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The provider must submit an accurate and complete DARS2879, Service Provider's Travel Log to claim reimbursement for travel. The total mileage being claimed must also be included on the provider's invoice. (See 3.4 Invoices.)
All travel or mileage must be authorized before travel by DBS issuing a valid DBS service authorization and/or purchase order. Any changes to the number of service hours or to the end dates on a service authorization and/or purchase order must be authorized before additional service hours are provided to the consumer.
Mileage can be claimed for meetings when
- the consumer is directly involved, or
- the purpose is closely related to the consumer's services and documented on the DARS2879.
Providers of job placement and supported employment services must document the purpose of the travel on the second line of the DARS2879, under the address field.
Providers must make a good-faith effort to use the least expensive mode of transportation; for example, taxicabs are used only for short distances.
Rental cars must be approved in advance by the consumer's counselor or case manager, and approval must be documented on the DBS service authorization and/or purchase order. In addition,
- rental cars must be economy or compact size only;
- receipts are required for reimbursement; and
- mileage and travel-related expenses are not reimbursed.
Parking fees and fuel charges are reimbursed. Receipts for parking fees are required for amounts totaling $6.00 or more.
Meals and lodging may be claimed only when the provider travels outside his or her headquarters city and overnight lodging is required. In addition,
- overnight travel must be approved in advance by the consumer's counselor or case manager, and approval must be documented on the service authorization and/or purchase order;
- meals are reimbursed at up to $36.00 a day and must be a separate line item on the invoice and receipts may be required (tips and alcohol are not included);
- lodging is reimbursed at up to $85.00 per night and must be a separate line item on the invoice. Receipts are required. If an exception to this amount is required, it must have prior approval from the field director and be documented on the service authorization and/or purchase order.
- the amount allowed for authorized meals and lodging must be allocated equally to each consumer when multiple consumers are involved; and
- DBS does not reimburse or pay for taxes.
Mileage by private vehicle is reimbursed at the rate of $0.60 per mile. Travel-related expenses (such as road and bridge tolls) are not reimbursed.
Reporting Travel Reimbursement to the IRS
All DBS vendors must report as income all reimbursements that are over the mileage rate allowed by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The current IRS mileage rate can be found on the IRS website.
Providers claim shortest-distance mileage for each trip on the DARS2879 using the Rand McNally Mapping Tool (RM) to calculate it. If a route is not listed in the RM tool, providers use superpages.com.
Shortest distance mileage may not be the actual miles traveled, but is usually claimed using the provider's address listed on the contract. Providers claim mileage that starts or ends at the
- provider's residence if the residence is the provider's headquarters,
- facility address for facility-based providers (including all trainers who are under the contract), or
- provider's designated headquarters for providers who have subcontracted with trainers who may be traveling from multiple locations.
If the provider is more than 50 miles from where most services are provided and subcontractors are providing the services, the provider must submit the addresses of all the subcontractors to the DBS contract manager. This must be done in advance of travel.
Providers who serve two or more consumers in one day must claim travel distances directly from one service or training location to the next (known as chained travel). Whenever possible, providers schedule consumer appointments to minimize necessary travel.
If travel is chained, the provider must include on the travel log’s Ref PO# column the service authorization and/or purchase order (PO) number of the consumer indicated in the Address From field. If travel is not chained, the provider leaves the Ref PO# column blank.
Below is an example of travel that is properly chained.
- Travel from the provider’s address to the first consumer’s location. (Mileage is documented on the first consumer’s travel log.)
- Travel from the first consumer’s location to the second consumer’s location. (Mileage from the first location to the second is documented on the second consumer’s travel log.)
- Travel from the second consumer’s location to the last consumer’s location. (Mileage from the second location to the last is documented on the last consumer’s travel log. Travel from the last consumer’s location to the provider’s address is also documented on the last consumer’s travel log.)
Any deviation in the route that is not service or training-related, such as running an errand or eating, is considered personal and cannot be claimed on the travel log.
Interim travel back to the provider’s address is authorized in the following cases:
- The provider offers services to consumers in the immediate area and there is a long break between appointments.
- The provider travels a significant distance in one direction in the morning, returns, and travels in another direction later that day.
When actual mileage traveled exceeds the mileage authorized on the service authorization and/or purchase order, DBS can change the number of miles on the service authorization and/or purchase order to reflect the actual miles traveled.
A copy of the updated service authorization and/or purchase order is sent to the vendor. Mileage must be well documented on travel logs and must be consistent with the number of service hours provided.