[Claim for Dependent Relocation Expenses]

B-206456: Mar 25, 1983

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GAO considered the claim of one of its employees for reimbursement for the travel and temporary living expenses of four children whose custody he was awarded after a permanent change of duty station. The employee received authorization to be reimbursed for necessary expenses relating to the change of station incurred by himself and his wife. A little more than a month after his move, the employee was awarded custody of his brother's four children; he then requested an amendment to his travel order to cover the costs of transporting them, which was denied. The claimant contended that: (1) a citizen who acquires a new family member subsequent to receiving change of station orders may be authorized travel expenses for the new family member; (2) GAO established a precedent by paying travel expenses for newly acquired dependents of other staff members; (3) equitable arrangements require the payment of the children's travel expenses; and (4) failure to reimburse him the amount in question would be a financial hardship on him. GAO found that: (1) applicable travel regulations require that, to be eligible for travel expenses, children must be members of an employee's household at the time he reports to the new duty station; (2) the fact that it may have mistakenly reimbursed another employee in a similar situation is not a basis for reimbursing the claimant's travel expenses; and (3) there was no legal basis for the payment of the children's travel expenses and temporary living allowances. Accordingly, the claim was denied.