B-111895, FEBRUARY 5, 1953, 32 COMP. GEN. 352

B-111895: Feb 5, 1953

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SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE - FRACTIONAL DAYS WHEN ENLISTED MEMBERS OF THE ARMED SERVICES ARE IN A TRAVEL STATUS AND ENTITLED TO A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR A PORTION OF A DAY THE DAILY BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID ENLISTED MEMBERS WHO ARE PERMITTED TO MESS SEPARATELY MAY BE PRORATED FOR THE REMAINING PORTION OF SUCH DAY. PROVIDED SUCH PRORATING IS REGULATED BY APPROPRIATE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS FIXING REASONABLE DIVISIONS OF A DAY. 1953: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 12. FROM THE DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE DAILY BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID ENLISTED MEMBERS WHO ARE PERMITTED TO MESS SEPARATELY MAY BE PRORATED FOR THAT PORTION OF THE DAY PRIOR TO COMMENCEMENT OF AND SUBSEQUENT TO TERMINATION OF A TRAVEL STATUS.

B-111895, FEBRUARY 5, 1953, 32 COMP. GEN. 352

SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE - FRACTIONAL DAYS WHEN ENLISTED MEMBERS OF THE ARMED SERVICES ARE IN A TRAVEL STATUS AND ENTITLED TO A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR A PORTION OF A DAY THE DAILY BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID ENLISTED MEMBERS WHO ARE PERMITTED TO MESS SEPARATELY MAY BE PRORATED FOR THE REMAINING PORTION OF SUCH DAY, PROVIDED SUCH PRORATING IS REGULATED BY APPROPRIATE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS FIXING REASONABLE DIVISIONS OF A DAY.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL FISHER TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, FEBRUARY 5, 1953:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 12, 1952, FROM THE DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE DAILY BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID ENLISTED MEMBERS WHO ARE PERMITTED TO MESS SEPARATELY MAY BE PRORATED FOR THAT PORTION OF THE DAY PRIOR TO COMMENCEMENT OF AND SUBSEQUENT TO TERMINATION OF A TRAVEL STATUS.

SECTION 301 OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 812, AUTHORIZES THE PAYMENT OF A BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE OF ONE OF THREE TYPES, TYPE (2) OF WHICH IS "WHEN PERMISSION TO MESS SEPARATELY IS GRANTED," AND IT IS PROVIDED THAT SUCH ALLOWANCE SHALL NOT ACCRUE WHEN ENLISTED PERSONS ARE "BEING SUBSISTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE.' SECTION 3 (E), EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 10119, MARCH 27, 1950, ISSUED UNDER AUTHORITY OF SUBSECTION 201 (D) OF SAID CAREER COMPENSATION ACT, STATES THAT ENLISTED MEMBERS SHALL BE CONSIDERED AS BEING SUBSISTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE "WHILE THEY ARE IN A TRAVEL STATUS AND ARE ENTITLED TO A PER-DIEM ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE OR TO A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE.' PARAGRAPHS 3050-2 AND 3 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS STATE THAT A TRAVEL STATUS WILL COMMENCE OR END WITH THE DEPARTURE FROM OR RETURN TO A PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND IN THE NORMAL COURSE OF TRAVEL, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT IN MOST OF THE CASES A TRAVEL STATUS WOULD COMMENCE OR TERMINATE SO THAT THE ENLISTED MAN CONCERNED WOULD BE SUBSISTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE BY PAYMENT OF MILEAGE OR PER DIEM FOR ONLY A FRACTIONAL PART OF A DAY. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES NO REASON IS PERCEIVED WHY THE ALLOWANCE PAYABLE TO AN ENLISTED MAN WHO IS AUTHORIZED TO MESS SEPARATELY MAY NOT BE PRORATED FOR THE REMAINING PORTION OF SUCH DAY, PROVIDED SUCH PRORATING IS REGULATED BY APPROPRIATE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS FIXING REASONABLE DIVISIONS OF THE DAY. SEE PARAGRAPH 4, A.R. 35-4520, DATED JANUARY 28, 1949.

IT APPEARS THAT THE SOURCE OF DOUBT AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF PRORATING THE TYPE (2) ALLOWANCE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES HERE INVOLVED IS A DECISION OF THIS OFFICE DATED AUGUST 25, 1947, B-68551. IN THAT CASE IT WAS HELD THAT AN ENLISTED MAN WHO IS GRANTED PERMISSION TO MESS SEPARATELY AND WHOSE DUTY REQUIRED HIM TO BE ABSENT FROM THE NEAREST GOVERNMENT MESS DURING THE NOON MEAL HOURS, COULD NOT BE PAID THE STATION SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE AND THE COMMUTED VALUE OF THE RATION ON A PRO RATA BASIS OF ONE-THIRD OF THE FORMER AND TWO-THIRDS OF THE LATTER PER DAY. HOWEVER, THAT DECISION WAS NOT BASED UPON THE VIEW THAT PRORATING WAS NOT PERMISSIBLE IN A PROPER CASE, BUT UPON THE CONCLUSION THAT THE CLAIMANT WAS IN A STATUS ENTITLING HIM TO PAYMENT AT BUT ONE RATE DURING THE PERIOD OF HIS CLAIM. THE MATTER OF PROXIMITY TO A GOVERNMENT MESS WAS NOT REGARDED AS A CIRCUMSTANCE HAVING ANY BEARING ON HIS CLAIM SINCE HE HAD REQUESTED AND HAD BEEN GRANTED PERMISSION TO EAT ELSEWHERE AND HENCE WAS ENTITLED TO THE ALLOWANCE PAYABLE TO ENLISTED MEN WHO WERE PERMITTED TO MESS SEPARATELY.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES HERE CONSIDERED, BOTH A TRAVEL AND A NON TRAVEL STATUS CALLING FOR PAYMENT ON TWO DIFFERENT BASES EXISTED ON THE SAME DAYS AND PRORATING OF THE BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE RATE PAYABLE TO ENLISTED MEN WHO ARE PERMITTED TO MESS SEPARATELY, APPEARS PROPER FOR THAT PART OF THE DAY PRIOR TO COMMENCEMENT OF, AND AFTER TERMINATION OF, A TRAVEL STATUS.