A-40325, JANUARY 23, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 280

A-40325: Jan 23, 1932

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HIS REMARRIED WIDOW HAS NO RIGHT TO FILE APPLICATION FOR AN ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE AND IS NOT ENTITLED TO THE PROCEEDS THEREOF. THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN THE INSTANT CASE IS WHETHER THE WORD "WIDOW" AS IT APPEARS IN THIS PROVISO IS DESCRIPTIVE OF THE PARTICULAR INDIVIDUAL WHOSE RIGHTS WERE NOT TERMINATED BY HER REMARRIAGE. THE PERIOD MENTIONED IN THE PROVISO IS UNDERSTOOD AS COVERING THE TIME WHICH WAS FOUND NECESSARY TO PERFECT THE MACHINERY FOR ENTERTAINING APPLICATIONS FOR CERTIFICATES BY THE VETERANS. IT IS NOT BELIEVED THAT THE TERM "WIDOW" AS APPEARING IN SECTION 302 IS INTENDED TO BE GIVEN ANY BROADER MEANING THAN THE SAME TERM APPEARING IN SECTIONS 601 AND 602 OF THE STATUTE.

A-40325, JANUARY 23, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 280

VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION - ADJUSTED COMPENSATION - REMARRIED WIDOWS WHERE A VETERAN DIED BETWEEN MAY 19, 1924, AND JULY 1, 1924, HIS REMARRIED WIDOW HAS NO RIGHT TO FILE APPLICATION FOR AN ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE AND IS NOT ENTITLED TO THE PROCEEDS THEREOF, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 302 OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 3, 1926, 44 STAT. 826.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, JANUARY 23, 1932:

THERE HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR PREAUDIT ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF MRS. ERMIA BEATRICE UNRUH, FORMERLY MRS. ERMIA BEATRICE KURTZ, REMARRIED WIDOW OF JOHN W. KURTZ, DECEASED, XC- 816,760, FOR $331, PROCEEDS OF AN ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE ISSUED EFFECTIVE AS OF JANUARY 1, 1925, IN THE NAME OF THE VETERAN WHO DIED JUNE 13, 1924, WITHOUT HAVING APPLIED FOR AN ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE, ON THE BASIS OF AN APPLICATION FILED AUGUST 28, 1931, BY THE SAID REMARRIED WIDOW OF THE VETERAN, THE REMARRIAGE HAVING TAKEN PLACE AUGUST 26, 1925.

SECTION 302 OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 3, 1926, 44 STAT. 826, CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING PROVISO:

* * * PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT IF THE VETERAN DIED BETWEEN MAY 19, 1924, AND JULY 1, 1924, WITHOUT MAKING THE APPLICATION, LEAVING A WIDOW SURVIVING HIM, THE APPLICATION MAY BE MADE BY THE WIDOW AND SHALL BE VALID WITH THE SAME FORCE AND EFFECT IN EVERY RESPECT AS IF THE APPLICATION HAD BEEN MADE BY THE VETERAN.

THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN THE INSTANT CASE IS WHETHER THE WORD "WIDOW" AS IT APPEARS IN THIS PROVISO IS DESCRIPTIVE OF THE PARTICULAR INDIVIDUAL WHOSE RIGHTS WERE NOT TERMINATED BY HER REMARRIAGE, OR OF A STATUS WHICH TERMINATED UPON REMARRIAGE. THE WORD "WIDOW" MAY MEAN EITHER AN INDIVIDUAL OR A STATUS ACCORDING TO THE CONTEXT OF THE INSTRUMENT OR STATUTE IN WHICH IT APPEARS. IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC DEFINITION OF THE TERM IN THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, THAT MEANING SHOULD BE APPLIED WHICH HARMONIZES WITH THE REMAINDER OF THE STATUTE AND CONFORMS TO THE GENERAL PURPOSE AND INTENT OF THE STATUTE.

THE PERIOD MENTIONED IN THE PROVISO IS UNDERSTOOD AS COVERING THE TIME WHICH WAS FOUND NECESSARY TO PERFECT THE MACHINERY FOR ENTERTAINING APPLICATIONS FOR CERTIFICATES BY THE VETERANS, AND THE PURPOSE AS SAVING TO THE WIDOW, OR TO A BENEFICIARY DESIGNATED BY HER, WHEN HER VETERAN HUSBAND DIED DURING THAT PERIOD WITHOUT HAVING FILED APPLICATION, THE FULL AMOUNT OF HIS CERTIFICATE AS THOUGH APPLIED FOR BY THE VETERAN, RATHER THAN BEING REQUIRED TO ACCEPT THE SMALLER AMOUNT OF THE VETERANS' ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT IN 10 QUARTERLY INSTALLMENTS AS THE PREFERRED DEPENDENT OF THE VETERAN UNDER TITLE VI CONTAINING SECTIONS 601, 602, ET.SEQ. OF THE STATUTE. SECTION 602 PROVIDES IN PART:

NO PAYMENT (OF THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT) UNDER SECTION 601 SHALL BE MADE TO A WIDOW IF SHE HAS REMARRIED BEFORE MAKING APPLICATION, * * *.

IT IS NOT BELIEVED THAT THE TERM "WIDOW" AS APPEARING IN SECTION 302 IS INTENDED TO BE GIVEN ANY BROADER MEANING THAN THE SAME TERM APPEARING IN SECTIONS 601 AND 602 OF THE STATUTE. OTHERWISE, GREATER BENEFITS WOULD BE GRANTED TO A REMARRIED WIDOW WHOSE VETERAN HUSBAND DIED BETWEEN MAY 29, 1924, AND JULY 1, 1924, THAN TO AN UNMARRIED WIDOW WHOSE VETERAN HUSBAND DIED PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT THERETO. A REASONABLE CONSTRUCTION OF THE STATUTE DOES NOT JUSTIFY SUCH A CONCLUSION. FURTHERMORE, STATUTES CONFERRING BENEFITS ON WIDOWS OF VETERANS PROVIDE GENERALLY FOR THE TERMINATION OF SUCH BENEFITS UPON REMARRIAGE. IT IS PROPER TO NOTE, ALSO, THAT ON JULY 3, 1926, DATE OF THE AMENDATORY STATUTE ENACTING THE PROVISO, THE CLAIMANT WAS REMARRIED.

ACCORDINGLY, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE REMARRIED WIDOW OF THE VETERAN IN THIS CASE HAD NO RIGHT TO FILE AN APPLICATION FOR AN ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE UNDER THE WORD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, AS AMENDED, BECAUSE OF HER REMARRIAGE, AND THAT SHE IS NOT ENTITLED TO TO THE PROCEEDS THEREOF. THE ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED VOUCHER WILL NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.