A-21518, MAY 5, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 704

A-21518: May 5, 1928

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PENSION CHECKS ISSUED TO INSANE PENSIONERS THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR THE ISSUING OF A CHECK FOR PENSION TO A PENSIONER WHO HAS BEEN ADJUDGED INSANE. IF SUCH CHECK IS ISSUED BUT NOT DELIVERED TO HIM DUE TO HIS INCOMPETENCY. ARE FOR DISPOSITION AS ACCRUED PENSION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 2. 1928: THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE THE CLAIM OF FRED N. THE CHECKS IN QUESTION WERE ISSUED IN PAYMENT OF PENSIONS DUE THE DECEASED BUT WERE HELD AT THE POST OFFICE AT AMBOY. NOT DELIVERED TO HIM PRIOR TO HIS DEATH FOR THE REASON THAT SAID PENSIONER WAS DECLARED INSANE UNDER DATE OF JULY 16. A CERTIFICATE FROM THE CLERK OF SAID COUNTY ALSO STATES THAT NO CONSERVATOR WAS APPOINTED FOR THE PENSIONER.

A-21518, MAY 5, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 704

PENSION CHECKS ISSUED TO INSANE PENSIONERS THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR THE ISSUING OF A CHECK FOR PENSION TO A PENSIONER WHO HAS BEEN ADJUDGED INSANE, AND IF SUCH CHECK IS ISSUED BUT NOT DELIVERED TO HIM DUE TO HIS INCOMPETENCY, THE PROCEEDS THEREOF DO NOT BECOME A PART OF HIS ESTATE UNDER THE ACTS OF MAY 1, 1926, 44 STAT. 383, AND JULY 3, 1926, 44 STAT. 807, BUT ARE FOR DISPOSITION AS ACCRUED PENSION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1895, 28 STAT. 964.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, MAY 5, 1928:

THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE THE CLAIM OF FRED N. VAUGHAN, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF PETER BEROGAN, DECEASED, FOR THE PROCEEDS OF CHECKS NOS. 7298038-AA, 7775978-AA, AND 8254894-AA, ISSUED RESPECTIVELY AUGUST 4, SEPTEMBER 4, AND OCTOBER 4, 1927, FOR $72 EACH, BY THE DISBURSING CLERK OF THE BUREAU OF PENSIONS.

THE CHECKS IN QUESTION WERE ISSUED IN PAYMENT OF PENSIONS DUE THE DECEASED BUT WERE HELD AT THE POST OFFICE AT AMBOY, ILL., WHERE HE FORMERLY RESIDED, AND NOT DELIVERED TO HIM PRIOR TO HIS DEATH FOR THE REASON THAT SAID PENSIONER WAS DECLARED INSANE UNDER DATE OF JULY 16, 1927, BY A MEDICAL COMMISSION APPOINTED BY THE COUNTY COURT OF LEE COUNTY, ILL., TO INQUIRE INTO THE MENTAL CONDITION OF THE DECEASED.

A CERTIFICATE FROM THE CLERK OF SAID COUNTY ALSO STATES THAT NO CONSERVATOR WAS APPOINTED FOR THE PENSIONER; THAT HE DIED WHILE AN INMATE OF THE ILLINOIS HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE AT WATERTOWN, ILL., ON NOVEMBER 1, 1927; AND THAT FRED N. VAUGHAN WAS APPOINTED ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED ON NOVEMBER 5, 1927.

THE ACTS OF MAY 1, 1926, AND JULY 3, 1926, 44 STAT. 383 AND 807, BOTH PROVIDED THAT---

* * * THE ISSUE OF A CHECK IN PAYMENT OF A PENSION FOR WHICH THE EXECUTION AND SUBMISSION OF A VOUCHER WAS NOT REQUIRED SHALL CONSTITUTE PAYMENT IN THE EVENT OF THE DEATH OF THE PENSIONER ON OR AFTER THE LAST DAY OF THE PERIOD COVERED BY SUCH CHECK, AND IT SHALL NOT BE CANCELED BUT SHALL BECOME AN ASSET OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED PENSIONER.

IN THE PRESENT CASE THERE WAS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE ISSUING OF THE CHECKS IN FAVOR OF THE PENSIONER, SINCE PRIOR TO THE TIME THEY WERE ISSUED HE HAD BEEN ADJUDGED INSANE AND, THEREFORE, COULD NOT LEGALLY RECEIVE AND INDORSE THE SAME. PAYMENT OF THE PENSION DUE HIM COULD BE MADE ONLY AS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 4766, REVISED STATUTES, TO A GUARDIAN OR CONSERVATOR DULY APPOINTED BY A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION, AND THEN ONLY AFTER THE EXECUTION AND SUBMISSION OF A VOUCHER BY SUCH GUARDIAN OR CONSERVATOR, AS SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 17, 1912, 37 STAT. 312, AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF CERTAIN PENSIONS BY CHECK WITHOUT VOUCHER SPECIFICALLY EXCEPTED CASES IN WHICH THE LAW AUTHORIZED PAYMENT OF THE PENSION TO PERSONS OTHER THAN THE PENSIONER. IN OTHER WORDS, THE PENSIONER HIMSELF BEING INSANE WAS NOT AUTHORIZED TO RECEIVE THE PENSION, AND IF THE PENSION WAS TO BE PAID TO ANY OTHER PERSON ON HIS BEHALF, IT COULD BE MADE ONLY UPON VOUCHERS AS PROVIDED BY SECTIONS 4764 AND 4767, REVISED STATUTES; AND SINCE, AS SHOWN ABOVE, A VOUCHER WAS NECESSARY BEFORE PAYMENT OF THE PENSION DUE PETER BEROGAN COULD BE MADE, THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACTS OF MAY 1, 1925, AND JULY 3, 1926, SUPRA, HAVE NO APPLICATION TO THE CHECKS ERRONEOUSLY ISSUED IN HIS FAVOR, AND IT MUST BE HELD THAT THE PROCEEDS OF SUCH CHECKS DID NOT BECOME A PART OF THE ASSETS OF HIS ESTATE UPON HIS DEATH BUT ARE FOR DISPOSITION AS ACCRUED PENSION UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1895, 28 STAT. 964, IN WHICH IT IS PROVIDED THAT PENSIONS ACCRUED TO DATE OF THE DEATH OF A PENSIONER SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED A PART OF THE ASSETS OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED BUT SHALL INURE TO THE SOLE BENEFIT OF THE WIDOW OR CHILDREN UNDER 16 YEARS OF AGE AT THE DATE OF THE PENSIONER'S DEATH. 4 COMP. GEN. 358; DECISION A-20955, MARCH 26, 1928; 7 COMP. GEN. 594.

ACCORDINGLY, THE CLAIM OF THE ADMINISTRATOR MUST BE AND IS DISALLOWED. SUCH CLAIM AS THERE MAY BE FOR PAYMENT FROM ACCRUED PENSION IN THE PRESENT CASE IS FOR PRESENTATION BY THE PERSON OR PERSONS, IF ANY, ENTITLED THERETO AND FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMISSIONER OF PENSIONS UNDER THE LAWS RELATING TO SUCH CLAIMS.