Actual Expense Authorization (AEA)
Frequently Asked Questions
- How much and can I be reimbursed for actual incurred daily lodging expense beyond the maximum lodging locality ceiling per diem rate at the official TDY location?
- What if the actual incurred lodging cost exceeds 300 percent of the official TDY maximum locality lodging ceiling per diem rate?
- Can AEA be authorized before the official travel begins?
- Can AEA apply to conference location, dual lodging or reduced per diem rate allowances prior, during or approved after the fact for the official TDY assignment?
- Are actual M&IE expenses part of the AEA computation?
- Can AEA replace Standard CONUS per diem rate if insufficient for official PCS/PDT relocation between the old/new PDSs?
1. How much and can I be reimbursed for actual incurred daily lodging expense beyond the maximum lodging locality ceiling per diem rate at the official TDY location?
Refer to JFTR and JTR, Chapters 4 (Part C) and Appendix O respectively for information on how to request approval for actual lodging expense when the actual cost is more than the prescribed official TDY location per diem lodging ceiling rate. The responsible AO or funds approval official ICW DoD Component/Service written administrative policy may authorize/approve lodging AEA for a uniformed member or DoD civilian employee up to 300% of locality per diem rate. The 300 percent limitation is applicable worldwide (CONUS/OCONUS) location with the exception noted in Q2/A2.
2. What if the actual incurred lodging cost exceeds 300 percent of the official TDY maximum locality lodging ceiling per diem rate?
AEA request beyond 300 percent for an eligible Uniformed Service member who is TDY OCONUS is possible; however, this AEA must (can only) be authorized in advance of the official travel by PDTATAC staff. Approval for completed (after the fact) OCONUS official TDY travel is not legally possible per JFTR, par. U4335 regardless of the circumstances. There is no waiver or exception to policy for other than PDTATAC staff to provide this authority and any AEA authorized in excess of 300% by a DoD Component/Service is contrary to the JFTR and invalid for AEA reimbursement over 300 percent.
An AEA request for a civilian employee is limited to 300 percent regardless of TDY location or unique mission needs per JTR, par. C4335 IAW the Federal Travel Regulation (41 CFR §301-11.305).
3. Can AEA be authorized before the official travel begins?
Yes, this is the preferred method. An eligible traveler can inform the AO of the advance lodging information and request to have the AEA authority built into the travel authorization for necessary location/period before the official travel begins before you travel. The AEA specifics need to be stated in the travel authorization (e.g., Actual Expense Allowance authorized in (location) to permit a lodging ceiling of $XXX to cover lodgings costs in excess of per diem ceiling). Being able to handle this at the 'front end' of travel avoids delays in filing claims (or sending supplemental claims) after travel is completed. A ‘blanket’ AEA must not be authorized as part of a blanket, repeat, or unlimited' travel authorization.
4. Can an AEA apply to conference location, dual lodging or reduced per diem rate allowance during the official TDY assignment?
Yes when in the GOV’T’s interest (never for personal convenience), the responsible AO may authorize or approve AEA in instances when the per diem rate is inadequate such as reduced per diem rate, dual lodging and in lieu of the conference lodging allowance rate. See JFTR and JTR, Chapters 4 (Part C) and JFTR/JTR, Appendix R1 respectively for more information.
5. Are actual M&IE expenses part of the AEA computation?
Possible, but rarely authorized as the locality M&IE rate adequately compensate the eligible traveler performing official TDY travel. A traveler is expected to adhere to the ‘prudent’ traveler rule for all travel and transportation expenses incurred during the official travel. AEA is generally authorized/approved for excess lodging expenses with the M&IE amount remaining at the per diem level and deducted to obtain the maximum lodging ceiling rate for the official TDY location as shown in the below computation. See JFTR and JTR, Chapters 1 (Part E) and Chapters 4 (Part C) respectively for more information.
Example: A traveler is authorized/approved an AEA for lodging NTE 150 percent of the total locality per diem rate and M&IE is paid on a per diem basis meaning no AEA for M&IE. Itemization of M&IE is not required when M&IE is paid on a per diem basis. The locality per diem rate is $60 (lodging) + $46 (M&IE) = $106 (Total). Please note that unused AEA lodging funds cannot be used to increase the AEA for M&IE above 150% or 300% (depending on which level is authorized/approved).
The AEA for the maximum amount allowed for lodging is computed as follows:
$106 (Total Per Diem) x 150% = $159 less $46 (M&IE) = $113 maximum allowed for lodging.
6. Can AEA replace Standard CONUS per diem rate if insufficient for official PCS/PDT relocation between the old/new PDSs?
No. The Standard CONUS per diem rate is the regulatory rate for all PCS/PDT official travel.