[Liability for Overpayments of Subsistence Expenses]

B-209191: Apr 13, 1983

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A member of the uniformed services requested an opinion as to whether his liability, and that of others in his group, for overpayments of temporary duty subsistence expenses may be excused. The members in question were employed in the Helicopter Operations Group, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). On the basis of a prior GAO holding, the NOAA finance office issued bills for repayment of subsistence expenses in excess of the maximum fixed by regulation. The decision held that, while a Government contracting officer may procure rooms or meals from a commercial concern for employees on temporary duty, appropriated funds are not available to pay employees' per diem or actual expenses in excess of those allowed by statute or regulation. GAO noted that the decision was specifically addressed to the expense provisions in law applicable to civilian employees of the Federal Government. GAO will not object to per diem payments, such as those already made to the uniformed service officer in this case, which exceed statutory or regulatory maximums, since that decision was not applicable to members of the uniformed services. However, GAO stated that, effective from the date of this decision, the rule will be applicable to per diem payments made to members of the uniformed services. Accordingly, the bills of collection issued to the officer and other members of the group should be canceled.

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