B-227504, Oct 27, 1988

B-227504: Oct 27, 1988

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A military member ordered to active duty for training who receives travel orders specifying individual travel for himself but group travel for all other members of the Reserve unit is authorized to travel separately and be reimbursed his airplane fare from home of record to the active duty for training site and return to home of record. To inquire about joining new Reserve unit has no entitlement to travel expenses or per diem since travel orders stated travel was for permissive temporary duty and purpose of travel was for member's benefit. 3. USNR - Claim for Travel and Transportation Expenses: This is an appeal of our Claims Group's denial of certain travel expenses and other allowances claimed by a Reserve member of the Army while he performed active duty training.

B-227504, Oct 27, 1988

MILITARY PERSONNEL - Travel - Actual subsistence expenses - Eligibility DIGEST: 1. A military member ordered to active duty for training who receives travel orders specifying individual travel for himself but group travel for all other members of the Reserve unit is authorized to travel separately and be reimbursed his airplane fare from home of record to the active duty for training site and return to home of record. MILITARY PERSONNEL - Travel - Per diem - Eligibility 2. When military member receives permissive temporary duty orders, he may engage in travel primarily for his own benefit and may not receive travel expenses or per diem. Therefore member who traveled to Washington, D.C., to inquire about joining new Reserve unit has no entitlement to travel expenses or per diem since travel orders stated travel was for permissive temporary duty and purpose of travel was for member's benefit. 3. Military member engaged in inactive duty for training at the headquarters of his Reserve unit does not receive a per diem.

Captain William H. Runge, USNR - Claim for Travel and Transportation Expenses:

This is an appeal of our Claims Group's denial of certain travel expenses and other allowances claimed by a Reserve member of the Army while he performed active duty training, permissive temporary duty (TDY), and inactive duty for training during a 17-day period in May of 1983. /1/ As will be explained below we are modifying the settlement and authorizing the member to be reimbursed for his travel from his home of record to his active duty for training site and back. We, however, affirm the previous denial of the Claims Group regarding the other claimed expenses.

On April 14, 1983, Captain Runge of Sanford, Florida, received travel orders directing him and all other members of his Reserve Unit, the 0300 Medical Detachment, with a home station in Bellmore, New York, to report for active duty for training from May 1 to May 13, 1983. The orders stated that "this is a group travel order unless modified in the additional instructions" and that any personnel authorized individual travel would be set out in Annex E. The orders also indicated that $486 was the estimated cost for individual travel. In the additional instructions, the only notation was that an officer from Sanford, Florida, will be traveling from home of record to the training site. Under Annex E only Captain Runge was specified as engaging in individual travel.

Pursuant to the above orders, Captain Runge flew by private carrier from Sanford, Florida, to Bellmore, New York, the unit's home station. While performing active duty for training in New York, Captain Runge was informed that all out-of-state United States Army Reserve personnel assigned to the 300th Medical Detachment had to find active ready reserve slots elsewhere. To assist Captain Runge, a resident of Florida, in finding a new reserve unit, he received travel orders authorizing him 3 days of permissive TDY from May 10 to May 12 to travel to the Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C., for the stated purpose of obtaining clearance to transfer from the Army Reserve to the Navy Reserve. Upon returning to New York, on May 11, Captain Runge was requested to and did perform 4 days of inactive duty for training from May 14 to May 17.

Following his completion of his active duty and inactive duty for training, Captain Runge submitted a voucher seeking reimbursement of:

1. his travel expenses (airplane fare and taxis) from Florida to New York and return;

2. his train fare from New York to Washington, D.C. and return while on permissive TDY; and

3. per diem for the period May 1-17, 1983.

Initially, the Army denied reimbursement of all expenses. He was denied his travel expenses from Florida to New York and return because the Army concluded that his travel orders required him to travel in a group or individually at his own expense. He could not be reimbursed for his travel to Washington, D.C., and return because a member on permissive TDY must bear any travel expenses he incurs. Lastly, he was denied all subsistence and lodging expenses because of his failure to evidence that government quarters and mess were unavailable.

Following Captain Runge's protestations, the Army forwarded the matter as a doubtful claim to our Claims Group. This eventually resulted in his being authorized per diem from May 1-13, 1983, after he documented that government quarters and meals were not available while he was on active duty for training in New York. /2/

In this reconsideration, Captain Runge seeks his travel expenses from Florida to New York and back; his train fare from New York to Washington, D.C., and back and subsistence expenses while in Washington, D.C.; and per diem for the period of inactive duty for training, May 14-17.

We agree with Captain Runge that he is entitled to his travel expenses from Florida to New York and back. As regards his other claims, we affirm the Claims Group's denial of them.

Paragraph M4103 of Volume 1 of the Joint Travel Regulations at the time in question provided that orders covering group travel should not ordinarily include members authorized or permitted to travel separately from the group. This regulation, however, goes on to state that when a member who is specifically authorized by the order-issuing authority to travel separately from the group is included in the group travel orders, he shall be entitled to proper travel allowances for that travel. See 51 Comp.Gen. 736 (1972). In this case, the travel orders clearly authorized separate travel for Captain Runge in Annex E. /3/ Captain Runge should therefore be reimbursed for the expenses incurred as a result of travel from his home of record in Sanford, Florida, to the training site in Bellmore, New York, and back.

Captain Runge also appeals the Claims Division's denial of travel expenses incurred as a result of permissive TDY at Washington, D.C. Captain Runge states in correspondence dated May 6, 1987, that travel to the Department of the Navy, Washington, D.C., was not permissive TDY but rather directed by the Unit Commanding Officer pursuant to instructions of military authority. The travel orders issued to Captain Runge for this trip, however, state on their face "permissive TDY."

Regarding permissive rather than directive travel orders, paragraph M6453, 1 JTR at the time in question specifically provided that:

"An order permitting a member to travel as distinguished from directing a member to travel does not entitle him to expenses to travel."

This regulation reflects the rule that the travel allowances authorized by statute for members of the uniformed services are for the purpose of reimbursing them for the expenses incurred in complying with travel requirements imposed on them by the needs of the service over which they have no control.

It is well settled that the expenses of temporary duty travel performed in whole or in part for personal benefit or convenience under permissive orders are nonreimbursable, notwithstanding that the government may derive some benefit from the optional duty undertaken by the service member. See Ensign Cheryl R. Dallman, USNR, 64 Comp.Gen. 489, 492 (1985). Here, Captain Runge's travel was primarily for his benefit and convenience. Thus, his travel orders correctly reflected the type of travel in which he engaged.

Finally, Captain Runge appeals the denial by our Claims Division of his claim for meals and lodging while engaged in 4 days of inactive duty for training from May 14 to May 17. While a member is engaged in inactive duty for training at the city in which the headquarters of his Reserve unit is located, he is not entitled to receive any travel or transportation allowance. See 1 JTR para. M6001. Therefore, Captain Runge correctly was denied a per diem allowance for this period.

/1/ The appeal was filed by Captain William H. Runge, USNR (Retired), who was a colonel in the USAR when this claim accrued.

/2/ Under 1 JTR para. M6000, a Reserve member on active duty for training for less than 20 weeks receives a per diem if government quarters and mess are not available.

/3/ Much of the confusion regarding Captain Runge's entitlement seem to have been caused by the nature of his orders. These orders clearly authorized only him individual travel at government expense. Other members were authorized individual travel but only at personal expense.