Emergency Travel for Federal Employees

Emergency situations sometimes arise when employees are on TDY, causing them to have to return home or receive treatment at their temporary duty location. This chapter addresses the circumstances under which the agency will pay an employee’s expenses when such an emergency occurs.

Emergency travel is travel that results from:

  1. —  The employee’s becoming incapacitated by illness or injury not due to the employee’s own misconduct;
  2. —  The death or serious illness of a member of the employee’s family; or
  3. —  A catastrophic occurrence or impending disaster, such as fire, flood, or act of God, which directly affects the employee’s home.

When it comes to emergency travel, “family” is defined as any member of the employee’s immediate family. However, the agency may, on a case-by-case basis, expand this definition to include other members of the employee’s family and/or his or her spouse’s or domestic partner’s extended family.

If the employee has to interrupt or discontinue his or her TDY travel, the employee should contact his or her travel authorizing/approving official for instructions as soon as possible.

When an illness or injury occurs on TDY, the expenses that the agency may pay are:

  1. —  Per Diem at the location where the employee incurred or was treated for incapacitating illness or injury for a reasonable period of time (generally 14 calendar days). However, the agency may pay for a longer period.
  2. —  Transportation and per diem expense for travel to an alternate location to receive medical treatment.
  3. —  Transportation and per diem expense to return to the employee’s official station.
  4. —  Transportation costs of a medically necessary attendant.

Expenses are not payable when the employee is confined to a medical facility within the proximity of his or her official duty station, or is confined to the same medical facility he or she would have been admitted to if the employee’s incapacitating illness or injury occurred at the employee’s official station.

In addition, medical expenses are not payable if the Government provides or reimburses the employee for hospitalization under any Federal statute (including hospitalization in a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical center or military hospital). However, per diem expenses are payable if the employee’s hospitalization is paid under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

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