to direct finance to pay the claimant directly from the wrongdoer’s pay. Article 139 is entirely separate and distinct from disciplinary action taken under other sections of the UCMJ or other administrative actions. The submitting and processing of an Article 139 claim should not be delayed pending resolution of any other disciplinary or administrative action against the Soldier.

For a claim to be compensable under Article 139, a Soldier must have either “willfully damaged” or “wrongfully taken” the claimant’s property. “Willful damage” is damage that is inflicted intentionally, knowingly, and purposefully and without justifiable excuse. It does not include damage caused inadvertently or through negligence. A “wrongful taking” is any unauthorized taking or withholding of property with the intent to deprive, either temporarily or permanently, the owner or person lawfully in possession of the property. Damage, loss, or destruction of property through larceny, forgery, embezzlement, fraud, misappropriation, or similar offense may be considered a wrongful taking.  Generally speaking, you have 90 days from discovery of the loss to file a claim but consult your Claims Office immediately if in doubt.

Article 139 does not apply to claims for property damage resulting from negligence (such as a traffic accident) or for death or personal injury. It also does not apply to disputes over debts, contracts, or over ownership of property, unless the dispute is merely a cloak for an intent to steal. Additionally, Article 139 does not include claims for indirect, remote or consequential damages.

See the following links for further guidance:

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Affirmative Claims

Through Affirmative Claims, the Claims Office recovers money from third-party payers (such as insurers) for the cost of medical care provided to injured Soldiers, retirees, or their family members for medical treatment provided by TRICARE or your MTF or off-post healthcare providers. Automobile insurance companies, worker’s compensation funds, and other available health insurances are typical recovery sources. Recovery may also be made from the underinsured, uninsured, medical payments, or personal injury protection coverage of the injured party’s own auto insurance. Your cooperation helps recover money directly for the Army.

Costs of pay are recoverable when a Soldier is unable to perform any military duties due to injuries caused by the wrongful conduct of a third party. ALL RECOVERED PAY IS RETURNED DIRECTLY TO THE UNIT TO WHICH THE SOLDIER IS ASSIGNED AT THE TIME OF THE ACCIDENT. A DA Form 31 placing the Soldier on hospital/convalescent leave or quarters and any documentation from doctors or medical personnel to support this leave must be submitted promptly to the Claims Office.

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