A-76244, AUGUST 26, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 183

A-76244: Aug 26, 1936

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OVERPAYMENT OF ADJUSTED COMPENSATION BENEFITS IS MADE. 581.00 WAS ISSUED TO HIM EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1. WAS APPROVED IN FAVOR OF THE HOWARD SAVINGS INSTITUTION. CHECK IN PAYMENT OF WHICH WAS MAILED TO THE GUARDIAN AT 768 BROAD STREET. THE WAR DEPARTMENT INFORMED THIS ADMINISTRATION THAT THE VETERAN WAS GIVEN CREDIT FOR ACTIVE DUTY FROM MAY 28. SINCE SETTLEMENT WAS MADE WITH THE HOWARD SAVINGS INSTITUTION. THAT THERE WERE NO OTHER BENEFITS SUCH AS INSURANCE OR COMPENSATION. THAT IS WAS NECESSARY FOR THEM TO MAKE MONTHLY DISBURSEMENTS IN THE AMOUNT OF $20.00 FOR THE MINOR'S MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT. A LETTER WAS RECEIVED FROM THE OFFICE OF THIS ADMINISTRATION AT LYONS. TO THE EFFECT THAT THE HOWARD SAVINGS INSTITUTION WAS WILLING TO FILE ITS FINAL ACCOUNT AND SECURE A COURT ORDER DIRECTING IT TO RETURN THE BALANCE OF $332.25.

A-76244, AUGUST 26, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 183

GUARDIAN AND WARD - LIABILITY FOR GOVERNMENT OVERPAYMENTS TO GUARDIAN WHERE, BECAUSE OF AN IMPROPER CERTIFICATION OF SERVICE CREDIT DUE A VETERAN, OVERPAYMENT OF ADJUSTED COMPENSATION BENEFITS IS MADE, UPON HIS DEATH, TO HIS LEGAL GUARDIAN, THE GUARDIAN, ALTHOUGH NOT LIABLE FOR MONEYS IMPROPERLY RECEIVED AND DISBURSED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE WARD, SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO REFUND THE AMOUNT OVERPAID NOT ALREADY DISBURSED, THE DIFFERENCE BEING A MATTER FOR ADJUSTMENT IN CONNECTION WITH THE WARD'S OTHER ESTATE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, AUGUST 26, 1936:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 2, 1936, AS FOLLOWS:

BASED ON THE AMOUNT OF ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT DUE JOSEPH J. VISCIDO, A- 3286078, XC-812955, AS CERTIFIED TO THIS ADMINISTRATION BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT, AN ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,581.00 WAS ISSUED TO HIM EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 1925. ON THE SECURITY THEREOF HE OBTAINED A LOAN WHICH, TOGETHER WITH INTEREST, AMOUNTED TO $799.72. UPON HIS DEATH, AN AWARD IN THE AMOUNT OF $781.28, REPRESENTING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE FACE VALUE OF THE CERTIFICATE AND THE OUTSTANDING INDEBTEDNESS THEREON, WAS APPROVED IN FAVOR OF THE HOWARD SAVINGS INSTITUTION, AS LEGAL GUARDIAN OF ANTHONY JOSEPH VISCIDO, MINOR BENEFICIARY, CHECK IN PAYMENT OF WHICH WAS MAILED TO THE GUARDIAN AT 768 BROAD STREET, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, ON OCTOBER 19, 1932.

ON DECEMBER 3, 1935, THE WAR DEPARTMENT INFORMED THIS ADMINISTRATION THAT THE VETERAN WAS GIVEN CREDIT FOR ACTIVE DUTY FROM MAY 28, 1917, THE DATE OF HIS ENLISTMENT, INSTEAD OF FROM FEBRUARY 25, 1918, THE DATE OF HIS ACTIVE DUTY BEGAN, AND SUBMITTED A SUBSTITUTE CERTIFICATION SHOWING THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT DUE HIM AS $409.00 INSTEAD OF $625.00 AS ORIGINALLY CERTIFIED. THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT, $409.00, ENTITLED THE VETERAN TO AN ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,034.00, AND SINCE SETTLEMENT WAS MADE WITH THE HOWARD SAVINGS INSTITUTION, AS LEGAL GUARDIAN OF ANTHONY JOSEPH VISCIDO, ON THE BASIS OF A CERTIFICATE IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,581.00, AN OVERPAYMENT OF $547.00 RESULTED.

IN REPLY TO A REQUEST FOR A REFUND OF THE OVERPAID AMOUNT, THE HOWARD SAVINGS INSTITUTION INFORMED THIS ADMINISTRATION ON FEBRUARY 11, 1936, THAT THERE WERE NO OTHER BENEFITS SUCH AS INSURANCE OR COMPENSATION, OR ASSETS FROM ANY OTHER SOURCE EXCEPT THIS MONEY; THAT IS WAS NECESSARY FOR THEM TO MAKE MONTHLY DISBURSEMENTS IN THE AMOUNT OF $20.00 FOR THE MINOR'S MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT, LEAVING A BALANCE ON ACCOUNT TO DATE OF $332.25, FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE MINOR AND IT WOULD, THEREFORE, BE IMPOSSIBLE TO REFUND THE OVERPAYMENT OF $547.00 AS REQUESTED.

ON MARCH 19, 1936, A LETTER WAS RECEIVED FROM THE OFFICE OF THIS ADMINISTRATION AT LYONS, NEW JERSEY, TO THE EFFECT THAT THE HOWARD SAVINGS INSTITUTION WAS WILLING TO FILE ITS FINAL ACCOUNT AND SECURE A COURT ORDER DIRECTING IT TO RETURN THE BALANCE OF $332.25, BUT DOES NOT FEEL THAT REIMBURSEMENT SHOULD BE MADE IN EXCESS OF THAT AMOUNT.

THIS ADMINISTRATION WILL CALL UPON THE GUARDIAN TO REIMBURSE THE UNITED STATES TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE BY TURNING OVER THE ENTIRE BALANCE REMAINING TO THE CREDIT OF THE ESTATE OF THE MINOR. THE HOWARD SAVINGS INSTITUTION, AS GUARDIAN OF THE ESTATE OF THE MINOR, WILL STILL BE INDEBTED TO THE UNITED STATES BY AN AMOUNT REPRESENTED BY THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TOTAL OVERPAYMENT AND THE AMOUNT SECURED FROM THE ESTATE.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING FACTS, THE QUESTION OF THE RECOVERY OF THE TOTAL OVERPAYMENT IN THIS CASE IS SUBMITTED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION AS TO WHETHER THE HOWARD SAVINGS INSTITUTION SHOULD BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ENTIRE AMOUNT DUE ON ACCOUNT OF THE OVERPAYMENT IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THE AMOUNT DUE EXCEEDS THE TOTAL VALUE OF THE ESTATE OF THE MINOR.

THE OVERPAYMENT OF $547 APPEARS TO HAVE RESULTED FROM AN ERRONEOUS CERTIFICATION BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT AS TO THE PERIOD OF SERVICE PROPERLY CREDITABLE FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPUTING THE AMOUNT DUE UNDER THE ADJUSTED- SERVICE CERTIFICATE. WHILE THE GUARDIAN WOULD NOT APPEAR LIABLE FOR MONEYS IMPROPERLY RECEIVED AND DISBURSED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE WARD, 28 CORPUS JURIS 1231, IT APPEARS FROM YOUR LETTER THAT THE GUARDIAN NOW HAS ON HAND TO THE CREDIT OF THE ESTATE OF THE MINOR BENEFICIARY THE SUM OF $332.25. ACCORDINGLY, THE GUARDIAN SHOULD BE CALLED UPON TO REFUND ANY AMOUNT SO HELD BUT NO ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN AGAINST THE GUARDIAN LOOKING TO RECOVERY OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNT OF THE OVERPAYMENT AND THE UNEXPENDED BALANCE NOW HELD BY THE GUARDIAN.

FURTHERMORE, SINCE THE RECORD ESTABLISHES THAT THE ESTATE OF THE WARD CONSISTED SOLELY OF THE FUNDS DERIVED FROM THE ADJUSTED-SERVICE CERTIFICATE, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT NO USEFUL PURPOSE WOULD BE SERVED BY AN ACTION AGAINST THE WARD FOR THE BALANCE DUE. HOWEVER, A CHARGE WILL BE RAISED AGAINST THE WARD ON THE RECORDS OF THIS OFFICE FOR THE AMOUNT OF THE OVERPAYMENT NOT RECOVERABLE FROM THE GUARDIAN AND IN THE EVENT THAT FUTURE BENEFITS SHALL BE AWARDED BY YOUR ADMINISTRATION TO SAID INDIVIDUAL FROM WHICH RECOVERY MIGHT BE EFFECTED IT IS REQUESTED THAT THIS OFFICE BE ADVISED THEREOF.