[Claim for Reimbursement of Real Estate Expenses]

B-210767: Jun 9, 1983

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Shirley Jones
(202) 512-8156
jonessa@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

A decision was requested as to whether a former Public Health Service (PHS) doctor was entitled to reimbursement of real estate expenses after separation from service and subsequent reemployment with the Veterans Administration (VA). Miscellaneous expenses, travel and transportation expenses, and real estate expenses were authorized by VA; however, there was disagreement as to the employee's entitlement and whether he should be considered an employee transferred from one agency to another without a break in service. GAO has held that commissioned officers of PHS should be considered members of a uniformed service. Therefore, the employee was not covered by the travel and relocation reimbursement authority which is applicable to civilian employees of the Government. Because he was a member of a uniformed service, the statute covering the claimant's pay and allowances did not provide for reimbursement of real estate expenses. GAO found that the claimant's purported transfer was actually a separation from a uniformed service followed by a subsequent new appointment, and there is no authority for reimbursement of real estate expenses for new appointees. Accordingly, the claim for real estate expenses must be denied. Further, since travel and transportation expenses are reimbursable to new employees only in a manpower shortage position or as a separated member of a uniformed service returning to his home of record, GAO found that the residence sale and purchase expenses, miscellaneous expense allowance, and per diem allowance were not allowable. Therefore, any amounts erroneously paid to the employee will have to be repaid by him.