SSAI Travel Instructions

SSAI Travel Instructions for ATom

Travel Request Form
The first action to all travel planning:  download and submit the SSAI Travel Request Form.  This is to ensure all basic travel details are accurate for the trip and the individual scientist.  As soon as travel dates are available (even if estimated), submit the SSAI Travel Request Form.   If actual travel dates later change with the work requirements, an email to Diane Zeimet describing the change is all that will be necessary.  
 
The form has the SSAI Charge Number pre-entered.  After providing the pertinent details, the traveler should sign it, then send a scan or fax copy to Diane Zeimet.  Retain the original paper form and include it with all receipts when submitting for expense reimbursement after deployment: diane.zeimet@ssaihq.comdiane.l.zeimet@nasa.gov; fax#: 757-951-1900;  direct phone: 757-951-1674.

It isn’t necessary for the PI or the guest traveler’s supervisor to sign the form.  SSAI Program and Project Managers are the signature approvers.

Expense Reimbursement
Download the SSAI Expense Report Form along with the Trip Report-Integration Form or the Trip Report-Deployment Form.  Both original paper forms are required for reimbursement payment.  Don’t inadvertently cause a delay to your reimbursement payment.  Submit both signed forms together and at the same time as providing the original receipts.   Proper hand written signatures are expected on the original forms.  Electronically embossed facsimiles or pasted photos of signatures are not adequate.  Mail/ship all original paper documents to Diane Zeimet at the address below in the signature block.
 
Mail/ship all original paper documents to Daine Zeimet at the address provided below.  This required action is not optional.  However, to expedite reimbursement payments, you may send scanned forms and receipts from the field.  This will not relieve you of the requirement to provide all originals.  As soon as possible after you return to the US, please-please follow up to mail/ship all paper original documents to me.
 
All reimbursement expenses will be paid in US dollars.  Utilize the on-line conversion tool found on the Oanda.com website.  This is the NASA and SSAI recognized currency conversion resource.  If you pay cash for an expense, you will need to use Oanda.com to convert the Foreign Currencies to US Dollars.  Printouts of expanded line items found on Bank or Credit Card statements are an excellent proof of purchase, as the conversion to USD has already been accomplished.   If there are bank charged currency conversion fees, those will also be notated on the same financial statement.
 
International Rental Cars
SSAI does not carry international drivers insurance.  If you will be the responsible team member with a rental car at any of the international locations, you must purchase the Loss & Damage Insurance offered by the rental car company. This policy includes Alaska and Hawaii, as they are not contiguous states. Only the Loss & Damage Insurance will be fully reimbursed with proper proof of payment document.  If you purchase other insurances, i.e. personal liability and collision, the financial responsibility will be yours alone. 
 
Receipts or other proof of payment documents are mandatory.    An electronic copy or email reply with your reservation confirmation is not sufficient, as it only states the expected cost, an estimate.  You must provide a receipt showing the full breakdown of PAID rental vehicle charges.  Expense claims must be entered in US Dollars on the Expense Report.
 
US Domestic Local Ground Transportation and Rental Cars   
During US Domestic SSAI business travel at Armstrong Flight Research Center and Palmdale CA, you will be covered under an SSAI insurance policy.  Do not purchase optional insurance from the rental car company, no matter how hard the representative pressures you.  If you do make the personal decision to purchase optional insurance, you will not be reimbursed.  The C.N.A. Insurance policy details are available upon request.
 
Other optional add-ons that will not be reimbursed:  pre-paid fuel, roadside assistance, child safety seats, and GPS devices. 

NOTE:  On May 13, 2015 the Federal Travel Regulation declared pre-paid fuel as non-reimbursable.  If you purchase this option, you will be responsible for this fuel expense and will not be reimbursed.  No exceptions.  So, plan to fill the gas tank yourself prior to returning the car.
 
Parking at the departure airport versus round-trip taxi fare:  This is particularly important for the longer duration Field Missions and will be closely scrutinized at SSAI. 

NASA may reimburse your parking fee as an allowable transportation expense not to exceed the cost of taxi fare to/from the terminal. As a prudent traveler, you should use satellite parking facilities rather than daily or valet parking facilities.
 
However, to be in compliance with the Federal travel requirements, when planning all travel that could require departure-airport parking fees, please prepare a simple cost comparison to determine which mode of ground travel would be more advantageous to the government (PoV driving with parking, versus round-trip taxi to/from home and airport). Whichever is MORE advantageous to the government should be the expense listed on the SSAI Travel Request form.   At this time it is not required to provide the cost comparison with the expense report.   
 
NASA Auditors use “taxifarefinder.com” when they audit vouchers. When comparing costs, please make sure the tip amount added to the fare estimate is 15%.  The site shows three different estimated costs depending on traffic, I recommend you always use the highest estimate. If the city doesn’t pull up, the default is to use the average US taxi rate.
 
Lodging
Hotel expenses must be converted to US Dollars on the expense report form.  The conversion tool information for Oanda.com is found earlier in the text.  Receipts or other proof of payment documents are mandatory.    An electronic copy or email reply with your reservation confirmation is not sufficient, as it only states the expected cost, an estimate.  You must provide a receipt showing the full breakdown of PAID hotel charges.
 
Meals & Incidental Per Diem will be paid at the International allowance rate established by the US Department of State and Department of Defense.  The allowance is a flat rate and meal receipts are not required for reimbursement.   A full rate chart will be available at a later date.  It will have the Lodging and Meals & Incidental rates for each ATom location.  Only your initial departure and final return dates will require the 75% reduced M&IE.  Because this field mission is unique with consecutive travel, as you transition from each international location you will claim the full M&IE allowance each day.  The amount will be based upon the location of the hotel. 
 
Required Receipts:

  • Airfare, if you purchased it yourself
  • Train fare, if you purchased it yourself
  • Baggage receipts (standard policy is for one checked bag, and or one carry-on). Because of international travel and long duration, all reasonable baggage claims most likely be reimbursed.  If in doubt ask for clarification before you enter the claim.
  • Hotel check-out invoice.  An electronic copy of your reservation confirmation is not sufficient.  You must provide a receipt showing the full breakdown of PAID hotel charges.
  • Parking at departure airport, or directly related to SSAI work while on travel; If you were charged parking by a hotel it will be indicated on your check-out invoice.
  • Toll Receipts or the best document that can be made available for the electronically collected toll fees.
  • All ground transportation that is directly related to SSAI work while on travel.
  • Rental car, directly related to SSAI work while on travel.
  • Gas for the rental car, directly related to SSAI work while on travel.
  • Telephone charges only if directly related SSAI work while on travel.  Safe arrival calls home are no longer reimbursed as a separate line item.  This expense is included in the daily Incidental allowance built into the M&I E.
  • Internet fees only if directly related to SSAI work while on travel.  This pertains to all internet sources not only limited to airports, airlines and hotels.

 
Missing Receipts:  SSAI is a contractor to NASA and not eligible for the $75 maximum amount for reimbursement without a receipt.  Simply, without a receipt there will not be a reimbursement. 
Two exceptions: 

  1. The maximum reimbursement of $10.00 is paid for toll or parking expenses without receipt documentation. 
  2. The maximum reimbursement of $15.00 is paid for Taxi/Shuttle expense without receipt documentation.   A bank card statement is a satisfactory substitution for any expense that has been paid by credit or debit card.  

 
Hampton Travel Support:  Diane Zeimet's work hours are Mon-Friday 9am to 6pm Eastern Time Zone: diane.zeimet@ssaihq.com; 757-951-1674.  Jon Alouf is also available to support all travel requirements:  jonathon.alouf@ssaihq.com; 757-951-1946, Mon-Friday 8am to 5pm.  All inquiries will receive a reply as quickly as feasible.  We will support your travel and reimbursement requirements with our full efforts. 
 
Best Regards,
 
Diane Zeimet and Jonathon Alouf
SSAI, Travel Logistics
1 Enterprise Parkway, Ste. 200
Hampton VA 23666