B-242007, Apr 16, 1991

B-242007: Apr 16, 1991

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SPA was correctly calculated and paid. SPA is intended to help defray only extraordinary subsistence expenses. Was transferred to Comiso Air Station. Although his household goods were not delivered at Comiso until July 17. Rivera was authorized a living quarters allowance (LQA) and a foreign transfer allowance (FTA) and was specifically not authorized temporary quarters subsistence expense. Which did not have kitchen facilities. Rivera was paid a supplementary post allowance (SPA) of $7 per day for additional subsistence expenses. Rivera is claiming average daily meal expenses of $61.40 for a total of $3. The day after his household goods were picked-up in Florida. The day his goods were delivered in Italy.

B-242007, Apr 16, 1991

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Travel - Permanent duty stations - Actual subsistence expenses - Prohibition DIGEST: Employee claims reimbursement for meals, laundry, and dry cleaning expenses in additional to supplementary post allowance (SPA) previously paid pursuant to transfer to Comiso Air Station, Italy. SPA was correctly calculated and paid, and no additional entitlement can be authorized. SPA is intended to help defray only extraordinary subsistence expenses, i.e., those that exceed the portion of an employee's salary which would be ordinarily spent for food and housekeeping expenses while occupying normal housing at the post.

Fernando L. Rivera:

Mr. Fernando L. Rivera appeals our Claims Group's settlement certificate, Z-2861685, Nov. 2, 1989, which denied his claims for meals, laundry, and dry cleaning expenses in connection with his transfer to an overseas duty station. For the following reasons we sustain our Claims Group's action.

Mr. Rivera, an employee of the Department of the Air Force stationed at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, was transferred to Comiso Air Station, Italy, on May 24, 1987, to be accompanied by his wife and sons. arrived at Comiso on May 26, 1987, and occupied contract quarters in Sicily from May 26 to July 3, 1987, provided by the Air Force at no cost to him. However, because of unavailability of housing, Mr. Rivera's dependents temporarily remained at their residence in Florida and did not join him at Comiso until July 7, 1987. Mr. Rivera occupied permanent quarters beginning July 3, 1987, although his household goods were not delivered at Comiso until July 17, 1987.

Incident to the transfer, Mr. Rivera was authorized a living quarters allowance (LQA) and a foreign transfer allowance (FTA) and was specifically not authorized temporary quarters subsistence expense.

While occupying contract quarters in Sicily, which did not have kitchen facilities, Mr. Rivera was paid a supplementary post allowance (SPA) of $7 per day for additional subsistence expenses. However, Mr. Rivera is claiming average daily meal expenses of $61.40 for a total of $3,500 for 57 days beginning May 22, the day after his household goods were picked-up in Florida, and ending July 17, the day his goods were delivered in Italy. He also claims $81.05 for laundry and dry cleaning during this period. Mr. Rivera explains that the $7 daily allowance was not sufficient "to pay for half a meal for one person."

Under *** 230 of the Department of State Standardized Regulations (Government Civilians, Foreign Areas, Oct. 11, 1987), an SPA may be granted each employee and each family member while required to occupy temporary quarters without kitchen facilities for a period of up to 90 days after the date of arrival at a new post. Because under *** 231a the SPA is granted to defray extraordinary subsistence costs, the incurrence of such costs is, by necessary implication, a further condition of eligibility. The Air Force found that Mr. Rivera met these requirements, and we agree that he was eligible for the SPA.

The manner of calculation of the allowance is set forth in the Standardized Regulations at *** 235 and 235.1. The regulation points out that the SPA is intended to help defray only extraordinary subsistence expenses while the employee is compelled to occupy temporary non- housekeeping quarters. Extraordinary subsistence costs are those that exceed the portion of an employee's salary which would be ordinarily spent for food and housekeeping expenses while occupying normal housing at the post. Mr. Rivera has already been correctly paid the $7 per day authorized by the regulations, and no additional entitlement can be authorized. /1/ See James P. Thorne, 55 Comp.Gen. 1301 (1976).

Because Mr. Rivera found the SPA to be inadequate to cover his additional subsistence expenses, he asks that reimbursement for his claimed expenses be made based on a quarters allowance, foreign transfer allowance, or temporary quarters subsistence expenses allowance.

A temporary lodging allowance is a quarters allowance granted to an employee for the reasonable cost of temporary quarters for a period not in excess of 3 months after first arrival at a new post in a foreign area, which would cover the time period for which Mr. Rivera is claiming expenses. However, since Mr. Rivera was occupying government contract quarters during this period of time, he is not eligible to receive the temporary lodging allowance. Moreover, the costs of food or meals are expressly excluded from such an allowance. See Standardized Regulations (Government Civilians, Foreign Areas), 112 and 122 (March 4, 1984). See also John J. McMahon, Jr., B-196258, June 6, 1980.

The foreign transfer allowance, subsistence expense portion (FTA/SE) is authorized by the Standardized Regulations, supra, *** 240. For reimbursement of expenses under the FTA/SE the temporary lodging occupied by an employee and/or his dependents must be in the United States and the employee or dependents must not have begun travel. Since Mr. Rivera is requesting this allowance for subsistence outside the United States, it is not applicable. See also Joint Travel Regulations, vol. 2, para. C13001-2 (Oct. 1, 1985); Charles E. Brookshire, B-196809, May 9, 1980.

Finally, under 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5724a(a)(3) (1982) the authority to grant a temporary quarters subsistence expense allowance is specifically limited to employees transferred to locations within the United States or other designated areas. See Charles E. Brookshire, B-196809, supra.

Accordingly, Mr. Rivera's claims are denied.

/1/ Calculation of the SPA under the Standardized Regulations is a function of both the post allowance classification found in *** 920 (July 19, 1987), and the per diem rate prescribed for the post in *** 925 (March 1, 1987). Since the post classification for Comiso/Sicily was 0 (zero) and the travel per diem rate was $99, at the time of Mr. Rivera's relocation, the maximum allowable SPA prescribed at 235.1 was $7 per day.