A transferred Department of Agriculture (USDA) employee purchased a residence at his new duty station and claimed reimbursement of a loan application fee and a loan origination fee. USDA reimbursed the loan application fee and part of the loan origination fee, but disallowed a portion it considered a finance charge under the Truth in Lending Act. The employee reclaimed that portion of the fee, and USDA requested a determination on the matter in view of recent changes in Federal Travel Regulations. GAO found that such a charge that is identified as a loan origination fee, but is actually a mortgage discount or points, is not reimbursable. GAO did not object to the settlement paid by the agency; however, reimbursement of any additional amount must be denied because it represents a mortgage discount or points. USDA also disallowed the employee's claim for temporary quarters and subsistence expenses incurred by the employee and his family more than 6 months after the date of his transfer and more than 2 months after his old residence was sold. Federal Travel Regulations require occupancy of temporary quarters to begin no later than 30 days from the date of reporting to a new duty station or from the date the family vacates the residence at the old duty station. Accordingly, the claim for temporary quarters expenses could not be allowed. The fact that the employee was unaware of this restriction did not permit reimbursement. Accordingly, the employee's claims for reimbursement of a portion of a loan origination fee and temporary quarters subsistence expenses were denied.
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