A-81839, DECEMBER 31, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 628

A-81839: Dec 31, 1936

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SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEMS - MEALS OR LODGINGS FURNISHED FREE - CHANGE OF TRAVEL FORM JURAT GOVERNMENT OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES TRAVELING ON A PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE BASIS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO MAKE DEDUCTION FOR MEALS OR LODGING FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE UNLESS FURNISHED BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY. THAT PORTION OF THE JURAT ON THE TRAVEL FORM TO THE EFFECT THAT NO MEALS OR LODGING WERE FURNISHED BY A MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY OR BY ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE OR SUCH EMPLOYEE'S FAMILY. AS FOLLOWS: CONSIDERATION IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED OF A PROBLEM WHICH HAS ARISEN IN THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION RELATIVE TO THE LEGAL RIGHT OF AN OFFICIAL TRAVELER TO CLAIM PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE.

A-81839, DECEMBER 31, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 628

SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEMS - MEALS OR LODGINGS FURNISHED FREE - CHANGE OF TRAVEL FORM JURAT GOVERNMENT OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES TRAVELING ON A PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE BASIS ARE NOT REQUIRED TO MAKE DEDUCTION FOR MEALS OR LODGING FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE UNLESS FURNISHED BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY, AND THAT PORTION OF THE JURAT ON THE TRAVEL FORM TO THE EFFECT THAT NO MEALS OR LODGING WERE FURNISHED BY A MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY OR BY ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE OR SUCH EMPLOYEE'S FAMILY, MAY BE DELETED IN SUCH CASES WHERE INCONSISTENT WITH THE FACTS.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION, DECEMBER 31, 1936:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 19, 1936, AS FOLLOWS:

CONSIDERATION IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED OF A PROBLEM WHICH HAS ARISEN IN THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION RELATIVE TO THE LEGAL RIGHT OF AN OFFICIAL TRAVELER TO CLAIM PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, WHEN PROPERLY AUTHORIZED, WHEN ALL OR A PORTION OF ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE IS FURNISHED THE TRAVELER BY HIS FAMILY.

AS A SPECIFIC EXAMPLE, AN EMPLOYEE OF THIS ORGANIZATION WHOSE OFFICIAL STATION IS WASHINGTON, D.C., WAS ASSIGNED FOR TEMPORARY DUTY IN NEW YORK CITY, WHERE HIS PARENTS LIVE. WHILE PERFORMING DUTIES AT THIS POINT, HE STAYED WITH HIS PARENTS AND USUALLY TOOK TWO MEALS EACH DAY AT THEIR HOME, FREE OF CHARGE. THE ATTENTION OF THIS TRAVELER WAS LATER DIRECTED TO THE PORTION OF THE JURAT ON THE FACE OF STANDARD FORM 1012, WHICH STATES "NOR WERE MEALS OR LODGINGS FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY OR WITH OR WITHOUT CHARGE BY A MEMBER OF MY FAMILY, BY ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE OR A MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY.' HAVING MADE THIS DEPOSITION, A PORTION OF WHICH WAS NOT TRUE ACCORDING TO FACTS PRESENTED ABOVE, THE TRAVELER REFUSED TO ACCEPT THE CHECK IN PAYMENT OF HIS PER DIEM ALLOWANCE AND COMMUNICATED WITH THIS OFFICE RELATIVE TO HIS LEGAL RIGHT THERETO.

REFERRING TO THE DECISION OF COMPTROLLER GENERAL J. R. MCCARL, 5 CG 313, ASSURANCE WAS GIVEN TO THE EMPLOYEE THAT THE CLAIMING OF PER DIEM ALLOWANCE AND THE ACCEPTANCE OF A CHECK THEREFOR IS PERFECTLY PROPER AND CONSTITUTES NO OFFENSE IN LAW.

THE ABOVE DECISION STATES:

"WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IN AN AUTHORIZED TRAVEL STATUS ON A PER DIEM BASIS HAS OFFICIAL DUTY TO PERFORM AT THE PLACE WHERE HIS FAMILY RESIDES, HE MAY BE PAID THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCES NOTWITHSTANDING THAT HE MAY TAKE HIS MEALS AT HOME.'

THE CLEAR IMPLICATION FROM THE ABOVE RULING IS THAT THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE TO AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT DEPENDENT ON THE NECESSITY OF INCURRING EXPENSES, IF THE EMPLOYEE IS IN A BONA FIDE TRAVEL STATUS. FROM THIS PREMISE THE LOGICAL DEDUCTION WOULD BE THAT A TRAVELER MAY SHARE HIS LODGING IN A HOTEL WITH ANOTHER GOVERNMENT TRAVELER, OR MAY EVEN STAY AT THE HOME OF RELATIVES OR FRIENDS OR OTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AND CLAIM PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AS AUTHORIZED, WITHOUT COMMITTING OFFENSE AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT; YET BEFORE HE MAY CLAIM HIS ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, IT IS NECESSARY FOR HIM TO EXECUTE A JURAT UPON A STATEMENT DIRECTLY TO THE CONTRARY.

IN VIEW OF THIS APPARENT CONFLICT, YOUR ADVICE AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF CLAIMING PER DIEM ALLOWANCE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OUTLINED IMMEDIATELY ABOVE IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED.

THE JURAT TO THE STANDARD TRAVEL FORM WAS WORDED IN THE MANNER INDICATED IN ORDER TO REQUIRE COMPLIANCE WITH THE EDITION OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS APPROVED APRIL 21, 1931, WHEN TRAVELING ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS, PARAGRAPH 47 (B). HOWEVER, AS ALL OFFICIAL TRAVEL OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT IS NOW ON A PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE BASIS THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WERE AMENDED AND NO DEDUCTION OF PER DIEM IS REQUIRED EXCEPT WHEN MEALS OR LODGING ARE FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY. SEE PARAGRAPH 47 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS APPROVED JANUARY 30, 1934, AND DECEMBER 10, 1935, AND NOTE THAT SUBPARAGRAPH (B) WHICH APPEARED IN THE REGULATIONS APPROVED APRIL 21, 1931, HAS BEEN OMITTED ENTIRELY. ACCORDINGLY, BEFORE AN EMPLOYEE MAKES AFFIDAVIT ON THE TRAVEL FORM CONTAINING THE LANGUAGE INDICATED IN YOUR SUBMISSION, HE IS AT LIBERTY TO CROSS OUT THAT PORTION OF THE JURAT WITH REFERENCE TO MEALS OR LODGING FURNISHED BY A MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY OR BY ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE OR SUCH EMPLOYEE'S FAMILY.