Actual Expense Authorization (AEA)
Frequently Asked Questions
Updated: 08 September 2015
- What is the maximum amount I can be reimbursed for my actual lodging expense if I must spend more than the maximum lodging locality rate?
- What if the actual lodging cost exceeds 300 percent of the official OCONUS 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. What is the maximum amount I can be reimbursed for my actual lodging expense if I must spend more than the maximum lodging locality rate?
Refer to JTR, Chapter 4 (Part C) 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 Service/DoD Agency written administrative and fiscal policies 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) with the exception noted in Q2/A2.
2. What if the actual lodging cost exceeds 300 percent of the official OCONUS TDY maximum locality lodging ceiling per diem rate?
Uniformed: AEA request beyond 300 percent for an eligible Uniformed Service member who is TDY OCONUS is possible when authorized in advance of the official travel by PDTATAC staff per JTR, par. 4335. Approval (after the fact) for AEA over 300 percent is not legally possible IAW JTR, par. 4335. This may not be waived and there is no exception to policy (JTR, par. 1000-C).
Civilian Employee: An AEA request for a civilian employee is limited to 300 percent regardless of TDY location or unique mission needs per JTR, par. 4335 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. 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 conference location. See JTR, Chapter 4 (Part C) and Appendix R 1(par. M) respectively for more information. AEA may not be authorized or approved for long term TDY (over 30 days at one location) (JTR, 4250).
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 JTR, pars. 1420 and 4340 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.