Reality can be harsh. And in the past couple of days, I've learned that for reimbursement purposes, the government doesn't think much of me. I've always had my suspicions - hell, it is kind of the basis of this blog - but I found out exactly how the government views Extra Filing Management (EFM) - 75%.
Beginning with the black-hole period between June 30 (pack-out) and July 9 (exodus day), we will be existing in a state of purgatory sans a home. During this time, the government will be boarding us (thanks, taxpayers!) based on a rate in which Natalie counts as a whole person, and I count as 75% of a person.
And as an extra slap in the face, on July 1, the government will be reducing this per-diem reimbursement significantly. So June 30 will be a good day for us financially, but the remaining week or so will be a little bit tighter.
This is as good of a time as any other, I suppose, to point out the errors in the government's per diem philosophy. It is so faulty, in fact, that the government actually agrees with me.
When we check out of our hotel and start driving on July 9, the reimbursement/per diem policy changes.
In D.C., we get a lump sum per diem that covers food and shelter, which is determined on the rate that Natalie is a whole person and I'm only 75% of her. This is known as the predeparture subsistence expenses allowance, which is a piece of the greater foreign transfer allowance.
But as soon as we started heading in the direction of Hermosillo, we get switched to a second reimbursement rate, or as I like to call it, the one that actually makes sense. This is supposed to be covered in the Department of State Standardized Regulations (DSSR) section 925, but it isn't done very well, if at all. I'm not too sure what I'm reading in that section as the one thing worse than the government's use of acronyms is its use of jargon.
Instead of charging taxpayers for unknown lodging expenses, we have to keep hotel receipts and get reimbursed for actual expenditures. And then we also get a food per diem in which Natalie is a whole person and I get to eat 75% of what she eats. Though, when it comes to eating, Natalie is more like 25% of a person and I'm more in the range of 100% to 125%.
Fortunately, I'm older than 12, or I wouldn't count as a person. And, in the same vein, it is beneficial that we don't have any children. Anyone older than 12 after the first 75% of a person only counts as 50% of a person.
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