An authorized certifying officer with the Indian Health Service requested an advance decision on the propriety of reimbursing a Veterans Administration (VA) employee for temporary quarters and subsistence expenses. The claimant was transferred to a different duty station but was not informed that she was eligible for temporary quarters and subsistence expenses, nor did her travel order authorize them. The claimant rented an unfurnished house which eventually became her permanent residence. Upon notification that her travel order would be amended to allow for temporary quarters and subsistence expenses, the claimant filed a claim with VA for the expenses she incurred before the notification. However, the claim was denied because the claimant was lodging at her permanent residence. The claimant stated that: (1) she intended to occupy the house on a temporary basis, (2) management erred in not authorizing temporary quarters originally or informing her of pertinent information, and (3) she was disadvantaged by not having advance funds for temporary quarters at the time of her transfer. Federal Travel Regulations provide that temporary quarters should be regarded as an expedient to be used only until the employee can move into permanent quarters. GAO held that the claimant was not eligible for such expenses. Accordingly, the voucher may not be certified for payment.
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