B-168038, NOV. 25, 1969

B-168038: Nov 25, 1969

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

PASSPORT PASSPORT APPLICATION EXPENSES INCURRED BY AIR FORCE MEMBER INCIDENT TO ANTICIPATED ASSIGNMENT FOR TEMPORARY DUTY OVERSEAS ARE PREPARATORY EXPENSES THAT ARE REIMBURSABLE UNDER PAR. WHICH AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT OF PASSPORT EXPENSES ONLY WHEN INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH ORDERED TRAVEL AND CLAIM IS DENIED. SINCE MEMBER WAS SEPARATED FROM SERVICE WITHOUT HAVING BEEN SENT OVERSEAS THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH FEES INCURRED IN PREPARATION FOR TRAVEL WHEN NO TRAVEL IS PERFORMED. CHANDLER: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 22. FOR THE SUM OF $3.25 REPRESENTING EXPENSES INCURRED IN OBTAINING A PASSPORT WHILE YOU WERE ASSIGNED AS A CRYPTOGRAPHIC SYSTEMS INSTALLER TO THE 2867 GROUND ELECTRONICS ENGINEERING INSTALLATION AGENCY SQUADRON AT MCCLELLAN AIR FORCE BASE.

B-168038, NOV. 25, 1969

TRAVEL EXPENSES--MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES--PASSPORT PASSPORT APPLICATION EXPENSES INCURRED BY AIR FORCE MEMBER INCIDENT TO ANTICIPATED ASSIGNMENT FOR TEMPORARY DUTY OVERSEAS ARE PREPARATORY EXPENSES THAT ARE REIMBURSABLE UNDER PAR. M4410, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WHICH AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT OF PASSPORT EXPENSES ONLY WHEN INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH ORDERED TRAVEL AND CLAIM IS DENIED. SINCE MEMBER WAS SEPARATED FROM SERVICE WITHOUT HAVING BEEN SENT OVERSEAS THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH FEES INCURRED IN PREPARATION FOR TRAVEL WHEN NO TRAVEL IS PERFORMED. SEE 45 COMP. GEN. 34 (1965).

TO MR. WADE J. CHANDLER:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 22, 1969, REQUESTING REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT DATED SEPTEMBER 9, 1969, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSE INCURRED BY YOU INCIDENT TO YOUR PROCUREMENT OF A PASSPORT IN PREPARATION FOR A TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT OVERSEAS WHILE SERVING IN THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOU PRESENTED A CLAIM TO THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE CENTER, DENVER, COLORADO, FOR THE SUM OF $3.25 REPRESENTING EXPENSES INCURRED IN OBTAINING A PASSPORT WHILE YOU WERE ASSIGNED AS A CRYPTOGRAPHIC SYSTEMS INSTALLER TO THE 2867 GROUND ELECTRONICS ENGINEERING INSTALLATION AGENCY SQUADRON AT MCCLELLAN AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA. YOU STATED IN THAT CLAIM THAT YOU WERE DIRECTED BY YOUR SECTION SUPERVISOR TO OBTAIN AN OFFICIAL DUTY TYPE UNITED STATES PASSPORT AS YOU WERE SUBJECT TO BEING SENT ON TEMPORARY DUTY TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY. YOU SAID YOU WERE TOLD THAT YOU WOULD BE REIMBURSED ON YOUR TRAVEL VOUCHER UPON RETURNING FROM YOUR FIRST TRIP TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY. FURTHER YOU STATED THAT YOU WERE SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE WITHOUT HAVING BEEN SENT TO ANY FOREIGN COUNTRY AND THAT YOU HAVE BEEN UNABLE TO OBTAIN REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COSTS INCURRED.

YOUR CLAIM WAS FORWARDED HERE BY THE AIR FORCE ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE CENTER AS A DOUBTFUL CLAIM. BY SETTLEMENT DATED SEPTEMBER 9, 1969, OUR CLAIMS DIVISION DISALLOWED THE CLAIM FOR THE REASON THAT UNDER THE APPLICABLE REGULATIONS (PARAGRAPH M4410, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS) REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE EXPENSE OF OBTAINING A PASSPORT IS AUTHORIZED ONLY WHEN INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH ORDERED TRAVEL.

IN YOUR PRESENT LETTER YOU SAY THAT IF PAYMENT IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WE SHOULD USE A DIFFERENT BASIS TO ALLOW YOUR CLAIM.

THE PERTINENT STATUTE WITH RESPECT TO TRAVEL ALLOWANCES, 37 U.S.C. 404, PROVIDES THAT UNDER REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED, MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ARE ENTITLED, UPON A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION OR OTHERWISE, TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS. PARAGRAPH M4410 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROMULGATED BY THE SECRETARIES PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 404, PROVIDES THAT A MEMBER IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES FOR A PASSPORT INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL AND TEMPORARY DUTY.

THE PURPOSE OF THE STATUTE AUTHORIZING TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES IS TO RELIEVE A MEMBER OF THE BURDEN OF PERSONALLY DEFRAYING HIS TRAVEL EXPENSES WHEN SUCH TRAVEL IS ACTUALLY PERFORMED PURSUANT TO ORDERS ISSUED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY. CONSEQUENTLY, THE CITED REGULATION AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT TO MEMBERS FOR PASSPORT AND VISA FEES ONLY IN THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE TRAVEL IS PERFORMED TO A FOREIGN COUNTRY AFTER ORDERS ARE ACTUALLY ISSUED. THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH FEES INCURRED IN PREPARATION FOR TRAVEL IF NO TRAVEL IS PERFORMED. SEE 45 COMP. GEN. 34 (1965), COPY HEREWITH. THEREFORE, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY WHEREBY YOU MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THE PASSPORT FEES UNDER THE CONDITIONS INVOLVED IN YOUR CASE.

CONCERNING YOUR REQUEST THAT IF PAYMENT IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WE USE A DIFFERENT BASIS TO ALLOW YOUR CLAIM, THIS OFFICE MUST COMPLY WITH THE APPLICABLE FEDERAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS IN SETTLING CLAIMS OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES. WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY IN ANY CASE TO WAIVE OR DISREGARD THE APPLICABLE LAW. SINCE WE ARE NOT AWARE OF ANY LEGAL BASIS UPON WHICH WE MAY FAVORABLY CONSIDER YOUR CLAIM, THE SETTLEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 9, 1969, MUST BE SUSTAINED.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR REQUEST, THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS WHICH YOU SUBMITTED WITH YOUR CLAIM ARE ENCLOSED.