A-24581, OCTOBER 5, 1928, 8 COMP. GEN. 161

A-24581: Oct 5, 1928

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THERE IS NO WIDOW OR CHILD SURVIVING. WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED HER CLAIM FOR SIX MONTHS' GRATUITY UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 4. DISALLOWANCE HAVING BEEN ON THE GROUND THAT THE RECORDS FAIL TO SHOW SHE WAS DESIGNATED AS HIS BENEFICIARY TO RECEIVE THE GRATUITY OR THAT SHE WAS HIS DEPENDENT. CLAIMANT APPEARS TO BELIEVE THAT THERE HAS BEEN A MODIFICATION OF THE LAW WHICH WILL PERMIT PAYMENT IN THE ABSENCE OF HER DESIGNATION AS BENEFICIARY. WHICH WAS THE LAW IN EFFECT AT THE DATE OF HER SON'S DEATH PROVIDED FOR PAYMENT OF SIX MONTHS' GRATUITY "TO THE WIDOW. IT HAS BEEN CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT THE RIGHT OF THE RELATIVE TO THE BENEFITS OF THE STATUTE OTHER THAN THE WIDOW OR CHILD IS CONDITIONED ON THE FACT THAT THE RELATIVE SHALL HAVE BEEN PREVIOUSLY DESIGNATED BY THE DECEASED TO RECEIVE THE GRATUITY.

A-24581, OCTOBER 5, 1928, 8 COMP. GEN. 161

GRATUITIES - SIX MONTHS' DEATH - NAVY ENLISTED MAN WHERE THERE HAS BEEN NO PREVIOUS DESIGNATION BY AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE NAVY OF A DEPENDENT RELATIVE AS HIS BENEFICIARY UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1920, 41 STAT. 824, AND THERE IS NO WIDOW OR CHILD SURVIVING, PAYMENT OF THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY MAY NOT BE MADE UNDER THE ACT OF MAY 22, 1928, 45 STAT. 710, TO THE MOTHER OF DECEASED, THE PROVISIONS OF THE LATER ACT NOT BEING RETROACTIVE IN EFFECT.

DECISION BY ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL GINN, OCTOBER 5, 1928:

MRS. JOSEPHINE LOPEZ REQUESTED REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 0184617 OF SEPTEMBER 19, 1927, WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED HER CLAIM FOR SIX MONTHS' GRATUITY UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1920, 41 STAT. 824, ON ACCOUNT OF THE DEATH OF HER SON, DOMINIC A. LOPEZ, ALIAS PETER W. LOPEZ, WHO DIED ON APRIL 6, 1927, WHILE SERVING AS A COXSWAIN, UNITED STATES NAVY, DISALLOWANCE HAVING BEEN ON THE GROUND THAT THE RECORDS FAIL TO SHOW SHE WAS DESIGNATED AS HIS BENEFICIARY TO RECEIVE THE GRATUITY OR THAT SHE WAS HIS DEPENDENT.

CLAIMANT APPEARS TO BELIEVE THAT THERE HAS BEEN A MODIFICATION OF THE LAW WHICH WILL PERMIT PAYMENT IN THE ABSENCE OF HER DESIGNATION AS BENEFICIARY.

THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1920, WHICH WAS THE LAW IN EFFECT AT THE DATE OF HER SON'S DEATH PROVIDED FOR PAYMENT OF SIX MONTHS' GRATUITY "TO THE WIDOW, AND IF THERE BE NO WIDOW TO THE CHILD OR CHILDREN, AND IF THERE BE NO WIDOW OR CHILD, TO ANY OTHER DEPENDENT RELATIVE OF SUCH * * * ENLISTED MAN * * * PREVIOUSLY DESIGNATED BY HIM * * *.'

IT HAS BEEN CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT THE RIGHT OF THE RELATIVE TO THE BENEFITS OF THE STATUTE OTHER THAN THE WIDOW OR CHILD IS CONDITIONED ON THE FACT THAT THE RELATIVE SHALL HAVE BEEN PREVIOUSLY DESIGNATED BY THE DECEASED TO RECEIVE THE GRATUITY. CLAIMANT HAS, THEREFORE, NO RIGHT TO PAYMENT OF SAID GRATUITY UNDER SAID STATUTE, THE NAVY DEPARTMENT HAVING REPORTED THAT NO BENEFICIARY WAS DESIGNATED BY HER SON.

THE MODIFICATION OF THE LAW SHE HAS REFERENCE TO IS EVIDENTLY THE ACT OF MAY 22, 1928, 45 STAT. 710, WHICH PROVIDED THAT THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY SHOULD DETERMINE THE QUESTION OF DEPENDENCY IN CASES, OTHER THAN THE WIFE OR CHILD, WHERE NO DESIGNATION OF BENEFICIARY HAD BEEN MADE BY THE DECEASED. SAID ACT, HOWEVER, IS NOT RETROACTIVE IN ITS PROVISIONS AND, THEREFORE, DOES NOT HAVE APPLICATION, WHERE, AS IN CLAIMANT'S CASE, THE ENLISTED MAN'S DEATH OCCURRED PRIOR TO MAY 22, 1928, THE DATE OF THE ACT.

NOT HAVING BEEN DESIGNATED BY HER SON AS HIS BENEFICIARY AS REQUIRED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1920, CLAIMANT MAY NOT BE PAID THE SIX MONTHS' GRATUITY, AND THE QUESTION OF DEPENDENCY IS, THEREFORE, NOT NECESSARY FOR CONSIDERATION.