PCS: What to Do When Your Stuff is Lost or Broken

carton boxes and stacked books on table

So you made it to your new duty station! You have packed your life up, drove or flown hundreds or thousands of miles, unpacked… and something is broken or missing.  Where do you start?


Document Everything.

Before your PCS be sure to take pictures of everything, and scan receipts of high value items. Be sure to inform movers beforehand if something is high value (usually considered over $100/pound) so they can document appropriately. If you find something broken on unpacking, take a photo of it.


File a Loss or Damage Report

You can file a loss or damage report on move.mil  – but you only have 75 days after delivery to do this.  Get a glass of wine, or a snack and a comfy chair.  This website is a nightmare and filing the reports is time-consuming.  I recommend opening this tutorial in one window, and another window with the DPS website. Have all your item photos, scanned receipts and move inventory accessible. Organizing a list of items, value, and box number ahead of time will save you from having to try and log into this website multiple times and knock it all out at once. Click Add/Update after each item and be sure to click SUBMIT once you are all done!


File a Claim on the DPS Website

This is a separate step from the loss/damage report, but you can import loss/damage items into the claim. Here you can state the amount you paid for the item and what amount you are claiming. Make sure all your items are added and then submit! You have 9 months to do this step in order to get Full Replacement Value (FRV) from the Transportation Service Provider.


Receive an Offer

Your TSP has 30 days to send you an offer. Sometimes it will be reasonable, sometimes they will low ball you. If you don’t think the offer is fair, you can say so!  You are entitled to have your belongings fixed or replaced to your satisfaction. The government pays a lot of money for these moves, so hold them accountable.


Missed the deadline? You can still do something!  If it’s been more than nine months since your PCS you can still file a claim through the military claims office.

I recommend joining the Facebook group “Lost During My PCS” – maybe choose to unfollow it when you’re not actively PCS’ing otherwise you’ll end up with a bias that all PCS’es are horrible.  But search posts there or make a post yourself if you’re having problems. They have been known to reunite families with their lost items!

Have you PCS’ed recently? How did the process go for you?

2 thoughts on “PCS: What to Do When Your Stuff is Lost or Broken

  1. Great info!! Well written. Couldn’t agree more. Our last PCS was the worst – with respect to damaged goods. The claims process is awful! But don’t give up!! You deserve to have your items repaired it replaced. Thanks for writing this!!

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