B-108273, MARCH 28, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 488

B-108273: Mar 28, 1952

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ALL CLAIMS FOR SUCH AMOUNTS AFTER SEPARATION OF THE INCOMPETENTS FROM THE SERVICE ARE FOR SETTLEMENT IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. 1952: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 20. IS MENTALLY INCAPABLE OF MANAGING HIS OWN AFFAIRS. IS AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID. ANY PAYMENTS TO THE PERSON OR PERSONS SO APPOINTED AS PROVIDED HEREIN SHALL CONSTITUTE A COMPLETE DISCHARGE OF THE OBLIGATION OF THE UNITED STATES AS TO THE AMOUNTS SO PAID: * * * THE PURPOSE OF THE SAID ACT IS TO PROVIDE LEGAL AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF AMOUNTS DUE MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHO. ARE MENTALLY INCOMPETENT TO MANAGE THEIR OWN AFFAIRS. THE ACT PROVIDES THAT WHERE NOTICE IS RECEIVED THAT A LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE HAS BEEN APPOINTED PRIOR TO THE PAYMENT TO SOME OTHER PERSON UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE ACT.

B-108273, MARCH 28, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 488

PAY - INCOMPETENT MILITARY, NAVAL, ETC., PERSONNEL - PAYMENTS TO GUARDIANS AND COMMITTEES THE AUTHORIZATION IN THE ACT OF JUNE 21, 1950, FOR THE SECRETARIES OF THE ARMY, NAVY, ETC., TO DESIGNATE THE PERSON OR PERSONS TO RECEIVE PAYMENTS OF AMOUNTS DUE MENTALLY INCOMPETENT MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES, WITHOUT THE NECESSITY FOR APPOINTMENT OF COMMITTEES, GUARDIANS, OR OTHER LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES, APPLIES ONLY TO PAYMENTS EFFECTED ON OR BEFORE SEPARATION OF THE INCOMPETENT FROM THE SERVICE, AND ALL CLAIMS FOR SUCH AMOUNTS AFTER SEPARATION OF THE INCOMPETENTS FROM THE SERVICE ARE FOR SETTLEMENT IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, MARCH 28, 1952:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 20, 1952, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE ACT OF JUNE 21, 1950 64 STAT. 249 ( PUBLIC LAW 569), AUTHORIZES THE PAYMENT TO A PERSON APPOINTED OR TO BE APPOINTED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY OR HIS DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE, TO RECEIVE THE ARREARS OF PAY AND ALLOWANCES DUE A MENTALLY INCOMPETENT MEMBER OF THE ARMY, AFTER SEPARATION OF THE INCOMPETENT FROM THE ARMY.

SECTION 2 OF THE SAID ACT, 64 STAT. 249, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

SEC. 2. ANY ACTIVE-DUTY PAY AND ALLOWANCES, OR ANY AMOUNTS DUE FOR ACCUMULATED OR ACCRUED LEAVE, OR ANY RETIRED OR RETAINER PAY, OTHERWISE PAYABLE TO ANY MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHO, IN THE OPINION OF COMPETENT MEDICAL AUTHORITY, IS MENTALLY INCAPABLE OF MANAGING HIS OWN AFFAIRS, IS AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID, FOR THE USE AND BENEFIT OF SUCH INCOMPETENT MEMBER, TO SUCH PERSON OR PERSONS WHO MAY BE DESIGNATED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE, THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, THE FEDERAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATOR, OR SUCH OTHER OFFICER OR OFFICERS AS THE RESPECTIVE SECRETARIES OR ADMINISTRATOR MAY DESIGNATE FOR SUCH PURPOSES, WITHOUT THE NECESSITY FOR APPOINTMENT IN JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS OF A COMMITTEE, GUARDIAN, OR OTHER LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE, AND ANY PAYMENTS TO THE PERSON OR PERSONS SO APPOINTED AS PROVIDED HEREIN SHALL CONSTITUTE A COMPLETE DISCHARGE OF THE OBLIGATION OF THE UNITED STATES AS TO THE AMOUNTS SO PAID: * * *

THE PURPOSE OF THE SAID ACT IS TO PROVIDE LEGAL AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF AMOUNTS DUE MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHO, IN THE OPINION OF A PROPERLY CONSTITUTED MEDICAL BOARD, AS PROVIDED FOR THEREIN, ARE MENTALLY INCOMPETENT TO MANAGE THEIR OWN AFFAIRS, FOR THE USE AND BENEFIT OF SUCH INCOMPETENTS, TO PERSONS DESIGNATED BY PROPER AUTHORITY TO RECEIVE SUCH AMOUNTS, WITHOUT THE NECESSITY FOR APPOINTMENT IN JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS OF A COMMITTEE, GUARDIAN, OR OTHER LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE. THE ACT PROVIDES THAT WHERE NOTICE IS RECEIVED THAT A LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE HAS BEEN APPOINTED PRIOR TO THE PAYMENT TO SOME OTHER PERSON UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE ACT, SUCH PAYMENTS WILL BE MADE TO SUCH LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE.

THE TERM "MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES" AS USED IN THE ACT IS EXPRESSLY DEFINED THEREIN AS ,ANY PERSON ON THE ACTIVE OR RETIRED LIST OF THE ARMY * * * AND MEMBERS OF THE RESERVE COMPONENTS OF THE RESPECTIVE SERVICES ENTITLED TO FEDERAL PAY EITHER ON THE ACTIVE OR ANY RETIRED LIST OF SAID SERVICES.' THERE IS NOTHING IN THE ACT AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF AMOUNTS DUE INCOMPETENT PERSONS EXCEPT IN BEHALF OF SUCH PERSONS WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES AND ARE ON THE ACTIVE OR RETIRED LIST OR, IF MEMBERS OF THE RESERVE COMPONENTS, ARE ENTITLED TO FEDERAL PAY EITHER ON THE ACTIVE OR RETIRED LIST OF THE SAID SERVICES. IN THAT CONNECTION IT MAY BE NOTED THAT THE STATUS OF A PERSON DISCHARGED FROM THE UNIFORMED SERVICE IS THAT OF A CIVILIAN. SEE DENBY V. BERRY, 263 U.S. 29, 35; MILLER V. UNITED STATES, 19 C.1CLS. 338, 353; 29 OPS. ATTY. GEN. 397. 401. CF. 21 COMP. GEN. 927. NOTHING IS CONTAINED IN THE SAID ACT OF JUNE 21, 1950, TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENTS OF AMOUNTS DUE ON BEHALF OF FORMER OR SEPARATED MEMBERS OF THE SERVICES AND THERE IS NOTHING IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE ACT TO INDICATE THAT IT WAS INTENDED TO APPLY IN SUCH CASES. IT FOLLOWS THAT THE STATUTE WOULD NOT GIVE THE GOVERNMENT A GOOD ACQUITTANCE FOR MONEY PAID TO A THIRD PERSON IN SUCH CASES.

IT MUST BE HELD, THEREFORE, THAT UNLESS PAYMENT OF AMOUNTS DUE INCOMPETENT MEMBERS OF THE ARMY ON THE ACTIVE LIST TO A PERSON OR PERSONS DESIGNATED BY PROPER AUTHORITY TO RECEIVE SUCH PAYMENT IS EFFECTED ON OR BEFORE THE SEPARATION OF SUCH INCOMPETENT FROM THE SERVICE, THE SAID ACT DOES NOT AUTHORIZE SUCH PAYMENT. RATHER, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 236, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 305 OF THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT, 1921, 42 STAT. 24, ALL CLAIMS FOR AMOUNTS DUE INCOMPETENTS SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE ARE FOR SETTLEMENT BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. ACCORDINGLY, YOUR QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.