Matter of: David G. Chizum File: B-251143 Date: March 8, 1993

B-251143: Mar 8, 1993

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His daughter was undergoing orthodontic treatment at the University of Maryland Dental School under a treatment plan consisting of two phases. Phase I was completed prior to Mr. Phase II had been initiated but was not completed at the time of Mr. Chizum was transferred. The new orthodontist in Colorado stated that the treatment fee for his daughter's continuing service was $1. Chizum contends that he is entitled to reimbursement of the total cost. (3) Phase II of his daughter's dental treatment was not completed prior to his transfer to Denver and therefore he forfeited the value of the further care for which he had paid the dental school. The elements required to perfect entitlement to reimbursement are that: a forfeiture loss must have occurred.

Matter of: David G. Chizum File: B-251143 Date: March 8, 1993

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL Relocation Miscellaneous expenses Reimbursement Forfeiture A transferred employee's claim may not be paid for an additional miscellaneous expense allowance based on the additional cost of orthodontic treatment his daughter received at his new duty station as a continuation of treatment begun at his old duty station. While an employee may be reimbursed the cost of orthodontic services paid for and forfeited upon a transfer of duty stations, the record in this case does not show that the employee, in fact, paid for treatment at his old duty station which his daughter did not receive due to his transfer.

DECISION The National Security Agency (NSA) has forwarded the request of Mr. David G. Chizum, a retired employee of the agency, for reconsideration of his claim for reimbursement of orthodontic expenses for his daughter as a miscellaneous expense incurred in connection with his change of official station in August 1990 from Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, to Denver, Colorado.[1]

At the time of Mr. Chizum's transfer, his daughter was undergoing orthodontic treatment at the University of Maryland Dental School under a treatment plan consisting of two phases. Phase I was completed prior to Mr. Chizum's transfer, and Phase II had been initiated but was not completed at the time of Mr. Chizum's transfer. In November 1990, the University of Maryland Dental School reported that its records showed that the cost of Phase I treatment, $1,400, had been paid up-to-date, and phase II finances should be determined by the new orthodontist in Colorado.

After Mr. Chizum was transferred, the new orthodontist in Colorado stated that the treatment fee for his daughter's continuing service was $1,400, with a treatment time of 12 to 18 months. Mr. Chizum claimed reimbursement of $1,400, the cost of completing his daughter's dental work at his new duty station in Denver. NSA denied his claim because he did not substantiate his assertion that he had forfeited payment for Phase II of his daughter's dental services at the University of Maryland Dental School.

Mr. Chizum contends that he is entitled to reimbursement of the total cost, $1,400, of completing Phase II of his daughter's dental work at his new duty station because (1) he made payment for complete orthodontic treatment for her to the University of Maryland Dental School; (2) the dental school's policy prohibits the refund of monies received for paid-up orthodontic plans; and (3) Phase II of his daughter's dental treatment was not completed prior to his transfer to Denver and therefore he forfeited the value of the further care for which he had paid the dental school. He argues that his reimbursement should be based not on the costs he says he paid the dental school for the forfeited care, but on the greater replacement cost for that care at his new duty station since the additional costs resulted directly from his transfer.

The NSA does not question the dental school's policy of not making refunds or that Phase II of Ms. Chizum's dental treatment had not been completed prior to Mr. Chizum's change of official station. The agency, however, states that Mr. Chizum has failed to show that he suffered a forfeiture for services he allegedly paid for to the dental school since he has not documented any prepayment of Phase II.

In our decision, Samuel H. Sackman, B-185048, November 1, 1976, we established guidelines for determining forfeiture losses under the miscellaneous expense allowances provisions of the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR), now FTR paragraph 302-3.1(b). In that decision, we stated that under the regulation, the elements required to perfect entitlement to reimbursement are that: a forfeiture loss must have occurred, such loss was incident to a medical, dental, or food locker contract, and, such contract was not transferable. We further stated that determinations as to whether a forfeiture loss has occurred should be based on the specific terms of the contract involved, and that factors such as the cost of completing work or obtaining a replacement at the new duty station, are not for consideration.[2] Therefore, the cost of the treatment at the new duty station is not relevant in Mr. Chizum's case. What is relevant is whether he forfeited anything he had paid for at the old station.

Mr. Chizum has not furnished a written contract showing the costs he committed to incur for the treatment in Maryland, and he has been able to furnish only one receipt (dated November 7, 1985) from the University of Maryland Dental School which shows that $100 was paid on his daughter's dental treatment account and that no additional money was owed. However, as noted above, in its November 1990 letter, the Maryland Dental School stated that their records showed that the account was paid up-to-date for Phase I in the amount of $1,400, and that Phase II finances should be determined by the orthodontists at Mr. Chizum's new duty station.

Thus, the record does not substantiate that Mr. Chizum had paid in advance for Phase II of his daughter's treatment at the Maryland Dental School which she was then unable to receive because of his transfer. Instead, the record indicates that payment was up-to-date for treatment received. In the absence of additional documentation, we are unable to conclude that Mr. Chizum, in fact, suffered a forfeiture incident to his transfer.

Accordingly, we affirm the agency's disallowance of the claim.

1. The request was submitted by Mr. J. Stephen Turett, Comptroller, NSA.

2. See also Joseph T. Grills, 56 Comp.Gen. 53 (1976); Leonard W. Alphin, B-197072, Aug. 4, 1980; Thomas G. Leydon, B-195162, Dec. 5, 1979.