B-48875, MAY 8, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 807

B-48875: May 8, 1945

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HAVE HELD THAT TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR PERSONS WHO ARE NOT EMPLOYEES OF. 1943 THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION IN PROVIDING TRAINING FACILITIES FOR DISABLED VETERANS IS AUTHORIZED BY AGREEMENT WITH PUBLIC OR PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS OR ESTABLISHMENTS TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL TRAINING FACILITIES. IT IS EXPECTED THAT SOME OF THE DISABLED VETERANS WILL BE ASSIGNED TO BUREAUS OF THIS DEPARTMENT FOR TRAINING TO FIT THEM EITHER FOR WORK WITH THE GOVERNMENT OR FOR OTHER OCCUPATIONS REQUIRING SIMILAR QUALIFICATIONS. SOME OF THIS TRAINING WILL NECESSITATE TRAVEL FROM PLACE TO PLACE AND WHEN THE TRAINING BUREAUS DERIVE COMMENSURATE BENEFIT FROM THE WORK PERFORMED BY THE TRAINEES IT IS REASONABLE THAT THEIR TRAVEL EXPENSES WHILE ON SUCH TRAINING ASSIGNMENTS BE PAID FROM APPROPRIATIONS APPLICABLE TO THE WORK ON WHICH TRAINED.

B-48875, MAY 8, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 807

DISABLED VETERANS ASSIGNED TO GOVERNMENT AGENCIES FOR TRAINING AND REHABILITATION - APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES; ETC. DISABLED VETERANS ASSIGNED BY THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE ACT OF MARCH 24, 1943, TO THE FOREST SERVICE FOR TRAINING AND REHABILITATION--- ANY WORK PERFORMED OR SERVICES RENDERED BEING MERELY INCIDENTAL TO THE PRIMARY OBJECT OF THE ASSIGNMENT--- MAY NOT BE PAID TRAVEL EXPENSES FROM THE FOREST SERVICE APPROPRIATION, NOR MAY SUCH TRAINEES BE CONSIDERED FOREST SERVICE EMPLOYEES SO AS TO BE ENTITLED TO MEDICAL TREATMENT UNDER SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, ETC.; INSTEAD, ANY EXPENSES OF TRAVEL OR MEDICAL CARE MUST BE BORNE BY THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION APPROPRIATION SPECIFICALLY MADE AVAILABLE FOR SUCH PURPOSES. 22 COMP. GEN. 995, DISTINGUISHED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, MAY 8, 1945:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 31, 1945, AS FOLLOWS:

VARIOUS DECISIONS, INCLUDING 15 COMP. GEN. 206 AND 21 COMP. GEN. 610, HAVE HELD THAT TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR PERSONS WHO ARE NOT EMPLOYEES OF, BUT WHO PERFORM TRAVEL FOR, THE GOVERNMENT, COULD BE PAID ONLY ON ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS IN THE ABSENCE OF LEGISLATION AUTHORIZING COMMUTATION OF EXPENSES. ON THE OTHER HAND, 21 COMP. GEN. 29 AND 23 COMP. GEN. 447 INDICATE THAT PER DIEM IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES MAY BE PAID UNDER SOME CIRCUMSTANCES WITHOUT SPECIFIC LEGISLATIVE AUTHORIZATION THEREFOR. UNDER PUBLIC LAW 16 APPROVED MARCH 24, 1943 THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION IN PROVIDING TRAINING FACILITIES FOR DISABLED VETERANS IS AUTHORIZED BY AGREEMENT WITH PUBLIC OR PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS OR ESTABLISHMENTS TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL TRAINING FACILITIES. IT IS EXPECTED THAT SOME OF THE DISABLED VETERANS WILL BE ASSIGNED TO BUREAUS OF THIS DEPARTMENT FOR TRAINING TO FIT THEM EITHER FOR WORK WITH THE GOVERNMENT OR FOR OTHER OCCUPATIONS REQUIRING SIMILAR QUALIFICATIONS. SOME OF THIS TRAINING WILL NECESSITATE TRAVEL FROM PLACE TO PLACE AND WHEN THE TRAINING BUREAUS DERIVE COMMENSURATE BENEFIT FROM THE WORK PERFORMED BY THE TRAINEES IT IS REASONABLE THAT THEIR TRAVEL EXPENSES WHILE ON SUCH TRAINING ASSIGNMENTS BE PAID FROM APPROPRIATIONS APPLICABLE TO THE WORK ON WHICH TRAINED.

ALTHOUGH THESE VETERANS WILL NOT BE EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT IT IS DESIRABLE THAT THEIR EXPENSES BE PAID ON PER DIEM BASIS FOR TWO REASONS. FIRST, THE EMPLOYEES TRAINING THE VETERANS NECESSARILY WILL INSTRUCT THEM IN THE PREPARATION OF THEIR TRAVEL EXPENSE VOUCHERS. MOST FIELD EMPLOYEES ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH ACTUAL EXPENSE VOUCHERS, AS TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT ON THAT BASIS WAS DISCONTINUED SOME YEARS AGO. CONSEQUENTLY CONSIDERABLE CONFUSION AND ERROR MAY RESULT FROM ACTUAL EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRAINEES. FURTHERMORE, IT IS A REASONABLE PRESUMPTION THAT SOME OF THE TRAINEES WILL BE EMPLOYED BY THE GOVERNMENT AFTER COMPLETING THEIR TRAINING PERIODS. FOR SUCH THE PREPARATION OF PER DIEM EXPENSE VOUCHERS WILL CONSTITUTE PART OF THEIR TRAINING AND BE OF VALUE TO THEM IN THEIR LATER EMPLOYMENT. WHILE VETERAN TRAINEES WILL NOT BE EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT DURING THE TRAINING PERIOD, THEIR STATUS WILL BE QUITE SIMILAR TO THAT OF A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE IN THAT THEIR INCOME IS OBTAINED FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND THEY ARE UNDER SUPERVISION OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS.

I SHOULD APPRECIATE YOUR DECISION WHETHER THESE TRAINEES MAY BE PAID TRAVEL EXPENSES ON PER DIEM BASIS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STANDARD GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, FROM APPROPRIATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT APPLICABLE TO THE WORK ON WHICH THEY ARE BEING TRAINED.

UNDER SECTION 6 OF ACT APPROVED MARCH 3, 1925 (16 U.S.C. 557) THE SECRETARY IS AUTHORIZED IN HIS DISCRETION TO PROVIDE OUT OF MONIES APPROPRIATED FOR THE GENERAL EXPENSES OF THE FOREST SERVICE MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR EMPLOYEES OF THE FOREST SERVICE LOCATED AT ISOLATED SITUATIONS. YOUR FURTHER DECISION IS DESIRED AS TO WHETHER IN THE CASE OF TRAINEES ASSIGNED TO THE FOREST SERVICE MEDICAL EXPENSES IN THE EVENT OF ILLNESS OR INJURY NOT CAUSED BY OFFICIAL WORK MAY BE PAID UNDER THIS AUTHORIZATION WHEN THE TRAINEES ARE LOCATED AT ISOLATED SITUATIONS. THE FOREST SERVICE IS AUTHORIZED, UNDER SECTION 3 OF ACT APPROVED MAY 27, 1930(16 U.S.C. 575), TO TRANSPORT ANY PERSON SERIOUSLY ILL, INJURED, OR WHO MAY DIE WITHIN THE NATIONAL FOREST TO THE NEAREST PLACE WHERE THE SICK OR INJURED PERSON MAY RECEIVE ASSISTANCE OR THE BODY TRANSFERRED TO INTERESTED PARTIES OR LOCAL AUTHORITIES, BUT THIS ACT DOES NOT AUTHORIZE FURNISHING OF MEDICAL ASSISTANCE. IT MAY BE EXPECTED OF COURSE THAT FIRST AID SUPPLIES FURNISHED TO CAMPS WOULD BE USED WHERE NEEDED, BUT ADDITIONAL MEDICAL ASSISTANCE MAY BE REQUIRED IN SOME INSTANCES. IN ORDER THAT THERE MAY BE NO DOUBT AS TO THE EXTENT TO WHICH MEDICAL ATTENTION MAY BE FURNISHED I SHOULD BE GLAD TO KNOW WHETHER SUCH TRAINEES MAY BE TREATED AS EMPLOYEES WITH RESPECT TO SECTION 6 OF THE 1925 ACT (16 U.S.C. 557).

IN PRESENTING THE ABOVE QUESTIONS THERE HAS NOT BEEN OVERLOOKED THE FACT THAT SECTION 3 OF PUBLIC LAW 16 MAKES APPROPRIATIONS OF THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION AVAILABLE FOR MEDICAL AND TRAVEL EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH TRAINING. IN THIS RESPECT THE SITUATION IS SOMEWHAT SIMILAR TO THAT OF CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS FOR WHOSE EXPENSES (ALLOWANCES) APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE SELECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM ARE AVAILABLE, BUT WHICH ARE HELD TO BE PAYABLE ALSO FROM APPROPRIATIONS APPLICABLE TO THE WORK OF AGENCIES TO WHICH DETAILED (22 COMP. GEN. 995).

THE ACT OF MARCH 24, 1943, 57 STAT. 43, AUTHORIZES THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS TO PROVIDE SUITABLE TRAINING TO CERTAIN DISABLED VETERANS AND TO UTILIZE, FOR THAT PURPOSE, FACILITIES OF ANY GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY. IT EMPOWERS HIM TO PAY THE EXPENSES, INCLUDING NECESSARY MEDICAL CARE, IN CONNECTION WITH SUPPLYING SUITABLE TRAINING UNDER THE ACT--- AND TO MAKE SUCH PAYMENTS DIRECTLY OR BY WAY OF REIMBURSEMENT. THAT WOULD INCLUDE TRAVELING EXPENSES WHERE TRAVEL IS REQUIRED IN CONNECTION WITH SUITABLE TRAINING PRESCRIBED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR. PROVISION IS MADE FOR TRAINING ON THE JOB, AND WHERE EXPENSE TO THE PARTICULAR GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY (TO WHICH ASSIGNED FOR TRAINING) IS INVOLVED, THE ADMINISTRATOR IS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR SUCH PURPOSES.

WHERE AN APPROPRIATION IS MADE AVAILABLE FOR A SPECIFIC PURPOSE, GENERALLY OTHER APPROPRIATIONS MAY NOT BE USED IN LIEU THEREOF. THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION,"SALARIES AND EXPENSES, MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL, AND COMPENSATION AND PENSIONS" IS MADE AVAILABLE FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES AND MAY BE USED FOR PAYMENT OR REIMBURSEMENT OF NECESSARY EXPENSES OF TRAINEES, INCLUDING MEDICAL CARE, AND SUCH EXPENSES SHOULD BE BORNE BY THAT APPROPRIATION. THAT WOULD INCLUDE TRAVEL EXPENSES NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRAINING PRESCRIBED AND ANY MEDICAL TREATMENT, OR HOSPITAL CARE THAT MAY BE REQUIRED.

THE POLICY AND PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED PRIMARILY IS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS. IT MAY BE THAT HE WILL ISSUE REGULATIONS COVERING THE QUESTIONS RAISED IN YOUR SUBMISSION.

THIS OFFICE IS NOT ADVISED OF ANY LEGAL BASIS FOR TREATING SUCH TRAINEES AS EMPLOYEES OF THE FOREST SERVICE THEREBY MAKING THEM ELIGIBLE FOR THE BENEFITS PROVIDED BY SECTION 6 OF THE 1925 ACT (43 STAT. 1133; 16 U.S.C 557).

THE DECISION, 22 COMP. GEN. 995, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, IN WHICH THIS OFFICE PERMITTED THE USE OF A DEPARTMENTAL APPROPRIATION TO PAY EXPENSES NECESSARILY REQUIRED TO UTILIZE THE SERVICES OF CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS ASSIGNED TO WORK OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE, IS NOT CONTROLLING IN THIS CASE. WHILE THE APPROPRIATION FOR SELECTIVE SERVICE WAS AVAILABLE FOR OPERATION OF THE PROGRAM INCLUDING PAY AND ALLOWANCES OF THE WORKERS, THE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS WERE ASSIGNED TO THE DEPARTMENT AS WORKERS TO RENDER SERVICE AND PERFORM IMPORTANT WORK. IN THE PRESENT CASE THE DISABLED VETERANS ARE TO BE ASSIGNED TO DEPARTMENTS FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRAINING AND REHABILITATION AND ANY WORK DONE OR SERVICES RENDERED IS MERELY INCIDENTAL AND NOT THE PRIMARY OBJECT OF THE ASSIGNMENT. THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1945, 58 STAT. 425, PROVIDES FOR PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES AND ALL EXPENSES NECESSARY IN PERFORMING THE WORK OF THE DEPARTMENT, BUT NO PROVISION IS MADE FOR PAYING ANY OF THE EXPENSE CONNECTED WITH THE TRAINING AND REHABILITATION OF DISABLED VETERANS. ACCORDINGLY, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT TRAINEES MAY NOT BE PAID TRAVEL EXPENSES FROM THE APPROPRIATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND THAT SUCH TRAINEES MAY NOT BE TREATED AS EMPLOYEES FOR ANY PURPOSE.