By Daniel A. Lauretano, Attorney Advisor, Chief, Claims Division,, Office of the Staff of the Judge Advocate
An Article 139 claim is an administrative mechanism for assessing and paying restitution to the victims of certain types of criminal offenses committed by active-duty service members.
Any individual, including civilians and service members, a business entity, state or local government, or charity may submit a claim under Article 139.
An Article 139 Claim may be filed for property that is willfully damaged (vandalism) or wrongfully taken (theft).
Claims founded in breach of contract or fiduciary duty are not proper Article 139 Claims. In addition, losses due to accident or negligence, even gross negligence, are not payable.
Only direct damages may be paid like the cost to repair the damage to your vandalized car. Indirect damages, such as the cost of a rental car while your car is in the garage, are not payable.
An Article 139 Claim must be filed within 90 days of the incident that gave rise to it, or good cause for the delay must be shown. If more than 90 days have passed, include a detailed statement of the circumstances with your claim.
A claim is filed by making a written demand for payment. The following information must be submitted: claimant’s full name, rank, Social Security number, unit, home address, home and work phone numbers, and amount of the claim.
Also include the full name and unit of the person you are filing the claim against. Include a detailed description of the incident and/or damage to property.
The claim must provide sufficient details, facts and circumstances describing how the property was damaged or taken. Include the date of purchase of the stolen or damaged property, the purchase price, and the replacement or repair cost.
Include names and addresses of any witnesses. Attach police reports, repair estimates, purchase receipts and any other relevant documentation.
Article 139 packets and the proper format/form are available at the Fort Meade Claims Office.
Once the completed and filed claim is received by the Claims Office, it is then forwarded to the Special Court-Martial Convening Authority for the appointment of an investigating officer to investigate the incident.
Military personnel and civilian employees may have a payable claim under Chapter 11, AR 27-20. If so, it may be filed at the same time, but it will not be processed pending the outcome of the Article 139 Claim. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis.
For more information, go to the Claims Division, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, 4217 Roberts Ave., or call 301-677-9960.