Travel Expenses for Attendant for Handicapped Employee

B-198237: May 15, 1980

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The issue considered was whether transportation and per diem expenses could be reimbursed for the services of an attendant accompanying a handicapped employee to his new duty post and on a house-hunting trip. The agency had disallowed the employee's claim for reimbursement because his relocation orders did not specify an attendant to accompany him and agency regulations only address such expenses in connection with temporary duty stations. GAO saw no reason to distinguish between temporary duty and permanent change of station for the purpose of reimbursing the expenses of an attendant of a handicapped employee. It was held that such expenses may be allowed as necessary to the conduct of official business and consistent with explicit congressional intent to employ the handicapped and prohibit discrimination based on a physical handicap. Accordingly, the employee's reclaim voucher could be certified for payment if otherwise proper.