Temporary Duty and Relocation Expenses

B-194650: Feb 13, 1980

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An agency official asked if an employee was entitled to temporary duty (TDY) allowances and what effect her move into an established home would have on her entitlement to miscellaneous expenses incident to her relocation. The employee performed temporary duty in the St. Louis, Missouri, area pending her permanent change of station (PCS) to that area. The assignment was initiated by orders dated November 8, 1978, as amended by orders dated November 27 with the stated purpose of assisting certain processing until the PCS could be effected. After signing a PCS transportation agreement, the employee married an employee also assigned to the St. Louis area. Her household goods were shipped, she terminated her lease for which an unexpired lease expense was incurred, and reported under her TDY orders as scheduled. Subsequent orders were issued confirming the verbal orders for a PCS for the employee. The employee claimed expenses for meals, household goods transfer, unexpired lease expense, and miscellaneous expenses; no claim was made for lodging as she moved into her husband's apartment. GAO held that under the circumstances, the employee was allowed transfer benefits because it appeared that the transfer was intended by everyone concerned prior to the employee's marriage and the issuance of the TDY orders. In a prior decision it was held that an employee who joined her husband at a residence previously established by him was entitled to the miscellaneous expense allowance. The same principle applied in this case, because the purpose of such an allowance is to defray costs incurred as a result of relocating incident to a transfer. GAO did not object to payment for the unexpired lease and the shipment of household goods prior to the issuance of PCS orders in view of the fact that TDY orders were issued in contemplation of the PCS orders.