A-87662, JULY 29, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 82

A-87662: Jul 29, 1937

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION - ADJUSTED COMPENSATION - PAYMENT ON DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE WHERE EXISTENCE OF ORIGINAL IS DOUBTFUL WHERE THE ONLY EVIDENCE OF THE WHEREABOUTS OF AN ORIGINAL ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE IS THE STATEMENT OF THE VETERAN CONCERNED. IS AS FOLLOWS: ON AUGUST 10. 588 WAS ISSUED IN THE AMOUNT OF $898.00. WHEREIN IT WAS SHOWN THAT THE VETERAN WAS CONFINED IN THAT INSTITUTION AS AN INCOMPETENT. THIS APPLICATION WAS FORWARDED TO THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION AS A DUPLICATE OF ORIGINAL APPLICATION NO. 3. THAT AN ERROR WAS MADE IN CERTIFICATION OF ADJUSTED-SERVICE CREDIT TO THIS ADMINISTRATION AND REQUESTED THAT THE CERTIFICATE OF CREDIT BE VOIDED AND RETURNED TO THAT OFFICE FOR CANCELLATION.

A-87662, JULY 29, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 82

VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION - ADJUSTED COMPENSATION - PAYMENT ON DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE WHERE EXISTENCE OF ORIGINAL IS DOUBTFUL WHERE THE ONLY EVIDENCE OF THE WHEREABOUTS OF AN ORIGINAL ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE IS THE STATEMENT OF THE VETERAN CONCERNED--- AN INCOMPETENT--- AND THE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE HAS NOT BEEN LOCATED AFTER A REASONABLE SEARCH, IT MAY BE REGARDED AS LOST AND PAYMENT MADE ON THE DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE, AS THE SURETY ON THE BOND OF INDEMNITY FURNISHED IN CONNECTION WITH THE ISSUANCE OF THE DUPLICATE WOULD NOT BE RELIEVED FROM LIABILITY IN THE EVENT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD SUSTAIN A LOSS UPON THE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE. 16 COMP. GEN. 759, DISTINGUISHED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, JULY 29, 1937:

YOUR LETTER OF JULY 10, 1937, IS AS FOLLOWS:

ON AUGUST 10, 1925, THE WAR DEPARTMENT CERTIFIED AN ADJUSTED-SERVICE CREDIT TO THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION IN THE CASE OF GEORGE M. HEWITT, A- 3,663,751, WHEREUPON ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE NO. 2,765,588 WAS ISSUED IN THE AMOUNT OF $898.00, EFFECTIVE AUGUST 1, 1925, AND MAILED TO THE VETERAN AT 58 EAST 131ST STREET, NEW YORK, NEW YORK, THE ADDRESS FURNISHED ON HIS APPLICATION FOR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION BENEFITS (FORM WWC-1).

THE WAR DEPARTMENT, ON SEPTEMBER 9, 1925, RECEIVED AN APPLICATION (FORM WWC-1) EXECUTED BY I. J. FURMAN, ACTING SUPERINTENDENT OF THE MANHATTAN STATE HOSPITAL, WARD'S ISLAND, NEW YORK, NEW YORK, IN BEHALF OF THE VETERAN, WHEREIN IT WAS SHOWN THAT THE VETERAN WAS CONFINED IN THAT INSTITUTION AS AN INCOMPETENT. THIS APPLICATION WAS FORWARDED TO THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION AS A DUPLICATE OF ORIGINAL APPLICATION NO. 3,663,751.

THE ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE, WAR DEPARTMENT, ADVISED ON MARCH 4, 1926, THAT AN ERROR WAS MADE IN CERTIFICATION OF ADJUSTED-SERVICE CREDIT TO THIS ADMINISTRATION AND REQUESTED THAT THE CERTIFICATE OF CREDIT BE VOIDED AND RETURNED TO THAT OFFICE FOR CANCELLATION, INASMUCH AS THE VETERAN WAS MENTALLY INCOMPETENT AT THE TIME OF FILING APPLICATION.

ON MARCH 12, 1926, THIS ADMINISTRATION ADDRESSED A LETTER TO MRS. IRENE HEWITT, 58 EAST 131ST STREET, NEW YORK, NEW YORK, THE VETERAN'S WIFE, REQUESTING THE RETURN OF THE ADJUSTED-SERVICE CERTIFICATE ISSUED TO THE VETERAN. THIS LETTER WAS RETURNED UNCLAIMED.

A COMMUNICATION WAS SENT TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE MANHATTAN STATE HOSPITAL UNDER DATE OF MARCH 20, 1926, REQUESTING THAT THE CERTIFICATE BE RETURNED TO THIS ADMINISTRATION IF IN HIS POSSESSION, AND IF NOT IN HIS POSSESSION, THAT THE CERTIFICATE BE SECURED FROM THE VETERAN AND RETURNED. DR. I. J. FURMAN ADVISED ON MARCH 23, 1926, THAT THE HOSPITAL HAD NO OFFICIAL RECORD OF THE CERTIFICATE, BUT THAT THE VETERAN STATED HE RECEIVED IT AND GAVE IT TO HIS WIFE.

ON APRIL 10, 1926, ANOTHER COMMUNICATION WAS DIRECTED TO MRS. HEWITT REQUESTING THE RETURN OF THE CERTIFICATE. ALTHOUGH THIS LETTER WAS NOT RETURNED UNCLAIMED, NO REPLY WAS RECEIVED.

THE WAR DEPARTMENT ADVISED THIS ADMINISTRATION ON MAY 4, 1926, TO DISREGARD THE REQUEST OF MARCH 4, 1926, THAT THE CERTIFICATION OF ADJUSTED SERVICE CREDIT BASED ON THE VETERAN'S APPLICATION (FORM WWC 1) BE VOIDED AND RETURNED TO THAT OFFICE.

UNDER DATE OF SEPTEMBER 14, 1932, NATHAN F. SCHILLING, AN ATTORNEY, ACTING AS COMMITTEE FOR THE ESTATE OF THE VETERAN, SUBMITTED AN AFFIDAVIT (FORM 6920) AS EVIDENCE OF THE LOSS OF THE VETERAN'SADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE, AND UPON THE RECEIPT OF A BOND OF INDEMNITY, DUPLICATE ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE NO. 33,876,133 WAS ISSUED TO REPLACE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE, NO. 2,765,588, AND FORWARDED TO MR. SCHILLING, 50 COURT STREET, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, AS COMMITTEE FOR THE VETERAN.

AN APPLICATION FOR SETTLEMENT (FORM 1701), DATED MARCH 19, 1936, WAS SUBMITTED BY THE NEW BRUNSWICK TRUST COMPANY, NEW BRUNSWICK, NEW JERSEY, WHICH ON JULY 26, 1935, HAD BEEN APPOINTED GUARDIAN OF THE VETERAN, AND ON JUNE 1, 1936, FORWARDED THE DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE.

ON OCTOBER 10, 1936, THE GUARDIAN WAS INFORMED THAT INFORMATION HAD BEEN RECEIVED THAT THE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE, NO. 2,765,588, WAS IN THE POSSESSION OF THE VETERAN'S WIFE, MRS. IRENE HEWITT, AND IT WAS REQUESTED THAT THE GUARDIAN CONTACT MRS. HEWITT IN ORDER TO SECURE THE RETURN OF THE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE TO THIS ADMINISTRATION.

UNDER DATE OF APRIL 28, 1937, THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, LYONS, NEW JERSEY, ADVISED THAT ALL REASONABLE EFFORTS HAD BEEN EXHAUSTED TO ASCERTAIN THE PRESENT WHEREABOUTS OF THE PERSON TO WHOM THE VETERAN ENTRUSTED HIS ORIGINAL ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE AND INQUIRED WHETHER SETTLEMENT OF THE DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE MIGHT BE MADE AS THE VETERAN WAS IN NEED OF FUNDS.

UNDER DATE OF MAY 17, 1937, THE NEW BRUNSWICK TRUST COMPANY FORWARDED AN AFFIDAVIT EXECUTED BY THE CHIEF ATTORNEY, VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, LYONS, NEW JERSEY, TO THE EFFECT THAT THE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE HAD NEVER BEEN IN THE POSSESSION OF THE BANK AND THAT THE WHEREABOUTS OF THE VETERAN'S WIFE WAS UNKNOWN.

YOUR DECISION A-83189, DATED FEBRUARY 13, 1937, RENDERED IN THE CASE OF JOSEPH C. THOMPSON, A-2,515,803, STATED THAT PAYMENT SHOULD NOT BE MADE ON DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE WHEN IT IS KNOWN THAT THE ORIGINAL IS IN THE POSSESSION OF A PARTICULAR INDIVIDUAL. IN THE THOMPSON CASE, THE WIFE OF THE VETERAN ADVISED THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION THAT THE ORIGINAL ADJUSTED SERVICE CERTIFICATE ISSUED TO HER HUSBAND WAS IN HER POSSESSION, WHEREAS IN THE INSTANT CASE, NO CONTACT HAS EVER BEEN ESTABLISHED WITH THE VETERAN'S WIFE, MRS. IRENE HEWITT, DESPITE REPEATED EFFORTS. THE ONLY EVIDENCE THAT MRS. HEWITT HAS EVER HAD POSSESSION OF THE CERTIFICATE IS THE STATEMENT MADE BY THE VETERAN TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE MANHATTAN STATE HOSPITAL THAT HE HAD GIVEN IT TO HIS WIFE. INFORMATION IS IN THE FILE SHOWING THAT NATHAN F. SCHILLING, THE FIRST COMMITTEE APPOINTED FOR THE VETERAN, THE NEW BRUNSWICK TRUST COMPANY, THE SUCCESSOR GUARDIAN, AND THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION AT LYONS, NEW JERSEY, HAVE EXHAUSTED EVERY REASONABLE EFFORT TO LOCATE MRS. IRENE HEWITT, THE WIFE OF THE VETERAN, WITHOUT SUCCESS.

IT IS REQUESTED, THEREFORE, THAT YOU ADVISE WHETHER OR NOT IT WOULD BE PROPER UNDER THE EXISTING CIRCUMSTANCES FOR THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION TO MAKE SETTLEMENT ON THE DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE PRIOR TO THE SURRENDER OF THE ORIGINAL.

IN THE CASE OF JOSEPH C. THOMPSON, CONSIDERED IN THE DECISION OF FEBRUARY 13, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 759, IT WAS KNOWN POSITIVELY THAT THE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE WAS IN THE POSSESSION OF THE VETERAN'S WIFE. IN THE INSTANT CASE THE ONLY EVIDENCE OF THE WHEREABOUTS OF THE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE IS THE STATEMENT OF THE VETERAN, AN INCOMPETENT. AS IT HAS BEEN IMPOSSIBLE TO ESTABLISH DEFINITELY THE WHEREABOUTS OF THE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE, THE SAME MAY BE REGARDED AS LOST FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS CASE. IT MAY BE SAID THAT IN THE INVOLVED CIRCUMSTANCES THE SURETY ON THE BOND OF INDEMNITY WOULD NOT BE RELIEVED FROM LIABILITY IN THE EVENT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD SUSTAIN A LOSS UPON THE ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE.

ACCORDINGLY, THIS OFFICE IS NOT REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO SETTLEMENT UPON THE BASIS OF THE DUPLICATE CERTIFICATE.