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Travel Claim Appeals Process

 

 

A request to review the facts of a particular travel voucher may be submitted to the Travel Officer within ten working days of the travel voucher being stamped “RETURNED”. The request to review the facts of the voucher must include:

 

  • an explanation of the disagreement, citing relevant regulations, statutes, correspondence to support the disagreement

  • the permissible outcome, as supported by regulation and statue

  • an endorsement by the traveler’s AO 

 

The travel voucher and information provided by the traveler will be used by the Travel Officer to develop a cogent analysis of the application of regulations and statutes. As necessary, the Travel Officer will consult subject matter experts and authorities to assist with the review of a travel voucher.

 

If a traveler remains unsatisfied with the analysis and explanation of a travel voucher, a formal appeal may be submitted to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) for a Service member or the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) for a civilian employee or invitational traveler.  Additional guidance is available below.

UNITED STATES CIVILIAN BOARD OF CONTRACT APPEALS

https://cbca.gov/

 

Filing Cases at the Board

 

 

Cases Heard by the Board

 

The Board considers many kinds of cases, of which the principal varieties are:

 

  • Appeals of decisions issued pursuant to the Contract Disputes Act, 41 U.S.C. §§ 7101 - 7109, by contracting officers of any federal agency other than the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the United States Postal Service, the Postal Regulatory Commission, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Departments of Defense, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force.
  • Disputes between insurance companies and the Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency involving actions of the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC). These cases are heard on behalf of the Secretary of Agriculture, pursuant to the Federal Crop Insurance Act, 7 U.S.C. §§ 1501 et seq., and regulation, 7 CFR 24.4(b) and 400.169.
  • Cases brought under the Indian Self-Determination Act, 25 U.S.C. §§ 450j-1(f), 450m-1(d).
  • Claims against the United States Government for expenses incurred by federal civilian employees for official travel and relocation incident to transfers of duty stations. These cases are heard on behalf of the Administrator of General Services pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 3702(a)(3).
  • Reviews of actions of the General Services Administration resulting from audits of bills submitted by carriers and freight forwarders for transporting individuals or property for the United States Government. These cases are heard on behalf of the Administrator of General Services pursuant to 31 U.S.C. § 3726(i)(1).
  • Applications by prevailing private parties for the recovery of litigation and other costs incurred by those parties. These cases are heard pursuant to the Equal Access to Justice Act, 5 U.S.C. § 504.
  • Requests for arbitration under section 601 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Public Law 111-5, to resolve disputes between applicants and the Federal Emergency Management Agency as to funding for public assistance applications arising from Hurricane Katrina and Rita damage.

 

The Board also provides alternative dispute resolution services in disputes involving any federal agency and a contractor to that agency.

 

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Where to File

 

All filings must be made submitted to the Clerk of the Board. Filings may be made in any of the following ways:

 

  • In person or by courier: These filings should be made in the Clerk’s office, which is located in room 6006 on the 6th floor of 1800 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036.
  • By United States Postal Service mail: These filings should be sent to the Clerk at 1800 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20405.
  • By facsimile transmission: These filings should be sent to the Clerk at (202) 606-0019.
  • By electronic mail (efile): These filings should be sent to cbca.efile@cbca.gov. Additional details at this link.

 

The Board’s business days are days other than Saturdays, Sundays, federal holidays, days on which the Board is required to close before 4:30 p.m., or days on which the Board does not open for any reason, such as inclement weather. The Board’s business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Eastern Time.

 

Any questions about filings may be addressed to the Clerk by telephone at (202) 606-8800.

 

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When a Filing Is Made

 

Generally, a document is considered to be filed when it is received in its entirety by the Office of the Clerk of the Board – no matter when the document was sent. The exception to this rule is that in Contract Disputes Act appeals, Indian Self-Determination Act cases, applications for costs, and FEMA arbitration cases, the initial filing is considered to be made upon the earlier of (a) its receipt by the Office of the Clerk or (b) if it is mailed, the date on which it is mailed. A United States Postal Service postmark is prima facie evidence that the document with which it is associated was mailed on the date of the postmark.

 

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What to Include in an Initial Filing in a Case

 

Contract Disputes Act appeals and Indian Self-Determination Act cases

 

A notice of appeal shall be in writing; signed by the appellant, the appellant’s attorney, or an authorized representative; and filed with the Board, with a copy to the contracting officer who received or issued the claim, or the successor contracting officer. A notice of appeal should include:

 

  1. The name, telephone number, and mailing and email addresses of the appellant and/or its attorney or authorized representative;
  2. The contract number;
  3. The name of the contracting officer who received or issued the claim, with that person’s telephone number, mailing address, and email address;
  4. A copy of the claim with any certification; and
  5. A copy of the contracting officer’s decision on the claim or a statement that the appeal is from a failure to issue a decision (“a deemed denial”).

 

Federal Crop Insurance Corporation cases

 

A notice of appeal shall be in writing and shall be signed by the appellant or by the appellant’s attorney or authorized representative. If the appeal is from a determination by the Deputy Administrator of Insurance Services regarding an action alleged not to be in accordance with the provisions of a Standard Reinsurance Agreement (or other reinsurance agreement), or if the appeal is from a determination by the Deputy Administrator of Compliance concerning a determination regarding a compliance matter, the notice of appeal should describe the determination in enough detail to enable the Board to differentiate that decision from any other; the appellant can satisfy this requirement by attaching to the notice of appeal a copy of the Deputy Administrator’s determination. If an appeal is taken from the failure of a Deputy Administrator to make a timely determination, the notice of appeal should describe in detail the matter that the Deputy Administrator has failed to determine; the appellant can satisfy this requirement by attaching to the notice of appeal a copy of the written request for a determination it sent to the Deputy Administrator.

 

Claims by federal civilian employees for travel and relocation expenses

 

Any claim for entitlement to travel or relocation expenses must first be filed with the claimant’s own agency. The agency shall initially adjudicate the claim. A claimant disagreeing with the agency’s determination may request review of the claim by the Board.

 

A claim shall be in writing and must be signed by the claimant or by the claimant’s attorney or authorized representative. No particular form is required. The request should describe the basis for the claim and state the amount sought. The request should also include:

 

  1. The name, address, telephone number, facsimile machine number, and email address, if available, of the claimant;
  2. The name, address, telephone number, facsimile machine number, and email address, if available, of the agency employee who denied the claim;
  3. A copy of the denial of the claim; and
  4. Any other information which the claimant believes the Board should consider.

 

If an agency has denied a claim for travel or relocation expenses, it may, at the claimant’s request, forward the claim to the Board. The agency shall include the information required by the four paragraphs above.

 

Requests by carriers and freight forwarders for review of General Services Administration audit actions

 

A claim shall be in writing and must be signed by the claimant or by the claimant's attorney or authorized representative. No particular form is required. The request should describe the basis for the claim and state the amount sought. The request should also include:

 

  1. The name, address, telephone number, and facsimile machine number, if available, of the claimant;
  2. The Government bill of lading or Government transportation request number;
  3. The claimant's bill number;
  4. The Government voucher number and date of payment;
  5. The General Services Administration Audit Division claim number;
  6. The agency for which the services were provided; and
  7. Any other identifying information.

 

Applications for the recovery of litigation costs

 

An application for fees and other expenses shall:

 

  1. Specify the applicant, appeal, and amount sought;
  2. Explain why the applicant is legally eligible for an award;
  3. Provide a schedule of fees and expenses with supporting documentation;
  4. Be signed by the applicant or a person appearing for the applicant, with a declaration under penalty of perjury that the information in the application is correct;
  5. Provide evidence of the applicant’s small business status or net worth; and
  6. Justify any request for attorney fees exceeding the statutory rate.

 

Requests for FEMA Arbitration

 

A request for arbitration must contain a written statement and all documentation supporting the position of the applicant, the disaster number, and the name and address of the applicant’s authorized representative or counsel. A copy of the request must be filed simultaneously with the Board and the individuals at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State who are specified in the FEMA webpage.

 

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Time Limits for Filing Cases

 

Rarely, in the event of an emergency (such as inclement weather), the Office of the Clerk will close earlier than 4:30 p.m. or will not open at all on a particular day. Any filing which is due on such a day will be considered to be timely filed if it is filed on the next day on which the Office is open.

 

Contract Disputes Act appeals and Indian Self-Determination Act cases

 

An appeal from a decision of a contracting officer shall be filed no later than 90 calendar days after the date the appellant receives that decision. An appeal may be filed if the contracting officer fails or refuses to issue a decision within the period of time specified in the Contract Disputes Act for issuing a decision.

 

Federal Crop Insurance Corporation cases

 

An appeal from a determination of a Deputy Administrator shall be filed no later than 90 calendar days after the date the appellant receives that determination. An appeal may be filed if the Deputy Administrator fails or refuses to issue a determination within 90 days after the appellant submits a request for a determination.

 

Claims by federal civilian employees for travel and relocation expenses

 

Generally, a claim by a federal civilian employee for travel or relocation expenses must be filed within six years after the claim accrues.

 

Requests by carriers and freight forwarders for review of General Services Administration audit actions

 

Generally, a request for review of a General Services Administration audit action must be filed within six months after the action is taken.

 

Applications for the recovery of litigation costs

 

An application for fees and other expenses shall be filed within 30 calendar days of a final disposition in the underlying appeal. The Board's decision becomes final (for purposes of the timeliness of the filing of a cost application) when it is not appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit within the time permitted for appeal or, if the decision is appealed, when the time for petitioning the Supreme Court for certiorari has expired.

 

Requests for FEMA Arbitration

 

Generally, a request for arbitration must be submitted within 30 calendar days after receipt of the determination that is the subject of the arbitration request or by September 30, 2009, whichever is later. If a request for arbitration is made by an applicant with a first or second level appeal pending with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) pursuant to 44 CFR § 206.202 on or after February 17, 2009, and FEMA has not issued a decision on the appeal, then the applicant must submit a withdrawal of the pending appeal by October 30, 2009.

 

American Bar Association Manual

 

The American Bar Association, Section on Public Contract Law, has published a manual entitled “Practicing Before The Federal Boards of Contract Appeals.” The manual is designed “to provide simple, straightforward guidance for contractors who bring appeals to federal boards of contract appeals (BCAs) without representation by an attorney (pro se litigants), and for attorneys who may not be familiar with BCA practice.”

 

As the manual says, it “does not substitute in any way for a BCA’s own rules.” The ABA Manual may, however, be helpful to prospective litigants.

 

Electronic Filing

The Clerk accepts electronic filings (“efiles”), meaning documents submitted through the Board’s email system (“efiled”). Parties may file documents by sending an email (usually with attachments) to cbca.efile@cbca.gov. However, documents that are classified or submitted in camera or under protective order may not be efiled. Submitted documents must be in .pdf format and 18 megabytes (MB) or smaller or they will be rejected. Efiling occurs upon receipt by the Board’s email server. Efilings received after midnight are considered filed the next business day.

  • The following efilings will not be accepted by the Board:
    • Submissions with attachments that are not in .pdf format (commonly received file formats that will result in a rejected filing include: Word (.docx), email (.eml or .p7s), ZIP (.zip), Excel (.xls), and picture files (.jpg or .png);
    • Submissions with links requiring the Board to download attachments from document hosting services;
    • Submissions that exceed the Board’s 18 megabyte (MB) size restriction;
    • Documents that are classified or submitted in camera or under protective order;
    • Rule 4 appeal file submissions made without prior permission from the Board; and
    • PDF documents containing viruses. These will be blocked by the Board's e-mail system. All PDF documents should be scanned for viruses before they are sent to ensure that the e-mail filing is not discarded and the filing is timely made.
  • Best practices for efiles:
    • Include case number, case name, and brief description of filing in subject line;
    • Remember to cc: opposing parties, or otherwise indicate a copy has been served;
    • If an efile contains multiple attachments, use a file naming convention in which the Board can easily recognize in what order the attachments should be placed;
    • If possible, combine a filing with any attachments for that filing into one .pdf. Attachments may be identified by placing a label sheet before each attachment or by labelling or electronically stamping the first page of each attachment;
    • If permitted by the Board to submit Rule 4 appeal file exhibits via efile, the index and each exhibit should be separate .pdf documents and shall be given file names that correspond with the exhibit number; and
    • Do not submit multiple filings from unconsolidated cases in a single efile.
  • Ensure an electronic receipt for efilings by requesting a read receipt before submitting the efile. (Please note: Auto-responses to electronic filings are generated by a vacation responder. If you submit multiple filings, you may only receive a confirmation for only the first document filed every 4 days. Please feel free to call the Office of the Clerk of the Board to confirm receipt of multiple submissions.)
  • Any questions about efiling should be addressed to the Clerk by telephone at (202) 606-8800.

See DoD Instruction 1340.21 for procedures on filing a claim with DFAS.