B-107200, FEBRUARY 26, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 422

B-107200: Feb 26, 1952

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WHICH ARE DELIVERED BUT NOT NEGOTIATED BY PAYEES PRIOR TO DEATH DO NOT BECOME ASSETS OF THE PAYEES' ESTATES AND ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE TRANSMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT UNDER SECTION 305 OF THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT OF 1921. REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 26. ARE REQUIRED TO BE TRANSMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT UNDER SECTION 305 OF THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT OF JUNE 10. THE COMMISSION IS CHARGED WITH THE DUTY OF RECEIVING. ONLY TO THE FOLLOWING PERSONS: (1) WIDOW OR DEPENDENT HUSBAND IF THERE IS NO CHILD OR CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED: (2) WIDOW OR DEPENDENT HUSBAND AND CHILD OR CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED. (3) CHILD OR CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED (IN EQUAL SHARES) IF THERE IS NO WIDOW OR DEPENDENT HUSBAND.

B-107200, FEBRUARY 26, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 422

CHECKS - DECEASED PAYEES - MISSING, INTERNED OR CAPTURE PERSONS - SETTLEMENT JURISDICTION UNDER WAR CLAIMS ACT OF 1948, AS AMENDED CHECKS IN PAYMENT OF CLAIMS FILED BY INTERNED AMERICAN CITIZENS AND PRISONERS OF WAR FOR DETENTION BENEFITS UNDER SECTIONS 5 (D) AND 6 (C) OF THE WAR CLAIMS ACT OF 1948, AS AMENDED, WHICH ARE DELIVERED BUT NOT NEGOTIATED BY PAYEES PRIOR TO DEATH DO NOT BECOME ASSETS OF THE PAYEES' ESTATES AND ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE TRANSMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT UNDER SECTION 305 OF THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT OF 1921, AS AMENDED, BUT MAY BE CANCELED AND CLAIMS FOR THE PROCEEDS THEREOF SETTLED BY THE WAR CLAIMS COMMISSION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE CHAIRMAN, WAR CLAIMS COMMISSION, FEBRUARY 26, 1952.

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 26, 1951, WITH ENCLOSURE, REQUESTING TO BE ADVISED WHETHER CHECKS ISSUED PURSUANT TO SECTIONS 5 (D) AND 6 (C) OF THE WAR CLAIMS ACT OF 1948, 62 STAT. 1243, 1244 (50 U.S.C. 2004 (D) AND 2005 (C) (, AS AMENDED, AND DELIVERED TO BUT NOT NEGOTIATED BY PAYEES PRIOR TO THEIR DEATH, ARE REQUIRED TO BE TRANSMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT UNDER SECTION 305 OF THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT OF JUNE 10, 1921, 42 STAT. 24, AS AMENDED, 31 U.S.C. 71 AND 16 COMP. GEN. 316, OR WHETHER THE COMMISSION MAY SETTLE SUCH CLAIMS.

UNDER THE CITED ACT, THE COMMISSION IS CHARGED WITH THE DUTY OF RECEIVING, ADJUDICATING AND PROVIDING FOR PAYMENT OF CLAIMS FILED FOR DETENTION BENEFITS AS PROVIDED FOR UNDER SECTIONS 5 (B) (INTERNED CIVILIAN AMERICAN CITIZENS) AND 6 (B) (PRISONERS OF WAR). SECTION 5 (D) AND 6 (C) OF THE ACT PROVIDE THAT IN THE EVENT OF DEATH OF THE PERSONS ENTITLED TO SUCH BENEFITS PAYMENT MAY BE MADE ONLY TO CERTAIN DESIGNATED SURVIVORS. SPECIFICALLY, SECTION 5 (D), 62 STAT. 1243, PROVIDES:

THE DETENTION BENEFITS ALLOWED UNDER SUBSECTION (B) SHALL BE ALLOWED TO THE PERSON ENTITLED THERETO, OR, IN THE EVENT OF HIS DEATH, ONLY TO THE FOLLOWING PERSONS:

(1) WIDOW OR DEPENDENT HUSBAND IF THERE IS NO CHILD OR CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED:

(2) WIDOW OR DEPENDENT HUSBAND AND CHILD OR CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED, ONE -HALF TO THE WIDOW OR DEPENDENT HUSBAND AND THE OTHER HALF TO THE CHILD OR CHILDREN IN EQUAL SHARES; AND

(3) CHILD OR CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED (IN EQUAL SHARES) IF THERE IS NO WIDOW OR DEPENDENT HUSBAND.

SECTION 6 (C), 62 STAT. 1244, PROVIDES:

CLAIMS PURSUANT TO SUBSECTION (B) SHALL BE PAID TO THE PERSON ENTITLED THERETO, OR TO HIS LEGAL OR NATURAL GUARDIAN IF HE HAS ONE, AND SHALL IN CASE OF DEATH OF THE PERSONS WHO ARE ENTITLED TO BE PAYABLE ONLY TO OR FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE FOLLOWING PERSONS:

(1) WIDOW OR DEPENDENT HUSBAND IF THERE IS NO CHILD OR CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED;

(2) WIDOW OR DEPENDENT HUSBAND AND CHILD OR CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED, ONE -HALF TO THE WIDOW OR DEPENDENT HUSBAND AND THE OTHER HALF TO THE CHILD OR CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED IN EQUAL SHARES;

(3) CHILD OR CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED (IN EQUAL SHARES) IF THERE IS NO WIDOW OR DEPENDENT HUSBAND; AND

(4) DEPENDENT PARENTS (IN EQUAL SHARES) IF THERE IS NO WIDOW, DEPENDENT HUSBAND, OR CHILD.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 13, CLAIMS AUTHORIZED TO BE ADJUDICATED AND ALLOWED UNDER THE ACT ARE TO BE PAID FROM THE WAR CLAIMS FUND CREATED UNDER THAT SECTION.

THERE IS NOW BEFORE THE COMMISSION, THE CASE INVOLVING THE ISSUANCE OF A CHECK TO CLARA I. WRIGHT, PURSUANT TO SECTION 5 (D), SUPRA. YOU STATE THAT ON MARCH 6, 1951, THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, FISCAL SERVICE, MANILA, PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, RETURNED THE CHECK--- NUMBERED 11369336, FOR $2,282, DRAWN ON NOVEMBER 7, 1950, TO THE ORDER OF CLARA I. WRIGHT- - TO THE CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER, WASHINGTON, D.C. THE CHECK WAS ACCOMPANIED BY A MEMORANDUM DATED MARCH 5, 1951, FROM THE UNITED STATES EMBASSY ( CONSULAR SECTION) ENCLOSING A REPORT OF THE DEATH OF THE PAYEE, AN AMERICAN CITIZEN ON NOVEMBER 14, 1950, AND REQUESTING CANCELLATION OF THE CHECK. PURSUANT TO SUCH REQUEST SAID CHECK WAS CANCELLED AND THE AMOUNT THEREOF CREDITED TO ACCOUNT NUMBER 949/48568, PAYMENT OF CLAIMS, WAR CLAIMS COMMISSION, 1949--- MARCH 1, 1954. ALSO, YOU STATE THAT THE LAW FIRM OF ROSS, SELPH, CARRASCOSO AND JANDA FILED CLAIM FOR THE PROCEEDS OF THE CHECK ON BEHALF OF ROBERT JANDA TO WHOM LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION ON THE PAYEE'S ESTATE HAD BEEN ISSUED BY THE COURT OF THE FIRST INSTANCE OF THE CITY OF MANILA.

GENERALLY, THE ISSUANCE AND RECEIPT OF A CHECK DOES NOT CONSTITUTE PAYMENT UNLESS AND UNTIL IT IS NEGOTIATED AND THE AMOUNT THEREOF COLLECTED BY THE PAYEE, 9 COMP. GEN. 144; 19 ID. 811; 814, 24 ID. 61; ID. 117, 119. AS POINTED OUT IN OPINION NO. 10, OF THE COMMISSIONER'S GENERAL COUNSEL A COPY OF WHICH WAS TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER, A NUMBER OF STATUTES SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE THAT THE ISSUANCE OF A CHECK IN PAYMENT OF A STATUTORY OBLIGATION SHALL CONSTITUTE PAYMENT IN THE EVENT OF THE DEATH OF THE RECIPIENT OR THE PERSON ENTITLED THERETO AND SHALL NOT BE CANCELLED, BUT SHALL BECOME AN ASSET OF THE DECEASED PAYEE'S ESTATE. THE STATUTE HERE INVOLVED CONTAINS NO SUCH PROVISION. THAT IT WAS NOT THE INTENTION OF THE CONGRESS THAT A CHECK BE ISSUED PURSUANT TO SECTIONS 5 (D) OR 6 (C), SUPRA, WAS TO BE REGARDED AS AN ASSET OF THE PAYEE'S ESTATE IS EVIDENT FROM THE ACT ITSELF AS WELL AS FROM THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY THEREOF. REPORT NO. 976 OF THE COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, ACCOMPANYING H.R. 4044, WHICH WAS ENACTED AS THE WAR CLAIMS ACT OF 1948, CONTAINS A PERTINENT STATEMENT--- PAGE 8--- AS FOLLOWS:

THE DETENTION BENEFIT WOULD NOT BE PAYABLE TO ANYONE OTHER THAN THE PERSON DETAINED, OR IN THE CASE OF SUCH PERSON'S DEATH, TO HIS WIDOW (OR TO HER DEPENDENT HUSBAND) OR TO SURVIVING CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED. THE BENEFITS WOULD NOT PASS TO AN ESTATE, OR TO OTHER INDIVIDUALS.

ACCORDINGLY, IN THE LIGHT OF THE LONG LINE OF DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE, CITED ABOVE, AND IN THE ABSENCE OF STATUTORY PROVISIONS, OTHERWISE YOU ARE ADVISED THAT WHERE A CHECK HAS BEEN ISSUED UNDER EITHER SECTION 5 (D) OR 6 (C), BUT HAS NOT BEEN NEGOTIATED BY THE PAYEE PRIOR TO HIS DEATH, THE CHECK MAY BE CANCELLED AND CLAIMS FOR THE AMOUNT INVOLVED ARE FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMISSION.