B-131130, MAY 17, 1957, 36 COMP. GEN. 774

B-131130: May 17, 1957

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WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED TRAVEL TO A SELECTED HOME FOR ENTITLEMENT TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES. THE TRAVEL WILL BE ACCEPTED. 1957: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF MARCH 14. THE NAMES OF THE MEMBERS INVOLVED WERE NOT DISCLOSED AND. THE PARTICULAR NOTICES OF EXCEPTION HAVE NOT BEEN EXAMINED. IT IS INDICATED THAT SUCH EXCEPTIONS WERE TAKEN ON THE BASIS THAT THE RECORD SUGGESTED THAT THE MEMBERS DID NOT INTEND TO ESTABLISH A RESIDENCE AT THE PLACES SELECTED AS HOME AND TO WHICH THEY TRAVELED FOLLOWING RETIREMENT. A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHO IS RETIRED IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED MAY SELECT HIS HOME FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES PAYABLE UNDER THIS SECTION.

B-131130, MAY 17, 1957, 36 COMP. GEN. 774

MILITARY PERSONNEL - TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION - ON RETIREMENT - TO SELECTED HOME TRAVEL OF A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES FOLLOWING RETIREMENT TO A PLACE AT WHICH HE DOES NOT INTEND TO ESTABLISH A HOME, BUT MERELY VISIT, WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED TRAVEL TO A SELECTED HOME FOR ENTITLEMENT TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES; HOWEVER, IF A MEMBER ON RETIREMENT CERTIFIES THAT HE HAS SELECTED A PARTICULAR PLACE AS HIS HOME AND TRAVELS TO SUCH PLACE, THE TRAVEL WILL BE ACCEPTED, IN ABSENCE OF CLEAR INDICATION TO THE CONTRARY, AS ESTABLISHING THE MEMBER'S RIGHT TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES.

TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, MAY 17, 1957:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF MARCH 14, 1957, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHAT CRITERIA PROPERLY MAY BE REQUIRED OF MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES, UPON RETIREMENT, TO VALIDATE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES INCIDENT TO TRAVEL TO THEIR HOME OF SELECTION.

A COPY OF COMMITTEE ACTION NO. 175 OF THE MILITARY PAY AND ALLOWANCES COMMITTEE, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, RECEIVED WITH THE LETTER OF MARCH 14, 1957, CONTAINS A DISCUSSION CONCERNING THE QUESTION PRESENTED. IT APPEARS THAT THE QUESTION ARISES BECAUSE OF EXCEPTIONS TAKEN BY OUR DIVISION TO AUDITS TO PAYMENTS MADE TO MEMBERS FOR TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES TO A SELECTED PLACE UPON RETIREMENT. THE NAMES OF THE MEMBERS INVOLVED WERE NOT DISCLOSED AND, HENCE, THE PARTICULAR NOTICES OF EXCEPTION HAVE NOT BEEN EXAMINED. HOWEVER, IT IS INDICATED THAT SUCH EXCEPTIONS WERE TAKEN ON THE BASIS THAT THE RECORD SUGGESTED THAT THE MEMBERS DID NOT INTEND TO ESTABLISH A RESIDENCE AT THE PLACES SELECTED AS HOME AND TO WHICH THEY TRAVELED FOLLOWING RETIREMENT.

SECTION 303 (A) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 813, 814, 37 U.S.C. 253 (A), 253 (C), AS AMENDED BY SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 11, 1955, 69 STAT. 691, 37 U.S.C. 253 PROVIDES THAT, UNDER UNIFORM REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED, A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHO IS RETIRED IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED MAY SELECT HIS HOME FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES PAYABLE UNDER THIS SECTION. SECTION 303 (C) PROVIDES THAT, UNDER UNIFORM REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED, A MEMBER WHO IS RETIRED IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION FOR HIS DEPENDENTS AND FOR HIS BAGGAGE AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO THE HOME SELECTED FOR ALLOWANCE PURPOSES UNDER SUBSECTION (A) OF THE SECTION.

PARAGRAPH 1150-3 (B), JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDES THAT THE TERM "HOME OF SELECTION," AS USED IN THESE REGULATIONS, MEANS THE PLACE SELECTED BY A MEMBER AS HIS HOME UPON RETIREMENT (INCLUDING TRANSFER TO THE FLEET RESERVE OR FLEET MARINE CORPS RESERVE), DISCHARGE WITH SEVERANCE PAY, OR PLACEMENT ON THE TEMPORARY DISABILITY RETIRED LIST UNDER THE CONDITIONS AUTHORIZED IN PARAGRAPH 4158-1A. THE LATTER PARAGRAPH PROVIDES THAT A MEMBER UPON RETIREMENT, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES SPECIFIED, MAY SELECT HIS HOME AND RECEIVE TRAVEL ALLOWANCES THERETO, PROVIDED THAT TRAVEL IS COMPLETED TO THE SELECTED HOME WITHIN ONE YEAR AFTER TERMINATION OF ACTIVE DUTY. IT IS FURTHER PROVIDED THAT ONCE A HOME IS SELECTED AND TRAVEL THERETO IS PERFORMED, SUCH SELECTION IS IRREVOCABLE.

PARAGRAPH 7012-1A OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT A MEMBER UPON RETIREMENT WILL BE ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS, WITHIN SPECIFIED LIMITATIONS, TO THE HOME SELECTED BY THE MEMBER FOR THE PURPOSE OF RECEIVING TRAVEL ALLOWANCES FOR HIS TRAVEL IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 4158, PROVIDED SUCH TRAVEL IS COMPLETED WITHIN ONE YEAR AFTER THE MEMBER'S TERMINATION OF ACTIVE DUTY.

PARAGRAPH 8009-6A OF THE SAME REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT A MEMBER, UPON RETIREMENT, IS ENTITLED TO SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, WITHIN SPECIFIED LIMITATIONS, TO THE HOME SELECTED BY THE MEMBER FOR THE PURPOSE OF RECEIVING TRAVEL ALLOWANCES FOR HIS TRAVEL IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 4158, PROVIDED SUCH GOODS ARE TURNED OVER TO A TRANSPORTATION OFFICER OR CARRIER FOR SHIPMENT WITHIN ONE YEAR FOLLOWING TERMINATION OF ACTIVE DUTY. IT IS FURTHER PROVIDED THAT SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO ANY PLACE OTHER THAN HOME OF SELECTION IS NOT AUTHORIZED, COMPARATIVE COST NOTWITHSTANDING.

THE PURPOSE OF THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS IS TO AUTHORIZE TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR A MEMBER, HIS DEPENDENTS, AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, TO THE PLACE WHERE HE GOES TO RESIDE FOLLOWING RETIREMENT, AND UNTIL SUCH A PLACE HAS BEEN SELECTED AND TRAVEL TO IT FOR THAT PURPOSE HAS BEEN PERFORMED, NO RIGHT TO SUCH TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES ACCRUES. SEE OUR DECISIONS B-123862, DATED OCTOBER 31, 1955, AND B-129742, DATED DECEMBER 19, 1956. THUS, THE INTENT TO ESTABLISH A HOME AT THE SELECTED PLACE, AT THE TIME OF TRAVEL THERETO BY A MEMBER, IS A NECESSARY CONDITION PRECEDENT TO A RIGHT TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES TO SUCH PLACE. TRAVEL OF A MEMBER FOLLOWING HIS RETIREMENT TO A PLACE AT WHICH HE DOES NOT INTEND TO ESTABLISH A HOME, BUT MERELY TO VISIT, MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS TRAVEL TO A SELECTED HOME AS CONTEMPLATED BY THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS.

FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE CASE OF AN OFFICER RETIRED AT WASHINGTON, D.C., WHO, AFTER RETIREMENT, TRAVELS WITH HIS FAMILY TO SAN DIEGO WHERE THEY SPENT A WEEK VISITING RELATIVES AND FRIENDS AND THEN RETURNS TO WASHINGTON TO REMAIN AT HIS ESTABLISHED HOME, THE OFFICER'S RIGHT TO TRAVEL ALLOWANCES FOR HIMSELF AND HIS DEPENDENTS TO SAN DIEGO WOULD NOT BE ESTABLISHED MERELY BY HIS STATEMENT THAT HE SELECTED SAN DIEGO AS HIS HOME AND TRAVELED TO THAT PLACE. THE FACTS IN SUCH A CASE SUGGEST, OF COURSE, THAT THE TRAVEL TO SAN DIEGO WAS NOTHING MORE THAN A PLEASURE TRIP AND IN THE ABSENCE OF SOME SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE TO OVERCOME THAT SUGGESTION, A NOTICE OF EXCEPTION WOULD BE PROPER. THAT VIEW IS NOT CONSIDERED INCONSISTENT WITH THE CONCLUSION REACHED IN COMP. GEN. 477. AS INDICATED IN THAT DECISION THE FACT THAT MEMBER REMAINS AT HIS SELECTED HOME FOR ONLY A SHORT TIME DOES NOT IN ITSELF DEFEAT HIS CLAIM TO TRAVEL ALLOWANCES TO THAT PLACE AND ABSENCE FROM THE SELECTED HOME FOR FURTHER TRAVEL, FOR SCHOOLING, ETC., INTENT TO SELECT THE HOME INDICATED BY HIM. IT IS ONLY WHEN THE PERIOD HE REMAINED AT THE SELECTED PLACE, TOGETHER WITH THE OTHER FACTS IN THE CASE SUGGEST THAT THE TRAVEL WAS FOR PURPOSES OTHER THAN CONTEMPLATED BY THE STATUTE, THAT DOUBT ARISES.

GENERALLY, IF A MEMBER UPON RETIREMENT CERTIFIES THAT HE HAS SELECTED A PARTICULAR PLACE AS HIS HOME AND TRAVELS TO SUCH PLACE, HIS CERTIFICATION AND TRAVEL WILL BE ACCEPTED, IN THE ABSENCE OF A CLEAR INDICATION TO THE CONTRARY, AS ESTABLISHING HIS ENTITLEMENT TO THE TRAVEL ALLOWANCE AUTHORIZED BY THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS. THE VALIDITY OF PAYMENTS FOR SUCH TRAVEL WILL BE QUESTIONED ONLY IN CASES WHERE THE FACTS CLEARLY INDICATE THAT AT THE TIME OF HIS TRAVEL THE MEMBER DID NOT ACTUALLY INTEND TO ESTABLISH A HOME AT THE PLACE CERTIFIED TO BE HIS SELECTED HOME FOLLOWING RETIREMENT. THE SUBMITTED QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.