HomeNewsArticle Display

AF to implement DOD TDY policy changes

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Defense Department recently implemented two TDY policy changes impacting travel reimbursements for Airmen.

The first change took effect Oct. 1, and made changes to the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR), Reimbursable and Incidental Expense Policy. The second will be a change in long-term TDY per diem expenses and takes effect Nov. 1.

Referencing the new policy for incidental expenses, contiguous U.S. (CONUS) laundry expenses, tips to baggage handlers by uniformed members and ATM fees are among those now considered part of the incidental expense portion of per diem, thus they are no longer reimbursable as separate miscellaneous expenses. These expenses will now be added to the current list which includes such items as tips to porters, baggage carriers, bellhops, hotel maids, stewards and stewardesses.

Per the Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO), the changes will simplify the travel regulation policy to align the DOD with industry best practices and to reduce travel costs for DOD.

The rate for incidental expenses will remain at $5 per day for CONUS locations and will vary according to outside CONUS locations.

In a review of travel vouchers, the DTMO found only 13.27 percent claimed ATM fees, 4.2 percent claimed CONUS laundry and .04 percent claimed transportation tips.

If incidental expenses go over the set amount (over the entire TDY period) and travelers can justify the expense (with receipts for all expenses), they can work with their approving officials to authorize actual expense allowance (AEA) for the meals and incidental expense (M&IE) portion of per diem.

Personnel who began travel before Oct. 1, can still be reimbursed under the old policy as long as the expense was incurred before the new date.
The flat-rate per diem policy change will encourage travelers to take advantage of cost-saving opportunities for long-term travel – spending 31 days or more in a single location.

Additionally, it will urge travelers to work with hotels that have discounted rates for extended stays, usually more than 30 days, thereby saving tax-payer dollars.

The change to the regulation will provide for a flat-rate per diem expense based upon length of stay. The flat-rate will be as follows:

- On travel day to location: 100 percent of lodging per diem at the locality rate and 75 percent of M&IE
- For TDYs that are 31 to 180 days: flat rate of 75 percent of the locality rate (lodging/M&IE) for each full day, starting day two through the end of the TDY
- For those TDYs (approved by the appropriate authority per JTR) for greater than 180 days: flat rate of 55 percent locality rate is authorized for each full day, starting day two through the last night at the TDY location, then 75 percent of M&IE on the return travel day

The DOD believes for extended TDYs there are opportunities to obtain a better lodging rate. Also, when a traveler forecasts out and determines that after 30 days he/she is going to get 75 or 55 percent of per diem, they can find a hotel to stay in to meet that cost and capitalize on better food expenditures over the course of the long-term TDY.

However, there are exceptions to the policy.

It depends on if one is staying in government quarters or not. Also, if one is going to an area where the cost for all hotels is going to max out the lodging, and a flat rate is not available, authorizing officials can authorize AEA only after confirming there is no other lodging with the Commercial Travel Office. There are methods to paying the higher cost in situations where a traveler can't get the reduced rate. In other words, any traveler unable to find suitable commercial lodging at the flat rate should contact their CTO for assistance. If both the traveler and the CTO determine that lodging is not available at the flat rate, the authorizing offical may authorize reimbursement of the actual lodging expense (not to exceed the locality per diem rate). However, the traveler will receive M&IE at the flat rate.

In all instances, the traveler should work with their local CTO to secure a hotel.

Although DTMO has stated “travelers will not be required to submit a lodging receipt,” the Air Force will require a lodging receipt on all travel vouchers to support the claim. The receipt is necessary backup on the voucher to justify the proper reimbursement of taxes, leave periods, and verification a lodging expense was incurred just to name a few instances. To simplify when a receipt should be required and reduce confusion the Air Force will require it on all travel vouchers.

To help travelers better plan for their long-term TDY cost, they should visit the DTMO website 'Per Diem Rates Query' page, available by clicking here. It includes the breakdown of per diem for the respective flat rate. Travelers can use it to project their per diem entitlement, and update DTS per diem entitlements with these amounts, if applicable.

Some other rules that will apply under this policy change are as follows:

- Flat rate lodging per diem does not apply when government or contracted government lodging is available or provided at no cost to the traveler.
- If meals are provided or government meals are available and directed, the traveler will be paid the Government Meal Rate, Proportional Meal Rate and Incidental Expense portion of per diem
- If the traveler is staying with friends/relatives at the TDY location, they will not receive the lodging portion of per diem

Until DTS can accommodate calculating the flat-rate per diem, a manual computation will be required, and the applicable lodging per diem rate will need to be edited for input into DTS.

According to DTMO, the DOD estimates they will save on both policy changes more than $37 million annually. To access the DTMO website, click here

Editor’s note: (Staff Sgt. Amanda Dick, Headquarters Pacific Air Force Public Affairs and Master Sgt. Jeremy Lemaire, Air Force Accounting and Finance Office contributed to the article)

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Ever heard of the rule of 0-0-1-3? No. Well it means to have zero alcohol if you're underage, zero drinks if you're… https://t.co/7bNRnhYuWS
RT @HQ_AFMC: #Readiness was on display by our @AFResearchLab teams during a live-virtual-constructive training simulation, enabling #Airmen
RT @AFWERX: We can't wait for 2020: The @USAirForce Advanced Manufacturing Olympics is slated for July 8-9 in Salt Lake City & will bring t…
RT @AirNatlGuard: “The Silver Flag training sites provide our Airmen with real-world scenarios to reinforce our Air Force Specialty Code sk…
RT @US_TRANSCOM: Watch a @usairforce KC-10A refuel, and be refueled during same mission in support of @CJTFOIR. #Togetherwdeliver #NKAWTG #…
RT @AETCommand: Transforming the way we learn with technology is one of our key priorities here in the First Command! Check out the photos…
RT @AirNatlGuard: This week, @ChiefNGB visited the @PRNationalGuard at Muñiz Air National Guard Base to meet with senior leaders and discus…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: YOU are the most important reason for our mission success. Take care of each other & preserve the connections & commun…
RT @AirmanMagazine: When it comes to acquisitions, the @usairforce has the need for speed. Equipping Airmen with the best technology start…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: A distinct privilege to help unveil the F-117 exhibit, establishing this remarkable aircraft in its rightful place in…
RT @AirNatlGuard: “For me personally, the CAP and Air Guard go hand in hand. When I look back at any state active duty or state support we…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Honored to participate on a panel with my fellow Service Chiefs at the @ReaganInstitute. May our leaders of today & th…
It was just a childhood dream but it crescendoed into this #Airman becoming the only woman in the #AirForce to both… https://t.co/vzGjPe7Vri
RT @USAFReserve: Loadmaster first Reservist to complete USAF Weapons School Advanced Instructor Course (Story by the @403rdWing) #ReserveRe
.@secafoffical will speak about America’s footprint in space going forward at 5:45 EST. Watch live at https://t.co/aSlw5ceGJj
RT @DeptofDefense: LIVE: @EsperDoD delivers keynote remarks at the Reagan National Defense Forum. #RNDF https://t.co/ZXhuaTOQTm
Today, we help Col. Charles McGee, a Tuskegee Airman, combat veteran and American legend, celebrate 💯 sorties aroun… https://t.co/bcmcDr4IYW
December 7, 1941. #PearlHarbor and six other #military bases on the Hawaiian island of Oahu were attacked, beginnin… https://t.co/4GvB8yPpGV
RT @US_TRANSCOM: Take a look at @usairforce Airmen assigned to the @109thAW using their ski-equipped C-130s to deliver supplies to the Arct…