B-238369, Jun 4, 1990

B-238369: Jun 4, 1990

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Who was residing with her mother. The status of a child as a member of an employee's immediate family is determinable on the date he reports for duty at his new station. Since the daughter was over age 18. She was under no legal disability and could choose to accompany him as his dependent. She is fully qualified as a member of his family under the FTR. Noyes - Relocation Expenses - Member of Immediate Family: This decision is in response to a request from Mr. We conclude he is entitled to expenses on her behalf. Was transferred from Oklahoma City. Who was residing with her mother in Bowresville. His travel authorization was later amended to extend his temporary quarters entitlement from 60 to 90 days and to add his daughter as a member of his immediate family for relocation purposes.

B-238369, Jun 4, 1990

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Relocation - Relocation travel - Dependents - Eligibility DIGEST: A transferred employee had an unmarried child, age 20, who was residing with her mother. While en route to his new permanent duty station, he picked up his daughter and continued on to his new duty station where she resided with him as his dependent. His claim for relocation expenses on her behalf may be allowed. Under the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR), the status of a child as a member of an employee's immediate family is determinable on the date he reports for duty at his new station. Since the daughter was over age 18, she was under no legal disability and could choose to accompany him as his dependent. Having done so, she is fully qualified as a member of his family under the FTR.

Ralph L. Noyes - Relocation Expenses - Member of Immediate Family:

This decision is in response to a request from Mr. Ralph L. Noyes. has appealed our Claims Group settlement Z-2861716, Nov. 22, 1989, which disallowed his claim for relocation expenses on behalf of his daughter incident to a permanent change of station in August 1988. We conclude he is entitled to expenses on her behalf, for the following reasons.

BACKGROUND

Mr. Noyes, an employee of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), was transferred from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Washington, D.C., with a reporting date of August 14, 1988. He had an unmarried daughter, age 20, who was residing with her mother in Bowresville, Georgia. While en route to Washington, D.C., he traveled to Bowresville, picked up his daughter, and continued on to his new duty station. He commenced occupancy of temporary quarters on August 10, 1988, and his daughter resided with him. His travel authorization was later amended to extend his temporary quarters entitlement from 60 to 90 days and to add his daughter as a member of his immediate family for relocation purposes.

Based on the foregoing, he claimed temporary quarters subsistence expenses on behalf of his daughter and an increased miscellaneous expense allowance. His agency disallowed the claims on the basis that since his daughter had been residing with her mother, the daughter did not qualify as a member of his immediate family at the time of his transfer, citing two decisions of this Office as controlling. /1/ Our Claims Group by settlement Z-2861716, supra, disallowed the claim on the basis of decision B-177701, supra, at footnote 1.

ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION

A transferred employee's relocation expense reimbursement rights are those prescribed in 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5724 and 5724a (1988) and chapter 2 of the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR). /2/ In each of part 2 (allowance for subsistence and transportation), part 3 (allowance for miscellaneous expenses), and part 5 (subsistence while occupying temporary quarters) of the FTR, a transferred employee is authorized reimbursement for expenses for himself and members of his immediate family who are involved in the move. Paragraph 2-1.4d(1) defines "immediate family" to be:

"(1) Any of the following named members of the employee's household at the time he/she reports for duty at the new permanent duty station ... :

"(b) Children of the employee ... who are unmarried and under 21 years of age. ..."

Under the regulations, the status of children as members of an employee's immediate family for expense reimbursement purposes is determinable effective the date the employee reports for duty at his new permanent duty station. In B-177701, supra, the conclusion of nonentitlement was based on the fact that the children involved were minors in the legal custody of the employee's ex-wife and were residing with her at the time the employee reported for duty at his new permanent station. The conclusion reached in 44 Comp.Gen. 443, supra, at footnote 1, was similarly premised. It is our view that neither of those decisions are controlling in the present case.

Mr. Noyes informally advised us that his divorce from his wife was under Georgia law, and his ex-wife, who had legal custody of their daughter, continued to reside in Georgia. Under Georgia law, the age of legal majority for residents of that state is 18 years. Ga. Code Ann. 74-104 (Harrison 1980).

Thus, unlike the situation in B-177701, supra, Mr. Noyes's daughter who was over age 18, but under age 21, was under no legal disability at the time of his transfer and could choose to accompany him to his new duty station and reside with him as his dependent. It is our view that she, having done so, fully qualifies as a member of Mr. Noyes's immediate family for the purposes of the FTR. B-109466, June 4, 1952; B-149024, June 15, 1962.

Therefore, Mr. Noyes may be reimbursed expenses incurred on his daughter's behalf for subsistence while they occupied temporary quarters (FTR, para. 2-5.4); increased miscellaneous expense allowance (FTR, para. 2-3.3a(3)); and her transportation and travel per diem (FTR, para. 2- 2.2).

/1/ 44 Comp.Gen. 443 (1965); B-177701, Apr. 18, 1973.

/2/ Incorp. by ref., 4 C.F.R. Sec. 101-7.003 (1988).