B-247071, May 28, 1992

B-247071: May 28, 1992

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MILITARY PERSONNEL Travel - Separation Travel - Agency officials - Errors MILITARY PERSONNEL - Travel - Separation travel - Expenses - Reimbursement - Time restrictions DIGEST: The claim of a former Naval Reserve petty officer for travel and transportation expenses is denied because travel was not completed prior to the 181st day following separation as required for payment under the applicable regulations. Claimant's assertion that he was told by Navy personnel that he had 12 months following separation to complete his travel does not alter this conclusion. Since it is established that the government is not bound by erroneous information given by its officers. Claim for Travel and Transportation Allowances: This is in response to an appeal of a General Accounting Office Claims Group determination which denied the claim of Adam L.

B-247071, May 28, 1992

MILITARY PERSONNEL Travel - Separation Travel - Agency officials - Errors MILITARY PERSONNEL - Travel - Separation travel - Expenses - Reimbursement - Time restrictions DIGEST: The claim of a former Naval Reserve petty officer for travel and transportation expenses is denied because travel was not completed prior to the 181st day following separation as required for payment under the applicable regulations. Claimant's assertion that he was told by Navy personnel that he had 12 months following separation to complete his travel does not alter this conclusion, since it is established that the government is not bound by erroneous information given by its officers, agents, and employees.

Adam L. Lucas-- Claim for Travel and Transportation Allowances:

This is in response to an appeal of a General Accounting Office Claims Group determination which denied the claim of Adam L. Lucas, former member of the Naval Reserve, for travel and transportation allowances following his separation from the service. For the reasons presented below, his claim must be denied.

On April 17, 1990, Mr. Lucas was separated from the Naval Reserve in Norfolk, Virginia. He remained in Virginia until October so that his wife could finish school there. On October 15, 1990, his household goods were shipped to his home of record in Oregon. He departed for Oregon on the same day, arriving there on October 20.

The Claims Group denied Mr. Lucas's claim for travel allowances because he did not complete his travel until the 186th day after his separation from the service. He has appealed their determination.

Travel and transportation allowances are governed by 37 U.S.C. Secs. 404 and 406. Under implementing regulations of these statutes (Joint Federal Travel Regulations (JFTR), volume 1, para. U5125-D), travel must be completed before the 181st day after separation unless an extension is granted due to hardship. Mr. Lucas did not apply for an extension.

Entitlement to travel and transportation allowances is governed by law and the JFTR. If travel is not performed within the time limit imposed by the JFTR, no authority for payment exists. See Elizabeth A. Varrelman, 65 Comp.Gen. 392 (1986).

Mr. Lucas asserts that at his pre-separation briefing he was told by Navy personnel that he had 12 months to complete his travel to his home of record, and that this misinformation was again repeated to him by the same Navy personnel at a later date. However, this erroneous information, even if relied on by Mr. Lucas, does not create an obligation on the part of the government to pay his travel. The government is not bound by misinformation given by its officers, agents, and employees. See 65 Comp.Gen. at 392. While it is unfortunate that Mr. Lucas was misinformed regarding the time limit for his travel, this fact cannot alter the outcome. Further, Mr. Lucas states that his Navy household goods counselor informed him shortly after his separation that his move had to be completed within 6 months of separation. This information might have served to alert him to question the conflicting advice he had received.

Finally, Mr. Lucas argues that his travel claim should be allowed because the government paid for shipment of his household goods. Since that payment is governed by a different set of requirements, its approval is not related to the question of this claim.

Accordingly, the Claims Group's determination is affirmed, and Mr. Lucas' claim is denied.

To: Director, Claims Group, GGD-- Sharon S. Green

From: General Counsel - James F. Hinchman

Subject: Adam L. Lucas-- Claim for travel and transportation allowances-- Z-2867073-- (B-247071)

Attached is your file Z-2867073 along with our decision Adam L. Lucas, B-247071, of today's date, in which we affirm your determination denying Mr. Lucas' claim for travel and transportation allowances to his home of record.