B-229372, O.M., Oct 5, 1988

B-229372: Oct 5, 1988

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MILITARY PERSONNEL - Travel - Advances - Overpayments - Debt collection - Waiver DIGEST: A military member was authorized a travel advance of $1. The overpayment of the travel advance may be waived because mileage expenses were incurred in detrimental reliance on erroneous travel orders and there was no fraud. His other legitimate expenses did not equal the amount of the advance and he was not otherwise indebted to the government for any portion of the advance. USN - Waiver Application: Returned herewith is Claim File Z-2881933 relative to Lieutenant Stroman's application for waiver of the claim against him for refund of part of a travel advance he received in April 1987. In connection with a permanent change of station Lieutenant Stroman was issued a travel advance of $1.

B-229372, O.M., Oct 5, 1988

MILITARY PERSONNEL - Travel - Advances - Overpayments - Debt collection - Waiver DIGEST: A military member was authorized a travel advance of $1,117.02 of which $135.33 covered mileage for his second privately owned vehicle driven by his wife to his new duty station. The overpayment of the travel advance may be waived because mileage expenses were incurred in detrimental reliance on erroneous travel orders and there was no fraud, misrepresentation, fault or lack of good faith by the military member. Further, his other legitimate expenses did not equal the amount of the advance and he was not otherwise indebted to the government for any portion of the advance.

Lieutenant Scott C. Stroman, USN - Waiver Application:

Returned herewith is Claim File Z-2881933 relative to Lieutenant Stroman's application for waiver of the claim against him for refund of part of a travel advance he received in April 1987. We conclude that the record supports a grant of waiver, and that the full debt of $135.33 should be waived.

In connection with a permanent change of station Lieutenant Stroman was issued a travel advance of $1,117.02. This advance was erroneous to the extent that it included a mileage allowance to which he was not entitled for his second privately owned vehicle which was driven by his wife to his duty station. On settlement of his travel claim the mistake was discovered. As a result he was credited with $981.69 leaving a debt of $135.33 due the United States.

Under the provisions of 10 U.S.C. Sec. 2774, the Comptroller General and the service Secretaries have concurrent authority to waive a service member's liability for overpayments of pay or allowance of up to $500, where collection would be "against equity and good conscience and not in the best interest of the United States," and where there is no indication of "fraud, misrepresentation, fault, or lack of good faith" on the part of any person having an interest in a waiver of the claim. Amendments to 10 U.S.C. Sec. 2774, enacted by Public Law 99 224, approved December 28, 1985, 99 Stat. 1741, extended this waiver authority to cover erroneous payments of travel and transportation expenses.

We have held a travel advance payment to be erroneous and subject to waiver to the extent it was made to cover expenses erroneously authorized and where the service member in fact spent the advance in detrimental reliance on the erroneous travel orders. However, waiver is only appropriate to the extent that an employee is indebted to the government for repayment of the amounts advanced. See Major Kenneth M. Dieter, USAF, B-222624, June 28, 1988; and Rajindar N. Khanna, B-225263, June 28, 1988.

The record shows no evidence of fraud, misrepresentation, fault, or lack of good faith on the part of Lieutenant Stroman. According to Navy findings, he had no reason to doubt the validity of his travel advance authorization, and the second car was used in the travel. Further, his legitimate expenses did not equal the amount of the advance and resulted in a debt to the government.

In light of these notations in the record, we have no objection to an approval of Lieutenant Stroman's waiver application. Accordingly, the claim of the United States against Lieutenant Stroman may be waived in the amount of $135.33. Attachment