Request for Reimbursement of Travel and Relocation Expenses

B-203645: Oct 9, 1981

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An advance decision was requested concerning the entitlement of an employee of the U.S. Travel Service to reimbursement for travel and relocation expenses incident to a permanent change of station. Initially, the employee inquired whether he was entitled to reimbursement for: (1) his wife's transportation for the purpose of seeking a new residence; and (2) expenses incurred in the discontinuance of his former residence and the purchase of a new residence at his new official station. Statutory provisions state that, in order for an employee to be reimbursed for a house-hunting trip or for real estate expenses, the old and the new official stations must be located within the United States, its territories, or possessions. Accordingly, there is no authority for reimbursement of the cost of the employee's wife's house-hunting trip or of the real estate expenses incurred in connection with the sale of their former residence or the purchase of their new residence. The employee asked whether he could claim reimbursement for the last rather than the first 30 days of the 45-day period during which he and his family occupied temporary quarters. In this connection, he also inquired about his entitlement to temporary quarters subsistence expenses while occupying private quarters and when using commercial accommodations. Statutorily, an employee is entitled to 30 days temporary quarters subsistence expenses, whether he uses private or commercial accommodations. Since his occupancy of temporary quarters began within the required period, the employee may be reimbursed for the last rather than the first 30 days of the 45-day period during which he and his family occupied temporary quarters. The questions concerning the employee's entitlement to relocation expenses were answered accordingly.