By Daniel A. Lauretano, Supervisory Attorney Adviser, Chief,, Claims Division, OSJA
In fiscal year 2017, the Affirmative Claims Section, Claims Division, at the Fort Meade Office of the Staff Judge Advocate recovered over $765,000 for the U.S. government.
This amount was reimbursement for damage to government property, costs of Soldiers’ wages (basic pay, incentive and special pay), and for medical treatment provided by a military treatment facility or paid for by Tricare when Soldiers or their family members were injured by the negligence of others.
The recovered monies were and are initially deposited into the U.S. Treasury and are later returned to the unit, medical treatment facility or Tricare.
Under federal law, the U.S. — through the affirmative claims program — has the right to recover from third parties and their insurance policies for the reasonable value of the medical care, as well as the total amount of the Soldier’s pay (accrued and owing) who is unable to perform his duties as a result of the injury or disease.
Federal and Army regulations require Soldiers and their family members to furnish complete, accurate and timely information regarding the facts and circumstances surrounding any incident in which they receive treatment at an MTF or civilian medical facility because of the fault of another.
This information must be provided to the MTF, Tricare or the installation claims office so that the U.S. can recover the costs of providing or paying for treatment.
If you are represented by an attorney, your attorney’s contact information should also be provided so that the installation claims office can communicate directly with your lawyer.
Once the Affirmative Claims Section decides to exercise the government’s right to recover, it will assert a demand to all parties at fault, including their attorneys and insurance companies, and will notify all other parties having an interest in the claim.
If you have received treatment by an MTF or a civilian hospital and the medical expenses were paid for by the government (Tricare), you must notify the MTF or Tricare so that they can coordinate with the Fort Meade Claims Office. This is usually done by filling out a Statement of Incident Questionnaire furnished by the MTF.
By ensuring the MTF, Tricare and the Fort Meade Claims Office are aware of the incident, the U.S. can recover its money, saving taxpayers’ money, and potentially speeding up the settlement process for all concerned.
Questions concerning the government’s right to recover should be referred to the Claims Division, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, 4217 Roberts Ave.
For more information, call 301-677-9960.