B-125900, DEC. 12, 1955

B-125900: Dec 12, 1955

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REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON THE VOUCHER THEREWITH TRANSMITTED FOR $396.71. OFFICIAL TRAVEL ORDER WAS ISSUED TO MR. THIS ORDER WAS CANCELED AND A GROUP TRAVEL ORDER WAS ISSUED. THE GROUP ORDER IDENTIFIED THE DEPENDENTS OF VARIOUS EMPLOYEES BUT NO DEPENDENTS WERE NAMED FOR MR. HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE TRANSPORTED FROM WASHINGTON. AMENDED TRAVEL ORDER WAS ISSUED AUGUST 22. SWING BUT NO SUCH GOODS ARE SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN SHIPPED. WILL THE ADMINISTRATIVE CORRECTION OF TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 307 DATED AUGUST 22. IS SUCH RETROACTIVE CORRECTION PERMISSIBLE? CLAIM IS SUBMITTED ON THE BASIS OF THE ALLOWANCE ENTITLED TO AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS MARRIED OR WHO HAS DEPENDENTS.

B-125900, DEC. 12, 1955

TO MR. RICHARD S. GESSFORD, DIRECTOR, FISCAL OFFICE, FEDERAL CIVIL DEFENSE ADMINISTRATION:

YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 24, 1955, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON THE VOUCHER THEREWITH TRANSMITTED FOR $396.71, REPRESENTING REIMBURSEMENT TO ALBERT G. SWING FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF 3,800 POUNDS OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS BETWEEN ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, AND BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN, PLUS TEMPORARY STORAGE AND DRAYAGE.

IT APPEARS THAT ON AUGUST 20, 1954, OFFICIAL TRAVEL ORDER WAS ISSUED TO MR. SWING AUTHORIZING CHANGE OF STATION FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN. ON AUGUST 23, 1954, THIS ORDER WAS CANCELED AND A GROUP TRAVEL ORDER WAS ISSUED. THE GROUP ORDER IDENTIFIED THE DEPENDENTS OF VARIOUS EMPLOYEES BUT NO DEPENDENTS WERE NAMED FOR MR. SWING. HE HAS BEEN PAID THE MILEAGE FOR HIS PERSONAL TRAVEL PLUS PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR THE TRAVEL TIME.

ON MAY 26, 1955, HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE TRANSPORTED FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO BATTLE CREEK, AND ON AUGUST 1, 1955, HE SUBMITTED A VOUCHER CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT FOR STORAGE, DRAYAGE, AND TRANSPORTATION. AMENDED TRAVEL ORDER WAS ISSUED AUGUST 22, 1955, TO INCLUDE AUTHORIZATION FOR TRANSPORTATION OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF HIS DEPENDENT MOTHER MRS. SUSANNE M. SWING BUT NO SUCH GOODS ARE SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN SHIPPED.

SPECIFICALLY YOU REQUEST ANSWERS TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

"1. CAN MR. SWING AT THIS TIME, CLAIM REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IN EXCESS OF 2,500 POUNDS EVEN IF THE DEPENDENT HAS NOT ACTUALLY MOVED?

"2. WILL THE ADMINISTRATIVE CORRECTION OF TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 307 DATED AUGUST 22, 1955 BE SUFFICIENT TO ENABLE CERTIFICATION OF THE VOUCHER, AND IS SUCH RETROACTIVE CORRECTION PERMISSIBLE?

IN THE CLAIMANT'S STATEMENT OF AUGUST 1, 1955, ACCOMPANYING THE VOUCHER HE MAKES THE FOLLOWING ASSERTIONS:

"3. CLAIM IS SUBMITTED ON THE BASIS OF THE ALLOWANCE ENTITLED TO AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS MARRIED OR WHO HAS DEPENDENTS. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY PREVIOUS STATEMENTS, AT THE TIME OF THE ISSUANCE OF JOINT TRAVEL ORDER I WAS MARRIED AND HAD OTHER DEPENDENTS.

"IT IS BELIEVED THAT YOUR RECORDS MAY INDICATE THAT I AM ENTITLED TO CLAIM ONLY AS A SINGLE INDIVIDUAL; HOWEVER, THIS REFLECTS AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR. THE STATEMENT OF DEPENDENCIES SUBMITTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF PREPARING THE MASS TRAVEL ORDER, WAS PREPARED FOR ME WHILE I WAS IN TRAVEL STATUS, BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER OF THE PLANNING STAFF. THE DECISION REGARDING MY STATUS WAS BASED ON THE PAYROLL TAX DEDUCTION. UNFORTUNATELY THIS DEDUCTION INDICATES "NO DEPENDENTS" AND WAS SO ARRANGED BY PERSONAL REQUEST IN ORDER TO INSURE THAT THE PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS WOULD EQUAL THE AMOUNT OF INCOME TAX WHICH WOULD BECOME DUE. AS A CONSEQUENCE, THE USE OF THE PAYROLL DEDUCTION WAS NOT A VALID INDICATION OF DEPENDENCY STATUS.'

NOTWITHSTANDING THE ABOVE-QUOTED STATEMENT THERE IS ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER A PHOTOSTATIC COPY OF MR. SWING'S REQUEST FOR TRAVEL ORDERS IN WHICH NO DEPENDENTS ARE NAMED AND THE AFFIRMATIVE STATEMENT IS MADE BY HIM THAT HE WILL TRANSPORT "NONE.'

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805 EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 1946, PROVIDES THAT AN EMPLOYEE "HAVING AN IMMEDIATE FAMILY" MAY BE AUTHORIZED TO SHIP HOUSEHOLD AND PERSONAL EFFECTS NOT IN EXCESS OF 7,000 POUNDS IF THE SHIPMENT IS BY MOTOR VAN UNCRATED. AN EMPLOYEE WITHOUT AN IMMEDIATE FAMILY IS SUBJECT TO A LIMITATION OF 2,500 POUNDS SHIPPED BY VAN. BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8588, DATED NOVEMBER 7, 1940, A PROVISION LIMITED THE WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO THE SAME NET WEIGHTS, THE 2,500 LIMITATION BEING APPLICABLE TO AN EMPLOYEE "WHO HAD NO DEPENDENTS LIVING WITH HIM.' IN CONSTRUING THE FORMER ORDER WE HELD IN 25 COMP. GEN. 360, AS FOLLOWS, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS:

"THE DETERMINATION OF THE GROSS WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO BE TRANSPORTED TO AN EMPLOYEE'S NEW PERMANENT STATION, INSOFAR AS CONCERNS THE 2,500 POUND WEIGHT LIMITATION IMPOSED BY SECTION 2 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8588 UPON EMPLOYEES HAVING NO DEPENDENTS, SHOULD BE MADE WITH RESPECT TO THE STATUS OF THE EMPLOYEE ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE ORDER AUTHORIZING OR DIRECTING THE TRANSFER OF THE EMPLOYEE.'

WHILE MR. SWING NOW SAYS HE HAS DEPENDENTS HE HAS NOT SAID THEY CONSTITUTED HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY OR WERE LIVING WITH HIM WHEN THE TRANSFER ORDER WAS ISSUED. IN THAT CONNECTION THE RECORD APPEARS TO ESTABLISH THE FACT THAT THEY HAVE NOT BEEN LIVING WITH HIM AT BATTLE CREEK SINCE HIS TRANSFER THERE. OBVIOUSLY, THE INCREASED WEIGHT ALLOWANCE IS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE "IMMEDIATE FAMILY" AS DEFINED IN THE REGULATION, AND IF THERE BE NO "IMMEDIATE FAMILY" THE NEED FOR THE INCREASED ALLOWANCE IS NOT PRESENT. CF. B-40099, MARCH 23, 1944. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES YOUR TWO QUESTIONS MUST, ON THE PRESENT RECORD, BE ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.