Air Force travelers reminded of flat rate per diem policy (update)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Some Air Force travelers may not be aware of a flat rate per diem policy established a few years ago that focused on extended temporary duty travel.

Congress instituted the flat rate in November 2014. The new policy reduced per diem from 100 percent to 75 percent for TDYs from 31 to 180 days and to 55 percent for TDYs over 180 days. What this means is for a traveler whose TDY runs 31 to 180 days in length, the entire TDY per diem is paid at 75 percent. For a traveler whose TDY runs more than 180 days, the entire TDY per diem is paid at 55 percent.

The flat rate per diem policy was put in place to encourage travelers to take advantage of cost saving opportunities available for long term travel. All government travelers performing TDY for more than 30 days in one location (CONUS and OCONUS) will receive a flat rate per diem.

The commercial lodging industry considers stays greater than 30 days to be “extended stays” and typically offers reduced rates to ensure occupancy. Travelers may also consider furnished apartments or similar types of lodging which are typically cheaper than room rates in commercial lodging. Data analysis demonstrates the flat rate per diem adequately covers lodging, meals, and incidental expenses, more accurately reflecting actual costs incurred.

Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center finance officials encourage Air Force travelers whose temporary duty travel exceeds 30 days and their approving officials to be knowledgeable of the policy.

“We want to make sure Air Force travelers and approving officials understand the policy when creating travel authorizations and filing vouchers so that payments can be made timely and accurately,” said Col. Burke Beaumont, deputy director of AFIMSC’s Resource Management Directorate.

The Defense Travel System features a program that routinely checks to ensure travelers comply with the policy that was initiated three years ago. Flat rate per diem information is available at the Defense Travel Management Office website at http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil.