A-11878, DECEMBER 14, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 431

A-11878: Dec 14, 1925

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IS NOT ENTITLED TO THE AMOUNT OF THE CHECK NOR TO THE REMAINDER OF THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 5. THE FIRST QUARTERLY PAYMENT WAS DUE APRIL 1. WAS DATED APRIL 1. IN COMPLIANCE WITH THIS REQUEST THE CHECK WAS RETURNED BY THE PAYEE WITH THE NOTATION THAT SHE HAD REMARRIED APRIL 4. WHICH WAS PRIOR TO HER ACTUAL RECEIPT OF THE CHECK. SECTION 602 PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS: (A) NO PAYMENT SHALL BE MADE TO ANY INDIVIDUAL UNDER THIS TITLE UNLESS AT THE TIME OF THE DEATH OF THE VETERAN SUCH INDIVIDUAL WAS DEPENDENT. (B) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION: (2)THE WIDOW OR WIDOWER SHALL BE PRESUMED TO HAVE BEEN DEPENDENT UPON THE VETERAN UPON SHOWING BY THEM. THE REMAINDER OF SUCH PAYMENTS SHALL BE MADE TO THE DEPENDENT OR DEPENDENTS IN THE NEXT ORDER OF PREFERENCE UNDER SECTION 601. * * * APPLICATION BY THE WIDOW OF CLINTON HEARNE WAS APPROVED PRIOR TO HER REMARRIAGE AND THE SOLE QUESTION IS.

A-11878, DECEMBER 14, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 431

VETERANS' BUREAU - ADJUSTED COMPENSATION - MARRIAGE OF WIDOW THE WIDOW OF A DECEASED VETERAN OF THE WORLD WAR WHO HAD REMARRIED PRIOR TO RECEIPT, COLLECTION, OR NEGOTIATION OF A CHECK ISSUED IN PAYMENT OF ONE OF THE QUARTERLY INSTALLMENTS OF ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT OF MAY 19, 1924, 43 STAT. 129, IS NOT ENTITLED TO THE AMOUNT OF THE CHECK NOR TO THE REMAINDER OF THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, DECEMBER 14, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 5, 1925, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT OF ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT BASED ON THE SERVICE OF A DECEASED VETERAN MAY BE MADE TO HIS WIDOW WHO MADE LAWFUL APPLICATION AS A DEPENDENT PRIOR TO HER REMARRIAGE BUT WHO RECEIVED CHECK IN PAYMENT OF THE FIRST QUARTERLY INSTALLMENT SUBSEQUENT TO HER REMARRIAGE.

YOU PRESENT THE CASE OF CLINTON HEARNE, DECEASED, WHOSE WIDOW MADE APPLICATION FOR ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT AS A DEPENDENT OF THE DECEASED VETERAN, THE CLAIM BEING APPROVED IN THE AMOUNT OF $620 PAYABLE IN 10 EQUAL QUARTERLY INSTALLMENTS. THE FIRST QUARTERLY PAYMENT WAS DUE APRIL 1, 1925, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DECISION OF THIS OFFICE DATED FEBRUARY 27, 1925, A-8036. CHECK NO. 502115, DRAWN TO THE ORDER OF BLANCHE M. HEARNE, WIDOW OF THE DECEASED VETERAN, IN THE AMOUNT OF $62, THE FIRST QUARTERLY INSTALLMENT, WAS DATED APRIL 1, 1925, AND MAILED TO HER APRIL 11, 1925. THERE ACCOMPANIED THE CHECK TO NOTICE TO THE PAYEE AS FOLLOWS:

THIS CHECK CAN NOT LAWFULLY BE CASHED BY A PAYEE IF SHE HAS REMARRIED, IN WHICH CASE CHECK SHOULD BE IMMEDIATELY RETURNED TO ADJUSTED COMPENSATION DIVISION. U.S. VETERANS' BUREAU, WASHINGTON, D.C.

IN COMPLIANCE WITH THIS REQUEST THE CHECK WAS RETURNED BY THE PAYEE WITH THE NOTATION THAT SHE HAD REMARRIED APRIL 4, 1925, WHICH WAS PRIOR TO HER ACTUAL RECEIPT OF THE CHECK.

SECTION 601 OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, DATED MAY 19, 1924, 43 STAT. 128-129, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

(A) IF THE VETERAN HAS DIED BEFORE MAKING APPLICATION UNDER SECTION 302, * * * THEN THE AMOUNT OF HIS ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT SHALL (AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE AFTER RECEIPT OF AN APPLICATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 604, BUT NOT BEFORE MARCH 1, 1925, BE PAID TO HIS DEPENDENTS, IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER OF PREFERENCE:

(1) TO THE WIDOW OR WIDOWER IF UNMARRIED;

SECTION 602 PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

(A) NO PAYMENT SHALL BE MADE TO ANY INDIVIDUAL UNDER THIS TITLE UNLESS AT THE TIME OF THE DEATH OF THE VETERAN SUCH INDIVIDUAL WAS DEPENDENT.

(B) FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION:

(2)THE WIDOW OR WIDOWER SHALL BE PRESUMED TO HAVE BEEN DEPENDENT UPON THE VETERAN UPON SHOWING BY THEM, RESPECTIVELY, THE MARITAL COHABITATION; * *

SECTION 603 PROVIDES:

THE PAYMENTS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 601 SHALL BE MADE IN TEN EQUAL QUARTERLY INSTALLMENTS. * * *. NO PAYMENTS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS TITLE SHALL BE MADE TO THE HEIRS OR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES OF ANY DEPENDENTS ENTITLED THERETO WHO DIE BEFORE RECEIVING ALL THE INSTALLMENT PAYMENTS, BUT THE REMAINDER OF SUCH PAYMENTS SHALL BE MADE TO THE DEPENDENT OR DEPENDENTS IN THE NEXT ORDER OF PREFERENCE UNDER SECTION 601. * * *

APPLICATION BY THE WIDOW OF CLINTON HEARNE WAS APPROVED PRIOR TO HER REMARRIAGE AND THE SOLE QUESTION IS, THEREFORE, WHETHER SUCH APPROVAL OF THE APPLICATION VESTED IN HER AN ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT, OR WHETHER HER REMARRIAGE SUBSEQUENT TO THE APPROVAL OF THE APPLICATION BUT PRIOR TO THE ACTUAL RECEIPT OF THE FIRST INSTALLMENT CHECK AND COLLECTION OR NEGOTIATION THEREOF DEFEATED HER RIGHTS.

THE CONDITIONS RELATIVE TO DEPENDENCY, THE MARITAL STATUS, THE PROVISIONS FOR INSTALLMENT PAYMENTS, AND THE DISPOSITION TO BE MADE UPON THE DEATH OF THE DEPENDENT BEFORE RECEIVING ALL OF THE INSTALLMENTS SHOW CONCLUSIVELY THAT THERE EXISTS NO VESTED RIGHT IN A DEPENDENT OF A DECEASED VETERAN TO THE FULL AMOUNT OF HIS ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT UPON APPROVAL OF AN APPLICATION.

TITLE VI OF THE STATUTE, INCLUDING THE QUOTED PROVISIONS, IS ENTITLED "PAYMENTS TO VETERAN'S DEPENDENTS.' THE DIRECTION IN SECTION 601 IS THAT THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT SHALL BE PAID TO THE DEPENDENTS. THIS SECTION FIXES AN ORDER OF PREFERENCE WHICH HAS RELATION TO THE TIME OF PAYMENT AND NOT TO THE DATE OF THE APPROVAL OF THE APPLICATION. AS TO THE WIDOW, PAYMENT IS CONDITIONAL UPON HER BEING UNMARRIED AT DATE OF PAYMENT.

IT IS WELL SETTLED THAT THE ISSUANCE OF A CHECK BY THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE PAYMENT, BUT THAT ACTUAL PAYMENT IS NOT CONSUMMATED UNTIL THE CHECK HAS BEEN COLLECTED OR NEGOTIATED BY THE PAYEE. 16 COMP. DEC. 151; 24 ID. 735; 26 ID. 855; ID. 1035; 1 COMP. GEN. 146. IF A WIDOW HAS REMARRIED PRIOR TO RECEIPT, COLLECTION, OR NEGOTIATION OF A CHECK ISSUED IN PAYMENT OF ONE OF THE 10 QUARTERLY INSTALLMENTS, SHE IS DISQUALIFIED AS A "DEPENDENT" OF THE DECEASED VETERAN AND IS NOT ENTITLED TO THE AMOUNT OF THE CHECK OR TO THE REMAINDER OF THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT THE AMOUNT OF THE CHECK ISSUED TO BLANCHE M. HEARNE MUST BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY TO CREDIT OF THE APPROPRIATION UNDER WHICH DRAWN. IN THE ABSENCE OF FACTS RELATIVE THERETO THERE IS NOT CONSIDERED IN THIS DECISION THE RIGHT OF OTHER DEPENDENTS, IF ANY, TO THE AMOUNT OF THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT WHERE THE WIDOW HAS REMARRIED.