Claim for Reimbursement of Real Estate Expenses Incident to Change of Station

B-192659: Feb 14, 1979

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A federal employee received an overseas assignment with reemployment rights, and he kept his residence in New Mexico. Subsequently, he accepted a position with the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) and was transferred directly from the overseas location to Ohio. He was advised verbally that his move to Ohio would be treated as an incountry move and he would be entitled to reimbursement for the costs of selling his home in New Mexico. The employee claimed that he relied on the verbal assurance of a personnel officer of ERDA that real estate expenses covering the sale of his house would be paid, and he agreed to be transferred directly to Ohio rather than be returned first to New Mexico. It is the opinion of GAO that, since the employee was assigned directly from an overseas location to one in the United States, he was not entitled to reimbursement for real estate expenses. The employee cannot consider the residence in New Mexico as a residence at his old station, and his claim for reimbursement for real estate expenses was denied. The government is not responsible for the erroneous advice and assurances given by the federal agents.