A-79828, DECEMBER 9, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 568

A-79828: Dec 9, 1936

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AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS ENCLOSED HEREWITH HOSPITAL BILL NO. THERE ARE ALSO ENCLOSED FOUR CHECKS AGGREGATING $11.08. - 4.29 11.08 AS WE WERE UNABLE TO OBTAIN MR. IT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THAT SAID CHECKS BE FORWARDED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WITH REQUEST THAT SAME BE DEPOSITED TO THE CREDIT OF "4S526. NUMEROUS ATTEMPTS HAVE BEEN MADE TO COLLECT THIS BILL FROM MR. AS HE IS A COMPENSATION BENEFICIARY IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE MATTER OF COLLECTION OF THE BALANCE $75.53 AFTER APPLYING THE ABOVE CHECKS. EDMUNSON'S REPORTED INDEBTEDNESS IS ONE OWING TO THE UNITED STATES. IT IS UNDERSTOOD FROM THE QUOTED LETTER AND FROM INFORMATION OBTAINED BY INFORMAL INQUIRY THAT MR. EDMUNSON IS IN RECEIPT OF BENEFITS FROM YOUR COMMISSION (FILE NO. 283177).

A-79828, DECEMBER 9, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 568

SET-OFF - DISABILITY COMPENSATION - INDEBTEDNESS FOR SERVICES RENDERED EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION BENEFICIARY'S WIFE DISABILITY COMPENSATION DUE A UNITED STATES EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION OF COMMISSION BENEFICIARY MAY BE WITHHELD AND APPLIED IN LIQUIDATION OF AN AMOUNT DUE THE ALASKA RAILROAD HOSPITAL--- A UNITED STATES INSTITUTION--- FOR HOSPITAL SERVICES FURNISHED HIS WIFE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE CHAIRMAN, UNITED STATES EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION, DECEMBER 9, 1936:

THERE HAS BEEN REFERRED TO THIS OFFICE THE MATTER SET FORTH IN LETTER DATED JUNE 18, 1936, FROM THE GENERAL MANAGER OF THE ALASKA RAILROAD TO THE DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF TERRITORIES AND ISLAND POSSESSIONS, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS ENCLOSED HEREWITH HOSPITAL BILL NO. H-6482, IN TRIPLICATE, STATED AGAINST J. B. EDMUNSON OF MATANUSKA, ALASKA, IN THE AMOUNT OF $86.61, REPRESENTING BALANCE DUE THE ALASKA RAILROAD ON ACCOUNT OF HOSPITAL SERVICES FURNISHED MRS. EDMUNSON DURING JULY 1932.

THERE ARE ALSO ENCLOSED FOUR CHECKS AGGREGATING $11.08, DRAWN ON TREASURER OF THE U.S. BY A. G. BALLS, S.D.A. OVER SYMBOL NO. 79-673, AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE CHECK NO. 39425 DATED 1/18/33 FOR BUTTERFAT ----------------- ----- $2.69 CHECK NO. 44062 DATED 1/20/33 ( (CORRECT DATE 7/20/33.)

FOR BUTTERFAT ------------------------------------------------- $2.69 CHECK NO. 46031 DATED 9/13/33 FOR BUTTERFAT -------------------- -- 1.94 CHECK NO. 47335 DATED 10/16/33 FOR BUTTERFAT ---------------- ----- 4.29

11.08

AS WE WERE UNABLE TO OBTAIN MR. EDMUNDSON'S ENDORSEMENT ON THE ABOVE CHECKS IN ORDER TO APPLY THE PROCEEDS ON HIS ACCOUNT; IT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THAT SAID CHECKS BE FORWARDED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WITH REQUEST THAT SAME BE DEPOSITED TO THE CREDIT OF "4S526, ALASKA RAILROAD SPECIAL FUND," AND THIS OFFICE NOTIFIED.

NUMEROUS ATTEMPTS HAVE BEEN MADE TO COLLECT THIS BILL FROM MR. EDMUNSON, HOWEVER, WITHOUT SUCCESS, AND AS HE IS A COMPENSATION BENEFICIARY IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE MATTER OF COLLECTION OF THE BALANCE $75.53 AFTER APPLYING THE ABOVE CHECKS, BE REFERRED TO THE U.S. COMPENSATION COMMISSION WITH REQUEST THAT NO LESS THAN $5.00 PER MONTH BE DEDUCTED FROM FUTURE COMPENSATION PAYMENTS DUE MR. EDMUNSON.

THE HOSPITAL BILL REFERRED TO APPARENTLY COVERS SERVICES FURNISHED MRS. EDMUNSON BY AN ALASKA RAILROAD HOSPITAL--- A UNITED STATES INSTITUTION. SEE 9 COMP. GEN. 332. SUCH BEING THE CASE, MR. EDMUNSON'S REPORTED INDEBTEDNESS IS ONE OWING TO THE UNITED STATES. IT IS UNDERSTOOD FROM THE QUOTED LETTER AND FROM INFORMATION OBTAINED BY INFORMAL INQUIRY THAT MR. EDMUNSON IS IN RECEIPT OF BENEFITS FROM YOUR COMMISSION (FILE NO. 283177).

THE SITUATION THEREFORE INVOLVES A DEBTOR-CREDITOR RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE BENEFICIARY AND THE GOVERNMENT. WITH RESPECT TO THE RIGHTS OF THE GOVERNMENT IN SUCH A SITUATION IT WAS HELD IN 7 COMP. GEN. 186--- QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS--- THAT:

THE UNITED STATES HAS ALWAYS THE RIGHT TO SET OFF AGAINST AN AMOUNT DUE A CLAIMANT ANY SUM THE SAME PERSON, COMPANY, OR CORPORATION OWES TO THE GOVERNMENT EITHER UNDER THE SAME OR OTHER CONTRACTS OR OBLIGATIONS. THE COMMON-LAW RIGHT OF EVERY CREDITOR TO APPLY THE MONEYS OF HIS DEBTOR IN HIS HANDS IN THE EXTINGUISHMENT OF CLAIMS DUE HIM FROM THE DEBTOR IS EQUALLY AS APPLICABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT AS TO INDIVIDUALS.

SEE, ALSO, BARRY V. UNITED STATES, 229 U.S. 47, 53; TAGGART V. UNITED STATES, 17 CT.CLS. 322, 327; 1 COMP. GEN. 605; 14 ID. 849.

IN THE APPLICATION OF THIS PRINCIPLE, IT WAS HELD IN 9 COMP. GEN. 465, THAT THE ANNUITY OF A RETIRED CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE MIGHT BE WITHHELD AND APPLIED TOWARD THE INDEBTEDNESS OF THE ANNUITANT TO THE UNITED STATES FOR THE COST OF MEDICAL TREATMENT FURNISHED HIM AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UNITED STATES EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION. AND BY DECISION OF OCTOBER 3, 1935, A-44020, DISABILITY COMPENSATION PAYABLE TO A FORMER EMPLOYEE OF THE PANAMA CANAL UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT, AS EXTENDED TO HIM BY THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1930, 46 STAT. 1950, WAS SET OFF AND APPLIED AGAINST THE BENEFICIARY'S INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES FOR SERVICES FURNISHED BY THE PANAMA CANAL.

ACCORDINGLY, IT WOULD APPEAR LEGAL AND PROPER FOR YOUR COMMISSION TO WITHHOLD ALL PAYMENTS OF COMPENSATION TO THE BENEFICIARY IN THE INSTANT CASE UNTIL HE PAYS THE HOSPITAL BILL AMOUNTING TO $86.61 OR CONSENTS TO HAVING THE AMOUNT OTHERWISE DUE HIM AS COMPENSATION APPLIED IN PAYMENT OF SAID BILL AND DEPOSITED AND COVERED INTO THE TREASURY TO THE CREDIT OF THE ALASKA RAILROAD FUND, SPECIAL FUND.

IT IS REQUESTED THAT THIS OFFICE BE NOTIFIED WHEN FINAL ACTION SHALL HAVE BEEN TAKEN IN THE MATTER. IN THE MEANTIME, STEPS WILL BE TAKEN HERE TO RESTORE THE AMOUNTS OF THE FOUR CHECKS ENUMERATED IN THE GENERAL MANAGER'S LETTER--- FROM "OUTSTANDING LIABILITIES, 1934," TO THE SPECIAL FUND UNDER WHICH THE CHECKS WERE DRAWN, IN ORDER THAT SAID AMOUNTS MAY BE AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT TO EDMUNSON BY THE ALASKA RAILROAD IN THE EVENT HE PRESENTS CLAIM THEREFOR AFTER THE HOSPITAL BILL IS PAID. A COPY OF THIS LETTER WILL BE FURNISHED THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR FOR THE INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE OF THE ALASKA RAILROAD IN THE MATTER.