Under the Military Personnel and Civilian Employees Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. § 3721, agency personnel may make a claim against the Government for damage to or loss of personal property incident to service. The Department of Commerce has an Administrative Order, DAO 203-17, detailing the procedures for making such a claim.
In short, however, the procedure is as follows: an employee should submit the claim and supporting evidence to the Claims Officer of his or her operating unit (bureau), or to his or her supervisor if the supervisor has knowledge of the incident which is the basis for the claim. The claim should be submitted using form CD-224. The supporting evidence that should be submitted, as listed in Appendix A of the Administrative Order, should be as follows:
Evidence in Support of Claim. In addition to the information required on the claims form, the following evidence should be submitted when applicable, or a statement indicating why such evidence is not available or practicable to obtain:
- General. (applicable to all claims).
- Corroborating statements from a person or persons who have personal knowledge of the facts regarding the claim.
- Statement of property recovered or replaced in kind.
- Itemized bill of repair for any damaged property which has been already repaired.
- At least one written estimate of the cost of repairs from a competent person, sufficiently identified, who is experienced or knowledgeable in the cost of the needed repairs in the current market.
- Proof of original cost or current value in the form of purchase receipts or similar documents.
- A claim filed by an agent or survivor shall be supported by a power of attorney or other satisfactory evidence of authority and standing to file.
- Statement concerning any insurance coverage or any warehouseman, carrier or other third party responsibility, and any reimbursement or recovery obtained from such insurer or third party. The identity of the insurer or other third party, the type of insurance or other coverage, and any claim or demand by the claimant upon such party should be described and copies of correspondence attached. If the claimant has insurance or a basis for a claim or demand upon such third party, and has not submitted a claim or demand, the claimant's failure to do so should be explained.
- Copy of orders or other evidence that establishes the claimant's right or propriety to have the property located at the place of loss or damage.
- Thefts or Losses in Allowable Quarters or at Other Authorized Places.
- Geographical location of the loss.
- If in quarters, whether they were assigned or provided in kind by the Government and by whom, and whether they were regularly occupied by the claimant or, if in storage, the name of the authority, if any, who designated such place.
- Security measures or precautions taken to protect the property involved. Attention will be given to the degree of care normally exercised in the locale of the loss because of any unusual risks of theft or other loss that may be associated with that location.
- Facts and circumstances surrounding the loss or theft, including how the larceny or burglary occurred, capture of the thief, property recovered, reports made at the time to police or others, and such related information.
- Transportation Losses.
- Copy of order authorizing the travel, transportation or shipment, or statement explaining their absence and setting forth their substance.
- All bills of lading, and inventories of property shipped.
- Description of action taken to locate missing property.
- Where property was turned over to a transportation or supply officer or contract packer or shipper, a statement indicating the identity and designation of such party, the date and place where the property was turned over and its condition, the date of shipment and reshipment and copies of all manifests, bills of lading and contracts, the date and place of delivery, statements of disinterested witnesses regarding the property's condition when received, whether damage was caused by negligence of a Government employee acting within the scope of his/her employment, and whether the last carrier was given a clean receipt.
- Money, Intangibles or Other Property Deposited for Safekeeping, Transmittal of Other Authorized Disposition.
- Identity of the person or persons who received the property and any others involved, and the disposition requested;
- Identity of the individual who authorized such person or persons to accept the property; and
- Receipts and written statements explaining the failure to account for the property and an explanation regarding why it was not returned to the claimant.
- Property Used for Benefit of Government. A statement from the proper authority that the property was required to be supplied by the claimant in the performance of his/her official duty at the request or direction, or with the approval of a superior.
- Waiver of Required Evidence. Any of the evidence required above may be waived by the claims officer or agency legal counsel in instances where the claim appears otherwise reasonable and proper and the obtaining and submission of such evidence would be unduly costly or time-consuming in relation to the amount of the claim.
If you have any questions about making a personal property claim, please contact the General Litigation Division.