Office of the Staff Judge Advocate
521 Fraim Street
Fort Detrick, Maryland 21702
The Office of the Staff Judge Advocate (OSJA) operates the Fort Detrick Claims Office. Army Regulation 27-20 controls the claims program for the US Army. The Claims Office is a claims processing office for the Fort Meade Area Claims Office. As such it has limited jurisdiction. Claims filed by Army personnel are processed at the Fort Detrick Claims Office. Fort Detrick is also home to units belonging to other branches of the uniformed service. When claims filed on Fort Detrick must be processed by another military branch, the claims are forwarded to a claims office for that service for further processing.
Types of Claims
Typically, claims fall into four major categories: personal property loss, torts, affirmative claims, and real estate reimbursement claims.
- Personal property loss may be claimed due to damages received when household goods were shipped pursuant to military orders. Information Paper on Household Goods Shipment Claims. Chapter 11 of AR 27-20 covers a wide range of topics. Some other examples of claims include thefts in government assigned quarters, vandalism of vehicles in post housing, uniform damage caused during the performance of military duties. All of these claims will be assessed to determine whether the claims are substantiated by the evidence. The claimant's conduct will be evaluated to determine if their negligence contributed to the loss.
Claimants must file their completed DD Form 1840/1840R with the claims office within 70 days of the date the property was delivered to their home. Claims filed after that date will not qualify for payment by the Army, unless there are exceptional circumstances beyond the control of the claimant to excuse the delay.
- Individuals may claim that Army (or NAFI) employees inflicted damages during the scope of their Army (or NAFI) employment. These claims are filed under the Federal Torts Claims Act. Investigations into tort claims will evaluate whether the claimant's conduct contributed to the incident. They will also assess whether the Army employee was within the scope of their employment at the time of the loss (e.g. Army employee in a military convoy was "in scope" when the Army truck hit a privately owned vehicle on the highway; but an Army employee on a lunch break who hit a privately owned vehicle on the way to lunch was not "in scope"). Military members do not have the same right to sue the Army for torts as do others.
- Affirmative Claims may be asserted by the Army to recover damages inflicted by third parties. This is most frequently seen on Fort Detrick when privately owned vehicles hit Army property. The Fort Meade Area Claims Office also pursues affirmative claims to recover medical expenses and lost unit wages that are caused when military members/families receive medical treatment due to the conduct of third parties.
- The Joint Travel Regulation permits the Army to reimburse military civilian employees who incur a permanent change of duty station due to military employment. Employees who unilaterally pursue new duty positions may not be authorized these expenses because the move for the convenience of the employee and not the convenience of the government. These claims are actually processed by the civilian personnel office and the claims office merely evaluates the claim to determine if the sum sought is commensurate with local charges. The claim is also reviewed to determine whether the JTR and the decisions of the Comptroller General authorize the payments in question.
Procedures for Processing Household Goods Claims
Download Procedures for Processing Household Goods Claims Download PDF
Typically, claims fall into four major categories: personal property loss, torts, affirmative claims, and real estate reimbursement claims. A separate full replacement value claims process operates through the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) who runs the contracts with the companies who move household goods for the military. [The FRV program is available starting October 2007 for international shipments, November 2007 for CONUS shipments, and March 2008 for local moves and DPM moves.] Do not confuse the depreciated value claims process filed through the military claims office and the separate full replacement value claims filed through the transportation service provider (moving company)
- TIME LIMITS: Notice to the carrier of damages or missing items must be given within 70 days from the date of delivery. This is done by turning in your DD Form 1840/1840R to a military installation claims office. A military based household goods claim must be filed with a military installation within two (2) years from the date of delivery of household goods, but the claimant must have first met the 70 day deadline for filing the DD Form 1840/1840R (pink sheets). [Note: if the claimant has full replacement value (FRV) coverage through the transportation office, then they must still file the DD Form 1840/1840R within 70 days, but they must additionally file their FRV claim with the transportation service provider (moving company) no later than 9 months after the date the goods were delivered to the location specified by the claimant. For further information on the full replacement value (FRV) claims process, see the SDDC command's FRV program website .] The process discussed below pertains to the depreciated value claims procedure used by the military claims office.
DD FORM 1840/1840R - This is the pink form provided to the military member at the end of delivery by the movers. You must complete this form by listing all damaged or missing items. Damages noted at the time of delivery should be noted on the front 1840 side of the form. All damages or missing items noted after delivery of your goods must be noted on the 1840R side of the form - REVERSE CARBONS PLEASE. Please put a best guess estimate figure in block 14c on the 1840 as to what you feel it would cost to replace or repair all items listed on both sides of the form. This figure is for evaluation purposes by the carrier. If additional 1840/1840R forms are needed, you may create your own continuation page on a blank sheet of paper by simply writing at the top "continuation page for DD Form 1840/1840R", and identify the name of the claimant and the Government Bill of Lading number. On the 1840R, please list all inventory numbers, names of items, and nature of damages, or indicate that the item is missing. The 1840 must be date stamped as received by a claims office within 70 days from the date of delivery. If you find additional damages after you have turned in your 1840/1840R and you are still within your 70 days notice period, please contact this office at (301) 619-2643 and we will do a supplemental notification to the moving company and add those items to your 1840R.
FAILURE TO RETURN THE DD 1840/1840R TO A MILITARY CLAIMS OFFICE WITHIN 70 DAYS OF THE DATE OF YOUR DELIVERY WILL PRECLUDE PAYMENT BY THE MILITARY CLAIMS OFFICE AND THUS COULD RESULT IN A SUBSTANTIAL REDUCTION IN THE AMOUNT OF YOUR RECOVERY.
- When you submit your DD 1840 to the Claims Office, you will be given a Claims Package to file for monetary reimbursement of your damages. The Claims Package contains an extensive amount of additional information addressing the forms and documents you will need to submit to file a formal claim. Merely turning in a DD 1840 is not "filing a claim". The DD 1840 merely puts the moving company on notice that some of the items in the shipment are either missing or damaged. A claim must be separately filed and must be for a sum certain and substantiate the amounts being sought. Two key forms are:
- DD FORM 1842 - Claim for Loss or Damage to Personal Property Incident to Service. Complete Blocks 1 - 18, Block 17 must be signed by the military member who is listed on the government moving documents, or signed for that military member by their designated agent (who has a Power of Attorney or notarized statement authorizing them to file on behalf of the claimant).
- DD FORM 1844 - List of Property and Claims Analysis Chart - Complete Blocks 1-11. Follow the example provided and be specific in describing the damage to each item claimed. Be sure to provide the property inventory number. Blocks 9, 10, 11a or 11b must be completed. Repair costs are placed in Block 11a. Replacement costs are placed in Block 11b.
- ELECTRONIC and MECHANICAL ITEMS - All electronic and mechanical items require a written estimate of repair, regardless of repair amount. We will provide you with a form that can be used for this purpose when you turn in the 1840/1840Rs. Be sure that the repair person states a professional opinion of the actual cause of the damages and whether it is shipping related.
- ESTIMATES - written estimates may be required to substantiate your damages. A written estimate may not be required for minor damages for non-electronic and non-mechanical items, providing that the amount of the damages does not exceed $100.00 per item. The repair estimate must be itemized stating the damage done to each item claimed. If an item is deemed to be damaged beyond repair by a qualified repairman, or if the item is missing, a written replacement cost will be needed. Provide written replacement costs from a dealer, store, or other reliable source. An estimate fee up to $50.00 is reimbursable, if it has been paid in advance and is not credited to the cost of the repair.
- EXPENSIVE ITEMS - For expensive items such as antiques, Hummels, Lladros, jewelry, or original paintings, proof of purchase value and current value is essential and will normally be required to substantiate payment. For an item to be considered an antique, clear and convincing evidence must be presented. A prima facie case to qualify as "antique" is made out if the item is shown to be at least 100 years old. Photos, purchase receipts, cancelled checks, owner's manuals or other similar proof may be required for these items.
- DISPOSAL OR REPAIR OF DAMAGED ITEMS - DO NOT dispose of any property without contacting the claims office. This is necessary to ensure the claims office can adjudicate the claim or assess salvage value. This does not apply to broken glass, but does apply to crystal and china. FAILURE TO RETAIN AN ITEM UNTIL WE CAN INSPECT IT MAY RESULT IN A DENIAL OF YOUR CLAIM REGARDLESS OF THE ITEM INVOLVED.
- PRIVATE INSURANCE - You do not need to file with your insurance company on household goods move claims, if your claim is for loss or damage to your personal property while it was being transported or stored at government expense. Please call the Claims Office for guidance on insurance. If you choose to file with your insurance, a complete copy of the settlement from your insured must be furnished to our office when it is received.
- FRAUD - Claims which are tainted by fraud, however slight, may be denied in their entirety. Persons submitting fraudulent claims are subject to criminal prosecution.
- SUBMITTING YOUR CLAIM. You must file a separate claim for each shipment. Your claim may be submitted either in person or through the mail. The Claims Office is located at 521 Fraim Street, Fort Detrick, MD 21702-9223. Hours of operation are 0730-1630. If you have any questions or require assistance please call (301) 619-2643. Full replacement value claims must be filed with the transportation service provider (moving company). If the claimant is dissatisfied with the outcome of the full replacement value claim, they may transfer the claim to the military claims office if less than 2 years have lapsed since the date of delivery and seek recovery of the depreciated value.
- DOCUMENTS NECESSARY TO FILE A CLAIM (these are addressed in detail in the Claims Package that will be provided at the time the DD Form 1840/1840R (pink sheets) are turned in)(Note that forms available for download have listed weblinks below)
- DD Form 1840/1840R (must be received in the Claims Office within 70 days from the date of delivery.
- DD Form 1842
- DD Form 1843
- DD Form 1844
- PCS/Separation/Retirement Orders
- Government Bill of Lading (Transportation can provide a copy, (301) 619-7177)
- DD Form 1164 (if your shipment was in storage)
- Original inventory
- Power of Attorney (if applicable)
- Estimates of repair, replacement costs and proof of ownership
- Missing items statement (if applicable)
- Electronic / Mechanical Damage estimate (if applicable)
- CRITICAL TIME FRAMES
- 70 Days from the date of delivery to turn in your DD Form 1840/1840R listing all damages or missing items.
- Two years from the date of delivery to file your written claim with the Claims Office.
- 60 days from the date of settlement of your claim to request reconsideration of your claim.