Moving has challenges. (If that isn’t the biggest understatement ever.) And just when you think that you’re past the hard part, sometimes your stuff gets delayed. Maybe there was a problem at the warehouse, or your truck driver quit, or the ship broke. But to you, the reason doesn’t really matter, because you just need to go on with life.
And that’s where the inconvenience claim comes into play.
An inconvenience claim is a claim, and subsequent payment, for things that you have to rent or buy to have a semblance of a normal life while you wait for your actual household goods to be delivered.
Very important: Inconvenience claims are entirely separate from loss and damage claims. One does not impact the other in any way.
When Can You File An Inconvenience Claim?
You can file an inconvenience claim when your household goods delivery is delayed beyond its Required Delivery Date, aka RDD, as listed on your moving paperwork. You need to be in possession of a residence and you are available to accept the delivery as offered by the Transportation Service Provider, aka TSP. (Not to be confused with the other military TSP.)
You can also make an inconvenience claim if your shipment is put into Storage In Transit, and can not be delivered in a timely fashion after you request delivery. If you are requesting delivery during peak season (15 June to 15 August), the TSP has 10 government business days after you request delivery. If it is not peak season, the TSP has five government business days after you request delivery.
An inconvenience claim is also authorized if your household goods are put into Storage In Transit before you were notified.
The claim will cover the period of time from your RDD to your actual delivery date.
You can also do an inconvenience claim for a rescheduled pickup, but I honestly am having a hard time imagining how that works. But if you find yourself in a situation where a shipment is not picked up on the agreed-upon date, and it would benefit you to rent or purchase some temporary items, then that option does exist.
How To File An Inconvenience Claim
Inconvenience claims are filed directly with the TSP. In theory, the TSP is supposed to notify you if a shipment is going to be delayed, and provide you with information on making an inconvenience claim. In reality, sometimes you need to get that ball rolling. I’d start the process 2-4 days prior to the RDD, but not make any actual purchases until after the RDD has passed.
You are not required to inform the military folks that you are making an inconvenience claim, but I recommend doing it anyway. Call the office that coordinates your household goods shipment (the name may vary depending on your branch) and give them a heads up that you are filing an inconvenience claim. It can’t hurt and the local area office may be able to give you guidance and suggestions about the process.
Then, notify the TSP of your intent to file an inconvenience claim. Sometimes, this is enough to get your things magically delivered. If they can’t get your things delivered, they should provide you with the directions on how to submit your inconvenience claim to them.
What Can You Claim On An Inconvenience Claim?
Your moving company should provide you with a list of items that you can rent or purchase, but generally it includes items like:
- rental furniture
- appliance rental, to include a television
- air mattresses
- pots, pans, and dishes
- paper goods
- linens & towels
- laundry service
Items should be selected with an eye towards cost given the temporary nature of their purchase.
The TSP reserves the right to reclaim any tangible household items that are purchased as part of an inconvenience claim.
Things that will likely not be covered (if you need to justify exceeding the baseline amount):
- actual furniture
- large appliances
How Much Is Covered?
For shipments picked up on or after 15 May 2020, you start with a baseline of 100% of the local area per diem meals and incidentals rate, multiplied by up to 7 days. Claims under this amount do not require receipts. You can find your local area rates at this website.
If your out-of-pocket expenses exceed this baseline figure, you may seek reimbursement as documented by receipts. Communicate with the TSP before spending more than the baseline rate in order to avoid denied reimbursement. Be prepared to justify why you needed to exceed the baseline amount.
For shipments picked up prior to 15 May 2020, you will be reimbursed for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses documented by receipts.
In some situations, the TSP may offer to pay for a hotel and provide a meals allowance in lieu of paying for temporary items.
Do You Need Receipts?
Officially, not until you exceed the per diem rate times the number of days your shipment is delayed. Per move.mil, the claim “does not require you to keep receipts unless you incur actual out-of-pocket expenses, above the per diem rate for first 7 days, to obtain necessary items to establish your household.”
In reality, I’d keep those receipts. Take a picture with your phone, upload them to the cloud, and then tuck the paper copies into your moving binder. You know how the world works.
When Can’t You File An Inconvenience Claim?
You can’t file an inconvenience claim if you are receiving a temporary lodging allowance.
Also, you can not file an inconvenience claim if you have not taken possession of your residence when the mover offers the shipment for delivery, or if you or your representative are not available to accept the delivery.
You can’t file a claim if your household goods are delayed due to
- natural disaster
- mob interference
- an act of the public enemy
- acts of the Government
- acts of the public authority
- violent strikes
- delays caused by the Government and where the mover’s negligence did not contribute to the delay
Shockingly, you can not file an inconvenience claim on a shipment that is entirely alcohol. (I’m dying here. So funny.)
How To File An Inconvenience Claim
Your TSP will tell you their process for filing an inconvenience claim. They are required to provide reimbursement within 30 days of filing the claim.
Inconvenience claims for unaccompanied baggage is still for actual expenses only.
Where To Learn More About Inconvenience Claims
The rules about inconvenience claims fall under Transcom, and their Move.mil website has most of the relevant information there. One of the best pieces is this one-sheeter that was updated in May 2021.
You can also read about it on page 11 of the Defense Personal Property Program Tender of Service booklet.
In addition, your local area personal property/transportation office should be able to help.
I hope that you never have a reason to file an inconvenience claim. But in the even that you do, now you’re prepared with all the information!
Is there anything that I failed to cover?