B-176343, SEP 8, 1972, 52 COMP GEN 123

B-176343: Sep 8, 1972

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SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEM - "LODGING-PLUS" BASIS - COMPUTATION IN THE APPLICATION OF THE "LODGING-PLUS" PROVISION OF SUBSECTION 6.3C OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY WAS HOSPITALIZED AND RECEIVED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE $80 PER DAY ROOM AND BOARD HOSPITAL CHARGE. NONE OF WHICH IS ALLOCABLE TO LODGING PER SE. IT MAY BE ASSUMED THE LODGING RATE FOR THE PERIOD OF HOSPITALIZATION WAS AT LEAST $13 PER DAY ON THE BASIS THE AGENCY REGULATION IMPLEMENTING THE SUBSECTION PRESCRIBES A DAILY SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE OF $12 AND A MAXIMUM PER DIEM RATE OF $25. A NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION (NASA) EMPLOYEE WHOSE OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS IS CLEVELAND.

B-176343, SEP 8, 1972, 52 COMP GEN 123

SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEM - "LODGING-PLUS" BASIS - COMPUTATION IN THE APPLICATION OF THE "LODGING-PLUS" PROVISION OF SUBSECTION 6.3C OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY WAS HOSPITALIZED AND RECEIVED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE $80 PER DAY ROOM AND BOARD HOSPITAL CHARGE, NONE OF WHICH IS ALLOCABLE TO LODGING PER SE, IT MAY BE ASSUMED THE LODGING RATE FOR THE PERIOD OF HOSPITALIZATION WAS AT LEAST $13 PER DAY ON THE BASIS THE AGENCY REGULATION IMPLEMENTING THE SUBSECTION PRESCRIBES A DAILY SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE OF $12 AND A MAXIMUM PER DIEM RATE OF $25. THEREFORE, THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE ALLOWED A LODGING RATE OF $13 PER DAY FOR THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY, INCLUDING HOSPITALIZATION, PLUS A DAILY SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE OF $12, AND PAYMENT MAY BE MADE TO HIM AT THE FULL $25 PER DIEM RATE.

TO LILLIAN ZUTZ, NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION, SEPTEMBER 8, 1972:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 12, 1972, REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO THE PROPER METHOD OF COMPUTING PER DIEM ENTITLEMENT FOR AN EMPLOYEE HOSPITALIZED WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY IN ORDER TO CONFORM WITH PROVISIONS OF SUBSECTION 6.3C, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (OMB) CIRCULAR NO. A-7, STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (SGTR), AS REVISED AUGUST 17, 1971.

YOUR LETTER STATES THAT MR. FRANK E. ROM, A NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION (NASA) EMPLOYEE WHOSE OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS IS CLEVELAND, OHIO, PERFORMED TEMPORARY DUTY AT SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, REQUIRING OVERNIGHT LODGING ON JANUARY 16 AND 17, 1972. ON JANUARY 18 MR. ROM DEPARTED SAN DIEGO FOR WASHINGTON, D.C., WHERE HE WAS ORDERED TO ATTEND MEETINGS ON JANUARY 19 AND 20. AFTER SPENDING ONE NIGHT, JANUARY 18, IN COMMERCIAL LODGINGS IN WASHINGTON, MR. ROM BECAME ILL AT NOON ON JANUARY 19 AND WAS HOSPITALIZED IN WASHINGTON FROM JANUARY 19 UNTIL JANUARY 27 WHEN HE RETURNED TO CLEVELAND. MR. ROM'S HOSPITAL BILL, INCLUDING CHARGES OF $80 PER DAY FOR ROOM AND BOARD, WAS FULLY COVERED BY HIS GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE'S HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY.

YOUR QUESTION CONCERNS THE APPLICATION OF THE "LODGINGS-PLUS" PROVISION OF SUBSECTION 6.3C OF SGTR TO THE 8 DAYS MR. ROM SPENT IN THE HOSPITAL.

AS YOUR LETTER STATES, SUBSECTION 5702(B) OF TITLE 5, U.S.C. AND SUBSECTION 6.5B OF SGTR PROVIDE FOR CONTINUING ENTITLEMENT TO PER DIEM WHILE IN TRAVEL STATUS FOR AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE DUTY IS INTERRUPTED BY A PERIOD OF PHYSICAL INCAPACITATION. ALSO, OUR DECISION 40 COMP. GEN. 167 PROVIDES THAT THIS ENTITLEMENT IS NOT DIMINISHED BECAUSE HOSPITAL EXPENSES OF AN EMPLOYEE IN SUCH A CASE ARE REIMBURSABLE UNDER HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS PROVIDED FOR BY CH. 89 OF TITLE 5, U.S.C.

SUBSECTION 6.3C PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

C. WHEN LODGINGS ARE REQUIRED. FOR TRAVEL IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES WHEN LODGING AWAY FROM THE OFFICIAL STATION IS REQUIRED AGENCIES SHALL FIX PER DIEM FOR EMPLOYEES PARTLY ON THE BASIS OF THE AVERAGE AMOUNT THAT TRAVELER PAYS FOR LODGINGS. TO SUCH AMOUNT, I.E., THE AVERAGE OF AMOUNTS PAID FOR LODGING WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS DURING THE PERIOD COVERED BY THE VOUCHER, SHALL BE ADDED A SUITABLE ALLOWANCE FOR MEALS AND MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES. THE RESULTING AMOUNT ROUNDED TO THE NEXT WHOLE DOLLAR, IF THE RESULT IS NOT IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM, WILL BE THE PER DIEM RATE TO BE APPLIED TO THE TRAVELER'S REIMBURSEMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION. IF SUCH RESULT IS MORE THAN THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM ALLOWABLE SUCH MAXIMUM WILL BE THE PER DIEM ALLOWED. NO MINIMUM ALLOWANCE WILL BE AUTHORIZED FOR LODGING SINCE THOSE ALLOWANCES ARE BASED ON ACTUAL LODGING EXPENSES. ... AN AGENCY MAY DETERMINE THAT THE LODGINGS-PLUS SYSTEM AS PRESCRIBED HEREIN IS NOT APPROPRIATE IN GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCES AS WHEN QUARTERS OR MEALS, OR BOTH, ARE PROVIDED AT NO COST OR AT A NOMINAL COST BY THE GOVERNMENT OR WHEN FOR SOME OTHER REASON THE SUBSISTENCE COSTS WHICH WILL BE INCURRED BY THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE ACCURATELY ESTIMATED IN ADVANCE. IN SUCH CASES A SPECIFIC PER DIEM RATE MAY BE ESTABLISHED AND REDUCTIONS MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS SECTION PROVIDED THE EXCEPTION FROM THE LODGINGS-PLUS METHOD IS AUTHORIZED IN WRITING BY AN APPROPRIATE OFFICIAL OF THE AGENCY INVOLVED.

THE APPLICABLE NASA REGULATION IMPLEMENTING SUBSECTION 6.3C IS QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS:

THE ALLOWABLE PER DIEM RATE FOR ALL TRAVEL WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES WILL, EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR, BE DETERMINED ON THE BASIS OF THE AVERAGE AMOUNT PAID FOR LODGING WHILE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS DURING THE PERIOD COVERED BY THE VOUCHER PLUS A DAILY SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE OF $12. THE RESULTING AMOUNT, ROUNDED TO THE NEXT WHOLE DOLLAR NOT IN EXCESS OF $25, WILL BE THE PER DIEM RATE APPLIED TO THE TRAVELER'S VOUCHER. EACH TRAVELER.***. SHALL SHOW ON HIS REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER THE TOTAL AMOUNT PAID FOR LODGING, INCLUDING TAX, FOR THE NUMBER OF DAYS SPENT AT EACH LOCATION REQUIRING LODGING FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS. THE TRAVELER WILL ALSO SHOW THE TOTAL COST OF LODGING FOR THE PERIOD COVERED BY THE VOUCHER AND THE AVERAGE OF SUCH LODGING.

THE LODGINGS MR. ROM OCCUPIED IN SAN DIEGO ON JANUARY 16 AND 17 COST $12.78 PER DAY. THE LODGING OCCUPIED IN WASHINGTON ON JANUARY 18 COST $13 PER DAY. THE HOSPITAL IS UNABLE TO ALLOCATE ANY PORTION OF ITS $80 A DAY CHARGE TO LODGING PER SE; THUS IT IS NECESSARY TO DETERMINE IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES THE APPLICATION OF THE "LODGINGS-PLUS" REQUIREMENT OF SUBSECTION 6.3C, SGTR.

IN THIS CASE, WHILE THE HOSPITAL IS UNABLE TO SEPARATE THE COST OF LODGING FROM MEALS AND OTHER ELEMENTS OF ITS $80 A DAY CHARGE, WE BELIEVE IT CAN BE ASSUMED THAT THIS PART OF THE CHARGE WOULD NOT BE LESS THAN $13 WHICH IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE $12 ADDITION FOR SUBSISTENCE AND THE MAXIMUM ALLOWANCE OF $25. ACCORDINGLY, THE LODGING RATE MAY BE ASSUMED TO REPRESENT AT LEAST $13 PER DAY FOR THE PERIOD OF HOSPITALIZATION. THIS RESULTS IN AN AVERAGE LODGING RATE OF $13 FOR THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY INCLUDING HOSPITALIZATION OR A FULL PER DIEM RATE OF $25 PER DAY.

IN RESPONSE TO YOUR GENERAL QUESTION AS TO THE METHOD OF REIMBURSEMENT IN THE FUTURE FOR EMPLOYEES HOSPITALIZED WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY, WE BELIEVE THE METHOD PRESCRIBED HEREIN SHOULD BE USED IN SIMILAR CASES.

SINCE THE VOUCHER WHICH IS MENTIONED HEREWITH HAS BEEN COMPUTED USING THE $25 RATE FOR THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY IT MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.