Claim for Travel Expenses

B-203196: Feb 3, 1982

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Shirley Jones
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An advance decision was requested on the propriety of paying a claim for travel reimbursement submitted by an employee incident to a house-hunting trip and temporary duty travel. The main consideration was whether the employee should be paid based on the house-hunting trip, temporary duty, or both. The employee had been working at the temporary duty site and commuting to his home on weekends before being permanently assigned to that area. When he was notified of the permanent assignment, the employee requested and was granted permission to make a house-hunting trip with his spouse. The employee was also on temporary duty during part of the trip. The employee then submitted a claim for expenses incurred during the trip. GAO held that, where an employee is transferred to a new station and requests entitlements based on both house-hunting and temporary duty status, he is entitled to payment on the house-hunting basis for the duration of the house-hunting trip and on the temporary duty basis beginning on the date he returned to a temporary duty status. The employee also requested payment of mileage at the rate for temporary duty. However, GAO held that the trip was for purposes of locating a new residence and not for official business. Thus, the employee may be reimbursed for mileage at the house-hunting rate. Accordingly, the voucher may be paid following these established guidelines.