DTS Travel Voucher Tips
By Staff Sgt. Jeremy Farson, 117th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 06, 2016
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- During the course of a career in the military it is likely a National Guardsman will be required to travel for military duty. Receiving orders for annual tour, conferences or military training schools are among the reasons why it may be necessary for an Airman to receive temporary duty, TDY, assignments and complete a travel voucher.
One of the first things service members should do is to ensure any reimbursable expense is listed in the individual's name.
"We cannot reimburse members for any expense in someone else's name," said Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Lang, quality assurance manager, 117th Air Refueling Wing Comptroller Flight. "Any time you go on a trip, make sure reservations are in the individual's name at the beginning of the trip."
This may be a concern when a traveler is traveling on orders in a group and someone else makes reservations for the group as a whole and blocks the rooms under his or her name. If this type of situation occurs, service members should change the room from the name of the person blocking the rooms to each individual at check-in.
After completion of TDY travel, individuals are responsible for submitting a travel voucher in the Defense Travel System within five days. If a voucher is not completed, the traveler will show up on a report that the comptroller flight distributes detailing outstanding vouchers. Unit commanders receive these reports and ensure the Airmen fulfill their travel requirements.
Before a voucher can be filed, an authorization must be created. An authorization directs money for the TDY orders to fund travel. It is recommended travelers file an authorization at least two weeks before the beginning of travel. If an authorization is made and the TDY does not happen, the individual should go into DTS and cancel the trip.
"The money is allocated for that trip and if a person doesn't go on it, the authorization has to be cancelled so the money can be released," said Lang. "That money can be used for someone else's travel or something else the unit needs."
Even if someone completes the TDY and a voucher is submitted, the service member should follow up if the voucher was approved. If a voucher is rejected, an e-mail is sent to the address in the profile of DTS. Service members should ensure this is an address that they can easily access. Another way to check on the status is to check the digital signature page in DTS.
Common reasons for travel voucher rejection are the wrong type of mileage classification, not attaching documents or attaching the wrong documents and putting in the wrong line of accounting for orders.
The two classifications of mileage entered that get confused are terminal and TDY mileage. Terminal is used for travel involving driving to base or an airport and then taking a flight from that point to TDY location. Members will be reimbursed for mileage from starting point to where commercial or government conveyance is utilized. TDY mileage is measured from zip code of beginning point to zip code of destination of TDY travel.
Attaching supporting documentation to voucher is required to verify actual costs incurred. Airline ticket, lodging and car rental are more of the common expenses that require receipts. When attaching an airline receipt members should verify it is actually a receipt and not a reservation. They both look similar but the receipt displays the amount charged, last four numbers on the credit card and the individual's name.
In addition to supporting documentation of expenses, TDY orders must also be attached.
The line of accounting details where the funds are coming from. For example, annual tour funding is a different line of accounting than military school money. Placing the wrong line of accounting in DTS will cause a rejection.
While the comptroller flight is willing to assist service members in completing vouchers, assistance can be found in the help section of DTS and a program called TRAX. The help section in DTS is found at the top right corner of each screen of an authorization or voucher. TRAX is located in the bottom left corner of the DTS homepage. Lang recommends a course in TRAX titled, "DTS Travel Documents (DTS 101)."
"We help a lot of people, and a lot of people need help, but at least try to complete it," said Lang.
The comptroller flights office, located in building 151, recently underwent a renovation. The office now has computers, scanners and printers available in order to assist Airmen in their finance needs.