[Claim for Relocation Benefits Following Intergovernmental Personnel Act Assignment]

B-211295: Mar 26, 1984

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A decision was requested concerning a Federal employee's entitlement to expenses incurred during a return to his permanent duty station following the completion of an assignment at a university under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act. Several of the expenses claimed by the employee were denied or reduced by the agency, and the employee submitted a reclaim voucher for: (1) mileage expenses for his and his family's return travel; (2) temporary quarters subsistence expenses; (3) lodging expenses for his son at the former residence; (4) a miscellaneous expense allowance; and (5) the cost of renting a tow bar to transport a second privately owned vehicle. The employee claimed a mileage allowance which was more than that allowed on the basis of the shortest road mileage between the university and his permanent duty station because of travel he performed for official business and because he had to take a southerly route due to weather conditions. GAO found that the extra travel which the employee claimed for official business was, in fact, performed for personal reasons and, therefore, was not allowable. However, the extra mileage driven because of adverse weather conditions was found to be allowable. GAO will not question agency determinations that subsistence expenses are reasonable absent evidence that they are erroneous, arbitrary, or capricious. GAO found that the agency's decision to reduce the employees claim for meal expenses on the basis of budget data furnished by the Bureau of Labor Statistics was not erroneous, arbitrary, or capricious. However, GAO found that the agency's reduction of the employee's claim for lodging expenses from $15 to $10 per day was without adequate justification. Accordingly, the agency should reevaluate its determination and make any appropriate adjustment. Since the employee failed to prove the liability on the part of the Government for his son's lodging expenses, these expenses could not be allowed. Since the employee's change of residence involved a movement of household goods, GAO found that he was entitled to a miscellaneous expense allowance of $200. However, since Federal travel regulations do not authorize reimbursement for the rental of a tow bar, and the agency did not authorize transportation for the employee's second vehicle, this claim for additional miscellaneous expenses may not be paid. The employee's claims may be settled consistent with this decision.

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