B-198476, JUL 28, 1980

B-198476: Jul 28, 1980

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IS WHETHER A CLAIM BY AN AIR FORCE MEMBER FOR PAYMENT OF THE INCENTIVE ALLOWANCE FOR MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UNDER THE DO-IT-YOURSELF PROGRAM MAY BE ALLOWED WHERE THE PROCEDURES REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE REGULATIONS HAVE NOT BEEN FOLLOWED. THE ANSWER IS NO. THE VALIDITY OF HIS CLAIM WAS QUESTIONED DUE TO THE DIFFERENCE IN THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT OF 2. 980 POUNDS CLAIMED TO HAVE BEEN SHIPPED. THE FACT THAT THE WEIGHT CERTIFICATES INDICATED THAT THE DRIVER HAD REMAINED IN THE VEHICLE WHEN IT WAS WEIGHED. 500 POUNDS WAS AN ESTIMATE ONLY AND WAS REQUIRED AS A PART OF HIS OUT-PROCESSING BRIEFING. HE WAS ALSO REQUIRED AT THAT TIME TO INFORM THE AIR FORCE WHERE HE INTENDED TO MOVE ON SEPARATION AND SINCE HE THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO WORK IN FORT WORTH.

B-198476, JUL 28, 1980

DIGEST: AIR FORCE MEMBER WHO MOVED HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UNDER THE DO-IT YOURSELF PROGRAM DID NOT FOLLOW THE PROCEDURES SET OUT IN THE REGULATIONS OF THE AIR FORCE; PARTICULARLY, HE DID NOT OBTAIN ACCEPTABLE EVIDENCE OF THE WEIGHT OF THE GOODS TRANSPORTED. IN VIEW THEREOF AND IN VIEW OF NUMEROUS IRREGULARITIES IN CONNECTION WITH THE MOVE AND THE SUBMISSION OF THE CLAIM, PAYMENT OF THE INCENTIVE ALLOWANCE MAY NOT BE ALLOWED.

ROGER M. TUBBS:

THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN THIS CASE, ARISING AS A RESULT OF AN APPEAL OF A SETTLEMENT OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION, IS WHETHER A CLAIM BY AN AIR FORCE MEMBER FOR PAYMENT OF THE INCENTIVE ALLOWANCE FOR MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UNDER THE DO-IT-YOURSELF PROGRAM MAY BE ALLOWED WHERE THE PROCEDURES REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE REGULATIONS HAVE NOT BEEN FOLLOWED. THE ANSWER IS NO.

MR. ROGER M. TUBBS, A FORMER CAPTAIN IN THE AIR FORCE, SEPARATED FROM THE AIR FORCE ON APRIL 30, 1978, WHILE STATIONED AT COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, MISSISSIPPI. IN MARCH 1978 IN PREPARING FOR SEPARATION HE INDICATED THAT HE WOULD MOVE HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO HIS HOME OF SELECTION UNDER THE DO-IT -YOURSELF PROGRAM. IN THAT CONNECTION HE ESTIMATED THE WEIGHT OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AS 2,500 POUNDS AND DESIGNATED FORT WORTH, TEXAS, AS HIS HOME OF SELECTION. ALTHOUGH BY LETTER DATED JUNE 9, 1978, HE MADE A CLAIM FOR PAYMENT UNDER THE DO-IT YOURSELF PROGRAM FOR TRANSPORTING 9,980 POUNDS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO FORT WORTH, HE HAD NOT TRANSPORTED ANY OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO THAT PLACE.

THE VALIDITY OF HIS CLAIM WAS QUESTIONED DUE TO THE DIFFERENCE IN THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT OF 2,500 POUNDS AND THE AMOUNT OF 9,980 POUNDS CLAIMED TO HAVE BEEN SHIPPED; THE FREQUENCY OF THE TRIPS WHICH ACCORDING TO THE WEIGHT CERTIFICATES FURNISHED OCCURRED ON MARCH 24 AND 31, APRIL 6, JUNE 1, 6, AND 9, 1978; THE FACT THAT ALL CORRESPONDENCE CONCERNING THE MOVE INDICATED AN ADDRESS OF OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI; AND THE FACT THAT THE WEIGHT CERTIFICATES INDICATED THAT THE DRIVER HAD REMAINED IN THE VEHICLE WHEN IT WAS WEIGHED.

IN EXPLANATION OF THE DISCREPANCIES INVOLVED IN SUBMITTING EVIDENCE OF THE MOVE MR. TUBBS ASSERTS THAT THE 2,500 POUNDS WAS AN ESTIMATE ONLY AND WAS REQUIRED AS A PART OF HIS OUT-PROCESSING BRIEFING. HE WAS ALSO REQUIRED AT THAT TIME TO INFORM THE AIR FORCE WHERE HE INTENDED TO MOVE ON SEPARATION AND SINCE HE THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO WORK IN FORT WORTH, TEXAS, HE TOLD THEM HE WOULD BE MOVING THERE. IN JUNE 1978 IN ORDER TO EXPEDITE PAYMENT FOR THE DO-IT-YOURSELF MOVE HE SUBMITTED HIS CLAIM. LATER WHEN HE DECIDED NOT TO MOVE TO FORT WORTH BUT TO MOVE TO OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI, HE ADVISED THE APPROPRIATE OFFICIAL.

WITHOUT REGARD TO THE DISCREPANCIES IN HIS CLAIM, MR. TUBBS FEELS THAT HE IS ENTITLED TO PAYMENT UNDER THE DO-IT-YOURSELF PROGRAM FOR TRANSPORTATION OF 9,980 POUNDS OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM COLUMBUS TO OXFORD. FURTHER, IT APPEARS THAT MR. TUBBS DID MOVE ALL OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS FROM COLUMBUS TO OXFORD.

THE "DO-IT-YOURSELF" HOUSEHOLD GOODS SHIPMENT PROGRAM FOR MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES WAS AUTHORIZED PURSUANT TO 37 U.S.C. 406 (1976) AND SECTION 747 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1976, PUBLIC LAW 94-212, 90 STAT. 153, 176, 37 U.S.C. 406 NOTE (1976). THIS PROVISION AUTHORIZED THE PAYMENT OF MONETARY ALLOWANCE TO MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES WHO MOVED THEIR HOUSEHOLD GOODS BY PRIVATELY OWNED OR RENTAL VEHICLE UNDER PROGRAMS ESTABLISHED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED.

IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS ARE FOUND IN VOLUME 1, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, CHAPTER 8, PART II (CHANGE 298, DECEMBER 1, 1977, AND CHANGE 305, JULY 1, 1978). IN ADDITION TO THIS AUTHORITY THE AIR FORCE HAS ALSO ISSUED AIR FORCE REGULATION (AFR) 75-33.

THE REGULATIONS EMPHASIZE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE ACTUAL WEIGHT OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS AS BEING OF PRIME IMPORTANCE IN THE OPERATION OF THE PROGRAM. SEE B-191016, APRIL 20, 1979.

REGARDING THE WEIGHT OF THE GOODS MOVED, MR. TUBBS SUBMITTED SIX GROSS WEIGHT CERTIFICATES INDICATING THAT HE HAD MOVED VARIOUS QUANTITIES OF GOODS ON THE SIX DAYS IN MARCH, APRIL AND JUNE OF 1978 INDICATED ABOVE. SOME OF THOSE CERTIFICATES, HOWEVER, INDICATE THAT THE VEHICLE INVOLVED (TRUCK AND TRAILER) WAS WEIGHED WITH THE DRIVER ON BOARD, A PRACTICE WHICH IS CONTRARY TO REGULATIONS SINCE IT WOULD RESULT IN ADDING THE DRIVER'S WEIGHT TO THE WEIGHT OF GOODS TRANSPORTED. ALSO, MR. TUBBS ORIGINALLY SUBMITTED A SINGLE AXLE TARE WEIGHT CERTIFICATE FOR HIS TRUCK AND TRAILER AS THE BASIS FOR DETERMINING THE NET WEIGHT SHIPPED. SUCH WEIGHT CERTIFICATES ARE NOT PERMITTED AS THEY ARE NOT CONSIDERED ACCURATE ENOUGH FOR PURPOSES OF DETERMINING NET WEIGHT. LATER HE SUBMITTED A WEIGHT CERTIFICATE OBTAINED FROM THE AIR FORCE BASE AT THE TIME THE MOVE WAS AUTHORIZED. UNDER GOVERNING REGULATIONS THIS WOULD BE ACCEPTABLE EVIDENCE OF TARE WEIGHT ON LOCAL MOVES WHERE REPEATED TRIPS ARE REQUIRED.

FURTHER, MR. TUBBS HAS ADVISED THAT SOME OF THE WEIGHT CERTIFICATES SUBMITTED WERE NOT OBTAINED WHEN HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS WERE TRANSPORTED BUT WERE OBTAINED PRIOR TO THE ACTUAL MOVE. MR. TUBBS SAYS THAT HE LOADED GOODS INTO HIS TRAILER, OBTAINED THE GROSS WEIGHT CERTIFICATE AND RETURNED THE GOODS TO HIS APARTMENT.

ALTHOUGH NOT SPECIFICALLY SET OUT IN THE REGULATIONS, IT IS CONTEMPLATED THAT THE WEIGHT OF A SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WILL BE TAKEN WHEN THE SHIPMENT IS MADE. HERE WE ARE ASKED TO ACCEPT AS ACCURATELY REFLECTING THE WEIGHT OF THE GOODS MOVED SOME WEIGHT CERTIFICATES WHICH THE CLAIMANT SECURED PRIOR TO THE TIME OF THE MOVE. WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT THE WEIGHT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS ON A PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT MOVE CANNOT BE USED TO SHOW THE WEIGHT TRANSPORTED ON THE MOVE IN QUESTION. A SIMILAR RULE MUST APPLY HERE SINCE THERE IS NO SHOWING THAT THE GOODS MOVED WERE THE ONES WEIGHED.

THUS, THE RECORD BEFORE US DOES NOT ESTABLISH WITH ANY DEGREE OF CERTAINTY THE WEIGHT OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS TRANSPORTED. FURTHER, WE DO NOT SEE ANY BASIS AT THIS TIME FOR ASCERTAINING THE WEIGHT OF THE SHIPMENT.

MR. TUBBS TRIED TO OBTAIN PAYMENT UNDER A DO-IT-YOURSELF SYSTEM PRIOR TO THE TIME HE MOVED HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS. IN SO DOING HE DID NOT OBTAIN AN ACCEPTABLE WEIGHT FOR THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS TRANSPORTED. AS A RESULT, WE CANNOT AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF HIS CLAIM FOR THE INCENTIVE ALLOWANCE.

ALTHOUGH IT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE TO REIMBURSE HIS ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED FOR THE MOVE, GAS, OIL, ETC., NO EXPENSES HAVE BEEN SHOWN WHICH MAY BE REIMBURSED. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO DISALLOW THE CLAIM. THE ACTIONS OF BOTH THE AIR FORCE AND OUR CLAIMS DIVISION IN DISALLOWING HIS CLAIM MUST BE SUSTAINED.

HONORABLE JAMIE L. WHITTEN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

THIS IS IN FURTHER RESPONSE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 28, 1980, CONCERNING THE CLAIM OF MR. ROGER M. TUBBS, FOR PAYMENT OF AN INCENTIVE ALLOWANCE FOR MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UNDER THE DO-IT-YOURSELF PROGRAM.

WE HAVE CAREFULLY REVIEWED THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MATTER AND BY A DECISION OF THIS DATE, B-198476, COPY ENCLOSED, WE HAVE SUSTAINED THE ACTION OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION DENYING THE CLAIM ON THE BASIS THAT DOCUMENTATION UNDER THE DO-IT-YOURSELF PROGRAM FOR MOVING HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS MUST BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STRICT REQUIREMENTS OF THE AIR FORCE REGULATIONS AND THAT FAILURE TO FOLLOW THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE REGULATIONS AND THE MANY DISCREPANCIES IN THE DOCUMENTATION SUBMITTED WOULD NOT ALLOW THE CLAIM TO BE PAID.

WE TRUST THIS SERVES THE PURPOSE OF YOUR INQUIRY AND WE REGRET THAT WE COULD NOT REACH A DETERMINATION FAVORABLE TO YOUR CONSTITUENT.

ENCLOSURE