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Flat rate per diem explained

What is it? The flat rate per diem rule changes for long-term temporary duty went into effect Nov. 1, 2014, and apply when government lodging and/or meals are not available at the TDY installation.
Who is affected? Anyone assigned to a TDY of 31 days or longer is subject to flat rate per diem.
How does it work? If a TDY is to any one location for 31 to 180 days, per diem is limited to 75 percent of the local maximum per diem. If the TDY is longer than 180 days, 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, not 75 percent for the first 30 days and then 55 percent thereafter. Furthermore, if the TDY is 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 http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/perdiemCalc.cfm.
It is important to note that, even if the cost of lodging is under the reduced rate, reimbursement will be for the authorized amount. For example, if a TDY to Keesler is for 45 days, the per diem is limited to 75 percent, which would be $66.75 for lodging and $38.25 for meals and incidentals. If the lodging cost is $55 per night, reimbursement will be for the authorized amount of $66.75. This does not apply if the member had no lodging costs (e.g., stayed with friends or family). If the member is unable to arrange commercial lodging under the reduced rate, a commercial travel office must be contacted for assistance. If a CTO is unable to arrange suitable lodging, then the actual cost of lodging may be authorized. However, the meals and incidental expenses portion of per diem remains reduced.
These are just a couple of answers to common questions about the per diem change. All of this information, and more, can be found in the Joint Travel Regulation, Chapter 4, Part B4.
For more information, call the financial services office at 623-8566-3977.