B-150083, NOV. 5, 1962

B-150083: Nov 5, 1962

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USAR: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 30. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED ON THE BASIS THAT THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED FOR PERSONAL REASONS (PREGNANCY) MORE THAN FOUR MONTHS PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF ORDERS DATED JUNE 22. YOUR CLAIM WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY A CERTIFICATE THAT YOU HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN ADVISED THAT SUCH ORDERS WOULD BE ISSUED. YOU STATE THAT INASMUCH AS YOUR WIFE WAS UNDER A DOCTOR'S CARE. HER RETURN TO CHICAGO WAS FOR MEDICAL. YOU WERE ADVISED BY YOUR PERSONNEL SECTION AT THE BASE THAT YOU COULD BE REIMBURSED FOR SUCH TRAVEL PROVIDED YOU FILED CLAIM THEREFOR WITHIN ONE YEAR. YOU ALSO POINT OUT THAT THE TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS WAS AUTHORIZED BY YOUR ORDERS. " WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY USED THE TERM TO DESCRIBE TRAVEL WHICH IS PERFORMED FOR REASONS PERTAINING TO THE PRIVATE AFFAIRS OF THE MEMBER AND HIS DEPENDENTS AS DISTINGUISHED FROM AUTHORIZED TRAVEL WHICH IS PERFORMED IN CONNECTION WITH PUBLIC BUSINESS.

B-150083, NOV. 5, 1962

TO LEROY J. ARVIO, SP5, USAR:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 30, 1962, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF SETTLEMENT DATED SEPTEMBER 17, 1962, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR YOUR WIFE'S TRAVEL FROM YOUR LAST DUTY STATION, FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA, TO YOUR HOME AT CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, DURING THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 4 TO 6, 1962, INCIDENT TO YOUR SERVICE ON ACTIVE DUTY AS AN ENLISTED RESERVIST OF THE ARMY. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED ON THE BASIS THAT THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED FOR PERSONAL REASONS (PREGNANCY) MORE THAN FOUR MONTHS PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF ORDERS DATED JUNE 22, 1962, RELEASING YOU FROM ACTIVE DUTY EFFECTIVE AUGUST 9, 1962, AND YOUR CLAIM WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY A CERTIFICATE THAT YOU HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN ADVISED THAT SUCH ORDERS WOULD BE ISSUED, AS REQUIRED BY THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

YOU STATE THAT INASMUCH AS YOUR WIFE WAS UNDER A DOCTOR'S CARE, HER RETURN TO CHICAGO WAS FOR MEDICAL, INSTEAD OF PERSONAL, REASONS AND, ALTHOUGH YOU HAD NO IDEA AT THAT TIME AS TO WHEN YOU WOULD BE RELEASED, YOU WERE ADVISED BY YOUR PERSONNEL SECTION AT THE BASE THAT YOU COULD BE REIMBURSED FOR SUCH TRAVEL PROVIDED YOU FILED CLAIM THEREFOR WITHIN ONE YEAR. YOU ALSO POINT OUT THAT THE TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS WAS AUTHORIZED BY YOUR ORDERS.

REGARDING THE TERM "PERSONAL REASONS," WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY USED THE TERM TO DESCRIBE TRAVEL WHICH IS PERFORMED FOR REASONS PERTAINING TO THE PRIVATE AFFAIRS OF THE MEMBER AND HIS DEPENDENTS AS DISTINGUISHED FROM AUTHORIZED TRAVEL WHICH IS PERFORMED IN CONNECTION WITH PUBLIC BUSINESS. SUCH USAGE IS IN ACCORD WITH THE FOLLOWING DEFINITION OF THE WORD "PERSONAL" AS SET FORTH IN WEBSTER'S NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY, SECOND EDITION: "1. OF OR PERTAINING TO A PARTICULAR PERSON; AFFECTING AN INDIVIDUAL, OR EACH OF MANY INDIVIDUALS; PECULIAR OR PROPER TO PRIVATE CONCERNS; NOT PUBLIC OR GENERAL * * *.'

HOWEVER, IRRESPECTIVE OF SUCH MATTER, THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF DEPENDENTS OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES UPON A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION, INCLUDING THE CHANGE FROM LAST DUTY STATION TO HOME, IS CONTAINED IN SECTION 303 (C) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, 37 U.S.C. 253 (C). THE PROVISIONS OF THAT SECTION ARE NOT SELF-EXECUTING, BUT REQUIRE THE ISSUANCE OF REGULATIONS BY THE SECRETARIES OF THE SERVICES CONCERNED. PARAGRAPH 7000 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, ISSUED BY THE SECRETARIES TO IMPLEMENT THAT AUTHORITY, PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"7000 ENTITLEMENT

"MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ARE ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UPON A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION (SEE PAR. 3003-1) FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED FROM THE OLD STATION TO THE NEW PERMANENT STATION OR BETWEEN POINTS OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED IN THESE REGULATIONS, EXCEPT:

"9. WHERE THE DEPENDENTS DEPARTED OLD PERMANENT STATION PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF ORDERS, AND THE VOUCHER IS NOT SUPPORTED BY A CERTIFICATE OF THE COMMANDING OFFICER, OR HIS DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE, OF THE HEADQUARTERS ISSUING THE ORDERS THAT THE MEMBER WAS ADVISED PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS THAT SUCH ORDERS WOULD BE ISSUED; * *

THE ABOVE REGULATORY PROVISION, PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO STATUTORY AUTHORITY, HAS THE FORCE AND EFFECT OF LAW AND WE MAY MAKE NO EXCEPTION TO SUCH PROVISION IN THE SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS BY OUR OFFICE. THE PLAIN TERMS OF THE PROVISION LIMITS REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION, WHERE DEPENDENTS DEPART THE OLD PERMANENT STATION PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF ORDERS, TO THOSE SITUATIONS WHERE THE VOUCHER IS SUPPORTED BY THE PRESCRIBED CERTIFICATE OF THE COMMANDING OFFICER OR HIS DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE. SUCH A CERTIFICATE WAS NOT ISSUED IN YOUR CASE. FURTHER, THE RULE HAS BEEN THAT THE QUOTED REGULATION COMTEMPLATES DEPARTURE DURING THE COMPARATIVELY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME WHICH MAY ELAPSE BETWEEN THE TIME OF A DETERMINATION TO ORDER A MEMBER TO MAKE A CHANGE OF STATION, INCLUDING DISCHARGE OR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY, AND THE DATE ON WHICH ORDERS DIRECTING SUCH CHANGE ARE ACTUALLY ISSUED.

THE PURPOSE OF THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS AUTHORIZING TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS TO RELIEVE A MEMBER OF THE BURDEN OF PERSONALLY DEFRAYING THE TRAVEL EXPENSES OF HIS DEPENDENTS WHEN SUCH TRAVEL IS MADE NECESSARY BY AN ORDERED CHANGE OF STATION. IN YOUR CASE IT SEEMS APPARENT THAT YOUR WIFE'S PHYSICAL CONDITION WAS THE PRIMARY REASON FOR HER TRAVEL TO CHICAGO PRIOR TO RECEIPT BY YOU OF ANY NOTICE REGARDING YOUR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THE TRAVEL AS PERFORMED DID NOT RELATE TO YOUR ORDERS AND EVEN THOUGH THE ORDERS WHEN SUBSEQUENTLY ISSUED ON JUNE 22, 1962, THEREAFTER AUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION FOR YOUR DEPENDENTS, SUCH ORDERS AFFORD NO BASIS FOR ALLOWING REIMBURSEMENT FOR THAT TRANSPORTATION WHICH HAD ALREADY TAKEN PLACE. WHILE IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT YOU WERE MISINFORMED AS TO YOUR TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT RIGHT, THAT CIRCUMSTANCE MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED TO PROVIDE A LEGAL BASIS FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM.

ACCORDINGLY, THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM BY SETTLEMENT DATED SEPTEMBER 17, 1962, WAS CORRECT AND IS SUSTAINED.