32 CFR § 536.10 - Responsibilities and operations of claims processing offices.

§ 536.10 Responsibilities and operations of claims processing offices.

(a) Heads of CPOs. Heads of CPOs will:

(1) Investigate all potential and actual claims arising within their assigned jurisdiction, on either an area, command, or agency basis. Only a CPO that has approval authority may adjudicate and pay presented claims within its monetary jurisdiction.

(2) Ensure that units and organizations within their jurisdiction have appointed claims officers for the investigation of claims not requiring a JA's investigation. (See § 536.22).

(3) Budget for and fund claims investigations and activities; including, per diem and transportation of claims personnel, claimants and witnesses; independent medical examinations; appraisals; independent expert opinions; long distance telephone calls; recording and photographic equipment; use of express mail or couriers; and other necessary expenses.

(4) Within CONUS, procure and maintain legal publications on local law relating to tort claims pertaining to their jurisdiction.

(5) Notify the Commander USARCS of all claims and claims incidents, as required by § 536.22 and AR 27-20, paragraph 2-12.

(6) Implement the Army's Article 139 claims program (see subpart I of this part).

(b) Operations of claims processing offices -

(1) Claims processing office with approval authority. A CPO that has been granted approval authority must provide for the investigation of all potential and actual claims arising within its assigned jurisdiction, on an area, command, or agency basis, and for the adjudication and payment of all claims presented within its monetary jurisdiction. If the estimated value of a claim, after investigation, exceeds the CPO's payment authority, or if disapproval is the appropriate action, the claim file will be forwarded to the ACO unless otherwise specified in this part, or forwarded to USARCS or the command claims service, if directed by such service.

(2) Claims processing offices without approval authority. A CPO that has not been granted claims approval authority will provide for the investigation of all potential and actual claims arising within its assigned jurisdiction on an area, command, or agency basis. Once the investigation has been completed, the claim file will be forwarded to the appropriate ACO for action. Alternatively, an ACO may direct the transfer of a claim investigation from a CPO without approval authority to another CPO with approval authority, located within the ACO's jurisdiction.

(3) Medical claims processing offices. The MCJAs or medical claims attorneys at Army medical centers, other than Walter Reed Army Medical Center, may be designated by the SJA or head of the ACO for the installation on which the center is located as CPOs with approval authority for medical malpractice claims only. Claims for amounts exceeding a medical CPO's approval authority will be investigated and forwarded to the Commander USARCS.

(4) Special claims processing offices -

(i) Designation and authority. The Commander USARCS, the chief of a command claims service, or the head of an ACO may designate special CPOs within his or her command for specific, short-term purposes (for example, maneuvers, civil disturbances and emergencies). These special CPOs may be delegated the approval authority necessary to effect the purpose of their creation, but in no case will this delegation exceed the maximum monetary approval authority set forth in other subparts of this part for regular CPOs. All claims will be processed under the claims expenditure allowance and claims command and office code of the authority that established the office or under a code assigned by USARCS. The existence of any special CPO must be reported to the Commander USARCS, and the chief of a command claims service, as appropriate.

(ii) Maneuver damage and claims office jurisdiction. A special CPO is the proper organization to process and approve maneuver damage claims, except when a foreign government is responsible for adjudication pursuant to an international agreement (see subpart G of this part). Personnel from the maneuvering command should be used to investigate claims and, at the ACO's discretion, may be assigned to the special CPO. The ACO will process claims filed after the maneuver terminates. The special CPO will investigate claims arising while units are traveling to or from the maneuver within the jurisdiction of other ACOs, and forward such claims for action to the ACO in whose area the claims arose. Claims for damage to real or personal property arising on private land that the Army has used under a permit may be paid from funds specifically budgeted by the maneuver for such purposes in accordance with AR 405-15.

(iii) Disaster claims and civil disturbance. A special CPO provided for a disaster or civil disturbance should include a claims approving authority with adequate investigatory, administrative, and logistical support, including damage assessment and finance and accounting support. It will not be dispatched prior to notification of the Commander USARCS, whose concurrence must be obtained before the first claim is paid.

(5) Supervisory requirements. The CPOs discussed in paragraphs (b)(2) through (b)(4) of this section must be supervised by an assigned CJA or claims attorney in order to exercise delegated approval authority.