B-170738, NOV. 4, 1970

B-170738: Nov 4, 1970

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

WAS RECEIVING QUARTERS ALLOWANCE WHILE THEY LIVED SOME 50 MILES FROM EMPLOYEE WIFE'S STATION. A DETERMINATION THAT WIFE OF MILITARY MEMBER RECEIVING QUARTERS ALLOWANCE WAS NOT ELEGIBLE FOR LIVING QUARTERS ALLOWANCE OR TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE SINCE WIFE'S DUTY STATION WAS IN SUCH PROXIMITY THAT A COMMON DWELLING COULD BE MAINTAINED WAS MATTER FOR LOCAL OFFICIALS OF DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY AND SUCH DETERMINATION MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS UNREASONABLE OR ARBITRARY. RUTH WATERS MEADS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 4. YOU WERE DENIED QUARTERS OR AN ALLOWANCE IN LIEU THEREOF PRIMARILY BECAUSE YOUR HUSBAND. WAS RECEIVING A QUARTERS ALLOWANCE. AS A CONSEQUENCE YOU SAY YOU WERE FORCED TO ESTABLISH QUARTERS APPROXIMATELY HALFWAY BETWEEN YOUR DUTY STATION AND THAT OF YOUR HUSBAND.

B-170738, NOV. 4, 1970

OVERSEAS EMPLOYEE - QUARTERS ALLOWANCE SUSTAINING SETTLEMENT DENYING OVERSEAS ARMY EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR QUARTERS ALLOWANCE BECAUSE HUSBAND, AN ARMY MEMBER, WAS RECEIVING QUARTERS ALLOWANCE WHILE THEY LIVED SOME 50 MILES FROM EMPLOYEE WIFE'S STATION. A DETERMINATION THAT WIFE OF MILITARY MEMBER RECEIVING QUARTERS ALLOWANCE WAS NOT ELEGIBLE FOR LIVING QUARTERS ALLOWANCE OR TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE SINCE WIFE'S DUTY STATION WAS IN SUCH PROXIMITY THAT A COMMON DWELLING COULD BE MAINTAINED WAS MATTER FOR LOCAL OFFICIALS OF DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY AND SUCH DETERMINATION MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS UNREASONABLE OR ARBITRARY.

TO MRS. RUTH WATERS MEADS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 4, 1970, REQUESTING REVIEW OF OUR SETTLEMENT OF JULY 7, 1970, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR QUARTERS ALLOWANCE DURING THE PERIOD JUNE 3, 1968, TO JANUARY 3, 1970.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOU TRANSFERRED FROM A POSITION IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY IN THE UNITED STATES TO A POSITION WITH THE SAME DEPARTMENT IN FRANKFURT, GERMANY. YOU ARRIVED IN FRANKFURT ON JUNE 2, 1968, AND THEREAFTER ATTEMPTED TO OBTAIN GOVERNMENT QUARTERS OR A QUARTERS ALLOWANCE. HOWEVER, YOU WERE DENIED QUARTERS OR AN ALLOWANCE IN LIEU THEREOF PRIMARILY BECAUSE YOUR HUSBAND, A MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES ARMY, STATIONED AT WORMS, GERMANY, STATED TO BE A DISTANCE OF 40 OR 50 MILES FROM FRANKFURT, WAS RECEIVING A QUARTERS ALLOWANCE.

YOU INDICATE THAT YOU STAYED IN A HOTEL IN FRANKFURT FOR 3 WEEKS WAITING FOR AN ASSIGNMENT TO BOQ (BACHELOR OFFICER QUARTERS) WHICH YOU NEVER RECEIVED. AS A CONSEQUENCE YOU SAY YOU WERE FORCED TO ESTABLISH QUARTERS APPROXIMATELY HALFWAY BETWEEN YOUR DUTY STATION AND THAT OF YOUR HUSBAND.

THE STANDARDIZED REGULATIONS (GOVERNMENT CIVILIAN, FOREIGN AREAS) ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND IN EFFECT FROM OCTOBER 13, 1963, TO AUGUST 11, 1968, PROVIDED IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"031.13 MARRIED WOMEN EMPLOYEES

"A. A QUARTERS ALLOWANCE MAY BE GRANTED TO A MARRIED WOMAN EMPLOYEE RESIDING WITH HER HUSBAND (OR, IF NOT LEGALLY SEPARATED, IS WORKING IN SUCH PROXIMITY THAT A COMMON DWELLING COULD BE MAINTAINED) ONLY IF

"(1) SHE IS THE MEMBER OF THE HOUSEHOLD WHOSE JOB DETERMINES THE LOCATION OF THE FAMILY AT THE POST OR IN THE AREA, AND

"(2) SHE IS THE ONLY MEMBER OF THE HOUSEHOLD RECEIVING A QUARTERS ALLOWANCE FROM THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

"B. IF A MARRIED WOMAN EMPLOYEE MEETS THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION *** 031.13A SHE MAY BE GRANTED THE 'WITH FAMILY' RATES OF ALLOWANCES AND THE SUPPLEMENTARY POST AND EDUCATION ALLOWANCES ONLY IF HER HUSBAND IS 51 PERCENT DEPENDENT UPON HER FOR SUPPORT. OTHERWISE, SHE MAY BE GRANTED ONLY THE 'WITHOUT FAMILY' RATE OF TEMPORARY LODGING, LIVING QUARTERS, POST, FOREIGN TRANSFER AND HOME SERVICE TRANSFER ALLOWANCE."

THE ABOVE REGULATIONS WERE REVISED AUGUST 11, 1968, TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

"031.13 MARRIED EMPLOYEES

"A QUARTERS ALLOWANCE MAY BE GRANTED TO A MARRIED EMPLOYEE RESIDING WITH HIS OR HER SPOUSE (OR, IF NOT LEGALLY SEPARATED, IS WORKING IN SUCH PROXIMITY THAT A COMMON DWELLING COULD BE MAINTAINED) ONLY IF

"(1) HE OR SHE IS THE MEMBER OF THE HOUSEHOLD WHOSE JOB DETERMINES THE LOCATION OF THE FAMILY AT THE POST OR IN THE AREA, AND

"(2) HE OR SHE IS THE ONLY MEMBER OF THE HOUSEHOLD RECEIVING A QUARTERS ALLOWANCE FROM THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT."

WE POINT OUT THAT THE REGULATIONS SPECIFICALLY PRECLUDED YOU FROM RECEIVING A WITH-FAMILY OR A WITHOUT-FAMILY QUARTERS ALLOWANCE DURING THE PERIOD YOU WERE LIVING WITH YOUR HUSBAND WHO WAS IN RECEIPT OF A MILITARY QUARTERS ALLOWANCE. THIS IS SO REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT OTHER ARRANGEMENTS WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE TO YOUR LIKING OR THAT SUCH LIVING ARRANGEMENT WITH YOUR HUSBAND ONLY OCCURRED BECAUSE YOU WERE DENIED QUARTERS FOR YOURSELF.

WITH RESPECT TO BEING ASSIGNED TO BOQ WE UNDERSTAND THAT SUCH AN ASSIGNMENT IS NOT NECESSARILY SUBJECT TO THE SAME CONDITIONS AS THE ASSIGNMENT OF REGULAR LIVING QUARTERS GENERALLY OR THE GRANTING OF A QUARTERS ALLOWANCE. THUS, IT IS POSSIBLE THAT HAD YOU APPLIED TO THE BOQ OFFICE YOU MIGHT HAVE RECEIVED SUCH AN ASSIGNMENT. IN THAT CONNECTION A LETTER IN THE FILE INDICATES THAT IT WAS SUGGESTED THAT YOU HAD TO APPLY IN WRITING TO THE BOQ OFFICE AND THAT YOU DECLINED TO DO SO.

IN ANY EVENT WHETHER YOU WERE IMPROPERLY DENIED ASSIGNMENT TO BOQ DOES NOT AFFORD ANY BASIS FOR AN EXCEPTION TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE REGULATIONS OTHERWISE PRECLUDING ANY QUARTERS ALLOWANCE. ACCORDINGLY, WE MUST CONCLUDE THAT ON AND AFTER YOU BEGAN TO LIVE WITH YOUR HUSBAND THE REGULATIONS PRECLUDED PAYMENT OF ANY QUARTERS ALLOWANCE WHATSOEVER TO YOU.

AS TO THE THREE WEEKS YOU STAYED IN A HOTEL PRIOR TO LIVING WITH YOUR HUSBAND IT APPEARS TO US THAT ORDINARILY THIS PERIOD WOULD BE COVERED BY A TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE. HOWEVER, THE REGULATIONS REQUIRE THE SAME ELIGIBILITY FOR TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE AS FOR THE REGULAR QUARTERS ALLOWANCE. APPARENTLY, IT WAS DETERMINED BY THE LOCAL OFFICIALS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY THAT YOU WERE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR EITHER A LIVING QUARTERS ALLOWANCE OR A TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE DURING THIS PERIOD SINCE YOUR DUTY STATION WAS IN SUCH PROXIMITY TO THAT OF YOUR HUSBAND THAT A COMMON DWELLING COULD BE MAINTAINED. WE ASSUME THIS REASON WOULD HAVE BEEN USED TO DENY A REGULAR QUARTERS ALLOWANCE EVEN IF YOU HAD NOT MADE ARRANGEMENTS TO LIVE WITH YOUR HUSBAND.

THE DETERMINATION OF WHETHER YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND WERE WORKING IN SUCH PROXIMITY THAT A COMMON DWELLING COULD BE MAINTAINED WAS PRIMARILY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE LOCAL OFFICIALS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY. CANNOT SAY THAT A DETERMINATION THAT A COMMON DWELLING COULD BE MAINTAINED WAS UNREASONABLE OR OTHERWISE ARBITRARY OR CAPRICIOUS.

ACCORDINGLY, WE CONCLUDE THAT YOU WERE NOT ENTITLED TO EITHER A TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE OR A LIVING QUARTERS ALLOWANCE FOR ANY OF THE PERIOD INVOLVED.