A-27655, SEPTEMBER 18, 1929, 9 COMP. GEN. 130

A-27655: Sep 18, 1929

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CONSTITUTE ASSETS OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED PENSIONER AND ARE PAYABLE TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF SUCH ESTATE. 15. 1929: THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE THE CLAIM OF J. THE CHECKS WERE ISSUED. IF THERE IS NO WIDOW. IN THE CASE OF HIS LAST SURVIVING CHILD WHO WAS SUCH MINOR AT HIS DEATH. ALL PRIOR LAWS RELATING TO THE PAYMENT OF ACCRUED PENSION ARE HEREBY REPEALED. ALL OTHER POSTAL EMPLOYEES ARE PROHIBITED FROM DELIVERING ANY SUCH MAIL TO ANY PERSON WHOMSOEVER. OR IN THE CASE OF A WIDOW BELIEVED BY THE POSTAL EMPLOYEE INTRUSTED WITH THE DELIVERY OF SUCH MAIL TO HAVE REMARRIED. PROVIDES: * * * AND 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.

A-27655, SEPTEMBER 18, 1929, 9 COMP. GEN. 130

PENSION CHECKS - INCOMPETENT PAYEES PENSION CHECKS ISSUED IN THE NAME OF A GUARDIAN OF AN INCOMPETENT PENSIONER UPON VOUCHERS EXECUTED BY THE GUARDIAN PRIOR TO THE DEATH OF THE WARD, CONSTITUTE ASSETS OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED PENSIONER AND ARE PAYABLE TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF SUCH ESTATE. 15. COMP. DEC. 877; 4 COMP. GEN. 358; 7 ID. 594; ID 704, DISTINGUISHED.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, SEPTEMBER 18, 1929:

THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE THE CLAIM OF J. M. KEFFER, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF SOLOMON KEFFER, WHO DIED JANUARY 22, 1929, FOR THE PROCEEDS OF THREE PENSION CHECKS OF $65 EACH, ISSUED TO J. M. KEFFER, GUARDIAN OF SOLOMON KEFFER. THE CHECKS WERE ISSUED, UPON VOUCHERS EXECUTED BY THE GUARDIAN, ON THE FOLLOWING DATES: CHECK NO. 920071, ISSUED NOVEMBER 21, 1928, UPON VOUCHER EXECUTED NOVEMBER 8, 1928; CHECK NO. 921533, ISSUED JANUARY 5, 1929, UPON VOUCHER EXECUTED DECEMBER 12, 1928; AND CHECK NO. 923532, ISSUED FEBRUARY 9, 1929, UPON VOUCHER EXECUTED JANUARY 14, 1929.

THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1895, 28 STAT. 964, PROVIDES:

THAT FROM AND AFTER THE TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY OF SEPTEMBER, EIGHTEEN HUNDRED AND NINETY-TWO, THE ACCRUED PENSION TO THE DATE OF THE DEATH OF ANY PENSIONER, OR OF ANY PERSON ENTITLED TO A PENSION HAVING AN APPLICATION THEREFOR PENDING AND WHETHER A CERTIFICATE THEREFOR SHALL ISSUE PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT TO THE DEATH OF SUCH PERSON, SHALL IN THE CASE OF A PERSON PENSIONED, OR APPLYING FOR PENSION, ON ACCOUNT OF HIS DISABILITIES OR SERVICE, BE PAID, FIRST, TO HIS WIDOW; SECOND, IF THERE IS NO WIDOW, TO HIS CHILD OR CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF SIXTEEN YEARS AT HIS DEATH; THIRD, IN CASE OF A WIDOW, TO HER MINOR CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF SIXTEEN YEARS AT HER DEATH. SUCH ACCRUED PENSION SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED A PART OF THE ASSETS OF THE ESTATE OF SUCH DECEASED PERSON, NOR BE LIABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE DEBTS OF SAID ESTATE IN ANY CASE WHATSOEVER, BUT SHALL INURE TO THE SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE BENEFIT OF THE WIDOW OR CHILDREN. AND IF NO WIDOW OR CHILD SURVIVE SUCH PENSIONER, AND IN THE CASE OF HIS LAST SURVIVING CHILD WHO WAS SUCH MINOR AT HIS DEATH, AND IN CASE OF A DEPENDENT MOTHER, FATHER, SISTER, OR BROTHER, NO PAYMENT WHATSOEVER OF THEIR ACCRUED PENSION SHALL BE MADE OR ALLOWED EXCEPT SO MUCH AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO REIMBURSE THE PERSON WHO BORE THE EXPENSE OF THEIR LAST SICKNESS AND BURIAL, IF THEY DID NOT LEAVE SUFFICIENT ASSETS TO MEET SUCH EXPENSE. AND THE MAILING OF A PENSION CHECK, DRAWN BY A PENSION AGENT IN PAYMENT OF A PENSION DUE, TO THE ADDRESS OF A PENSIONER, SHALL CONSTITUTE PAYMENT IN THE EVENT OF THE DEATH OF A PENSIONER SUBSEQUENT TO THE EXECUTION OF THE VOUCHER THEREFOR. AND ALL PRIOR LAWS RELATING TO THE PAYMENT OF ACCRUED PENSION ARE HEREBY REPEALED.

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 17, 1912, 37 STAT. 312, PROVIDES:

THAT NOT LATER THAN JANUARY FIRST, NINETEEN HUNDRED AND THIRTEEN, PENSIONS SHALL BE PAID BY CHECKS DRAWN, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, IN SUCH FORM AS TO PROTECT THE UNITED STATES AGAINST LOSS, WITHOUT SEPARATE VOUCHERS, OR RECEIPTS, AND PAYABLE BY THE PROPER ASSISTANT TREASURER OR DESIGNATED DEPOSITARY, EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF ANY PENSIONER IN WHICH THE LAW AUTHORIZED THE PENSION TO BE PAID TO SOME PERSON OTHER THAN THE PENSIONER, OR IN WHICH THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR MAY CONSIDER A VOUCHER NECESSARY FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE GOVERNMENT. SUCH CHECKS SHALL BE TRANSMITTED BY MAIL TO THE PAYEE THEREOF AT HIS LAST- KNOWN ADDRESS.

THAT POSTMASTERS, DELIVERY CLERKS, LETTER CARRIERS, AND ALL OTHER POSTAL EMPLOYEES ARE PROHIBITED FROM DELIVERING ANY SUCH MAIL TO ANY PERSON WHOMSOEVER, IF THE ADDRESSEE HAD DIED OR REMOVED, OR IN THE CASE OF A WIDOW BELIEVED BY THE POSTAL EMPLOYEE INTRUSTED WITH THE DELIVERY OF SUCH MAIL TO HAVE REMARRIED; AND THE POSTMASTER IN EVERY SUCH CASE SHALL FORTHWITH RETURN SUCH MAIL WITH A STATEMENT OF THE REASONS FOR DOING SO, AND IF BECAUSE OF DEATH OR REMARRIAGE, THE DATE THEREOF, IF KNOWN. CHECKS RETURNED AS HEREIN PROVIDED ON ACCOUNT OF THE DEATH OR REMARRIAGE OF THE PENSIONER SHALL BE CANCELED.

SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF MAY 1, 1926, 44 STAT. 383, PROVIDES:

* * * AND 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.

THE ACTS OF AUGUST 17, 1912, AND MAY 1, 1926, SUPRA, HAVE NO BEARING ON THE PRESENT CASE, AS THEY RELATE TO PENSION CHECKS PROPERLY ISSUED WITHOUT VOUCHERS, CHECKS ISSUED UPON VOUCHERS BEING SPECIFICALLY EXCEPTED THEREFROM.

IN DECISION IN 4 COMP. GEN. 358, IT WAS HELD, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS:

THE CONSERVATOR OF THE PROPERTY OF A MENTALLY INCOMPETENT PENSIONER HAS NO RIGHT BY VIRTUE OF SUCH CONSERVATORSHIP UPON A VOUCHER EXECUTED AFTER THE DEATH OF THE PENSIONER TO THE PROCEEDS OF A PENSION CHECK PAYABLE TO THE PENSIONER AND RECEIVED EITHER BY HIM OR THE CONSERVATOR PRIOR TO THE DEATH OF THE PENSIONER BUT NOT NEGOTIATED OR INDORSED. ANY CLAIM THERE MAY BE IS FOR ACCRUED PENSION.

SEE ALSO 7 COMP. GEN. 594, ID. 704.

IT WILL BE NOTED IN THOSE CASES THAT THE VOUCHERS WERE NOT EXECUTED PRIOR TO THE DEATH OF THE PENSIONER. IN THE PRESENT CASE THE VOUCHERS WERE ALL EXECUTED PRIOR TO JANUARY 22, 1929, WHEN THE PENSIONER DIED, AND AS TO SUCH CHECKS THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1895, SUPRA, PROVIDES THAT THE MAILING THEREOF "SHALL CONSTITUTE PAYMENT IN THE EVENT OF THE DEATH OF A PENSIONER SUBSEQUENT TO THE EXECUTION OF THE VOUCHERS THEREFOR; " THAT IS, THE PENSION CHECKS, WHEN ISSUED UPON A VOUCHER EXECUTED BEFORE THE DEATH OF THE PENSIONER, BECOME, WHEN MAILED, A PART OF THE ASSETS OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED PENSIONER AND ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE CANCELED. 15 COMP. DEC. 877.

AS THE CHECKS IN THIS CASE CONSTITUTE A PART OF THE ASSETS OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED PENSIONER, AND EVIDENCE HAS BEEN FILED OF THE APPOINTMENT OF J. M. KEFFER AS ADMINISTRATOR, THE CHECKS WILL BE INDORSED AS PAYABLE TO J. M. KEFFER, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF SOLOMON KEFFER.