B-234189 January 13, 1989

B-234189: Jan 13, 1989

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Roemer: This is in response to your appeal from the denial of your damage claim for the loss of personal property. You were authorized by the New. While the vehicle is parked in your driveway. You were not performing official business as required by the order. /1/ GAO's authority to reimburse employees for loss of their personal property is found in the Military Personnel and Civilian Employees' Claim Act (the "Claims Act:). That provision reads as follows: "A claim may not be allowed under this section if the personal property damage or loss occurred at quarters occupied by the claimant in a state or the District of Columbia that were not assigned provided in kind by the United States Government or the District of Columbia government." 31 U.S.C.

B-234189 January 13, 1989

Mr. Gary Roemer 54 Boerum Street Brooklyn, New York 11206

Dear Mr. Roemer:

This is in response to your appeal from the denial of your damage claim for the loss of personal property, by GAO's Office of Financial Management (OFM). We concur in OFM's denial of your claim.

Briefly, you were authorized by the New, York Regional Office to retain a rental vehicle at your residence during non-duty hours based on the authorities found in GAO Order 0300.4 (May 29, 1985). While the vehicle is parked in your driveway, someone broke the trunk lock and stole some personal items valued at $348.00. OFM reviewed and queried your claim For theft of personal property under GAO Order 0257.1, ch. 9, Para. 2(a) (April 7, 1983), because OEM believed that at the time of the loss, you were not performing official business as required by the order. /1/

GAO's authority to reimburse employees for loss of their personal property is found in the Military Personnel and Civilian Employees' Claim Act (the "Claims Act:),31 U.S.C. Sec. 3721 (1982). The requirement in GAO Order 0267.1, ch. 2, Para. 2(a), that losses must occur in connection with official business stems from the Claims Act requirement that losses be incurred "incident to service" and therefore "in connection with official business." However, another restrictive provision of the Claims Act requires denial of your appeal. That provision reads as follows:

"A claim may not be allowed under this section if the personal property damage or loss occurred at quarters occupied by the claimant in a state or the District of Columbia that were not assigned provided in kind by the United States Government or the District of Columbia government."

31 U.S.C. Sec. 3721(e).

Thus, claims for personal property losses which occur at quarters not assigned or provided in kind by the government are not allowable. This requirement is reflected in the prohibition in GAO Order 0267.1, ch. 5, pare. 4(a), against paying for items stolen from a primary residence that is not "assigned, provided in kind, or overseas." While the order does not address theft from automobiles parked "at quarters," we believe that by its own terms the Claims Act restriction is clearly applicable to such a loss. For this reason, GAO is not authorized to reimburse you for your loss, and we must deny your appeal.

Sincerely yours,

Milton J. Socolar Comptroller General of the United States

1. OFM also reviewed and denied your claim for vehicle repair under GAO Order 0267.1, ch. 3, Para. 2(a), because the vehicle was not your personal property as required by the order. You have not appealed this portion of OFM's decision.