A-27215, JULY 10, 1929, 9 COMP. GEN. 3

A-27215: Jul 10, 1929

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SET-OFF - INDEBTEDNESS TO COMPANY FUND - DECEASED ARMY OFFICER THE INDEBTEDNESS OF A DECEASED VETERAN TO THE COMPANY FUND OF WHICH HE WAS THE OFFICER IN CHARGE. IS IN FACT A CLAIM OF THE UNITED STATES THAT MAY BE WITHHELD. SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO THE CLAIMS OF CREDITORS OF ANY PERSON TO WHOM AN AWARD IS MADE UNDER TITLES * * * III * * *. THAT SUCH * * * INSURANCE * * * SHALL BE SUBJECT TO ANY CLAIMS WHICH THE UNITED STATES MAY HAVE. V AGAINST THE PERSON ON WHOSE ACCOUNT THE * * * INSURANCE * * * IS PAYABLE. THE EXEMPTION AS TO CLAIMS OF CREDITORS WAS HELD. ARE PROPERLY DEDUCTIBLE FROM THE FINAL PAY OF A DECEASED OFFICER. - THE OBJECTS OF THE VARIOUS FUNDS ARE AS FOLLOWS: A. EXPENDITURES FROM THE SERVICE COMPANY FUND ARE AUTHORIZED FOR THE PURPOSE SHOWN IN B BELOW.

A-27215, JULY 10, 1929, 9 COMP. GEN. 3

SET-OFF - INDEBTEDNESS TO COMPANY FUND - DECEASED ARMY OFFICER THE INDEBTEDNESS OF A DECEASED VETERAN TO THE COMPANY FUND OF WHICH HE WAS THE OFFICER IN CHARGE, NOT BEING A MATTER FOR WHICH THE UNITED STATES MAY BE HELD LIABLE, CAN NOT BE MADE THE BASIS OF A CLAIM OF THE UNITED STATES SUCH AS MAY BE SET OFF AGAINST THE INSURANCE DUE THE ESTATE OF SUCH VETERAN UNDER THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, JULY 10, 1929:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 4, 1929, FILE DAF-F, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST TO BE ADVISED WHETHER THE SHORTAGE EXISTING ON OCTOBER 25, 1921, DATE OF DEATH, IN THE ACCOUNTS OF GERALD L. MARSH, LATE CAPTAIN, FIFTEENTH INFANTRY (XC-666,499:25-I-169,-948) AS OFFICER IN CHARGE OF COMPANY FUND, COMPANY A, FIFTEENTH INFANTRY, IS IN FACT A CLAIM OF THE UNITED STATES THAT MAY BE WITHHELD, UNDER SECTION 22 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF 1924, AS AMENDED, FROM THE LUMP-SUM INSURANCE PAYMENT OTHERWISE DUE THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED VETERAN.

SECTION 22 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 613, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

THAT THE * * * INSURANCE * * * PAYABLE UNDER TITLES * * * III * * *, SHALL NOT BE ASSIGNABLE; SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO THE CLAIMS OF CREDITORS OF ANY PERSON TO WHOM AN AWARD IS MADE UNDER TITLES * * * III * * *; AND SHALL BE EXEMPT FROM ALL TAXATION: PROVIDED, THAT SUCH * * * INSURANCE * * * SHALL BE SUBJECT TO ANY CLAIMS WHICH THE UNITED STATES MAY HAVE, UNDER TITLES II, III, IV, AND V AGAINST THE PERSON ON WHOSE ACCOUNT THE * * * INSURANCE * * * IS PAYABLE.

THE EXEMPTION AS TO CLAIMS OF CREDITORS WAS HELD, IN 26 COMP. DEC. 949, 950, CONSTRUING A SIMILAR PROVISION APPEARING IN THE WAR RISK INSURANCE ACT AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 25, 1918, 40 STAT. 609, TO RELATE TO THE CLAIMS OF CREDITORS OTHER THAN THE UNITED STATES. SEE ALSO 2 COMP. GEN. 16; 8 ID. 31, 34.

THE DEBT IN THIS CASE ARISES AS THE RESULT OF A SHORTAGE OCCURRING IN THIS VETERAN'S ACCOUNTS AT THE DATE OF DEATH, AS OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE COMPANY FUND, COMPANY A, FIFTEENTH INFANTRY. AMOUNTS DUE COMPANY FUNDS, LIKE AMOUNTS DUE POST EXCHANGES, POST LAUNDRIES, AND POST MESS FUNDS, ARE PROPERLY DEDUCTIBLE FROM THE FINAL PAY OF A DECEASED OFFICER, BUT WHERE, FOR ANY REASON, SUCH INDEBTEDNESS HAS NOT BEEN INCLUDED IN SUCH FINAL ADJUSTMENT OF PAY, THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN HELD NOT OBLIGATED TO LIQUIDATE THE INDEBTEDNESS, THE MATTER BEING ONE FOR SETTLEMENT BETWEEN THOSE PRESENTING SUCH CLAIM AND THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE DECEASED. COMP. GEN. 25.

ARMY REGULATIONS 210-50, PARAGRAPH 4, STATE:

4. OBJECTS.--- THE OBJECTS OF THE VARIOUS FUNDS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

A. COMPANY AND OTHER SIMILAR FUNDS, INCLUDING HOSPITAL FUNDS.--- TO SUPPLEMENT THE ACTIVITIES OF SUPPLY BRANCHES IN CONTRIBUTING TO THE COMFORT, PLEASURE, CONTENTMENT, AND THE MENTAL AND PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENT OF THE ENLISTED MEN OF THE ORGANIZATION TO WHICH THE FUND PERTAINS, AND TO BE DISBURSED SOLELY FOR THEIR BENEFIT; OR IF A HOSPITAL FUND, OF THE SICK IN THE HOSPITAL TO WHICH THE FUND PERTAINS, OF THE MEMBERS OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS ON DUTY THEREIN, AND OF THE ENLISTED MEN OF THE MEDICAL DEPARTMENT ON DUTY THEREIN. EXPENDITURES FROM THE SERVICE COMPANY FUND ARE AUTHORIZED FOR THE PURPOSE SHOWN IN B BELOW. IT IS THE DUTY OF ORGANIZATION COMMANDERS TO GUARD AGAINST THE TENDENCY TO ACCUMULATE LARGE FUNDS AT THE IMMEDIATE EXPENSE OF THE ORGANIZATION MESS. ENLISTED MEN IN THE CURRENT ENLISTMENT SHOULD RECEIVE IMMEDIATE MESS BENEFITS COMMENSURATE WITH THE ORGANIZATION FUND, RATHER THAN THAT THE FUNDS BE ACCUMULATED FOR THE BENEFIT OF FUTURE MEMBERS OF THE ORGANIZATION.

PARAGRAPH 9 UNDER THE TITLE "COLLECTION OF INDEBTEDNESS," PROVIDES:

9. COLLECTION OF INDEBTEDNESS.--- THE INDEBTEDNESS OF A SOLDIER TO A COMPANY OR OTHER SIMILAR FUND, CONTRACTED BY AUTHORITY OF THE COMPANY COMMANDER AND IN CONNECTION WITH ANY OF THE ACTIVITIES AUTHORIZED TO BE ESTABLISHED IN SUCH COMPANY OR OTHER UNIT UNDER THESE REGULATIONS, MAY BE COLLECTED IN THE SAME MANNER AS AUTHORIZED FOR THE COLLECTION OF A SOLDIER'S INDEBTEDNESS TO A POST EXCHANGE. THIS METHOD OF COLLECTING THE INDEBTEDNESS OF AN ENLISTED MAN TO A COMPANY OR OTHER SIMILAR FUND WILL NOT BE EMPLOYED WHEN OTHER MEANS OF COLLECTION ARE PRACTICABLE.

PARAGRAPH 16, UNDER THE HEADING "LOSS OF FUNDS," IS AS FOLLOWS:

16. LOSS OF FUNDS.--- IN THE CASE OF LOSS OF FUNDS, THE CIRCUMSTANCES WILL BE CAREFULLY INVESTIGATED AND REPORTED UPON BY A BOARD OF THREE DISINTERESTED OFFICERS, APPOINTED BY THE POST, CAMP, COAST DEFENSE, OR STATION COMMANDER. THE BOARD WILL INCLUDE IN ITS REPORTS ITS OPINION AS TO THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE LOSS AND A RECOMMENDATION AS TO APPROPRIATE ACTION FOR THE DECISION OF THE CORPS AREA OR DEPARTMENT COMMANDER.

IN A CASE INVOLVING APPLICATION OF AMOUNT IN THE CIVIL RETIREMENT FUND TO THE CREDIT OF A FORMER EMPLOYEE OF THE POSTAL SERVICE, IN REDUCTION OR SATISFACTION OF A JUDGMENT AGAINST THE FORMER EMPLOYEE FOR LOSS OF ORDINARY MAIL, IT WAS HELD THAT SUCH FUND WAS NOT AVAILABLE FOR SUCH SET- OFF AS THE UNITED STATES IS NOT LIABLE FOR THE LOSS OF ORDINARY MAIL, THE RETIREMENT FUND BEING EXEMPT FROM EXECUTION, ETC., FOR PRIVATE DEBTS. COMP. GEN. 6.

AMOUNTS DUE THE COMPANY FUND BEING DEBTS OF A PRIVATE CHARACTER, THE UNITED STATES NOT BEING LIABLE THEREFOR IN ANY EVENT, AND THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY FOR A PROPER ACCOUNTING BEING ON THE OFFICER IN CHARGE THEREOF TO THOSE FOR WHOM HE HOLDS THE MONEY IN TRUST, IT MUST BE HELD THAT THE OFFICER'S INDEBTEDNESS TO SUCH FUND CAN NOT BE MADE THE BASIS OF A CLAIM OF THE UNITED STATES SUCH AS MAY PROPERLY BE WITHHELD FROM INSURANCE DUE THE ESTATE OF SUCH OFFICER UNDER SECTION 22 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT.