A-61076, APRIL 26, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 793

A-61076: Apr 26, 1935

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VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION - ADJUSTED COMPENSATION - ISSUANCE OF A DUPLICATE ADJUSTED-SERVICE CERTIFICATE AN ADJUSTED-SERVICE CERTIFICATE ONCE PAID AND PERFORATED CONSTITUTES THE PRINCIPAL SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR THE VOUCHER ON WHICH THE PAYMENT WAS MADE AND MAY NOT BE RELEASED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE TO THE VETERAN EVEN THOUGH IT BE PROVEN THAT THE PAYMENT WAS ILLEGALLY MADE. 1935: THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 25. 487 WAS ISSUED AND FORWARDED TO THE VETERAN AT 863 CLANCY AVENUE. WAS SUBMITTED TO THIS ADMINISTRATION. WAS ISSUED AND FORWARDED TO THE WIFE AT 4014 HAMILTON AVENUE. IN JUNE 1934 ANOTHER APPLICATION FOR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION WAS SUBMITTED BY THE VETERAN WHICH WAS AFFIRMATIVE EVIDENCE THAT THE VETERAN WAS NOT DECEASED.

A-61076, APRIL 26, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 793

VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION - ADJUSTED COMPENSATION - ISSUANCE OF A DUPLICATE ADJUSTED-SERVICE CERTIFICATE AN ADJUSTED-SERVICE CERTIFICATE ONCE PAID AND PERFORATED CONSTITUTES THE PRINCIPAL SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR THE VOUCHER ON WHICH THE PAYMENT WAS MADE AND MAY NOT BE RELEASED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE TO THE VETERAN EVEN THOUGH IT BE PROVEN THAT THE PAYMENT WAS ILLEGALLY MADE. THE ABSENCE OF FRAUD OR COLLUSION ON THE PART OF THE VETERAN, A DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE MAY BE ISSUED IN SUCH CASES WITHOUT REQUIRING A BOND OF INDEMNITY UNDER AUTHORITY OF SECTION 705 OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1929, 45 STAT. 1561.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, APRIL 26, 1935:

THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 25, 1935 (DBC-H BELL, GEORGE A. A -4,315,653), AS FOLLOWS:

THE RECORDS INDICATE THAT THE ABOVE-NAMED VETERAN ABANDONED HIS FAMILY IN OCTOBER 1929 AND THAT HIS WIFE, MRS. DORA BELL, MADE APPLICATION ON DECEMBER 9, 1929, FOR ADJUSTED-COMPENSATION BENEFITS. ON OR ABOUT DECEMBER 13, 1929, THE VETERAN MADE APPLICATION FOR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION AND DESIGNATED HIS WIFE, MRS. DORA FRANCES BELL, AS BENEFICIARY. ADJUSTED -SERVICE CERTIFICATE NO. 3,571,487 WAS ISSUED AND FORWARDED TO THE VETERAN AT 863 CLANCY AVENUE, N.E., GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN, THE ADDRESS SHOWN ON THE APPLICATION.

A CERTIFIED COPY OF A CERTIFICATE OF DEATH, SHOWING THE VETERAN'S DEATH AS MAY 18, 1930, WAS SUBMITTED TO THIS ADMINISTRATION. THE WIFE, MRS. DORA FRANCES BELL, MADE DEMAND FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE FACE VALUE OF THE ADJUSTED-SERVICE CERTIFICATE AND CHECK NO. 87523, DRAWN SEPTEMBER 20, 1930, FOR $862.00 BY J. B. SCHOMMER, DISBURSING CLERK, SYMBOL 11499, WAS ISSUED AND FORWARDED TO THE WIFE AT 4014 HAMILTON AVENUE, DETROIT, MICHIGAN.

IN JUNE 1934 ANOTHER APPLICATION FOR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION WAS SUBMITTED BY THE VETERAN WHICH WAS AFFIRMATIVE EVIDENCE THAT THE VETERAN WAS NOT DECEASED. CONGRESSMAN ROY O. WOODRUFF HAS MADE NUMEROUS INQUIRIES IN BEHALF OF THE VETERAN AND ON MARCH 12, 1935, HE STATED THAT HE WAS PARTICULARLY ANXIOUS TO BE ADVISED AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE VETERAN WOULD NOW BE GRANTED HIS ADJUSTED-SERVICE CERTIFICATE.

IT HAS BEEN HELD BY YOUR OFFICE IN CASES OF THIS NATURE THAT AFTER PAYMENT HAS BEEN MADE TO THE LAST DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY THE ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE MUST BE RETAINED BY YOUR OFFICE AS SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR THE VOUCHER ON WHICH PAYMENT WAS MADE. IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOU ADVISE AS TO WHETHER THE VETERAN HAS FORFEITED HIS RIGHTS UNDER THE CERTIFICATE AND IF NOT WHETHER A DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE MAY BE ISSUED TO HIM. IN THE EVENT A DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE CANNOT BE ISSUED UNDER SECTION 705 OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOU ADVISE OF THE MANNER IN WHICH HIS RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES MAY BE RESTORED BY THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION.

THERE IS ENCLOSED FOR YOUR INFORMATION A COPY OF THE REPORT DATED FEBRUARY 21, 1935, OF THE FIELD EXAMINER OF THE DETROIT, MICHIGAN, REGIONAL OFFICE OF THIS ADMINISTRATION.

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED, ALSO, YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 10, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED MARCH 25, 1935, WHEREIN YOU WERE REQUESTED TO ADVISE THIS ADMINISTRATION AS TO WHETHER THE ABOVE-NAMED VETERAN HAS FORFEITED HIS RIGHTS UNDER HIS ADJUSTED-SERVICE CERTIFICATE, AND IF NOT, WHETHER A DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE MAY BE ISSUED TO HIM. YOU WERE ALSO REQUESTED TO ADVISE THAT IN THE EVENT A DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE CANNOT BE ISSUED UNDER SECTION 705 OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, HOW THE VETERAN'S RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES MAY BE RESTORED BY THIS ADMINISTRATION.

THERE IS ENCLOSED A LETTER DATED MARCH 27, 1935, FROM THE VETERAN WHEREIN HE STATED AMONG OTHER THINGS THAT HE DID NOT AT ANY TIME DESIGNATE DORA FRANCES BELL, WIFE, AS BENEFICIARY AND THAT HE HAD NEVER MADE CLAIM UNTIL 1934. THE APPLICATION SENT TO THE ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE DURING DECEMBER 1929 DESIGNATED THE WIFE AS BENEFICIARY, AND THE VETERAN WAS IDENTIFIED BY HIS FINGERPRINTS BY MEANS OF THE RECORDS OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE AS THE VETERAN CONCERNED. THERE IS ALSO ENCLOSED A COPY OF LETTER DATED APRIL 2, 1935, FROM CONGRESSMAN ROY O. WOODRUFF WHEREIN HE EXPRESSED THE HOPE THAT THE MATTER OF THE ISSUING TO THE VETERAN OF AN ADJUSTED-SERVICE CERTIFICATE BE EXPEDITED.

SINCE CONGRESSMAN WOODRUFF IS VERY INSISTENT IN HIS REQUEST THAT A CERTIFICATE BE ISSUED TO THE VETERAN, IT WILL BE APPRECIATED IF YOU WILL ADVISE AT YOUR EARLIEST CONVENIENCE AS TO WHAT ACTION MAY BE TAKEN BY THIS ADMINISTRATION.

THERE ACCOMPANIED YOUR FIRST LETTER A REPORT BY AN INVESTIGATOR IN WHICH IT IS ALLEGED THAT THE PAYMENT OF THE CERTIFICATE WAS MADE UNDER A MISTAKE OF FACTS--- THE IDENTIFICATION OF A BODY AS THAT OF THE VETERAN HAVING BEEN ERRONEOUS--- AND THAT THERE WAS NO FRAUD OR COLLUSION ON THE PART OF THE VETERAN OR HIS WIFE.

AS YOU STATE, THIS OFFICE HAS CONSISTENTLY REFUSED TO RELEASE ADJUSTED- SERVICE CERTIFICATES ONCE PAID EITHER LEGALLY OR ILLEGALLY. THE PRACTICE OF THIS OFFICE IN THE PREAUDIT OF VOUCHERS COVERING PAYMENT OF THE PROCEEDS OF AN ADJUSTED-SERVICE CERTIFICATE IS TO CANCEL THE CERTIFICATE BY PERFORATING IT WITH THE LEGEND "PAID" AT THE TIME THE VOUCHER IS CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT. SUCH PERFORATION OF A CERTIFICATE RENDERS IT UNFIT FOR FURTHER USE. WHILE A CERTIFICATE THUS PERFORATED "PAID" MAY HAVE BEEN UNLAWFULLY ISSUED, OR ISSUED UNDER A MISTAKE OF FACT, IT, NEVERTHELESS, CONSTITUTES THE PRINCIPAL SUPPORTING EVIDENCE FOR THE VOUCHER ON WHICH THE PAYMENT WAS MADE AND, AS SUCH, BECOMES A PART OF THE FISCAL OFFICER'S ACCOUNTS REQUIRED BY LAW TO BE PRESERVED IN THIS OFFICE. YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT THIS OFFICE MAY NOT RELEASE THE PAID CERTIFICATE IN THIS CASE.

SECTION 705 OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1929, 45 STAT. 1561, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

WHENEVER IT APPEARS TO THE DIRECTOR, BY EVIDENCE CLEAR AND SATISFACTORY TO HIM, THAT ANY ADJUSTED-SERVICE CERTIFICATE HAS WITHOUT BAD FAITH UPON THE PART OF THE PERSON ENTITLED TO PAYMENT THEREON, BEEN LOST OR DESTROYED, AND SUCH ADJUSTED-SERVICE CERTIFICATE IS IDENTIFIED BY NUMBER AND DESCRIPTION, HE SHALL, UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AND WITH SUCH RESTRICTIONS AS TO TIME AND RETENTION FOR SECURITY OR OTHERWISE AS HE MAY PRESCRIBE, ISSUE A DUPLICATE THEREOF OF LIKE VALUE IN ALL RESPECTS TO THE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE AND SO MARKED AS TO SHOW THE ORIGINAL NUMBER OF THE CERTIFICATE LOST OR DESTROYED AND THE DATE THEREOF. THE LAWFUL HOLDER OF SUCH CERTIFICATE WHO MAKES APPLICATION FOR A DUPLICATE SHALL FILE IN THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU A BOND IN A PENAL SUM OF THE FACE VALUE OF SUCH LOST OR DESTROYED CERTIFICATE, WITH TWO GOOD AND SUFFICIENT SURETIES, RESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES, TO BE APPROVED BY THE DIRECTOR, WITH CONDITION TO INDEMNIFY AND SAVE HARMLESS THE UNITED STATES FROM ANY CLAIM UPON SUCH LOST OR DESTROYED CERTIFICATE; EXCEPT THAT A DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE SHALL BE ISSUED WITHOUT THE REQUIREMENT OF A BOND WHEN IT IS SHOWN TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE DIRECTOR THAT THE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE, (1) BEFORE DELIVERY TO THE VETERAN, HAS BEEN LOST, DESTROYED, WHOLLY OR IN PART, OR SO DEFACED AS TO IMPAIR ITS VALUE, AND (2) AFTER DELIVERY TO THE VETERAN, HAS, WITHOUT BAD FAITH UPON THE PART OF THE PERSON ENTITLED TO PAYMENT THEREON, BEEN PARTIALLY DESTROYED OR DEFACED SO AS TO IMPAIR ITS VALUE, IS CAPABLE OF IDENTIFICATION, AND IS SURRENDERED BY SUCH PERSON TO THE VETERANS' BUREAU.

WHILE NO FRAUD OR COLLUSION ON THE PART OF THE VETERAN SEEMS TO BE DIRECTLY CHARGED IN THIS CASE, THE FACTS PRESENTED ARE CONFLICTING. THE INVESTIGATOR MAKES THE STATEMENT THAT "HIS WIFE APPLIED FOR AN ADJUSTED- SERVICE CERTIFICATE THROUGH THE SERVICEMEN'S BUREAU UNDER DATE OF DECEMBER 9, 1929," WHEREAS YOU STATE IN YOUR FIRST LETTER THAT HIS WIFE "MADE APPLICATION ON DECEMBER 9, 1929, FOR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION BENEFITS" AND THAT "ON OR ABOUT DECEMBER 13, 1929, THE VETERAN MADE APPLICATION FOR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION AND DESIGNATED HIS WIFE, MRS. DORA FRANCES BELL, AS BENEFICIARY.' THERE IS NO LAW WHICH WOULD HAVE AUTHORIZED THE VETERAN'S WIFE TO FILE APPLICATION FOR AN ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE UNDER THE FACTS DISCLOSED. THE VETERAN DENIES THAT HE APPLIED FOR A CERTIFICATE, BUT IT IS UNDERSTOOD TO BE REPORTED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT THAT HIS FINGERPRINTS, AS IDENTIFIED FROM THE MILITARY RECORDS OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT, WERE ON THE APPLICATION FOR THE ADJUSTED-SERVICE CERTIFICATE RECEIVED IN THAT OFFICE. IF SO, THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE DIRECT CONFLICT IN THE FACTS REPORTED BY THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION AND THE CONTENTIONS OF THE VETERAN.

IN AN OTHERWISE PROPER CASE, AND IN THE ABSENCE OF FRAUD OR COLLUSION ON THE PART OF THE VETERAN, SECTION 705 OF THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT, AS AMENDED, SUPRA, WOULD CONSTITUTE SUFFICIENT AUTHORITY FOR ISSUANCE OF A DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE WITHOUT THE NECESSITY FOR A BOND OF INDEMNITY TO REPLACE THE ORIGINAL WHICH HAD BEEN ILLEGALLY PAID AND ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE. HOWEVER, WHILE THE MATTER IS PRIMARILY FOR DETERMINATION BY THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, IT IS THE VIEW OF THIS OFFICE THAT THE FACTS REPORTED IN YOUR TWO LETTERS AND BY THE INVESTIGATOR ARE NOT SUFFICIENT TO WARRANT THE ISSUANCE OF A DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE TO THIS VETERAN.