Coast Guard Mutual AssistanceServing the men and women of the US Coast Guard since 1924

CGMA often receives inquiries from Representatives on how to maintain and dispose of Coast Guard Mutual Assistance records. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

Where should files be kept?

Coast Guard Mutual Assistance applications, documents, records, files, forms, reports and correspondence, shall be maintained separately from other files at the unit.

Some units are now opting to keep all files electronically.  As CGMA supports this initiative, please be sure that the files are only electronically accessible by CGMA Representatives, due to personally identifiable information and financially sensitive material.

What files/paperwork are needed for the unit?

  • Appointment Letter for the Representative and each Assistant Representative
  • Representative Certification Form (CGMA Form 20)
  • Assistant Representative Certification Form (CGMA Form 20a)
  • Audit Form (CGMA Form 21), if applicable
  • A copy of the latest Bank of America - Bank Signature Card signed by every person at the unit with CGMA check signing authority
  • Each CGMA-HQ letter assigning checks (CGMA Form 52) to the unit
  • Any documentation pertinent to the administration of Coast Guard Mutual Assistance

CGMA keeps these files on each unit as well.  The most updated files should be emailed to CGMA-HQ at HQS-DG-CGMA@uscg.mil whenever there is a personnel change.  Please do not mail in originals; those are to be kept at the unit.

What documents should be kept in the case files?

All documents and information regarding an applicant is considered privileged information and shall be handled accordingly. No CGMA correspondence or loan records will be placed in official Coast Guard personnel files of an individual applying for, or receiving, CGMA assistance. (See section Chapter 1-H of the CGMA Manual for additional information concerning CGMA's confidentiality policy.)

At a minimum, the following items are to be kept with each case:

  • The original CGMA Application for Assistance for every request received, including requests that were denied and those sent to the Executive Director for approval

  • The original bottom section of each CGMA Check (CGMA Form 52) issued.
    (Do not destroy any checks, unless directed by CGMA-HQ.) When voiding a check, keep the bottom section of the check in the unit files

  • Supporting documents, including copies of bills, estimates for repairs, Consumer Credit Counseling Service recommendations, HUD Form 1, and other related documentation

  • Power of Attorney, Pre-Authorization Form, or statement of sponsor's consent when providing assistance to family members

How long should files be kept?

CGMA administrative and financial records, including individual case files may be disposed of four years after the date of preparation. They must be destroyed in a manner appropriate for personally identifiable information.

Unused Powers of Attorney and Pre-Authorization Forms may be disposed of once their expiration date has passed. Powers of Attorney and Pre-Authorization Forms that were used when providing assistance are to be attached to, and disposed with, the case file.

For more information, please see Chapter 6-A of the CGMA manual.


You give valuable time to assist CGMA clients and it is much appreciated!

Please let CGMA-HQ know (703) 875-0404 or toll free (800) 881-2462 or email: HQS-DG-CGMA@uscg.mil if there is any way we can support your efforts as you serve your shipmates through CGMA.