Have you lost or damaged your personal property while on duty?

You might be able to get reimbursed for some of that loss.

Most of us have lost or damaged our personal property while at work, but many of us are not aware that there’s a process to be financially reimbursed, accounting for depreciation. The Military Personnel and Civilian Employees’ Claims Act (MPCECA) of 1964, as amended, allows for the agency to settle and pay claims for the loss of or damage to personal property incident to service.

Generally, the loss or damage needs to take place when you are on duty, and there has to be a reasonable relationship between the loss of or damage to the personal property and the performance of your official duties. For example, if you lost a knife or flashlight while chasing a group, there is a good chance you can get reimbursed for that provided your claim meets all of the requirements. There are timelines associated with making a claim, but if you make your claim within two years of the occurrence of the damage or loss, your claim should be timely.

Now, does this mean that they are going to completely reimburse you for your $200 sunglasses that you bought a year ago? No, because they are going to use the depreciated value.

The MPCECA gives the agency quite a bit of latitude to decide what they will and will not pay, so it’s incumbent on you as the claimant to ensure that your claim is correctly filled out and supported with receipts and evidence showing that the loss or damage took place while you were on duty and that the loss or damage was related to your duties.

If you were negligent or violated a policy or law when the loss or damage took place, the agency can deny the claim.

To submit a claim, first make yourself familiar with the process by reviewing both of the following:

  1. Employee Claims for Loss or Damage to Personal Property Handbook, HB 5300-14A (search for “5300-14A” on the CBP intranet)
  2. CBP Directive No. 5350-019D, dated May 20, 2011 (search for “5350-019D” on the CBP intranet)

Then, you must submit both Forms CBP 330A and 330B (both found on the CBP intranet) to your supervisor.

Local 2366 recommends submitting via email so you can prove the date you made your claim, and, the documentation submitted with your claim.  Be sure to be as accurate as possible and do not exaggerate value or loss as filing a false or fraudulent claim is a felony as well as serious misconduct for a CBP employee.

Make sure you submit receipts showing the item description and cost. To prove you were on duty, you might want to include a copy of a 259 or 481 showing that you were on duty the day the item was lost or damaged, as that will help show you were working. The above handbook has a “depreciation guide” beginning on Page 22 showing how to calculate the depreciated value of an item, so familiarize yourself with that, as well.

You can find additional information in the regulations, found here:

Your claim will then be routed to the Office of Chief Counsel, and they will review the claim for approval or denial. They might ask for additional information, so keep an eye on your email. The process can take several months, so sit tight and wait for a response.

This process won’t completely make up for a loss or damage, but it can certainly help.