TDY Travel Policies 101 Answers

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The Defense Travel System (DTS) is a fully integrated, electronic, end-to-end travel management system that automates temporary duty (TDY) travel for the Department of Defense (DoD).

It allows DoD travelers to create authorizations (TDY travel orders), prepare reservations, receive approvals, generate travel vouchers, and receive a split reimbursement between their bank accounts and the Government Travel Charge Card (GTCC) vendor, all via DTS.

The DTS is critically important for DoD operations as it streamlines the travel process while maintaining compliance with the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR). By managing all travel-related activities in one system, the DoD can ensure accurate and timely reimbursements, track travel expenditures, and generate necessary reports for financial oversight.

It reduces paperwork, eliminates the need for manual calculations, and speeds up the approval and reimbursement process.

Interface and User Navigation

The DTS interface is designed for user-friendliness and caters to different user roles including travelers, approving officials, and finance personnel. The primary sections of the interface are:

  1. My Profile: This section contains the personal, contact, and banking information of the traveler.
  2. Authorizations/Vouchers: These are the main sections where you can create and manage travel authorizations and vouchers.
  3. Travel: This section is used to make travel arrangements for authorized trips.
  4. Expenses: This is where travelers itemize their expenses for reimbursement.
  5. Approvals: For those in supervisory roles, this section allows for review and approval/rejection of travel authorizations and vouchers.

As users become more familiar with DTS, navigation within the system becomes intuitive, enabling the efficient creation and management of travel orders and vouchers.

TDY Travel Policies Answers

QuestionsAnswers
What is not true about DoD travel policy?An AO can approve payment for items not addressed by the JTR.
When the AO approves a rental car for the traveler’s use at the TDY location, which of the following is not a valid use of that official rental car?Travel to visit relatives on non-duty days.
What is not true about booking official flights?You should always try to select the least expensive flight.
What is one of the advantages of the GSA City Pair flights?Discounted, capacity-controlled seats are available on every flight.
Which of the following statements about using a POV on official travel is true?If official travelers ride together, only the traveler paying the vehicle operating expenses can claim a mileage allowance.
All of the following individuals are going TDY to U.S. installations. The AO can direct most of them to use Government quarters or privatized lodging, but which individual is not required to stay in either Government quarters or privatized lodging?A DoD civilian employee at a non-ILPP location.
Which of the following is not included in the per diem rate when traveling in CONUS?Lodging tax.
A uniformed member is TDY to a U.S. installation, will be staying in Government quarters, and has all three meals available in a Government dining facility. Which meal rate will apply to the traveler?Government Meal Rate.
Which statement is not true about receipts?You must supply receipts for all trip expenses you claimed on the voucher.
Which of the following statements is true?The JTR must mention an item in order for the AO to approve you to receive reimbursement for it.
Which of the following is not a traveler’s responsibility?Traveler must use DTS to arrange their PCS travel.
If a traveler has a GTCC, they must split disburse their trip reimbursement. What two entities split the reimbursement?Traveler and GTCC vendor.
Which of these statements accurately describes a DTS role?The NDEA is able to enter and sign DTS vouchers on the traveler’s behalf.
Which is not a method of updating your DTS profile?Using the Trip Tools administrative feature on the DTS dashboard.
Which item on the DTS dashboard would a travel clerk use to assist travelers with their travel documents?Traveler Lookup in the Quick Links drop-down menu.
A traveler needs to claim reimbursement for their transportation cost and payment of their per diem allowances. Which travel document would they use?Voucher.
Which of the following statements is not true about DTS’s security features?You need permission level 5 to access others travel documents.
Which of the following is not a responsibility of the authorizing official?Ensuring that self-registration profile requests are accepted in a timely manner.
Which of the following is a source of DoD travel regulations?Joint Travel Regulations.
What entity is contracted by DoD organizations to book and ticket travel reservations?Travel Management Company.
Which of the following is not a traveler responsibility?Travelers must use DTS to arrange their PCS travel.
If a traveler has a GTCC, they must split disburse their trip reimbursement. What two entities split the reimbursement?Traveler & GTCC vendor
Which of these statements accurately describes a DTS role?The NDEA is able to enter and sign DTS vouchers on the traveler’s behalf
Which is not a method for updating your DTS personal profile?Using the Trip Tools administrative feature on the DTS Dashboard
Which item on the DTS Dashboard would a travel clerk use to assist travelers with their travel documents?Traveler Lookup in the Quick Links drop-down menu
A traveler needs to claim reimbursement for their transportation costs and payment of their per diem allowances. Which travel document would they use?Voucher
Which of the following statements is not true about DTS’s security features?You need permission level 5 to access others’ travel documents.
Which of the following is not a responsibility of the Authorizing Official?Ensuring that self-registration profile requests are accepted in a timely manner
Which of the following is a source of DoD travel regulations?Joint Travel Regulations
What is the entity contracted by DoD organizations to book and ticket travel reservations?Travel Management Company

Understanding TDY

Temporary Duty (TDY) refers to a situation where a military or civilian member of the Department of Defense (DoD) is ordered to perform official duties at a location other than his/her permanent duty station. The duration of TDY could range from a few hours to several months but is typically less than one year.

Situations requiring TDY

TDY can be necessitated by a variety of situations, including:

  1. Training or Education: The individual may need to attend a course, seminar, or conference that is not available at their permanent duty station.
  2. Special Assignments or Projects: The individual may be required to carry out tasks, responsibilities, or projects at a different location.
  3. Interim Duty: The individual may be temporarily assigned to fill a vacant position at another location.
  4. Military Operations: The individual may be required to support operations or exercises at another location.

Types of TDY Orders (Invitational, Permissive, Directed)

  1. Invitational TDY Orders: These orders are given to individuals who are not government employees but are considered subject matter experts or are required to contribute to a mission. For example, consultants or educators might be invited for a TDY assignment.
  2. Permissive TDY Orders: These orders are given when the government doesn’t fund the travel, but an individual is allowed to travel for activities such as job hunting or house hunting in connection with retirement, separation or Permanent Change of Station (PCS).
  3. Directed TDY Orders: These orders are given when an individual is directed to travel in connection with performing duties in the interest of the DoD. The government covers all necessary expenses in this case. This is the most common type of TDY.

TDY Travel Policies and Procedures

Before proceeding with any TDY travel, the traveler must prepare an Authorization in DTS. This document outlines the details of the planned trip and serves as the official orders for the travel. The Authorization is then submitted to an Approving Official for review.

If approved, the traveler can make reservations for travel and accommodations in DTS, in accordance with the approved Authorization and TDY travel policies.

Travel and Transportation Policies

  1. Mode of Transportation Selection: The most appropriate and cost-effective mode of transportation should be chosen considering factors like distance, urgency, and available options.
  2. Government and Commercial Air Travel: Commercial air travel is the standard method for long-distance travel. However, government air (military aircraft) is used when available and meets mission requirements. The traveler must always select a U.S. Flag Air Carrier service, unless exceptions apply.
  3. Rental Cars and Other Ground Transportation: Use of rental cars must be justified as being more advantageous to the government. The use of taxis, shuttles, or other local transportation should be used when more cost-effective.
  4. Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) Considerations: All travel must comply with JTR, which provides guidance on allowances and travel policies.

Accommodation Policies

  1. Lodging Selection: Travelers are required to use government lodging when available. If government lodging is not available, travelers are to use commercial lodging.
  2. Government and Commercial Lodging: The lodging must be at a commercial establishment that caters to the general public, and it must be the most cost-effective option that meets mission requirements.
  3. JTR considerations: The JTR provides guidance on lodging allowances and expenses that can be reimbursed.

Per Diem and Other Reimbursements

  1. Rates and Calculation: Per diem rates are established by the DoD and vary by location. They consist of a lodging portion and a meals and incidental expense (M&IE) portion.
  2. Incidental Expenses: Incidental expenses are small costs associated with official travel that are not separately reimbursed.
  3. Advances and Partial Payments: Advances can be issued for any authorized reimbursable expense, and partial payments are available for long-term TDY assignments.
  4. JTR Considerations: The JTR provides the guidance on how to calculate and claim per diem, and what expenses are reimbursable.

Changes in TDY status

  1. Extension: If a TDY assignment needs to be extended, the traveler must submit an amendment to the original Authorization for approval.
  2. Early Return: If a traveler completes a TDY assignment and returns early, they must submit a new voucher that reflects the actual TDY timeline.
  3. Cancellation: If a TDY is cancelled, the traveler must cancel the Authorization in DTS and notify all relevant parties. All non-refundable expenses incurred due to the cancellation may be reimbursable.

Each of these points can be expanded in detail according to the specific requirements and guidelines laid out in the most recent version of the JTR and any particular departmental rules and regulations.

Preparing and Submitting Travel Voucher

An accurate voucher submission is crucial as it serves as an official record of the travel expenses incurred by the traveler during their TDY. It forms the basis for reimbursement of costs and should align with the approved Authorization and all applicable regulations.

Accurate submission prevents delays in reimbursement, ensures compliance with DoD policy and can help avoid potential legal issues.

Step-by-step Guide to Voucher Preparation

  1. Initiate a New Voucher: Navigate to “Authorizations/Orders” on DTS and find the respective TDY authorization. Click on “Create New Voucher” next to it.
  2. Fill out the Basic Information: Confirm and update the TDY period, contact information, itinerary, etc.
  3. Enter Expenses: Itemize and enter all expenses incurred during the travel. This includes transportation, lodging, meals, and other incidental costs. Be sure to attach receipts for all expenses over $75.
  4. Substantiating Records: Attach all relevant documents, such as the lodging receipt, airline boarding passes, etc.
  5. Pre-audit and Review: The DTS system will perform an automatic pre-audit, highlighting potential issues or errors that need to be corrected.
  6. Digital Signature: After reviewing all entered details, sign the document digitally.
  7. Submit the Voucher: Send the voucher for approval. A notification will be sent to your Approving Official to review your voucher.

Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Inaccurate or Incomplete Information: All information in the voucher must be accurate and complete. Check dates, locations, and amounts thoroughly.
  2. Missing or Incorrect Receipts: Ensure you attach all necessary receipts and that they match the amounts claimed.
  3. Non-Compliant Claims: Ensure all claims comply with DoD regulations. For example, avoid claiming for unauthorized expenses or above per diem rates.
  4. Late Submission: Submit your voucher as soon as possible after completing travel. Late submissions can cause delays in reimbursement and may be subject to additional scrutiny.

Voucher Audit and Resolution Process

Once submitted, your voucher goes through an audit process where it’s checked for compliance with the JTR and DoD policy. If there are any discrepancies or issues, the voucher will be returned for correction. After any necessary corrections are made, you resubmit the voucher.

Upon approval, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) processes the voucher for payment, depositing the reimbursement directly into your designated bank account. If there’s any dispute about a claim, you can provide additional information or escalate the matter according to your organization’s resolution process.

Troubleshooting Common DTS Issues

Common technical issues with DTS include difficulties logging in, error messages during usage, trouble attaching documents, and issues with electronic signatures. These issues are often resolved by:

  1. Checking your internet connection and browser compatibility.
  2. Clearing your browser cache and cookies.
  3. Ensuring your Common Access Card (CAC) is properly inserted and your card reader is working.
  4. Contacting your Local Network Enterprise Center or DTS help desk if problems persist.

Policy Questions

Policy questions often arise around subjects like per diem rates, acceptable expenses, mode of travel, and lodging options. If you have a question about policy:

  1. Refer to the Joint Travel Regulations (JTR), which provides comprehensive guidelines.
  2. Consult with your Approving Official or local finance office for further clarification.
  3. Reach out to your chain of command or supervisor.

Dispute Resolution

If there is a dispute regarding the reimbursement of a particular expense or an audit finding:

  1. First, discuss the issue with your Approving Official to understand the basis of the dispute.
  2. If the dispute cannot be resolved, you may need to elevate the issue within your chain of command or consult with your local finance office.
  3. Keep all receipts and provide detailed justifications for your expenses to support your case.

Assistance Resources

If you’re struggling with DTS, there are several resources you can turn to for help:

  1. DTS Help Desk: They can provide technical support and basic policy guidance.
  2. Local DTS Administrator: This individual can provide hands-on assistance and often has in-depth knowledge of DTS.
  3. Training Resources: The Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO) provides comprehensive training resources, including user guides and instructional videos.
  4. JTR and DoD Instructions: These documents are the ultimate sources of policy guidance.

Remember, DTS is a tool to assist in your travel needs. When in doubt, always seek help rather than trying to guess your way through an issue.

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