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An advance decision was requested concerning whether an an Air Force member was entitled to the dependents' temporary lodging allowance. While stationed overseas, the member was orally informed that he was selected for an assignment in the United States. On the basis of the oral information and prior to his receipt of official orders, the member began arrangements to have his dependents returned to the United States. It appeared that due to personal family problems, the member wished to return his dependents to the United States immediately. However, he apparently found that to have his dependents returned, he would have to wait for official permanent change of station orders before moving them, or request orders to move his dependents early without change of station orders. Since the official permanent change of station orders were issued within the desired time, orders authorizing the early return of his dependents were locally issued to him in compliance with his wishes. The member then moved his dependents from their permanent housing and obtained temporary lodging for them during the 10-day period immediately prior to their departure. The local house referral office apparently led the member to believe that he would be entitled to a temporary lodging allowance for a period prior to the issuance of either a permanent change of station orders or an official alert notice. The allowance is authorized preceding a departure on a permanent change of station. However, no provision is made for payment of the allowance for dependents returning under early return orders. General information of an impending change of station or of anticipated orders effecting a change of station generally is not considered as official notice of issuance of orders. Accordingly, GAO found that the member was not entitled to dependents' temporary lodging allowance for the period prior to the issuance of permanent change of station orders inasmuch as his dependents traveled under early return of dependents orders and not under permanent change of station orders or an official alert notice.


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