A-2610, JUNE 2, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 952

A-2610: Jun 2, 1926

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(1) APPLIED FOR REVIEW OF SETTLEMENTS WHEREIN CREDIT WAS DISALLOWED FOR PAYMENTS OF COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS. WHILE HE WAS ASSIGNED PERSONAL QUARTERS CONSISTING OF ROOM AND BATH AND PARTIAL USE OF A SITTING ROOM AT COBLENZ. PROVIDES: THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO ALLOW CREDIT IN THE ACCOUNTS OF DISBURSING OFFICERS FOR PAYMENTS OF COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS. THIS PROVISO SHALL NOT BE APPLICABLE WHERE THE PAYEE HAS ADMITTED THERE WAS NO DEPENDENCY ON HIM. IT APPEARS HE IS ENTITLED. TO RETAIN THE ALLOWANCES HE OBTAINED ON HER BEHALF BEFORE THAT DATE AND TO BE CREDITED WITH ANY AMOUNTS HE MAY HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO REFUND. APPROPRIATE ADJUSTMENT WILL.

A-2610, JUNE 2, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 952

QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES - EFFECT OF VALIDATING LEGISLATION THE ACT OF MAY 26, 1926, 44 STAT. 654, ESTABLISHES A NEW BASIS FOR DETERMINING THE VALIDITY OF PAYMENTS FOR COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS, HEAT, AND LIGHT AND INCREASED RENTAL AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES MADE PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1923, BUT IN NO WAY MODIFIES THE REQUIREMENTS AS TO DEPENDENCY CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF APRIL 16, 1918, 40 STAT. 530, AND THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, 42 STAT. 627, 628, AND THE VALIDITY OF PAYMENTS MADE SINCE JUNE 30, 1923, MUST BE DETERMINED WITH DUE REGARD TO THOSE REQUIREMENTS AS APPLIED IN NUMEROUS DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL TO THE FACTS OF PARTICULAR CASES.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, JUNE 2, 1926:

CAPT. JAMES E. MORRISETTE, OFFICE OF THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL, UNITED STATES ARMY, ON MARCH 3, 1926, (1) APPLIED FOR REVIEW OF SETTLEMENTS WHEREIN CREDIT WAS DISALLOWED FOR PAYMENTS OF COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS, HEAT, AND LIGHT, AND INCREASED RENTAL AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES OBTAINED BY HIM ON BEHALF OF HIS MOTHER FOR PERIODS PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1924, AND (2) PRESENTED CLAIMS FOR REFUND OF THE SUM WHICH HAS BEEN STOPPED AGAINST HIS PAY BY DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR TO SATISFY THESE DISALLOWANCES AND FOR RENTAL ALLOWANCE ON ACCOUNT OF HIS MOTHER FOR THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 1, 1922, TO APRIL 4, 1923, WHILE HE WAS ASSIGNED PERSONAL QUARTERS CONSISTING OF ROOM AND BATH AND PARTIAL USE OF A SITTING ROOM AT COBLENZ, GERMANY, AND FOR THE PERIOD APRIL 5, 1923, TO APRIL 15, 1923, WHILE EN ROUTE TO THE UNITED STATES.

THE ACT OF MAY 26, 1926, 44 STAT. 654, PROVIDES:

THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO ALLOW CREDIT IN THE ACCOUNTS OF DISBURSING OFFICERS FOR PAYMENTS OF COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS, HEAT, AND LIGHT UNDER THE ACT APPROVED APRIL 16, 1918 (FORTIETH STATUTES, PAGE 530), BECAUSE OF A DEPENDENT PARENT, AND AS RENTAL AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922 (FORTY-SECOND STATUTES, PAGE 625), BECAUSE OF A DEPENDENT MOTHER, MADE IN GOOD FAITH BY DISBURSING OFFICERS PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1923: PROVIDED, THAT WHERE THE PAYEE RESPONDED TO A NEEDY FAMILY CONDITION IN AN AMOUNT AT LEAST EQUAL TO THE ALLOWANCES OBTAINED BY HIM NO COLLECTION SHALL BE MADE ON ACCOUNT OF PAYMENT OF THE ALLOWANCES TO HIM PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1923; AND AMOUNTS HERETOFORE COLLECTED AS REFUND OF THE ALLOWANCES OBTAINED IN SUCH CASES PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1923, NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROTEST OF THE PAYEE, EITHER BY STOPPAGE OF PAY, PAYMENT IN CASH, ALLOTMENT OF PAY, OR OFFSET, SHALL BE REFUNDED; BUT THIS PROVISO SHALL NOT BE APPLICABLE WHERE THE PAYEE HAS ADMITTED THERE WAS NO DEPENDENCY ON HIM, OR WHERE HE HAS REFUSED TO FURNISH EVIDENCE OF THE DEPENDENCY, OR WHERE THE PAYEE HAS VOLUNTARILY REFUNDED THE PAYMENTS IN WHOLE OR IN PART, OR HAS SUBMITTED NO CLAIM FOR THE ALLOWANCES IN THE NATURE OF A PROTEST AGAINST OFFSET OF HIS PAY AS REFUND OF THE PAYMENTS.

THIS ACT ESTABLISHES A NEW BASIS FOR DETERMINING THE VALIDITY OF DEPENDENCY ALLOWANCE PAYMENTS MADE PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1923, AND, FROM THE EVIDENCE WHICH HAS BEEN ADDUCED WITH RESPECT TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF CAPTAIN MORRISETTE'S MOTHER AND CONCERNING HIS CONTRIBUTIONS TO HER, IT APPEARS HE IS ENTITLED, UNDER THE ACT, TO RETAIN THE ALLOWANCES HE OBTAINED ON HER BEHALF BEFORE THAT DATE AND TO BE CREDITED WITH ANY AMOUNTS HE MAY HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO REFUND. APPROPRIATE ADJUSTMENT WILL, THEREFORE, BE MADE IN HIS OWN ACCOUNT AND THE ACCOUNTS OF THE SEVERAL DISBURSING OFFICERS CONCERNED AND THE NET AMOUNT, IF ANY, FOUND TO HAVE BEEN COLLECTED FROM HIM FOR DEPENDENCY ALLOWANCES HE OBTAINED PREVIOUS TO JULY 1, 1923, WILL BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT TO HIM.

HOWEVER, THE REQUIREMENTS AS TO DEPENDENCY CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF APRIL 16, 1918, 40 STAT. 530, AND THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, 42 STAT. 627, 628, ARE IN NO WAY MODIFIED BY THE ACT OF MAY 26, 1926, AND THE VALIDITY OF PAYMENTS MADE SINCE JUNE 30, 1923, IS TO BE DETERMINED WITH DUE REGARD TO THOSE REQUIREMENTS AS APPLIED IN NUMEROUS DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE TO THE FACTS OF PARTICULAR CASES.

THE EVIDENCE ADDUCED WITH RESPECT TO CAPTAIN MORRISETTE'S MOTHER SHOWS THAT SHE AND THE OFFICER'S FATHER RESIDED WITH AND WERE CARED FOR IN THE HOME OF A MARRIED DAUGHTER, AND THAT THEIR INCOME FROM PROPERTY THEY OWNED AND OTHER CHILDREN WAS MORE THAN ADEQUATE TO PROVIDE THEIR CHIEF SUPPORT. MOREOVER, IT FURTHER APPEARS THE PARENTS ASSUMED, AND DURING THE PERIOD FOR WHICH ALLOWANCES WERE OBTAINED AND ARE CLAIMED UNDERTOOK TO DISCHARGE, OBLIGATIONS OF ANOTHER SON EXCEEDING $6,000. THE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY WHICH MADE THE PARENTS ACCEPTABLE AS SURETIES FOR THAT SON IS A MATTER QUITE OUT OF HARMONY WITH THE ALLEGATION OF THEIR DEPENDENCY UPON CAPTAIN MORRISETTE.

THEREFORE THE SETTLEMENT OF WHICH REVIEW HAS BEEN REQUESTED MUST BE SUSTAINED WITH RESPECT TO DEPENDENCY ALLOWANCES THE OFFICER HAS OBTAINED SINCE JUNE 30, 1923, AND HIS CLAIM FOR RENTAL ALLOWANCE FOR THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 1, 1922, TO APRIL 15, 1923, MUST BE DISALLOWED.