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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Picking up and moving to a new location is rarely easy.

It can be made worse by having to also pick up pieces of damaged or destroyed personal property after you unpack.

“This last PCS would cost my family more than $1,000 if we tried to replace the items damaged during the move,” said Suzanne Copenhaver, a 16-year Navy spouse. And that was after she filled out the paperwork and researched the replacement value of her items. “You do all this paperwork, and you don’t get anywhere near enough to replace what was lost.”

But beginning this week, Department of Defense employees may finally be able to recover enough to replace items lost or damaged during a DOD-sponsored move.

The Office of the Judge Advocate General has announced the implementation of the Full Replacement Value Act, requiring the DOD to provide full-replacement value insurance on every shipment of household goods.

According to a JAGC report, if a transportation-service provider has damaged or lost an item, claimants would only be entitled to receive the depreciated value of the item. Under the new rules, the company is required to cover all replacement costs or estimates of repair.

“It is important that anyone wishing to recover FRV must first file their claim with the transportation service provider, not the personal property office or the military claims office,” said Lt. Patrick Lahiff of the Navy Legal Service Office Pacific at Yokosuka.

According to Lahiff, if the transportation service provider denies your claim, or makes an offer that is not acceptable or does not respond within 30 days, you may then transfer your claim to the Military Claims Office, which will assist in recovering the full amount of your claim.

“However, if a claimant files with the TSP after nine months, but before the two-year time limit for filing,” Lahiff said, “the transportation service provider is only liable for the depreciated value of items lost or destroyed.”

Lahiff also pointed out that if your television from 1985 is damaged or destroyed, don’t expect to get enough to buy that plasma TV you have been admiring. The transportation service provider can opt to have your item repaired. But if they don’t have it repaired, he said the FRV will be that of the closest equivalent currently on the market.

What forms do I need?

Navy legal officials at Yokosuka say the key to getting your money is to file the right paperwork to the right people on time.

“In the past, most of the confusion seems to be with the DD Form 1840R — that’s [the] back side of the DD Form 1840 — those pink copies the movers give you the day they unpack your belongings,” said Lea Barcega, a Navy Legal Services Office assistant and former claims assistant.

According to Barcega, it is important for claimants to realize two things:

First, the DD Form 1840R is not your claim; it is a notice of loss or damage for the transportation service provider.

Second, After you file DD Form 1840R, within the allotted time, you still have to submit a separate claims package, which can be downloaded at www.jag.navy.mil. Just click on the “Claims” link on the right side. Then on the next page click on the first link under the “Packets:” header. The accompanying 16-page PDF document will explicitly detail the process.

For more information on the FRV program, please contact the Personnel Claims Unit Norfolk Help Line at 1-888-897-8217, or visit the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) Web site for a detailed set of guidelines governing FRV coverage at www.sddc.army.mil/ and then click the “Full Replacement Value Protection” link.

Important dates and guidelines

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