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Highlights

In response to a request from the Veterans Administration's (VA) Office of Budget and Finance, GAO reviewed an employee's claim for reimbursement of travel and relocation expenses incurred incident to training and a subsequent permanent change of station. The employee sought reimbursement for the expenses of his family's travel and movement of their household goods from the original station to the temporary quarters, subsistence expenses in the temporary quarters, and expenses incurred in selling his home at the original station. GAO held that reimbursement of travel and relocation expenses is conditioned upon the determination by the head of the agency concerned that the transfer is in the interest of the government and is not for the convenience or benefit of the employee or at his request. GAO also held that the employee's permanent change of station travel was in two distinct parts: the move from the old duty station to the training/intermediate station; and the move from the intermediate to the new duty station. Reimbursement for training is limited to travel and per diem and, since the employee was given a lateral transfer and signed a transfer request which stated that travel and transportation were not authorized, the expenses claimed were not certified for payment. Notwithstanding this, GAO has held that the real estate sales expenses incurred prior to and in anticipation of a transfer may be allowed. Accordingly, the claim was allowed in part and denied in part.

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