B-151877, AUG. 5, 1963, 43 COMP. GEN. 128

B-151877: Aug 5, 1963

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THE EMPLOYEE WAS DIRECTED TO TRAVEL TO EFFECT A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM RARITAN ARSENAL. HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE. AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM METUCHEN TO GALLUP WAS INCLUDED IN THE TRAVEL ORDER. ALSO THE EMPLOYEE WAS AUTHORIZED TWO WEEKS LEAVE EN ROUTE TO HIS NEW STATION. WE UNDERSTAND FROM INFORMAL DISCUSSIONS WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF YOUR DEPARTMENT THAT THE EMPLOYEE HAD NO SICK OR ANNUAL LEAVE TO HIS CREDIT AT THE TIME OF SUCH TRANSFER AND THAT THE LEAVE SO AUTHORIZED WAS LEAVE WITHOUT PAY WHICH WAS INTENDED TO HAVE BEEN TAKEN BY THE EMPLOYEE IN WASHINGTON. THE EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE SHIPPED FROM METUCHEN ON APRIL 27.

B-151877, AUG. 5, 1963, 43 COMP. GEN. 128

TRAVEL EXPENSES - TRANSFERS - LEAVE EN ROUTE - ILLNESS, ETC., EFFECT. TRANSPORTATION - REMAINS - DEATH OF EMPLOYEE EN ROUTE TO NEW STATION ALTHOUGH AN EMPLOYEE WHO TAKES SICK WHILE EN ROUTE WITH HIS DEPENDENTS TO A NEW DUTY STATION WOULD BE ENTITLED TO MILEAGE AND PER DIEM TO THE PLACE OF LEAVE AND PER DIEM DURING THE PERIOD OF HOSPITALIZATION NOT IN EXCESS OF 14 DAYS, THE DEATH OF THE EMPLOYEE AT THE PLACE OF LEAVE BEFORE REPORTING TO THE NEW STATION TERMINATES ANY RIGHTS TO FURTHER TRANSPORTATION OF HIS DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS SO THAT, IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY STATUTE AUTHORIZING PAYMENT WHEN EMPLOYEES DIE DURING OFFICIAL TRAVEL IN THE UNITED STATES, THE WIDOW MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR TRAVEL BEYOND THE PLACE OF DEATH OR FOR THE EXPENSE OF HAVING HER HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS RETURNED FROM THE NEW DUTY STATION. AN EMPLOYEE WHO DIES AT A PLACE OF LEAVE EN ROUTE TO A NEW DUTY STATION MAY BE REGARDED AS IN A TRAVEL STATUS DURING THE PERIOD OF LEAVE WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT OF JULY 8, 1940, 5 U.S.C. 103A, AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF PREPARING AND TRANSPORTING THE REMAINS OF AN EMPLOYEE WHO DIES IN A TRAVEL STATUS TO HIS HOME, OFFICIAL STATION OR OTHER APPROPRIATE PLACE OF INTERMENT, EVEN THOUGH FOR TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT PURPOSES THE PERIOD OF LEAVE INTERRUPTED HIS TRAVEL STATUS; THEREFORE, THE COSTS OF PREPARATION AND TRANSPORTATION OF THE REMAINS MAY BE PAID NOT TO EXCEED THE MONETARY LIMITATIONS PRESCRIBED IN EXECUTIVE ORDER NOS. 8557 AND 10209.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, AUGUST 5, 1963:

ON JUNE 21, 1963, THE OFFICE OF THE UNDER SECRETARY OF THE ARMY REQUESTED OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE ENTITLEMENT OF THE WIDOW OF A DECEASED EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY TO MILEAGE AND PER DIEM, REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, AND REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF PREPARING AND TRANSPORTING THE REMAINS OF THE DECEASED EMPLOYEE UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER SET FORTH.

BY TRAVEL ORDER DATED APRIL 23, 1962, THE EMPLOYEE WAS DIRECTED TO TRAVEL TO EFFECT A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM RARITAN ARSENAL, METUCHEN, NEW JERSEY, TO FORT WINGATE ARMY DEPOT, GALLUP, NEW MEXICO. HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE--- ACCOMPANIED BY HIS WIFE AND TWO SONS--- WITH MILEAGE PAYABLE AT THE RATE OF 12 CENTS PER MILE BUT NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BY COMMON CARRIER. AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM METUCHEN TO GALLUP WAS INCLUDED IN THE TRAVEL ORDER. ALSO THE EMPLOYEE WAS AUTHORIZED TWO WEEKS LEAVE EN ROUTE TO HIS NEW STATION. WE UNDERSTAND FROM INFORMAL DISCUSSIONS WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF YOUR DEPARTMENT THAT THE EMPLOYEE HAD NO SICK OR ANNUAL LEAVE TO HIS CREDIT AT THE TIME OF SUCH TRANSFER AND THAT THE LEAVE SO AUTHORIZED WAS LEAVE WITHOUT PAY WHICH WAS INTENDED TO HAVE BEEN TAKEN BY THE EMPLOYEE IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

THE EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE SHIPPED FROM METUCHEN ON APRIL 27, 1962, AND ARRIVED IN GALLUP ON MAY 10, 1962. IN THE MEANTIME, ON MAY 9, THE EMPLOYEE DIED IN WASHINGTON, D.C., WHILE IN A LEAVE WITHOUT PAY STATUS.

YOUR LETTER DOES NOT STATE WHEN THE EMPLOYEE'S ILLNESS BEGAN, WHEN HE LEFT METUCHEN OR WHEN HE FIRST ARRIVED IN WASHINGTON, D.C., THE PLACE WHERE HE INTENDED TO TAKE LEAVE. HOWEVER, IT DOES INDICATE THAT HE WAS UNDER A DOCTOR'S CARE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., FROM APRIL 30 TO MAY 9, WHEN HE DIED. ALSO, WE UNDERSTAND FROM INFORMAL DISCUSSIONS WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF YOUR DEPARTMENT THAT AT THE TIME THE TRAVEL ORDERS WERE ISSUED THE EMPLOYEE'S ILLNESS WAS NOT ANTICIPATED. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT APPEARS THAT EITHER PRIOR TO, AT THE TIME OF, OR SHORTLY AFTER ARRIVAL IN WASHINGTON HIS ILLNESS MUST HAVE BEGUN. AFTER DEATH OF THE EMPLOYEE, THE WIDOW AND HER TWO SONS TRAVELED TO THEIR PERMANENT HOME IN OXFORD, ALABAMA, AND THE WIDOW DIRECTED SHIPMENT OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS TO THAT POINT FROM GALLUP, NEW MEXICO, AND PAID THE EXPENSES OF SUCH SHIPMENT FROM HER PERSONAL FUNDS.

IN PARAGRAPH 6 OF YOUR DEPARTMENT'S LETTER IT IS STATED "WE ARE AWARE OF NO AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE $624.50 PAID BY MRS. HIGGINS FOR MOVEMENT OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM GALLUP TO OXFORD, ALABAMA. IT IS ALSO CONSIDERED THAT UPON SUBMISSION OF A TRAVEL ITINERARY AND CLAIM, MRS. HIGGINS WOULD BE ENTITLED TO MILEAGE AND PER DIEM FOR THAT PORTION OF THE TRAVEL FROM METUCHEN, NEW JERSEY TO WASHINGTON, D.C., THE POINT OF LEAVE, AND FOR MILEAGE AT 12 CENTS PER MILE NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF COMMON CARRIER TRANSPORTATION TO OXFORD, ALABAMA FOR HERSELF AND HER TWO SONS SINCE THIS WOULD BE LESS THAN THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION TO FORT WINGATE ARMY DEPOT, GALLUP, NEW MEXICO.'

YOUR UNDER SECRETARY'S OFFICE REQUESTS A DECISION UPON THE FOLLOWING SPECIFIC QUESTIONS:

A. MAY REIMBURSEMENT BE EFFECTED FOR THE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF THE DECEASED EMPLOYEE, HIS DEPENDENTS, AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS AS STATED IN PARAGRAPH 6 ABOVE? IF THE ANSWER IS IN THE NEGATIVE, WHAT EXPENSES MAY BE PAID?

B. MAY REIMBURSEMENT BE EFFECTED FOR THE PREPARATION AND TRANSPORTATION OF REMAINS OF THE DECEASED EMPLOYEE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 2, 3 AND 4, EXECUTIVE ORDER 8557, 6 SEPTEMBER 1940 AS AMENDED?

WE AGREE THAT THE EMPLOYEE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO MILEAGE FROM METUCHEN, NEW JERSEY, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., AND TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR SUCH TRAVEL. IN ADDITION, IF IT BE DETERMINED THAT THE DECEDENT'S ILLNESS BEGAN PRIOR TO OR APPROXIMATELY AT THE TIME OF HIS ARRIVAL IN WASHINGTON, D.C., HIS PER DIEM ENTITLEMENT WOULD CONTINUE DURING THE PERIOD OF HIS INCAPACITATION DUE TO ILLNESS TO THE DATE OF HIS DEATH. SEE SECTION 6.5 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDING FOR CONTINUATION OF PER DIEM FOR A PERIOD OF NOT TO EXCEED 14 DAYS WHEN AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS TAKES LEAVE OF ABSENCE OF ANY KIND BECAUSE OF BEING INCAPACITATED DUE TO ILLNESS OR INJURY. ON THE OTHER HAND, THE DEATH OF THE EMPLOYEE IN WASHINGTON TERMINATED ALL RIGHTS TO FURTHER TRANSPORTATION UNDER THE CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS. SECTION 1 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 73B-1, THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS INCIDENT TO AN EMPLOYEE'S CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION, MAKES NO PROVISION FOR COMPLETION BY DEPENDENTS OF CHANGE OF STATION TRAVEL WHEN THE EMPLOYEE HIMSELF DIES EN ROUTE BEFORE REPORTING AT HIS NEW STATION. SIMILARLY, AFTER THE DEATH OF THE EMPLOYEE THERE WAS NO AUTHORITY UNDER SECTION 1 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED, OR ELSEWHERE, FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF THE DECEASED EMPLOYEE FROM GALLUP, NEW MEXICO, TO OXFORD, ALABAMA. WE NOTE THAT THE ACT OF JULY 8, 1940, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 103A, PROVIDES FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INCIDENT TO THE DEATH OF AN EMPLOYEE WHO DIES WHILE PERFORMING DUTIES IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY OR IN TRANSIT THERETO OR THEREFROM. HOWEVER, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY IN THAT STATUTE AUTHORIZING THE TRANSPORTATION OF EITHER DEPENDENTS OR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF AN EMPLOYEE DYING WITHIN THE UNITED STATES. YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

CONCERNING YOUR SECOND QUESTION, THE ACT OF JULY 8, 1940, PROVIDES THAT IN THE CASE OF DEATH OF AN EMPLOYEE WHILE IN A TRAVEL STATUS WITHIN THE UNITED STATES THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT IS AUTHORIZED, UNDERREGULATIONS OF THE PRESIDENT, TO PAY THE EXPENSES OF PREPARING AND TRANSPORTING THE REMAINS OF SUCH EMPLOYEE TO HIS HOME, OFFICIAL STATION, OR OTHER APPROPRIATE PLACE OF INTERMENT. EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8557, SEPTEMBER 6, 1940, AS AMENDED, IS TO THE SAME EFFECT. WHETHER THE REMAINS OF THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED MAY BE PREPARED AND TRANSPORTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE DEPENDS UPON WHETHER THE EMPLOYEE WAS IN A "TRAVEL STATUS" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE 1940 STATUTE AND EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8557 AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH. WE THINK THAT HE WAS. HE WAS TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS EN ROUTE TO HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION WHEN DEATH OCCURRED. REGARDLESS OF THE LEAVE STATUS OF THE EMPLOYEE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH THE FACT REMAINS THAT IF IT HAD NOT BEEN FOR THE CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS THE EMPLOYEE WOULD NOT HAVE DIED EN ROUTE TO HIS NEW STATION. THEREFORE, FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE 1940 STATUTE IT IS NOT UNREASONABLE TO REGARD THE TRAVEL STATUS OF AN EMPLOYEE PERFORMING OFFICIAL CHANGE OF STATION TRAVEL AS CONTINUING DURING A PERIOD OF LEAVE TAKEN EN ROUTE TO THE NEW STATION EVEN THOUGH FOR TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT PURPOSES SUCH STATUS MIGHT BE INTERRUPTED. ACCORDINGLY, THE COSTS OF THE PREPARATION AND TRANSPORTATION OF THE REMAINS OF THE DECEASED EMPLOYEE MAY BE PAID IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED THE MONETARY LIMITATIONS PRESCRIBED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8557, AS AMENDED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 10209, DATED FEBRUARY 1, 1951.

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