Below are three announcements concerning finance travel programs across the Air Force affecting the Defense Travel system, permanent changes of station, airfare charges and temporary duty-flat-rate per diem.
Lost receipts in DTS:
DTS is designed to maintain substantiating records (i.e., receipts, orders and other required back-up documentation) in conjunction with official travel. An incident occurred around April 13 through July 28, which resulted in the loss of substantiating records for roughly 330,000 Air Force DTS documents and is currently unrecoverable. DTS system engineers are working on a process to restore the missing receipts, but in the meantime, approving officials and travelers should check pending DTS vouchers and verify substantiating records are still attached. If the records are missing, the traveler must reattach all supporting documents to the voucher. Without the substantiating records, the voucher cannot be approved for payment. If the travel voucher has already been processed and paid, refrain from reattaching the substantiating records while DTMO/DTS system engineers work to restore previously attached records. Going forward, travelers should hold onto all required receipts (lodging, airfare, rental car, etc) in case this issue reoccurs.
AMC pay-at-the-port pilot program termination
The Air Force Accounting and Finance Office has announced the end to the Air Mobility Command Military Transportation pilot program. This program started August 2016 and consisted of PCSing travelers using their government travel charge card to procure travel on AMC flights at the four ports going into and out of country. The program was officially rescinded
Oct. 15 and AMC airfare expenses are again charged to the traveling line of accounting on the PCS orders.
Flat-rate per diem
Effective Nov. 1, 2014, the Joint Travel Regulation was updated with modernized policies regarding travel allowances for members on extended TDY. This change created a flat-rate per diem (lodging, meals, and incidentals) for members TDY over 30 days. It is important to note that currently there are NO WAIVERS or any delegated authority from Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) to deviate from the flat-rate policy.
Recently, The Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO) ran a DTS compliance tool query from Oct. 1, 2015, to present identifying approximately 4,300 Air Force members who may have received overpayments of per diem. From this query, 17 members from Luke AFB have been identified and contacted directly. As of now, finance offices have been directed not to take any action on these debts until further guidance is received from DTMO and AFAFO. Once guidance is received, the financial services office will work directly with affected members.
Who does flat-rate per diem apply to? Anyone assigned to a TDY of 31 days or longer is subject to flat-rate per diem when NOT directed to use government quarters and/or dining facility, or when government facilities are not available at the TDY location, i.e. TDY to a city verses an AF base.
How does it work? If a TDY is 31-180 days, per diem is limited to 75 percent. If the TDY is 181 days or longer, the per diem is limited to 55 percent. It is important to note that the rate of per diem is for the entirety of the TDY. Furthermore, if the TDY was originally 180 days or less, but then is extended beyond 180 days, the per diem is reduced to 55 percent for the remainder of the TDY effective the day after the orders were amended.
The rate of per diem is determined by the length of the TDY on the orders and amendments. Per diem rates, including flat-rate per diem, are located at defensetravel.dod.mil/site/perdiemCalc.cfm.
When making lodging reservations for an extended TDY, ensure nightly rate falls within the flat-rate limit. The per diem tab in DTS must be updated to reflect the appropriate flat-rate lodging, meals and incidentals (M&IE) allowed.
If government quarters are not available at the TDY location, commercial lodging reservations can be made within DTS. If a rate is not available in DTS below the flat-rate lodging allowance, members may need to make long-term reservations directly with a hotel, or with a rental agent in regard to a furnished house or apartment that allows short-term leases.
If a member is not able to find lodging at the flat-rate allowance, they can also use “CTO assistance” in DTS to request lodging that is at or below the calculated amount. If the commercial travel office is unable to secure lodging at the flat per diem rate, members must contact their AO for further assistance.
If you have any flat-rate per diem questions or concerns, call the finance office at 623-856-7028 or 623-856-3165.