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An agency's disallowance of an employee's claim for $50 per day paid to the employee's brother for lodging with him while on temporary duty is sustained. That neither amounts based on rates for commercial lodgings nor flat "token" amounts are acceptable. Was insufficient substantiation under Sec. 301-7.9(c)(3). Zemaitis suffered an on-the-job injury while on temporary duty which caused an interruption of that duty for his recuperation during which he was entitled to be paid per diem under the same conditions as if he were on official business. Is that in order for an employee to be reimbursed any lodging expenses when he stays with a relative he must substantiate "additional costs" that the relative "actually incurs" due to the employee's lodging.

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B-258852 February 15, 1995

An agency's disallowance of an employee's claim for $50 per day paid to the employee's brother for lodging with him while on temporary duty is sustained. Federal Travel Regulation, Sec. 301-7.9(c)(3), requires that before any "additional costs" that a relative "actually incurs" for providing lodging to an employee may be reimbursed, the additional costs must be substantiated, and that neither amounts based on rates for commercial lodgings nor flat "token" amounts are acceptable. A receipt from the employee's brother and a statement from the employee that documentation of costs actually incurred would be a burden to provide, was insufficient substantiation under Sec. 301-7.9(c)(3).

Ms. Wanda Mae Gonsalves Relocation Specialist Department of Commerce/NOAA Eastern Administrative Support Center 200 World Trade Center Norfolk, VA 23510-1624

Dear Ms. Gonsalves:

This further replies to your letter, with enclosures, requesting a review of Mr. Ronald A. Zemaitis' claim for lodging expenses while staying at his brother's house incident to his temporary duty travel. As explained below, we agree with your disallowance of the claim.

Mr. Zemaitis suffered an on-the-job injury while on temporary duty which caused an interruption of that duty for his recuperation during which he was entitled to be paid per diem under the same conditions as if he were on official business. Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) Sec. 301-12.5(a). One of those conditions, as you pointed out to Mr. Zemaitis, is that in order for an employee to be reimbursed any lodging expenses when he stays with a relative he must substantiate "additional costs" that the relative "actually incurs" due to the employee's lodging. FTR Sec. 301-7.9(c)(3). Mr. Zemaitis provided a receipt from his brother stating that Mr. Zemaitis had paid his brother $50 per day for 7 days' lodgings. Mr. Zemaitis states that the care and accommodations his brother provided aided in his recovering more quickly than if he had stayed in a motel, and the $50 rate he paid was less than motel charges would have been. He apparently considers that providing the required documentation of additional costs to justify the charges would be an unreasonable burden on him.

We note, however, that FTR Sec. 301-7.9(c)(3) specifically provides that in determining the reasonableness of additional costs incurred for lodging with relatives, neither costs based on room rates for comparable conventional lodging in the area nor flat "token" amounts will be considered reasonable. See also, Robert J. Gofus, 66 Comp.Gen. 347 (1987), copy enclosed, another case where an employee lodged with a relative while on temporary duty and claimed a flat rate for lodging without substantiation of additional expenses. In that case too, we upheld the agency's denial of the claim for lodging. Thus, even though Mr. Zemaitis' claim for lodging expenses may be less than one based on comparable commercial rates, it does not meet the requirements of the governing FTR provision, and it was properly denied.

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