A-30917, MARCH 31, 1930, 9 COMP. GEN. 419

A-30917: Mar 31, 1930

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VETERANS' BUREAU - ADJUSTED COMPENSATION - PAYMENT TO WIDOW THERE IS NO AUTHORITY UNDER SEC. 602 (A) OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT. TO HIS LEGAL WIDOW WITH WHOM THE VETERAN HAD NOT LIVED FOR SEVERAL YEARS PRIOR TO HIS DEATH AND SHE IS NOT SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN DEPENDENT UPON OR SUPPORTED BY THE VETERAN AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH AS REQUIRED BY THE STATUTE. AS FOLLOWS: I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST YOUR DECISION WITH RESPECT TO THE CASE OF DAVID REESE LONG. WAS MARRIED TO ANNA REBECCA KEFAUVER IN ALEXANDRIA. HAZEL MABEL LONG SUBMITTED A CERTIFIED COPY OF A MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE SHOWING THAT SHE WAS MARRIED TO THE VETERAN AT LAWTON. THIS SUM WAS PAID HER IN TEN QUARTERLY INSTALLMENTS.

A-30917, MARCH 31, 1930, 9 COMP. GEN. 419

VETERANS' BUREAU - ADJUSTED COMPENSATION - PAYMENT TO WIDOW THERE IS NO AUTHORITY UNDER SEC. 602 (A) OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MAY 29, 1928, 45 STAT. 947, TO MAKE PAYMENT OF THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT, BASED ON THE MILITARY SERVICE RENDERED BY THE VETERAN DURING THE WORLD WAR, TO HIS LEGAL WIDOW WITH WHOM THE VETERAN HAD NOT LIVED FOR SEVERAL YEARS PRIOR TO HIS DEATH AND SHE IS NOT SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN DEPENDENT UPON OR SUPPORTED BY THE VETERAN AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH AS REQUIRED BY THE STATUTE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, MARCH 31, 1930:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 7, 1930, AS FOLLOWS:

I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST YOUR DECISION WITH RESPECT TO THE CASE OF DAVID REESE LONG, XC-1,095657, NOW PENDING IN THE BUREAU FOR ADJUDICATION, WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO THE QUESTION OF DUPLICATE PAYMENT OF THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT OF THE VETERAN, UPON THE FOLLOWING FACTS:

THIS MAN, A VETERAN OF THE WORLD WAR, WAS MARRIED TO ANNA REBECCA KEFAUVER IN ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, ON AUGUST 16, 1913. HE DESERTED HER IN 1916. ON JUNE 30, 1917, HE WENT THROUGH A MARRIAGE CEREMONY WITH HAZEL MABEL GRANGER IN LAWTON, OKLAHOMA, WITHOUT HAVING OBTAINED A DIVORCE FROM ANNA REBECCA LONG, NEE KEFAUVER.

THE VETERAN DIED ON SEPTEMBER 26, 1923.

IN NOVEMBER, 1924, THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF THE ARMY TRANSMITTED TO THE BUREAU THE APPLICATION OF HAZEL MABEL LONG FOR THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT OF THE VETERAN, AS HIS WIDOW, AND CERTIFICATE A NO.2335956, IN COMPLIANCE WITH SEC. 605 OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT. THEREAFTER, AT THE REQUEST OF THE BUREAU, HAZEL MABEL LONG SUBMITTED A CERTIFIED COPY OF A MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE SHOWING THAT SHE WAS MARRIED TO THE VETERAN AT LAWTON, OKLAHOMA, JUNE 30, 1917; AND AN AFFIDAVIT SHOWING THAT SHE AND THE VETERAN LIVED TOGETHER AS HUSBAND AND WIFE FROM THE DATE OF THE MARRIAGE UP TO AND INCLUDING THE PERIOD IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING HIS DEATH. IN THIS AFFIDAVIT SHE STATED THAT THE VETERAN HAD NOT BEEN PREVIOUSLY MARRIED.

THERE BEING NO EVIDENCE BEFORE THE BUREAU AGENCY CHARGED WITH ADJUDICATING THIS CLAIM INDICATING A PRIOR MARRIAGE OF THE SOLDIER WHICH MIGHT CAST DOUBT ON THE VALIDITY THEREOF, ON JUNE 4, 1925, THE BUREAU AWARDED HAZEL MABEL LONG THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT OF THE VETERAN IN THE SUM OF $500.00, AND THIS SUM WAS PAID HER IN TEN QUARTERLY INSTALLMENTS.

ON JANUARY 15, 1929, THE ACTING ADJUTANT GENERAL OF THE ARMY ADDRESSED A COMMUNICATION TO THE BUREAU WITH RESPECT TO THIS CASE AS FOLLOWS:

"1. THERE IS INCLOSED CERTIFICATION OF ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT IN THE CASE OF DAVID R. LONG, ARMY SERIAL NO. 1051930, BASED ON THE APPLICATION FILED BY MRS. ANNA REBECCA LONG, WIDOW OF THE VETERAN, UNDER A- NO.4254043.

"2. IT IS REQUESTED THAT THE CERTIFICATE, A-NO.2335956, FORWARDED TO THE BUREAU ON NOVEMBER 15, 1924, BASED ON THE APPLICATION FILED BY HAZELMABEL LONG, AS WIDOW OF THIS VETERAN, BE RETURNED TO THIS OFFICE FOR CANCELLATION INASMUCH AS IT HAS BEEN FOUND THAT SHE IS NOT THE PROPER PERSON TO APPLY AS WIDOW OF THE VETERAN.'

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING FACTS, YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE BUREAU IS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE A DUPLICATE PAYMENT OF THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT OF THIS VETERAN TO ANNA REBECCA LONG.

ASIDE FROM ANY QUESTION OF A DUPLICATE PAYMENT, THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE INVOLVED IN THIS CASE THE QUESTION WHETHER THE LAWFUL WIFE COULD POSSIBLY QUALIFY AS A PREFERRED DEPENDENT UNDER THE TERMS OF THE STATUTE.

SECTION 602 (A) OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MAY 29, 1928, 45 STAT. 947, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

NO PAYMENT UNDER SECTION 601 SHALL BE MADE TO A WIDOW IF SHE HAS REMARRIED BEFORE MAKING AND FILING APPLICATION, OR IF AT THE TIME OF THE DEATH OF THE VETERAN WAS LIVING APART FROM HIM BY REASON OF HER OWN WILLFUL ACT; NOR UNLESS DEPENDENT AT THE TIME OF THE DEATH OF THE VETERAN OR AT ANY TIME THEREAFTER AND BEFORE JANUARY 3, 1930. THE WIDOW SHALL BE PRESUMED TO HAVE BEEN DEPENDENT AT THE TIME OF THE DEATH OF THE VETERAN UPON A SHOWING OF THE MARITAL COHABITATION.

UNDER THIS SECTION UNLESS THERE IS A SHOWING OF ACTUAL MARITAL COHABITATION AT THE TIME OF THE DEATH OF THE VETERAN, THE WIDOW IS REQUIRED TO SHOW DEPENDENCY IN FACT. THE MERE LEGAL RELATIONSHIP OF HUSBAND AND WIFE AT THE DATE OF DEATH OF THE VETERAN DOES NOT SUFFICE. THE STATUTE MAKES NO DISTINCTION IN THIS PARTICULAR, WHETHER THE FAULT FOR THE SEPARATION OF THE HUSBAND AND WIFE WAS THAT OF THE VETERAN OR OF THE WIFE.

IN THIS CASE IT IS DISCLOSED THAT THE VETERAN DESERTED HIS LEGAL WIFE IN 1916 AND NEVER THEREAFTER LIVED WITH HER, SO THAT ON THE DATE OF HIS DEATH, SEPTEMBER 26, 1923, THERE IS NO PRESUMPTION OF DEPENDENCY, BASED ON A SHOWING OF "MARITAL COHABITATION" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE STATUTE.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS PRESENTED NO PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT OF THE VETERAN'S ADJUSTED SERVICE GRATUITY SHOULD BE MADE TO THE LEGAL WIDOW OF THE VETERAN.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT THE VETERAN LEFT THREE CHILDREN BY HIS LEGAL WIFE. WHETHER AN APPLICATION BY, OR ON THERE BEHALF, MAY BE ENTERTAINED WILL BE FOR CONSIDERATION ONLY IF AND WHEN THE PERIOD FOR FILING APPLICATION HAS BEEN EXTENDED BY STATUTE BEYOND JANUARY 2, 1930.