The U.S. Information Agency requested a decision regarding its authority to request canceled checks to verify temporary lodging expenses from an employee and to reimburse him for estimated meal expenses. The employee had submitted a typed statement as verification of his lodging expenses and had estimated the expenditures which he had incurred for groceries. The vouchers which the employee submitted to the agency for these expenses were returned, and he was requested to provide canceled checks to verify his lodging expenses and itemize his meal costs. The Foreign Affairs Manual requires employees to submit an itemized listing of daily expenses with their travel vouchers and requires that receipts be obtained for lodging expenses. Where an agency is not satisfied that an employee's explanation of incurred costs is sufficient, it should require additional information before the claim is paid. If further evidence is presented, the agency may reimburse the employee to the extent that the lodging costs incurred were reasonable. In addition, any claim for meal costs based on unsubstantiated estimates is not reimbursable. Since the amounts claimed by the employee for meals were not based on a proration of his actual costs or on a reasonable reconstruction of his actual costs, but on an unsubstantiated estimate of the total amount spent on groceries, the employee's voucher for meal expenses may not be paid.
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