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An authorized certifying officer of the Department of Agriculture (USDA) asked whether a former Forest Service employee could be reimbursed for certain relocation expenses. The former employee had requested early retirement, return travel from overseas for himself and his wife, and the shipment of his household goods and automobile at Government expense. Following the completion of his travel, the former employee claimed reimbursement for additional expenses. USDA disallowed miscellaneous expenses, real estate expenses, temporary quarters subsistence expenses, and per diem for his wife because the agency deemed the former employee's travel to be the same as that of a new appointee and, as such, reimbursement was not authorized. GAO stated that, when an employee is transferred from a post of duty outside the continental United States to the United States for other than permanent duty, the employee's travel entitlement shall be allowed to the same extent and with the same limitations prescribed for a new appointee. This entitlement includes: (1) travel and per diem for the employee; (2) travel, but not per diem, for the employee's family; (3) mileage for privately owned vehicle travel; and (4) transportation and storage of household goods. The applicable regulations did not authorize reimbursement for the items claimed by the former employee. The fact that his travel authorization included as reimbursable types of expenses which may not be reimbursed did not provide a basis for payment. Accordingly, the administrative action taken to disallow the portion of the travel voucher which covered the former employee's claim for temporary quarters subsistence, real estate, and miscellaneous expense reimbursement was correct and was sustained.


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