Paycheck Chronicles

Travel Reg Changes Affect Long Trips

If your job sends you on long-term temporary duty, changes to the travel regulations will impact your reimbursements, especially when that temporary duty (TDY) exceeds 30 days.  They all seem like reasonable changes to me, but it seems that they weren't very well advertised.  (The first I heard about it was Saturday.)  It can be difficult to do things right when the rules are changing and you don't know.

Limited Per Diem

The most important change is that full per diem rates are only authorized for travel that lasts less than 30 days.  For travel of 31 to 180 days, only 75% of per diem is authorized.  For travel longer than 180, only 55% of per diem is authorized.  As best as I can tell, these rates apply for the entire travel period based upon the overall length.  This change is effective 1 November 2014.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Several miscellaneous expenses are no longer separately authorized, including laundry service, baggage tips, bank machine fees, and cell phone calls.  Some of these items are considered part of the incidental expenses portion of per diem, and the cell phone calls may be reimbursed by your command based upon mission requirements.  This change is effective 1 October 2014.

Exceptions Are Expected

Service members who can not secure appropriate lodging within the new lower rates are to contact their Commercial Travel Office (CTO) for a review.  If the CTO can not secure appropriate lodging, an exception may be authorized.  It is unclear how this process will work, or who will make this decision.

There seem to be a number of things that are still subject to interpretation and review, such as what happens when the actual length of the TDY differs from the projected length of the TDY?  And how many exceptions will be required, and will that process work propertly?

I, honestly, don't find these changes to be unreasonable, but several things I've read have referred to people not "making money" off of travel.  You know what, I don't have a problem with that.  Travel for work is not supposed to be about making money.

As always, everything travel and allowance related is available in the Joint Travel Regulations.  Specific instructions about the changes can be found in this Travel Regulations Changes announcement.


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