Claim for Relocation Expenses

B-197729: Aug 6, 1980

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The National Treasury Employees Union requested reconsideration of a decision by the Claims Division disallowing a claim for relocation expenses incurred in connection with an employee's transfer. The employee was reassigned to a position which bore the same title, GS grade, and salary at a new location; a lateral transfer. His reassignment documents stated that the transfer was to be effected at no expense to the Government. He was selected for the new position after applying under the Merit Promotion Plan. He requested reimbursement of relocation expenses. The agency disallowed this claim as it does not reimburse employees for lateral transfers at the employee's request. Although GAO has held that relocation expenses of employees transferred under the Merit Promotion Plan must be reimbursed, tranfers at the same grade to a new position with no greater promotion potential than the former position is outside the Merit Promotion Plan. In its request, the Union refers to two U.S. Customs Service circulars which entitle lateral selectees to relocation expense reimbursement. Neither of these circulars apply in this situation as they postdate the claim. GAO could find no basis upon which to grant the claim. The disallowance of the claim was upheld.