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75% and Me (is gone)

UPDATE: Great news, everything is back to 100% and the military travel world makes sense again. You can read this article as a reminder of how dumb government travel can be.

Have you heard of the JTR’s 75% rule? The rule is designed to encourage members to find efficiencies on long-term stays.

When does it apply?
All stays 31 days OR more at a single location to BOTH the food (M&IE) and lodging per diems!

What is the rule?
Table 2-21 of the JTR directs that if a TDY is 31-180 days at a single location, then a flat-rate of 75% of the per diem allowance is payable for each full day. If a TDY is 181 days or more at a single location, then a flat-rate of 55% of the per diem allowance is payable for each full day.

What if lodging is more or less than the 75% rate?
If you decide to stay in lodging that costs more or less than the 75% rate, in general, you pay/pocket the difference. There are a couple of exceptions found in Table 2-21 mainly around government lodging and when there is no lodging available at or below the 75% rate.

Can my rate be reduced further?
“The flat rate may not be reduced further even if the actual lodging costs incurred are less than the lodging portion of the flat-rate per diem, unless Government quarters and meals are available or the Secretary concerned reduces it to a lower rate.” (JTR 020311-E)

A couple of what-ifs:
What if I cannot find lodging at the reduced rate? If you and your TMC (commercial travel office) cannot find lodging at the reduced rate than the lodging portion is waived.

What if my TDY gets extended past 31 days? The 75% rule only applies to scheduled stays of more than 31 days at a single location. If, for example, you have a 20 day TDY and on day 10 you get another 12 days added (for a total of 32 days) the 75% rule would not apply because no single portion was scheduled for more 31 or more days. If, however, on day 10 of your original 20 day TDY another 25 days were added then the 75% rule would apple for days 11-45.

What if “government meals are directed and provided”? Then the GMR or PMR rate applies for food.

Disaster areas? Can be approved up to 300%.

Table 2-21 lists 21 exemptions to the 75% rule and is worth a read.

Further reading: The JTR http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/Docs/perdiem/JTR.pdf 

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