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Non-Availibility lodging/letter

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Guest BAM

I'm sorry if this question is already answered in this topic, but I am having trouble putting together the puzzle. I am TDY enroute to Mcconnell at Altus for 135PIQ. I showed up and was given a non-availability slip for five days. I think I understand correctly that since I already tried to get into the VOQ and was given a non-availability slip, I am not required to check again for VOQ availability. I also understand that I am allowed to stay off-base under normal circumstances if my lodging costs do not exceed that of the Altus VOQ daily rate.

Here is my confusion. Lets say Altus VOQ rate is $40 dollars a day and the hotel they forced me to go to on my non-availability slip says $70 a day.

Am I going to be responsible for the $30 more a day if I stay past the five days on my slip?

I guess my confusion arises from the fact that I have read on here that when TDY they can't force you to stay on base, but they are only responsible for reimbursing you up to the govt lodging rate. I also read on here that once you have checked for govt lodging availability, you are not required to check again.

The disconnect for me is that it says your not required to check back for gov't availability, so who is responsible for the difference between the govt lodging rate and the actual hotel rate after the five days I was authorized on my Non Availability slip?

Also, do I have to go to the hotel on my non availability slip?

They only reg I found that addresses this is U1045 in the JFTR. Is there another reg I should be looking at?

Thanks for all of your help! I hope my post isn't too confusing, but if it is, it just reflects my confusion.

EDIT:

Upon further research in 34-246 there is a special clause about tdy-to-school. I think I fall under that but I am not positive. It sounds like they can force me back on base after 5 days, but they can only move me once?

Edited by BAM

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You are only required to check in once... once you receive a non a it is good for the duration regardless of the number of days on the non-a slip.

You aren't on the line for the cost above the VOQ rate on base. As long as your lodging rate is at or below the max lodging rate for that locality. $70 is the max for Altus so you're right there. You'll be reimbursed at that $70 rate.

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I'm going on a long TDY soon, and was told told by my future TDY boss that he is setting up either an apartment or hotel for me (OCONUS). If its an apartment (that has a kitchen I guess being the difference), he says that I can only claim partial per diem. I've never heard this. Anyone ever deal with this, and if so do you have a JFTR reference? I saw nothing in there with a quick read-through about this.

Thanks.

Edited by Festivus

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I'm going on a long TDY soon, and was told told by my future TDY boss that he is setting up either an apartment or hotel for me (OCONUS). If its an apartment (that has a kitchen I guess being the difference), he says that I can only claim partial per diem. I've never heard this. Anyone ever deal with this, and if so do you have a JFTR reference? I saw nothing in there with a quick read-through about this.

Thanks.

Try checking out U4151 M&IE RATE DETERMINATION FOR OCONUS FULL DAYS in the JFTR. From how I read it, it says to claim partial you need:

1. Adequate GOVT QTRS are available on the U.S. INSTALLATION, to which the member is assigned TDY,

2. At least one meal is available and directed in a GOVT dining facility/mess on the U.S. INSTALLATION to which the member is assigned TDY, and

3. The member is not traveling.

I didn't find anything about a kitchen. Hopefully someone who has more experience in this can help out.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quick question for you all.

I am on a longer accompanied TDY enroute. When I checked in, the lady at the desk didn't have a place for us to stay and offered us the contract lodging till we could get on base. I asked her for a Non-A but she wouldn't give me one. No big deal.

I decided instead to get an apartment out in town that was cheaper than the lodging rate at the base so it will all be reimbursed. Now I hear that this weekend they will be completely full both on base as well as their contract lodging hotel, and for the first time in a long time they will be giving out non-availability letters.

So whats to stop me from "trying" to move on base this weekend and scoring a Non-A, staying in my apartment and pulling a higher meal rate for my per diem???

Am I missing something?

Edited by Duck

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Guest Touch & Go Rentals

Quick question for you all.

I am on a longer accompanied TDY enroute. When I checked in, the lady at the desk didn't have a place for us to stay and offered us the contract lodging till we could get on base. I asked her for a Non-A but she wouldn't give me one. No big deal.

So whats to stop me from "trying" to move on base this weekend and scoring a Non-A, staying in my apartment and pulling a higher meal rate for my per diem???

When you first attempted to check-in were there bachelors quarters available (non-TLF, basic lodging rooms)?

If not, you shouldn't need a physical non-availability letter. You should be reimbursed up to the full per diem lodging rate for your costs thus far. Document the time/date of your attempted check-in, make note of the lady's name on your voucher, and you should be good to go (see for more information), but read on...

What do you mean by contract lodging?

There is some confusion over this term. If you're talking about a hotel in town with which lodging has coordinated a reduced rate, you're not obligated to stay there. You are free to make any arrangements you choose and are authorized reimbursement for lodging up to the full per diem lodging rate.

If you mean actual contract quarters in which you wouldn't have paid at all and the government would have paid for your lodging directly, disregard the statement above--you would be limited to the on-base rate for apartment rent up to this point. See the for more information.

Do your orders direct accompanied travel?

If your orders directed accompanied travel, then even the availability of bachelors quarters wouldn't limit your reimbursement of full per diem--and I'd be very surprised if any contract quarters (lodging paid for directly by government) would accommodate an accompanied traveler.

From your question, it sounds like the base billeting was full, and lodging offered to set you up with a room at a hotel off-base with which they had negotiated a rate below the per diem rate. The room off-base would have been a room you would have paid for with your credit card and been reimbursed on a travel voucher. If this is the case, you shouldn't try and work any system, just document some information regarding your first visit, returning to the hotel to get the lady's name, if necessary (see JFTR Para U1045-C.1.b). In fact, if you can't get the information, if you merely certify quarters were not available, JFTR considers this sufficient documentation (see JFTR Para U1045-C.1.b).

With regard to your original question, I don't see anything which is preventing you from doing what you propose; however, if someone looks into the situation and it looks like you manipulated it, I don't think I'd want to be on the wrong end of that investigation (could this be considered fraud, a "wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain"?). On the other hand, if you can legitimately make the case you intended to move onto base (spouse left, wanted to save money, in a position or had discussions to terminate apartment lease, etc), you may be in a position to demonstrate you weren't just taking advantage of the situation. As mentioned before in this thread, the JFTR obligates the traveler to exercise prudence in travel and exercise the same care in incurring expenses as they would if they were traveling at personal expense (U2010).

Edited by Touch & Go Rentals

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Here at Randolph they are full on base but handing out letters that say to stay at the La Quinta Inn at $70/night. Per diem for lodging here is $106/night. The letter doesn't actually say non-availability on it though. Based on what I'm reading in this thread, I'm not required to stay at the La Quinta but am I only eligible to receive $70/night? Or can I stay anywhere up to $106/night?

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When you file your travel voucher, do you submit that letter with it even though it specifies that you were to stay at another hotel for a certain rate? The base lodging staff is convinced we would only get paid the $39/night (base lodging cost) if we do not stay at the La Quinta Inn in which case we would get $70/night to cover the cost for that hotel only. They will not hand out non-availibity letters since they claim La Quinta Inn is a contract lodging facility even though we're paying for it on our personal GTC.

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The Randolph Lodging staff are morons. I've had this fight with them multiple times. The bottom line is they do not understand the definition of 'Contract Lodging'. Stay where you want to and you'll be reimbursed up to the local rate, not the on base rate. I've given up on them and just do what I want. No problems yet, so I wouldn't worry about it.

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Randolph has an MOA with the La Quinta for reduced rates since they send so many people there. The folks at Lodging interpret that as Contract Lodging. The memo that Finance Guy posted earlier in this threat specifically mentions this type of situation and states that it is still considered Commercial Lodging. However, it notes that the traveler is still obligated to exercise prudent judgment and not incur additional cost for the government. The folks at Lodging use the plain english definition of Contract, not the AFI version. That's where the confusion is.

That being said, there are multiple hotels in the San Antonio area that offer Government Rates that are competitive with the La Quinta and are better quality establishments. You shouldn't have any problems finder a better hotel at similar rates.

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I'm heading to school at Keesler and they don't have availability but they are trying to tell me I must stay in one of the hotels on their list. I'm certain I have seen regs stating they cannot force you to stay in their commercial lodging list. My school is 4 months and my wife will be with me most of the time so I'm looking to make sure I have a place that has a kitchen. There are countless options but none on their list and they are giving me a hard time and won't give me the non-A letter unless I book with one of their hotels. Anyone have the reg that says I can pick my own hotel as long as it is under the maximum per diem rate for lodging? Or does anyone know a way around them literally withholding this Non-A letter?

Thanks in advance!

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Step 1: read the jftr. It is time well spent

Step 2: get non-a letter or equivalent.

Step 3: rent furnished apartment with cleaning lady and cable.

  • Upvote 1

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So I've read all the memos posted about non-a's...and I think I know the answer but the scare tactics are getting the best of me.

I'm at Altus and just received a memo on my door that the heat is out in my building and they are issuing non-a slips downtown. I asked about them and they said as of right now they are only good for 2 hotels (Best Western and Microtel). They further said that if those rooms fill up the will then, and only then issue "Unrestricted" non-a's that will be good anywhere in town. Based on what I've read there is no such thing as a "restricted" non-a and I could take their Best Western non-a anywhere I want and not be charged anything below the local Altus maximum lodging rate. Can I get a sanity check on this?

Edit to add: I've been on base for 2 weeks and will probably be here another 3 weeks

Edited by XL0901

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So I found a good place for my wife and I that falls under the rate they give me for refusing government quarters ($39/night). It will not be available until a week after I arrive at Keesler. Am I able to stay on base for a week and then decline quarters for the remainder of my TDY or is it once you are on, you have to stay on? Also, if I refuse gov quarters, can I check back periodically to see if I can get a non-A letter or is that option out the door when you refuse on base lodging?

Thanks in advance!

Edited by rotc_pilot

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I would say you could refuse quarters at any point and from that point on you would get the applicable on-base rate. On the second item, don't count on them giving you a Non-A after you have refused on-base qtrs.

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Am I able to stay on base for a week and then decline quarters for the remainder of my TDY or is it once you are on, you have to stay on?

At any time you can leave base lodging and get your own place, but you will only be paid the amount you mentioned. The difference between this and being given a non-A slip to begin with is that with a non-A slip you will receive lodging costs at the (higher) local rate and full per diem.

Also, if I refuse gov quarters, can I check back periodically to see if I can get a non-A letter or is that option out the door when you refuse on base lodging?

If your RA/Finance has half a brain, that won't fly. Your non-A should be dated for before your off-base lodging began. They won't give you the full lodging and per diem costs for only the latter portion when you were off base the entire time.

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How about contract quarters? Those covered under "govt quarters"? I've had billeting set me up with a hotel THEY paid for...guess that makes 'em govt quarters, no?

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How about contract quarters? Those covered under "govt quarters"? I've had billeting set me up with a hotel THEY paid for...guess that makes 'em govt quarters, no?

In that case it would be considered Gov't Quarters.

If billeting sets up quarters and PAYs for such quarters then that is true "Contract Quarters" and by definition in the JFTR App A, are considered Gov't Quarters.

GOVERNMENT QUARTERS.

NOTE: Privatized housing, of any style or type and in any location, is not GOV’T QTRS.

A. GOV’T QTRS. The following are GOV’T QTRS:

1. Sleeping accommodations (including aboard a ship) owned, operated, or leased by the GOV’T;

2. Lodgings or other QTRS obtained by GOV’T contract;

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I'm TDY right now, and when I checked in, I was given a Non-A letter that covered the whole TDY (Dec to Feb), which the lodging people surprisingly gave me without any hassle. But I took leave for Christmas, so I checked out of the hotel. My question is whether I now have to check w/ lodging again when I go back, even though the non-A letter was for the whole time? I know you're only required to check once, but I didn't now if it's different once you check out and go on leave since per diem stops while I'm on leave (or at least that's what I've been told), or if the same non-A letter would cover both periods off base. Anyone had to deal with this at all? Thanks.

  • Upvote 1

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I'm TDY right now, and when I checked in, I was given a Non-A letter that covered the whole TDY (Dec to Feb), which the lodging people surprisingly gave me without any hassle. But I took leave for Christmas, so I checked out of the hotel. My question is whether I now have to check w/ lodging again when I go back, even though the non-A letter was for the whole time? I know you're only required to check once, but I didn't now if it's different once you check out and go on leave since per diem stops while I'm on leave (or at least that's what I've been told), or if the same non-A letter would cover both periods off base. Anyone had to deal with this at all? Thanks.

You *should* be good since your Non-A was given for the whole time. Yes technically you should check-in again after leave in the middle of a TDY because it's a break. However, since your Non-A covers the whole period if you checked in again they shouldn't have space unless something has changed.

Personally with a Non-A covering the whole time already in paper, in-hand; Press on without worries.

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You *should* be good since your Non-A was given for the whole time. Yes technically you should check-in again after leave in the middle of a TDY because it's a break. However, since your Non-A covers the whole period if you checked in again they shouldn't have space unless something has changed.

Personally with a Non-A covering the whole time already in paper, in-hand; Press on without worries.

You will be fine. Non-A given for any period of time whether it is 2 days, 1 weeks, 3 days, whatever...is good for the entire TDY. I had a non-A for 7 days for a 2 month TDY to LR. Finance told me I would only be reimbursed for the 7 days at full rate, and I kindly pointed them to the JFTR. You don't even need a non-A letter. Just getting the name of the person you talked to and when you talked to them is acceptable as documentation.

If you only know one reg...know the JFTR. It's saved me a ton of money so far. Wonder how much I have lost in the past before finance guy turned me on to the JFTR....

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I note the DoD Travel FAQ website states that a paper non-A slip is not required:

7. Are DoD members required to document availability/non-availability of Government quarters on a travel order/voucher?

DoD members are required to document Government quarters' availability/non-availability on a travel order / voucher by indicating:

Confirmation number provided by the Service's lodging registration process;

The date the member attempted to make reservations, and the name/number of the billeting office PoC; or

Member certification that Government Quarters were not available on arrival.

Per Under Secretary of Defense memo of 29 August 1995, paper non-availability statements are not required.

Based on this, I have "noted" the ignorant answers of several DoD lodging offices and filed my voucher with the required statements in the comments. I have only had one rejected/under paid (out of about 20 or so over the past 10 years). I re-submitted with an attached copy of the policy & got paid in full. If billeting won't give you a non-A, and you meet the rules in the DoD reg (still have to follow the legit rules) -- press on brother.

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I'm travelling TDY enroute on my PCS. I have dependents authorized on my orders and planned to stay in a TLF for the duration of my TDY. However, I have pets and the base i'm going TDY does not have any pet friendly TLFs available. They say that having pets does not warrant a non-a letter so I will have to kennel them for the entire duration of my 3 month TDY. Anybody heard of a reg covering this aspect of a non-a letter? Obviously, I do not want to kennel my dogs for 3 months straight. Is my next best option to decline government quarters and get a pet friendly apartment at the TLF rate?

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I am pretty sure they will not cover/reimburse your costs for your pets. But I'd imagine since your dependents are on your orders your government rate (which is what they will reimburse up to when you decline government quarters) should be higher than the standard $39 a day. Even if all you received was the standard $39 a day (which equates to about $1,170 a month) I'm betting you could find a place to rent that would allow you keep your dogs with you and your family. At the worst you may have to eat into what you are making per diem or your base pay, but even that is likely to be less than the cost of kenneling. Now how far that $1,170 goes is also going to greatly depend on your TDY location. Good luck!

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