A-12727, FEBRUARY 2, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 572

A-12727: Feb 2, 1926

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SHE IS NOT ENTITLED TO THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT OF HER FORMER VETERAN HUSBAND. ALTHOUGH HER SECOND HUSBAND IS ALSO DEAD. 1926: THERE IS BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION THE CLAIM OF MARY ESTHER POPE. FOR THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT BY THE FORMER WIDOW OF THE DECEASED VETERAN WAS APPROVED IN THE AMOUNT OF $500 AND THE FIRST QUARTERLY INSTALLMENT OF $50 WAS INCLUDED IN CHECK NO. 547039. IT WAS HELD: * * * IF A WIDOW HAS REMARRIED PRIOR TO RECEIPT. OR NEGOTIATION OF A CHECK ISSUED IN PAYMENT OF ONE OF THE 10 QUARTERLY INSTALLMENTS AND 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.

A-12727, FEBRUARY 2, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 572

VETERANS' BUREAU - ADJUSTED COMPENSATION - REMARRIED WIDOW THE REMARRIAGE OF A WIDOW OF A WORLD WAR VETERAN DEFEATS HER RIGHTS AS A "DEPENDENT" OF THE VETERAN UNDER THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT OF MAY 19, 1924, 43 STAT. 128, AND SHE IS NOT ENTITLED TO THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT OF HER FORMER VETERAN HUSBAND, ALTHOUGH HER SECOND HUSBAND IS ALSO DEAD. PAYMENT MAY BE MADE TO HER OR OTHER PERSON AS GUARDIAN OF MINOR CHILDREN OF THE VETERAN UPON SATISFACTORY PROOF OF GUARDIANSHIP.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, FEBRUARY 2, 1926:

THERE IS BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION THE CLAIM OF MARY ESTHER POPE, THE WIDOW OF HORACE POPE, DECEASED, FORMERLY THE WIDOW OF JAMES HUGHDON POPE, DECEASED WORLD WAR VETERAN, FOR DEPENDENT'S INSTALLMENTS OF ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT.

IT APPEARS THAT JAMES HUGHDON POPE, THE VETERAN, DIED DECEMBER 23, 1921, AND THAT HIS WIDOW SUBSEQUENTLY MARRIED HORACE POPE, WHO DIED IN MAY, 1925.

APPLICATION EXECUTED OCTOBER 15, 1924, FOR THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT BY THE FORMER WIDOW OF THE DECEASED VETERAN WAS APPROVED IN THE AMOUNT OF $500 AND THE FIRST QUARTERLY INSTALLMENT OF $50 WAS INCLUDED IN CHECK NO. 547039, DATED OCTOBER 1, 1925. IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE NOTICE ACCOMPANYING THE CHECK, SHE RETURNED THIS CHECK FOR THE REASON THAT SHE HAD MARRIED HORACE POPE SUBSEQUENT TO THE DEATH OF HER VETERAN HUSBAND.

IN DECISION OF DECEMBER 14, 1925, A-11788, 5 COMP. GEN. 431, 433, IT WAS HELD:

* * * IF A WIDOW HAS REMARRIED PRIOR TO RECEIPT, COLLECTION, OR NEGOTIATION OF A CHECK ISSUED IN PAYMENT OF ONE OF THE 10 QUARTERLY INSTALLMENTS AND 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.

SEE ALSO DECISION OF DECEMBER 29, 1925, A-11878.

THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PRESENT CASE AND THE TWO CITED DECISIONS IN WHICH THE ADJUSTED-SERVICE CREDIT HAS BEEN DENIED THE FORMER WIDOW OF A VETERAN WHO HAS REMARRIED, IS THAT IN THIS CASE THE SECOND HUSBAND IS ALSO DEAD AND AT THE DATE PAYMENT WAS PROPOSED TO BE MADE OF THE FIRST QUARTERLY INSTALLMENT, THE FORMER WIDOW OF THE VETERAN WAS "UNMARRIED," WHEREAS IN THE OTHER CASES THE SECOND HUSBAND WAS LIVING.

SECTION 601 OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, DATED MAY 19, 1924, 43 STAT. 128-9, ENUMERATED THE DEPENDENTS WHO ARE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE PAYMENT OF THE ADJUSTED-SERVICE CREDIT OF THE VETERAN WHEN THE VETERAN HAS DIED BEFORE MAKING APPLICATION UNDER SECTION 302 OF THE STATUTE. THE FIRST OF SUCH DEPENDENTS IN THE ORDER OF PREFERENCE IS "/1) TO THE WIDOW OR WIDOWER IF UNMARRIED.'

IT IS OBVIOUS THAT THE TERM "WIDOW" HAS REFERENCE TO THE WIDOW OF THE VETERAN ON THE BASIS OF WHOSE MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE RIGHTS UNDER THE STATUTE ARE DEPENDENT. A CHANGE IN HER MARITAL STATUS AT ANY TIME SUBSEQUENT TO THE DEATH OF HER VETERAN HUSBAND DEFEATS HER RIGHTS UNDER THE STATUTE. WHEN CLAIMANT HEREIN BECAME THE WIFE OF HORACE POPE SHE WAS NO LONGER THE WIDOW OF JAMES HUGHDON POPE AND WHEN HORACE POPE DIED SHE WAS THEN THE WIDOW OF HORACE POPE AND HER STATUS AS THE WIDOW OF JAMES HUGHDON POPE DID NOT REVIVE. AS AN ANALOGY TO AID IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE PRESENT STATUTE PENSION LEGISLATION MAY BE CITED. THE CONGRESS HAS DEEMED IT NECESSARY TO SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE FOR REMARRIED WIDOWS OF VETERANS WHOSE SECOND AND SUBSEQUENT HUSBANDS HAVE DIED. SEE ACT OF MAY 1, 1920, 41 STAT. 586, AND SEPTEMBER 1, 1922, 42 STAT. 834. WHILE CLAIMANT IN THE PRESENT CASE IS NOW "UNMARRIED" SHE IS NOT THE WIDOW OF THE VETERAN WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE STATUTE AND IS NOT ENTITLED IN HER OWN NAME TO THE BENEFITS OF THE STATUTE.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT THERE WERE BORN TO CLAIMANT AND HER VETERAN HUSBAND, JAMES HUGHDON POPE, TWO CHILDREN, JAMES HUGHDON POPE, JR., AND JOE PRESTON POPE, WHO HAVE BEEN NAMED IN THE APPLICATION. SECTION 601 OF THE STATUTE PROVIDES THAT PAYMENT OF THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT MAY BE PAID TO THE CHILDREN, SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE, IF THERE IS NO UNMARRIED WIDOW OR WIDOWER.

ACCORDINGLY, PAYMENT MAY BE MADE TO CLAIMANT OR OTHER PERSON AS GUARDIAN OF THE MINOR CHILDREN OF THE VETERAN UPON SATISFACTORY PROOF OF GUARDIANSHIP.