[Request for Decision Concerning Reimbursement of Subsistence Allowance]

B-212649: Oct 31, 1983

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Shirley Jones
(202) 512-8156


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

A Department of the Treasury accounting officer asked whether a transferred Federal employee could be reimbursed a subsistence allowance for 60 days while occupying temporary quarters at her new duty station. The employee's travel authorization provided for 60 days of temporary quarters allowance and the employee filed a travel claim for reimbursement of her expenses for that period. However, since a temporary quarters allowance is authorized for only 30 consecutive days under Federal Travel Regulations, the portion of the claim for the additional 30 days was disallowed. The employee reclaimed the amount contending that she would have obtained less expensive temporary quarters had she been aware that she was entitled to reimbursement for only 30 days. She had relied on the assurance of a Treasury transportation officer when she rented a house that she planned to purchase. GAO found that the employee was not entitled to a subsistence allowance for the additional 30 days in question, since reimbursement for such expenses is statutorily limited to 30 days. In addition, since she occupied on a rental basis a house which she had contracted to purchase, it was doubtful that she would have been entitled to temporary quarters allowance. The fact that the employee was misadvised concerning her entitlement by a travel officer did not afford a basis for making a payment not authorized by law. Accordingly, the action taken disallowing the claim was correct.