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Travel

Travel Leadership Coalition Meeting Updates

Program Support Center (PSC) hosted the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Travel Leadership Coalition (TLC) on June 13, 2018, and July 10, 2018.

Agenda topics included:

  • SmartPay® 3 transition preparation and implementation project
  • Office of Inspector General (OIG) risk assessment after action
  • Instance consolidation project
  • Travel policy update project
  • Standardized Centrally Billed Accounts (CBA) output file (July meeting)

The TLC is an advisory group to the HHS Travel Governance Council and the Executive Leadership Forum. It was established to oversee the department's travel strategy and set monitored performance objectives to ensure the HHS travel program remains aligned with government-wide strategies and the President's Management Agenda. HHS travel activities consists of many program areas, including IT security and development, human resources, financial operations, program management, credit cards, policy, and more.

The TLC also serves as a forum where every program area and interest has a voice as it pertains to travel. The coalition meets the second Tuesday of each month. To participate, contact your operational division Lead Federal Agency Travel Administrator or Senior Travel Official.

 

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Training

PSC Offers VILT Courses

Program Support Center (PSC) offers Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) courses for travelers, travel arrangers, and travel administrators.

Unlike self-paced Computer Based Training (CBT), VILT is a virtual, interactive learning methodology designed to engage students with practical exercises as well as group and individual dialog — as if they were in a classroom setting. Students benefit from having a live instructor teaching them the latest in computer technology, receiving a "hands on" learning experience, and having the convenience to take training at any place, anywhere of their own choosing. All that is required is the time to learn, a phone, and a computer with an internet connection.

VILT is also less expensive than traditional classroom training. The cost is only $150 per attendee for the Federal Agency Travel Administrator training and $100 for the traveler/travel arranger training.

FATA Course

PSC's three-day FATA course includes:

Day One:

  • Introduction to Travel for FATAs
  • HHS Travel Policy Basics
  • Review ConcurGov Basics
  • Troubleshooting Document Status Codes & Edit-Locked Documents
  • Troubleshooting Triage — or What Could Go Wrong?

Day Two:

  • Troubleshooting User Profiles
  • Troubleshooting Organization & Group Information
  • Troubleshooting Routing Lists & Approvals
  • Troubleshooting Reservations & Cancellations

Day Three:

  • Troubleshooting Authorizations & Amendments
  • Troubleshooting Vouchers & Expenses
  • Troubleshooting Document Status: Pending
  • Troubleshooting Special Circumstances (Emergency Travel, Foreign Travel, Sponsored Travel)

Traveler/Travel Arranger Course

Traveler/Travel Arranger Basic Training course includes:

Day One:

  • Travel Basics
  • Profiles
  • Reservations

Day Two:

  • Authorizations
  • Vouchers
  • Special Situations
  • Cancellations

Employees can also enroll in training-for-the-day, which will cover a specific topic for only $50 per individual for the entire day. This is ideal for those who only need refresher training on a specific topic, such as when new features or functionality is released in the E-Gov Travel Service, when a program role changes, or when an employee returns to work from extended absence and needs to refresh their knowledge.

PSC also accepts group and advanced reservations to support employees' annual Individual Development Plans. PSC is updating its entire current training course offering to be VILT ready. The courses may be paid through a purchase card.

Register today for any of the below VILT training by emailing transportation@psc.gov

Name of Course Start Date End Date
FATA Training (3 days) August 21, 2018 August 23, 2018
FATA Training (3 days) September 18, 2018 September 20, 2018
Traveler/Travel Arranger Training (2 days) August 28, 2018 August 29, 2018
Traveler/Travel Arranger Training (2 days) September 25, 2018 September 26, 2018
 

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Policy

Why Some Federal Travel Regulation Bulletins Have Been Rescinded

General Services Administration (GSA) announced in GSA Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) Bulletin 18-04 a number of bulletins were rescinded after it was determined they were outdated, expired, inapplicable, or duplicative.

The majority of the rescinded bulletins were fiscal year or location specific. Some bulletins which included relocation benefits were also rescinded due to the changes created by the new tax legislation signed into law in December of 2017, the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017."

GSA also announced in FTR Bulletin 08-05, "Reimbursement of Fees Associated with Airport Security Fast Pass Memberships," is "inapplicable to agencies' determinations of payment for individual employee membership fees in Federally sponsored trusted traveler programs."

GSA wrote that "such a determination is a fiscal matter for the respective agency to address and does not fall under the purview of government-wide travel policy. Nevertheless, individual employee memberships in private trusted traveler programs remain prohibited in accordance with 5 U.S.C. §5946."

The distinguishing difference between a "Federally sponsored trusted traveler program" and "private…program" is:

  • Reimbursable — U.S. Department of Homeland Security's "TSA Pre-check" program which is a federally sponsored program
  • Not Reimbursable — Commercial programs, like "CLEAR", and others are private programs and memberships

Program Support Center (PSC) will update the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' travel policy to reflect GSA's update and provide clear guidance to enable traveler and program compliance with the law, as well as how reimbursement should be made.

 

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New Relocation Guidance

On March 14, 2018, General Services Administration (GSA) announced new guidance regarding relocation allowances (GSA Federal Travel Regulation [FTR] Bulletin 18-05).

On December 22, 2017, the President signed into law the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017." The law suspended some qualified moving expense deductions as well as the exclusion for employer reimbursements and payments of moving expenses.

These provisions are effective January 1, 2018, for tax years 2018 through 2025.

The agency relocation services company (RSC) home sale program is still not taxable income. However, the following relocation expense reimbursements, direct payments, and indirect payments are now taxable:

  1. Lodging expenses for enroute travel to the new duty station;
  2. Mileage for using privately-owned vehicle (POV) to travel to the new duty station;
  3. Transportation using common carrier (e.g., airline) to the new duty station;
  4. Shipment of household goods (HHG) to include unaccompanied air baggage (UAB) and professional books, paper, and equipment (PBP&E);
  5. Temporary storage of HHG in transit, as long as the expenses are incurred within 30 calendar days after the day the items are removed from the old residence and before they are delivered to the new residence;
  6. Shipment of mobile home in lieu of HHG;
  7. Extended storage of HHG for assignments Outside the Continental United States (OCONUS); and
  8. Transportation of POV-Continental United States (CONUS) and OCONUS.

One of the main items the new law affects is Household Goods Shipment. In this case, the payment is made to the vendor and then a receivable is set up to collect the taxes from the employee.

If the move was a transfer, the employee receives a Withholding Tax Allowance (WTA) to cover the federal withholding so the employee will only need to reimburse the Social Security and Medicare Taxes.

The following year, the employee would file their Relocation Income Tax Allowance (RITA) certification and reconcile their taxable income to the amount of WTA that was already paid.

If the employee paid more than 22 percent tax, they would be reimbursed additional funds. If they were in a lower tax bracket, they may have to reimburse the government.

On the other hand, if the move is for a new employee or a Senior Executive Service (SES) Last Move Home, they do not receive WTA or RITA. This means that their receivable would be a total of Federal Withholding (22 percent), Social Security (6.2 percent), and Medicare (1.45 percent).

GSA FTR Bulletin 18-05 also clarifies that the 50-mile distance test with respect to relocating employees (See FTR § 302-2.6) is still in place, and exceptions can only be allowed on a case-by-case basis "if it is determined to be in the best interest of the Government." These rules are specifically emplaced to preclude relocation of employees within official station areas when there is no compelling business need or public interest to do so.

GSA also clarified that employees may also still be reimbursed for moving mileage when driving a POV. The moving expense mileage reimbursement will continue to be published by GSA though it was noted that "the new tax law has suspended the 'qualified moving expense deduction' for moving mileage rate when a POV is used by federal employees to travel to a new duty station."

 

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HHS Travel Policy Manual Updates

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Travel Policy Manual, initially constructed in 2012, was last updated in 2014. In order to provide a policy manual that keeps pace with the dynamic traveling environment HHS employees face, Program Support Center has established a process to update key sections of the HHS Travel Policy Manual.

Every fiscal quarter, new topics will be announced and published on the HHS Transportation Policy Input Site at Max.gov . The website will also include a comments section where interested Operating Division (OpDiv) and Staff Division (StaffDiv) members can provide input on each topic as new policies are being formed.

Policy updates will be published quarterly, and a new HHS Travel Policy Manual will be published at the beginning of each new fiscal year.

 

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Parking Ticket Woes: What the Government Will and Will Not Reimburse

Recently, Program Support Center was asked, "If an employee receives a parking ticket or their rental car or government vehicle is 'booted' while on Temporary Duty (TDY), is it the responsibility of the government to pay for or reimburse the employee for the ticket?" Complicating the issue was the employee's assertion that their supervisor directed them to park illegally.

First, what is a 'boot'? A boot, also known as a wheel clamp, is a mechanical device applied to a vehicle's wheel by parking enforcement or towing company personnel to keep the vehicle from being moved until outstanding parking tickets and fees are paid, or until the vehicle can be towed for impoundment.

Motor vehicle drivers bear a basic obligation to operate a rental car or government-issued vehicle in a safe and lawful manner. An employee who parks the vehicle illegally is most-often at fault, and the resulting fines and fees are not the responsibility of the government. The circumstance under which the violation occurred — including why an employee felt they had to park illegally — is irrelevant. The determination boils down to: Was the vehicle operated or parked illegally by the driver or was it not? When an employee parks where it is prohibited by law, statute, ordinance, or illegally on private property, they are personally liable for all associated tickets, fines, impoundment fees, etc. They may also be personally liable for any damage to a rental car that occurred as a result of illegal parking. This also applies to operating a vehicle improperly through acts such as speeding, reckless driving, failing to pay for toll road use (including so-called "electronic highways"), and other such actions.

 

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Rental Car Mishaps: Who Pays

With thousands of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services employees traveling every day, many things can happen in and to a rental car. See if you can guess who was ultimately financially responsible in the real rental car mishap cases below:

Rental Car Lockdown

The Situation: In 2010, an employee accidentally locked the rental car keys in the car. A locksmith was called and charged the employee $55. The employee sought to be reimbursed. Who should pay ? The employee or the government?

The Answer: The employee. The Civilian Board of Contract Appeals held that the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) "permits the agency to pay only those expenses essential to the transaction of official business. . . Costs associated with entry into a locked vehicle are not essential to the transaction of official business under the FTR." See In the Matter of Lindsay Hum (2011) CBCA 2277-TRAV.

Paint Job Augmentation

The Situation: In 2008, an employee rented a car on their own, outside of the E-Gov Travel Service (ETS), and did not use a government rental car contract to rent the vehicle. During their Temporary Duty Assignment, the exterior paint was somehow scratched, and the rental car agency charged the employee who, in turn, asked the government for reimbursement. Who should pay? The employee or the government?

The Answer: The employee. The Civilian Board of Contract Appeals held that the government was not required to reimburse the employee since the employee didn't use the government's rental car contract-provided vendors. See In the Matter of Marian Roche (2008) CBCA 1207-TRAV.

Hit Bullwinkle's Cousin

The Situation: In 2004, an employee hit an elk with the rental car, causing significant damage. Who should pay? The employee or the government?

The Answer: The government. The government will pay only if the damage occurred while the employee was performing official business. See In the Matter of Tassos Abadiotakis (2004) GSBCA 16477-TRAV.

 

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Airbnb: To Stay or not to Stay

With the rise in popularity of mobile phone-based applications to rent personal property such as cars, tools, and even homes, many federal employees are asking Program Support Center whether they are authorized to lease or rent short-term lodging through companies like Airbnb.

According to the General Services Administration (GSA), the answer is very clear — NO!

GSA has concluded that:

"Statute and regulation preclude Federal employees from booking and staying at Airbnb (type lodging) for Temporary Duty (TDY) . . . Under 5 United States Code (U.S.C.) § 5707a, GSA may not include in any directory which lists lodging accommodations any hotel, motel, or other place of public accommodation that is not an approved place of public accommodation. 'Approved places of public accommodation' means hotels, motels, and other places of public accommodation that are listed by the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as meeting the requirements of the fire prevention and control guidelines described in section 29 of the Federal Fire Prevention and Control Act of 1974 (15 U.S.C. § 2225). Airbnb are not commercial lodging facilities and most likely would not be certified as fire safe and would not meet the requirements or intent of 5 U.S.C. § 5707a.

"Additionally, the rooms listed on Airbnb (type lodging) are usually from personally-owned residences and would be considered 'non-conventional lodging' under the Federal Travel Regulation (FTR) (41 Code of Federal Regulation (CFR)). The FTR provides, in 41 CFR § 301-11.12(a)(4), that non-conventional lodging includes 'rooms not offered commercially but made available to the public by area residents in their homes,' which appears to best fit the description of rooms offered on Airbnb (type lodging).  Listing a room on a marketplace such as Airbnb is not enough to say the room is 'offered commercially;' the room would have to be part of a conventional lodging facility, which includes hotels, motels, boarding houses, and similar establishments…."

"Federal employees on official business are required to follow FTR § 301-50, which requires use of the agency's travel management contractor (TMC) and e-Gov Travel Service (ETS). Airbnb (type lodging) listings are not included in the available listings per 5 U.S.C. § 5707a and rarely are available via the Global Distribution System which feeds hotels to the ETS."

 

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Start Prepping for Hurricane/Disaster Season — Know Travel Propriety

With the season for hurricanes, wildfires, tornados and other nature-based events is upon us, it is important for U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) federal employees to remember a few key points:

1. Employee evacuations are managed through a coordinated effort involving Administration for Children and Families, human resources, Program Support Center (PSC), and the Operating Divisions.
It is not uncommon for managers of employees in disaster-affected areas to seek to care of employees who are disaster victims by placing the employee in a Temporary Duty status "in situ." While admirable and noble, it is not permissible.

2. Per diem lodging and meals and incidental expenses in the local area for employees in the affected region cannot be authorized.
There is no basis for this in regulation, and — per multiple Civilian Board of Contract Appeals rulings — there are no exceptions.

Similarly, managers often inquire of PSC if they may send an employee on Temporary Duty (TDY) or Extended Temporary Duty as a way of helping the employee. Performing de facto evacuations under the guise of TDY is likewise not authorized as there is no provision for doing this under law, regulation or HHS policy. Matters concerning the evacuation or relocation of employees should be coordinated with the appropriate lead office during and following the event.

3. Government-provided Individually Billed Account (IBA) travel and Centrally Billed Account (CBA) travel credit cards use by employees personally affected by disasters.

Regulations, both from the Federal Travel Regulation and the HHS Travel Policy Manual, apply concerning proper use of government-provided travel cards. For example, employees not on TDY cannot use the credit card, nor can it be used for personal use unrelated to official government travel. For employees traveling as emergency responders, cases of bottled water and other such supplies for anyone other than for the individual traveler cannot be procured using an IBA travel card.  Cases of bottled water, meals (including cases of emergency rations such as Meals, Ready to Eat (a.k.a., MREs), clothing, fuel for generators, fleet vehicles, homes, shared rented cars use in emergency operations, blankets, and other such items used for rescue workers, volunteers, victims, etc., shall be procured through procurement means such as Purchase Cards, BPAs, contracts, etc. These are rescue and relief operation procurements. Similarly, a TDY rescue worker cannot use the IBA or CBA to buy transportation tickets, rental cars, or lodging to enable the evacuation of someone else.

For questions about proper travel policy and procedures during emergency events, consult with your Operating Division Senior Travel Official or Lead Federal Agency Travel Administrator before acting.

 

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Government Travel Charge Cards

Clear Up Incorrect Centrally Billed Account Charges Made Easy

Having an incorrect or incomplete profile in the ConcurGov E-Gov Travel Service (ETS) can cause heartburn, especially when one agency is incorrectly billed for the travel of another employee while on Temporary Duty (TDY) travel.

The primary root cause of this occurs when an employee of one Operating Division (OpDiv) travels for another OpDiv, and the employee's profile is not properly changed to the correct "rule class" in the ETS. Program Support Center is working to consolidate ETS instances to reduce this type of occurrence. In the meantime, the issue can be quickly corrected with just a few simple steps:

1. The Agency/Organization Program Coordinator (A/OPC) of the agency charged will call or email the A/OPC of the responsible agency and share:

  • transaction information
  • transaction amount
  • transaction ID number
  • transaction date
  • postdate

2. The A/OPC of the responsible agency will provide the correct account information the transaction should have been applied to;

3. Both cardholders will need to approve the transaction adjustment; and

4. Information will need to be sent to 4.fedcard.services@jpmchase.com for corrections.

The above required information can be provided through an email chain to the bank with both authorized A/OPCs confirming the move.

 

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My Government Travel Charge Card Was Incorrectly Charged

The Federal Travel Regulation is very clear that it is the employee's responsibility to pay their government-issued credit card balance promptly, even when the employee has not been fully reimbursed by the government (See §301-52.24).

However, there are safeguards in place for disputed charges. If an employee returns from Temporary Duty (TDY) travel and finds an unauthorized expense on their government travel charge card, steps may be taken to address the issue.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Travel Policy Manual:

"The cardholder agreement informs employees about how to handle disputed charges on a travel charge card bill. The employee should follow these procedures by submitting a signed 'Cardholder Statement of Questioned Item' form to the bank within 60 days of the statement date on which the original transaction appears.

"Once the form is received, the bank will issue a temporary credit to the employee's account while the dispute is being researched. While the bank is conducting this investigation, the cardholder does not need to pay the amount of the disputed charge and it will not be considered past due."

Before disputing the incorrect charges, make sure you know transaction information such as:

  • amount
  • transaction ID number
  • transaction date
  • postdate
 

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Government Travel Charge Card Training

New weekly trainings are being offered to all U.S Department of Health and Human Services Approving Officials (AOs) and Agency/Organization Program Coordinators (A/OPCs) every Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET/11 a.m. MT.

The trainings, offered virtually through WebEx, are labeled, "Cards In A Minute," and will last no longer than 15 minutes.

Training subjects include:

  • Cardholder Profile
  • Approving Official Span of Control Reports
  • How to Best Utilize the Account Maintenance

Each of the training sessions is designed based upon the top questions received by account managers and A/OPCs. They are specifically designed to maximize the most take-away information in the shortest amount of time.

Contact Zane Wallace at zane.wallace@psc.hhs.gov for more information.

 

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"Split Pay" to IBA Credit Cards Temporarily Deactivated September 30

Program Support Center is temporarily suspending the use of "Split Pay" on September 30, 2018 to support the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' transition from General Services Administration's (GSA) SmartPay® 2 (SP2) to SmartPay® 3 (SP3) travel credit cards.

Split Pay occurs upon disbursement of a travel voucher's final amount due. The disbursement is "split" so that air fare, lodging, and rental car amounts claimed are paid directly to a traveler's government-provided Individually Billed Account (IBA) travel credit card. The remaining amount due is paid to the employee's personal bank account.

The Split Pay feature must be temporarily suspended due to the ConcurGov E-Gov Travel Service inability to direct transactions accurately to two different IBA cards. Compounding this is the fixed transition card start deactivation/activation date established in GSA's SmartPay contracts. New SP3 credit cards are scheduled to occur November 30, 2018.

Employees' proper travel vouchers will continue to be paid in a timely fashion. Turning off split payment will result in all of the funds being disbursed to the traveler's personal bank account. There is no impact to payment itself; however, all deposits will be made into the personal bank account on file.

Employees have become accustomed to Split Pay's reliability, filing their vouchers with great confidence that their IBA travel credit card balances will be paid in full and do not need to review their paper or online bank statements. While payments will continue to be processed efficiently and paid timely, employees should actively monitor their personal bank accounts for travel disbursements received and make payment to their SP2 travel credit card, provided through JPMorgan Chase, and then to the SP3 travel credit card, provided through CitiBank. Employees are responsible for paying their government-provided IBA travel credit card full balance due immediately upon receipt of their bank statement, regardless of whether or not they have filed a travel voucher or received payment.

Presently, travel vouchers fielded via the ETS are taking as little as three days to process and confirmation of payment made is being received by the ETS in as little as six days. This exceeds the federal travel regulation requirement for undisputed claimed amounts to be paid within 30 days.

Split Pay is anticipated to be reactivated by December 30, 2018. Travel volume across the government is usually at its lowest point at that time of the year, which will allow time for all SP2 transactions to clear and for employees to become accustomed to their new cards.

 

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Transit Subsidy Program

GOVGO! – The New Transit Benefits Portal

Program Support Center (PSC) Transit Benefit Program launched GOVGO! — an online portal to easily manage and distribute transit benefits to customers.

GOVGO! replaced GovZone offering enhanced features, data integrity, real-time reports, and automated tools. The new portal is easier to use and provides greater transparency into the transit application process.

The transition process began with transit benefits and Bike2Work as part of Phase 1. Vanpool benefits will transition as part of Phase 2 between May 2 and September 30, 2018.

 

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Travel

Per Diem: What It Is and What It Isn't

A per diem, translated as "for each day," can trace its federal roots to the first U.S. Congress where members were paid six dollars a day for their service.

Until 1926, federal employees were reimbursed actual expenses for meals and lodging. Due to its paperwork burden, Congress passed the Subsistence Expense Act which provided a flat rate to government travelers: six dollars for travel inside the United States and seven dollars for international travel to cover lodging, meals, and incidentals.

The flat rates were later adjusted to a modified per diem employees may recognize today. The Lodgings + system covers the actual cost of lodging plus a flat allowance for meals and incidentals.

This system stayed in place until 1985 with The Federal Civilian Employee and Contractor Travel Expenses Act of 1985. Under this law, rates were to be adjusted by locality, rather than flat nationwide and worldwide rates. All federal actions are taken with the end-goal of ensuring federal employees are protected against being required to pay out of their own pockets the necessary expenses incident to their official travel for the government.

Before leaving on Temporary Duty (TDY) travel, employees can easily look up their per diem for their TDY locality. General Services Administration (GSA) annually publishes per diems for all domestic locations at the following site: https://www.gsa.gov/travel/plan-book/per-diem-rates/per-diem-rates-lookup/

If the city/county an employee is visiting is not listed, utilize the "Standard Rates." This rate will need to be placed in ConcurGov by visiting the Itinerary Location screen and selecting "Unlisted Location" as below:

Screenshot of the ConcurGov Itinerary Location screen  for Unlisted Location Web page.

International per diem location rats are published by the U.S. Department of State and can be viewed at the following website: https://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem.asp

If the location is not listed, utilize the "Standard Rate." This rate will need to be placed in ConcurGov by visiting the Itinerary Location screen and select, "Other." For example, "[Other, SWE]" was used on the screen below for Sweden.

Screenshot of the ConcurGov Itinerary Location screen for Other Location Web page.
 

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Changing or Amending a Travel Voucher

Changes or amendments to a travel voucher may be required due to:

  • a line of accounting is incorrectly entered
  • an expense requires pre-authorization for reimbursement
  • the Temporary Duty (TDY) location changes
  • the TDY dates change

Below are the steps to modify a voucher:

  • Select the Authorizations tab
  • Select the trip needed to change or amend
  • Make the change
  • Stamp and submit document so that it can be approved
Screenshot for the system to Change or Amend a Travel Voucher.
 

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How To Change A TDY Itinerary

In a perfect world, all changes to an itinerary would be made before a single ticket is authorized and ticketed. In this world, changes are needed even after travel has already been authorized.

When this occurs, take command and proactively make the required ConcurGov first before contacting your designated Travel Management Center for assistance. Below are the steps to make changes within ConcurGov:

  • Log into ConcurGov
  • Look at the options in the upper right hand corner
  • Select the orange Document Actions button
  • Select View/Change Reservations.
  • Select Change Trip
  • Choose the option necessary to add to or change the itinerary.
Screenshot of the system to Change a TDY Itinerary.
 

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General Services Administration Announces New Airline Contracts

General Services Administration (GSA) announced that it has awarded Fiscal Year 2019 airline contracts to eight carriers: United, American, Delta, Southwest, JetBlue, Hawaiian, Alaska, and Silver Airways.

The awards add 2,766 new markets to the GSA City Pairs Program (CPP) totaling 11,535 markets include 9,144 domestic and 2,391 international markets. This will cover 79 percent of the routes and destinations used by government travelers in the fulfillment of their missions. Use of CPP by government travelers is projected to save $2.38 billion in FY19. Plus, CPP fares benchmark at 49 percent lower than like commercial fares and federal travelers will receive benefits such as no exchange fees, fully refundable tickets, last seat availability, and no blackout dates.

Below are just some expected CPP benchmark cost savings agencies could receive compared to large corporations by destination:

  • 70 percent lower from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to New York LaGuardia Airport (LGA) at $70 YCA/$52
  • 60 percent lower from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) at $85 YCA/$63
  • 67 percent lower from London to Washington, DC

Operating Division travelers should be aware that advanced travel planning is key to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). By submitting approval for airline reservations several months or even weeks in advance through the E-Gov Travel Service (ETS) ( "ConcurGov"), HHS will realize the most savings.

Below are travel myth busters to remember:

Myth: Unsold ticket price is discounted more and more as the flight departure time nears.

Truth: The price actually increases!

Myth: Employees can first create a travel reservation in the ETS months in advance of the date of the travel and later attach the reservations to a travel authorization less than 48 to 72 hours from their travel.

Truth: If a travel authorization is not created, routed, and approved in the ETS within 48 to 72 hours before the flight's departure (depending on the airline's reservation cancelation policy), the reservation will automatically cancel. This safeguard ensures the agency does not incur a charge for an unused ticket and the airline has the opportunity to sell the unused seat.

For more information about ways to realize the most savings when traveling, consult with your Operational Division Lead Federal Agency Travel Administrator or the Program Support Center travel team.

 

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