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Inconvenience claims help offset delayed HHG shipments

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- Airmen and their families are no strangers to moving day -the movers pack and load household goods onto the moving van and for the moment it appears your family survived the many challenges of a permanent change of station.

But then fast forward a few weeks to three days past the delivery date on all your paperwork, including the government bill of lading, and you still have not received your shipment.

You and your family wait patiently for to delivery of your goods, but camping out in your living room is getting old. So what can you do?

Several measures can be taken prior to the arrival of household goods, ensuring delivery is handled appropriately. First, keep all contact information in the Defense Personal Property System current, as the transportation service provider will use that information when attempting to contact you to establish a delivery date and time. Then contact your TSP ahead of time to establish rapport and track your shipment. Let them know you are willing to accept immediate delivery, also known as delivery within two hours, once the shipment arrives at the destination.

Taking these steps can help make this transition easier; however, there are no guarantees. If your household goods still do not arrive on time, you do have the option to file an inconvenience claim.

An inconvenience claim covers out-of-pocket expenses incurred by servicemembers and their families as a result of not being able to use household goods due to a late shipment. Expenses can include, but are not limited to, lodging, meals, laundry service, furniture, appliance rental, towels, pots, pans, paper plates and plasticware. Expenses claimed must be reasonable and related directly to relieving a hardship suffered by you and your family.

Inconvenience claims must be filed directly with the claim department of your TSP. The parties involved should be you and the carrier, with possible assistance from the destination traffic management office and the carrier's delivery agent.

Each TSP is different, so be sure to ask what their procedures are and confirm that you meet the criteria to file a claim.

Two things that disqualify you from submitting a claim are failing to have a delivery address for your shipment or refusing delivery of your shipment when you have a delivery address.

If you do not accept your shipment and do not meet the grounds for an inconvenience claim, then your items will be placed in storage for up to 90 days. Once you are able to accept delivery, contact your TSP and/or the carrier's destination agent to establish a delivery date.

Keep in mind that carriers are not required to settle or honor every inconvenience claim, but you are entitled to submit such a claim and receive assistance in preparing the claim from the destination transportation office.

If the claim is denied, you can contact the origin and destination personal property shipping offices for additional assistance. They can appeal the denied inconvenience claim to the carrier's home office.

If the appeal is unsuccessful, all hope is not lost. The file can be forwarded to the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command for final review where a ruling will be made.

A PCS from your current assignment to the next seldom goes as planned. Remember to stay proactive during the process to make the experience as easy as possible for you and your family.

For more information on household goods shipments, call the 28th Logistics Readiness Squadron Personal Property Section at 385-6597 or 2169.

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