A-53539, FEBRUARY 20, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 229

A-53539: Feb 20, 1934

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IN WHICH THERE IS INVOLVED THE LEGALITY OF AN AWARD ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED FOR THE PROCEEDS OF THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE LESS UNPAID LOANS AND INTEREST. WILL BIBBS. EXCEPT THAT IF SUCH BENEFICIARY DIES BEFORE THE VETERAN AND NO NEW BENEFICIARY IS NAMED. IT WAS HELD. WHO ARE LIVING TOGETHER AS HUSBAND AND WIFE. IF THE DIRECTOR IS UNABLE TO ASCERTAIN THE BENEFICIARY NAMED BY THE VETERAN. IT WAS HELD. SHOULD BE APPLIED TO VALIDATE ALL DESIGNATIONS OF MORE THAN ONE BENEFICIARY MADE PRIOR TO THE DATE OF THE ACT WHO WERE LIVING ON THE DATE OF THE ACT. THE INSTANT CASE BOTH OF THE ORIGINALLY DESIGNATED BENEFICIARIES WERE ALIVE AT THE TIME OF THE PASSAGE OF THE 1928 STATUTE AND THE VETERAN HAD MADE NO CHANGE OF BENEFICIARY.

A-53539, FEBRUARY 20, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 229

WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION - DESIGNATION OF BENEFICIARIES SECTION 508 OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MAY 29, 1928, 45 STAT. 949, AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO, AUTHORIZING THE DESIGNATION OF MORE THAN ONE BENEFICIARY OF AN ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE, VALIDATED THE DESIGNATION MADE PRIOR TO THE ACT OF THE TWO PARENTS OF A VETERAN AS TWO BENEFICIARIES, AND, IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY OTHER EXPRESS DISTRIBUTION BY THE VETERAN, EACH OF THE PARENTS BECOMES A BENEFICIARY FOR ONE HALF OF THE PROCEEDS OF THE CERTIFICATE ONLY, RATHER THAN THE SURVIVING PARENT BECOMING THE BENEFICIARY OF THE ENTIRE PROCEEDS OF THE CERTIFICATE UNDER THE PRINCIPLE STATED IN DECISION OF JANUARY 6, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 460.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, FEBRUARY 20, 1934:

THERE HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR PREAUDIT THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION CASE OF DAVE BIBBS, DECEASED, A-103091, XC 1560067, IN WHICH THERE IS INVOLVED THE LEGALITY OF AN AWARD ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED FOR THE PROCEEDS OF THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE LESS UNPAID LOANS AND INTEREST, TO WIT, $482.90, IN FAVOR OF THE FATHER OF THE VETERAN, WILL BIBBS, THE SURVIVING DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY, LAURA BIBBS, THE MOTHER, HAVING DIED JANUARY 1, 1929, PRIOR TO THE VETERAN'S DEATH ON AUGUST 31, 1933.

SECTION 501 OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, AS ORIGINALLY ENACTED, MAY 19, 1924, 43 STAT. 125, PROVIDED, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * THE VETERAN SHALL NAME THE BENEFICIARY OF THE CERTIFICATE AND MAY FROM TIME TO TIME, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE DIRECTOR, CHANGE SUCH BENEFICIARY. THE AMOUNT OF THE FACE VALUE OF THE CERTIFICATE * * * SHALL BE PAYABLE * * * (1) TO THE VETERAN TWENTY YEARS AFTER THE DATE OF THE CERTIFICATE, OR (2) UPON THE DEATH OF THE VETERAN PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF SUCH TWENTY-YEAR PERIOD, TO THE BENEFICIARY NAMED; EXCEPT THAT IF SUCH BENEFICIARY DIES BEFORE THE VETERAN AND NO NEW BENEFICIARY IS NAMED, OR IF THE BENEFICIARY IN THE FIRST INSTANCE HAS NOT YET BEEN NAMED, THE AMOUNT OF THE FACE VALUE OF THE CERTIFICATE SHALL BE PAID TO THE ESTATE OF THE VETERAN. * * *

IN DECISION OF JANUARY 6, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 460, IT WAS HELD, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS, AS FOLLOWS:

THE DESIGNATION OF THE PARENTS OF A VETERAN OF THE WORLD WAR, WHO ARE LIVING TOGETHER AS HUSBAND AND WIFE, MAY BE CONSIDERED AS THE DESIGNATION OF A BENEFICIARY UNDER AN ADJUSTED COMPENSATION CERTIFICATE WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT OF MAY 19, 1924, 43 STAT. 125.

SECTION 508 OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, ADDED BY THE ACT OF MAY 29, 1928, 45 STAT. 949, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF THIS ACT A VETERAN MAY, UNDER REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE DIRECTOR, NAME MORE THAN ONE BENEFICIARY, AND MAY FROM TIME TO TIME, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE DIRECTOR, CHANGE SUCH BENEFICIARIES. IF THE DIRECTOR IS UNABLE TO ASCERTAIN THE BENEFICIARY NAMED BY THE VETERAN, PAYMENT SHALL BE MADE TO THE ESTATE OF THE VETERAN.

PARAGRAPH 3715, REGULATIONS AND PROCEDURE OF THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE ABOVE AMENDATORY STATUTE, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

A VETERAN TO WHOM AN ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE HAS BEEN ISSUED, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 501 OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, MAY NAME MORE THAN ONE BENEFICIARY TO RECEIVE THE PROCEEDS OF HIS ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE, AND MAY FROM TIME TO TIME WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE ADMINISTRATOR CHANGE SUCH BENEFICIARIES. THE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARIES SHALL SHARE EQUALLY UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED BY THE VETERAN. WHEREVER THE WORD "BENEFICIARY" APPEARS IN THE LAW AND VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION REGULATIONS, IT SHALL BE INTERPRETED TO INCLUDE BENEFICIARIES (JUNE 5, 1930).

IN DECISION OF JULY 24, 1929, A-27965, IT WAS HELD, IN EFFECT, THAT SECTION 508 OF THE ACT OF MAY 29, 1928, SUPRA, AND THE REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO, SHOULD BE APPLIED TO VALIDATE ALL DESIGNATIONS OF MORE THAN ONE BENEFICIARY MADE PRIOR TO THE DATE OF THE ACT WHO WERE LIVING ON THE DATE OF THE ACT, SO LONG AS NO CHANGE OF BENEFICIARY HAD BEEN MADE BY THE VETERAN, SUCH RULE, HOWEVER, TO BE APPLIED TO UNPAID CLAIMS ONLY. THE INSTANT CASE BOTH OF THE ORIGINALLY DESIGNATED BENEFICIARIES WERE ALIVE AT THE TIME OF THE PASSAGE OF THE 1928 STATUTE AND THE VETERAN HAD MADE NO CHANGE OF BENEFICIARY, OR OTHERWISE GIVEN EXPRESSION IN WRITING OF AN INTENTION THAT THE SURVIVING PARENT SHOULD RECEIVE THE ENTIRE PROCEEDS OF THE CERTIFICATE. IT IS BELIEVED, THEREFORE, TO HAVE BEEN THE INTENT OF THE AMENDATORY STATUTE AND THE REGULATIONS THEREUNDER THAT PLURAL DESIGNATION OF PARENTS, AS WELL AS DESIGNATION OF ANY OTHER TWO PERSONS MADE PRIOR TO THE DATE OF THE ACT, WERE VALIDATED BY THE ACT AND ARE NOW TO BE REGARDED AS A DESIGNATION OF TWO BENEFICIARIES, NOTWITHSTANDING THE DECISION OF JANUARY 6, 1926, SUPRA. EACH OF THE PARENTS IN THIS CASE, THEREFORE, BECAME A BENEFICIARY FOR ONE HALF OF THE PROCEEDS OF THE CERTIFICATE.

SINCE THERE IS A SURVIVING PARENT, AND SINCE ONE OF THE PARENTS PREDECEASED THE VETERAN, AND AS THE VETERAN HAS NOT SHOWN AN INTENTION THAT THE SURVIVING PARENT SHOULD RECEIVE THE ENTIRE PROCEEDS OF THE CERTIFICATE, THE RULE SHOULD BE IN THIS CASE, AS WELL AS ALL SIMILAR CASES, TO AWARD ONE HALF OF THE PROCEEDS OF THE CERTIFICATE, LESS UNPAID LOANS AND INTEREST, TO THE SURVIVING PARENT AND THE REMAINING ONE HALF TO THE ESTATE OF THE VETERAN PURSUANT TO SECTION 501 OF THE ACT, SUPRA.

SUCH APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN THE RULE FOLLOWED IN OTHER CASES PRESENTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR PREAUDIT (EDGAR JOSEPH CHATTERTON, A-173178, XC 222306, AND JOHN STANLEY MASON, A-549351, XC-1152013), BUT HAS NOT BEEN FOLLOWED IN THE INSTANT CASE.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF THE FATHER OF THE VETERAN WILL BE CERTIFIED BY THIS OFFICE FOR PAYMENT ONLY IN THE AMOUNT OF $241.45 REPRESENTING ONE HALF OF THE PROCEEDS OF THE CERTIFICATE LESS UPAID LOANS AND INTEREST.