You may get less back from the government after your spouse's next TDY, thanks to new DoD rules. But are they hurting your pocket book?
The cuts, which were designed to save the DoD money while spurring government travelers to find cheaper lodging, food and vehicles options for long-term TDY assignments, fall into two categories. The first applies to all TDYs, including trips less than 30 days. Among those changes are the elimination of reimbursements for certain things like baggage tips and ATM fees.
The second, though, is a big deal to families whose service members regularly go on long TDY assignments. Rather than receive the full per-diem pay for their location, those travelers will only receive 75 percent of the rate for days 31 to 180 and 55 percent for anything over that. In affect, those traveling more than 180 days will receive almost half of what they received for the first 30 days.
Most service members who are away for more than 180 days are deployed, not TDY. But there are some troops out there, particularly members of the Special Forces communities, who regularly go on TDY instead of deployment assignments. And for those people a rate slash like the one instituted Nov. 1 can mean big problems.
DoD officials say that travelers who are staying for longer than 30 days should be able to find cheaper rooms, thus ruling out the need for the full rate.
"The commercial lodging industry considers stays greater than 30 days to be "extended stays" and typically offers reduced rates to ensure occupancy," Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a DoD spokesman, told us in a statement. "Travelers may also consider furnished apartments or similar types of lodging which are typically cheaper than room rates in commercial lodging."
And, he said, rates can appealed.
"If both the traveler and the Commercial Travel Office (CTO) determine that lodging is not available at the reduced per diem rate, the authorizing official may authorize reimbursement of actual lodging expenses (not to exceed the locality per diem rate)," he said.
Since the change to long term travel has only been in effect since Nov. 1, it may be too soon for families to tell how, if at all, the change is impacting them. But we're trusting you to reach out if you notice a problem. Leave us a comment below.