B-201185.OM, DEC 30, 1980

B-201185.OM: Dec 30, 1980

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PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE COMPTROLLER GENERAL: WE ARE FORWARDING OUR FILE ON THE MATTER INVOLVING MR. CAIN IS REQUESTING FAMILY SEPARATION ALLOWANCE TYPE-1 (FSA) FOR THE PERIOD OCTOBER 4. ALASKA DURING A PERIOD THAT ADEQUATE QUARTERS WERE NOT AVAILABLE. INADEQUATE QUARTERS WERE AVAILABLE. SUBPARAGRAPH (A)(3) OF THE DODPM STATES THAT ADEQUATE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS OR HOUSING FACILITIES ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR ASSIGNMENT TO A MEMBER AND HE IS NOT ASSIGNED INADEQUATE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS OR HOUSING FACILITIES. CAIN'S CLAIM BE DENIED BASED ON THEIR OPINION THAT FSA IS PAYABLE WHEN NO QUARTERS ARE AVAILABLE. THE ABOVE SUBPARAGRAPH POINTS OUT THAT FSA IS PAYABLE WHEN INADEQUATE QUARTERS ARE NOT ASSIGNED. ACCORDING TO THE AIR FORCE ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE CENTER THERE IS NO AVAILABLE DOCUMENTATION SHOWING THAT MR.

B-201185.OM, DEC 30, 1980

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

COMPTROLLER GENERAL:

WE ARE FORWARDING OUR FILE ON THE MATTER INVOLVING MR. CHARLES R. CAIN. MR. CAIN IS REQUESTING FAMILY SEPARATION ALLOWANCE TYPE-1 (FSA) FOR THE PERIOD OCTOBER 4, 1978, TO THE END OF HIS TOUR OF DUTY.

MR. CAIN ARRIVED AT ELMENDORF AFB, ALASKA DURING A PERIOD THAT ADEQUATE QUARTERS WERE NOT AVAILABLE; HOWEVER, INADEQUATE QUARTERS WERE AVAILABLE. MR. CAIN REFUSED TO ACCEPT INADEQUATE QUARTERS AND OBTAINED A RESIDENCE OFF BASE. HE LATER APPLIED FOR FSA-I.

AS ONE OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR ESTABLISHING ENTITLEMENT TO FSA-I, SUBPARAGRAPH (A)(3) OF THE DODPM STATES THAT ADEQUATE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS OR HOUSING FACILITIES ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR ASSIGNMENT TO A MEMBER AND HE IS NOT ASSIGNED INADEQUATE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS OR HOUSING FACILITIES. THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE HAS RECOMMENDED THAT MR. CAIN'S CLAIM BE DENIED BASED ON THEIR OPINION THAT FSA IS PAYABLE WHEN NO QUARTERS ARE AVAILABLE. HOWEVER, THE ABOVE SUBPARAGRAPH POINTS OUT THAT FSA IS PAYABLE WHEN INADEQUATE QUARTERS ARE NOT ASSIGNED. ACCORDING TO THE AIR FORCE ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE CENTER THERE IS NO AVAILABLE DOCUMENTATION SHOWING THAT MR. CAIN WAS ASSIGNED INADEQUATE QUARTERS. IT APPEARS THAT MR. CAIN MEETS THE CRITERIA IN SUBPARAGRAPH (A)(3), THEREBY, ESTABLISHING HIS ENTITLEMENT TO FSA-I.

THE APPROXIMATE AMOUNT INVOLVED IN THIS CASE IS $3600.00. SINCE WE KNOW OF NO DECISION WHICH INVOLVES IDENTICAL OR SIMILAR FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES, WE ARE FORWARDING THE MATTER FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION.

CONGRESSMAN JACK EDWARDS AND SENATOR HOWELL HEFLIN HAVE EXPRESSED INTEREST IN THIS MATTER.

INDORSEMENT

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, AFMD - CLAIMS GROUP (ROOM 5858)

RETURNED. IT APPEARS THAT MAJOR CHARLES R. CAIN, USAF (RET), XXX-XX-XXXX FR, SERVED A TOUR OF DUTY AT ELMENDORF AIR FORCE BASE (AFB), ALASKA, UNACCOMPANIED BY HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN FROM SEPTEMBER 1978 UNTIL THE TIME OF HIS RETIREMENT FROM THE AIR FORCE IN DECEMBER 1979. WHEN HE ARRIVED AT ELMENDORF AFB HE WAS ADVISED THAT ADEQUATE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS WERE NOT AVAILABLE FOR HIS USE, AND THE BASE ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE OFFICE CERTIFIED THAT HE WAS ELIGIBLE FOR A FAMILY SEPARATION ALLOWANCE, TYPE I (FSA-I), FOR THAT REASON WHEN HE APPLIED FOR A MORTGAGE TO PURCHASE OFF- BASE QUARTERS. HE MOVED INTO THOSE PURCHASED QUARTERS, BUT THEN THE BASE ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE OFFICE IN A LETTER DATED OCTOBER 19, 1978, INFORMED HIM THAT HE WAS NOT ELIGIBLE FOR FSA-I BECAUSE INADEQUATE ON-BASE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS WERE AVAILABLE FOR ASSIGNMENT TO HIM. HOWEVER, ON OCTOBER 20, 1978, THE DAY AFTER THAT LETTER WAS SENT, ALL AVAILABLE BACHELOR QUARTERS AT ELMENDORF AFB BECAME FILLED, SO THAT NEITHER ADEQUATE NOR INADEQUATE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS REMAINED AVAILABLE FOR ASSIGNMENT TO HIM. WHEN HE THEN QUESTIONED THE PROPRIETY OF THE ACTION TAKEN TO WITHHOLD FSA-I FROM HIM, THE DEPUTY BASE COMMANDER OF ELMENDORF AFB ADVISED HIM THAT HE WAS INELIGIBLE FOR THE ALLOWANCE BECAUSE HE HAD PREVIOUSLY ELECTED NOT TO OCCUPY INADEQUATE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS.

IN HIS DECEMBER 8, 1978 CLAIM FOR FSA-I, MAJOR CAIN STATED THAT NO GOVERNMENT QUARTERS HAD, IN FACT, EVER BEEN ASSIGNED TO HIM OR REJECTED BY HIM. THIS STATEMENT IS CORROBORATED BY THE INFORMATION FURNISHED BY THE AIR FORCE ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE CENTER WHICH INDICATES NO DOCUMENT EXISTS SHOWING THAT MAJOR CAIN WAS EVER OFFERED OR ASSIGNED GOVERNMENT QUARTERS FOR HIS USE FOR THE DURATION OF HIS TOUR OF DUTY AT ELMENDORF AFB.

FSA-I, PAYABLE UNDER 37 U.S.C. 427(A) AND PARAGRAPH 30303 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MILITARY PAY AND ALLOWANCES ENTITLEMENTS MANUAL (DODPM), IS A TYPE OF QUARTERS ALLOWANCE DESIGNED TO REIMBURSE A MEMBER WITH DEPENDENTS SERVING AN UNACCOMPANIED TOUR OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, OR IN ALASKA, FOR EXTRA HOUSING EXPENSES WHEN HE MUST MAINTAIN ONE HOME FOR HIS DEPENDENTS AND ANOTHER FOR HIMSELF. UNDER SUBPARAGRAPH 30303A(3), DODPM, THE ALLOWANCE IS PAYABLE TO THE MEMBER ONLY IF:

"(3) ADEQUATE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS OR HOUSING FACILITIES ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR ASSIGNMENT TO A MEMBER AND INADEQUATE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS OR HOUSING FACILITIES ARE NOT ASSIGNED."

IN THE PRESENT CASE, IT APPEARS THAT MAJOR CAIN COULD HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED GOVERNMENT QUARTERS FOR THE DURATION OF HIS TOUR OF DUTY AT ELMENDORF AFB AT THE TIME HE ARRIVED THERE IN SEPTEMBER 1978. HOWEVER, THIS WAS NOT DONE, APPARENTLY AS THE RESULT OF ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR OR A MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE REGULATIONS. BY THE TIME THE DISCREPANCY WAS DISCOVERED IN OCTOBER 1978, NO GOVERNMENT HOUSING REMAINED AVAILABLE FOR PERMANENT ASSIGNMENT TO HIM. IT IS NOT INDICATED THAT VACANT GOVERNMENT QUARTERS BECAME AVAILABLE AT THE BASE THEREAFTER AND, IN ANY EVENT, IT IS EVIDENT THAT NO EFFORT WAS UNDERTAKEN TO OFFER QUARTERS TO HIM DURING THE REMAINDER OF HIS TOUR OF DUTY THERE. IN THESE PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT GOVERNMENT QUARTERS WERE NOT MADE AVAILABLE OR ASSIGNED TO MAJOR CAIN WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE LAW AND REGULATIONS. COMPARE 44 COMP.GEN. 740, 743 (1965).

MAJOR CAIN'S CLAIM FOR FSA-I IS THEREFORE ALLOWED, AND PAYMENT SHOULD ISSUE ACCORDINGLY.

WE ARE ATTACHING COPIES OF OUR LETTERS OF TODAY'S DATE TO SENATOR HEFLIN AND REPRESENTATIVE EDWARDS REGARDING THIS MATTER FOR YOUR FURTHER INFORMATION.