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NEWS | March 1, 2007

Visit to legal office still required to get cash for damaged household goods

By Staff Sgt. Vincent Borden 37th Training Wing Public Affairs Office

A military move can be an extremely frustrating. There's the laundry list of administrative and medical outprocessing tasks, the briefings, the packing.

And there's the frustration of finally moving in to your new place, only to see your favorite television with a fist-sized hole in it, or your heirloom dining table filled with deep, raw gouges.

The Air Force, by combining some old processes with new innovations at its base legal claims divisions, has just made dealing with moving misfortunes a whole lot easier.

"Customers can now file their claims on the Internet," said Tech. Sgt. Donna Davies, NCO in charge of the General Claims Division on Lackland. "But even though we've taken the process online, customers still need to remember to bring in their DD Form 1840/1840R (pink form) to their local claims service center within 70 days of the date their household goods were delivered to them.

"People get confused and don't think they have to bring in that form (after their goods are delivered)," Sergeant Davies continued. "There have been a few people who have missed out on being reimbursed from damages made to their goods because of it."

The DD Form 1840/1840R is essential to getting the claims process started, as it notifies the carrier of the damage done to the household goods shipment.

Once the form has been turned in to the claims division, claimants have two years to file their claims for reimbursement. In that time, claimants are required to attend a briefing at the claims office for extraneous assistance and guidance for completing their claim.

Briefings are conducted every Thursday at 9 a.m. in the 37th Training Wing Headquarters, Bldg. 2484.

Taking the claims process online makes it easier to keep track of multiple items to be claimed, helps customers easily monitor the claims process from start to finish and makes the claim available to access anywhere there's an Internet connection.

"Customers can access, update and submit their personal claims file from home, or they can come in our office and use our computers here," Sergeant Davies said. "After submission, claimants are typically reimbursed 10 to 14 days after the claims service center approves payment.

"All claims are centralized here through our center," said Sergeant Davies. "This includes claims for vehicle shipments and household goods. But I cannot emphasize enough how important it is that the DD Form 1840/1840R is brought in to us as soon as possible."

Although taking the claims process online puts more power into the hands of the customer, the Claims Division of the Legal Office remains available to assist with any filing questions, document scans and claims file access to help ease the process.

To sign up for a claims briefing on Lackland or to speak with a claims service representative, call 671-3365/66. 

To initiate a claim online, log onto https://claims.jag.af.mil from a government computer, or call the claims service center for a Web site password.