B-110957, JULY 29, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 53

B-110957: Jul 29, 1952

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YOU INDICATE IT IS EXPECTED THAT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CLAIMS WILL BE MADE UNDER THE SAID ACT BY FORMER SERVICE MEN. YOU REQUEST DECISION WHETHER THIS OFFICE WILL BE "REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO SETTLEMENT OF ALL SUCH CLAIMS BY THE SERVICE CONCERNED" IN VIEW OF THE "LARGE VOLUME OF CLAIMS ANTICIPATED. YOU STATE THAT " IT IS. THAT: IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT IN EXCESS OF THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND VALID CLAIMS WILL BE MADE AND UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES AT LEAST A LIKE NUMBER OF CLAIMS NOT PROPER FOR PAYMENT. THE DETERMINATION OF FACTS UPON WHICH ENTITLEMENT OR DISALLOWANCE WILL BE ASCERTAINED. IS TO BE MADE BY THE SERVICES. WHEN MADE IS FINAL. IS. CONTEMPLATED THAT THESE CLAIMS WILL BE SUBMITTED INITIALLY TO THE SERVICE CONCERNED AND ALL NECESSARY PROCESSING SHORT OF PAYMENT OR FINAL ACTION WILL BE TAKEN BY SUCH SERVICES.

B-110957, JULY 29, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 53

PAY - ADDITIONAL - HAZARDOUS DUTY - COMBAT DUTY PAY - CLAIM SETTLEMENT JURISDICTION CLAIMS BY MEMBERS OR FORMER MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES FOR COMBAT PAY FOR KOREAN SERVICE ON AND AFTER JUNE 1, 1950, UNDER THE RETROACTIVE PROVISIONS OF THE COMBAT DUTY PAY ACT OF 1952, MAY BE PROCESSED AND PAID BY THE SERVICES CONCERNED SUBJECT TO AUDIT BY THE DIVISION OF AUDITS, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE; HOWEVER, CLAIMS FOR COMBAT PAY SUBMITTED BY LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES OR HEIRS OF DECEASED AND INCOMPETENT PERSONS SHOULD BE FORWARDED TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, JULY 29, 1952:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JULY 22, 1952, CALLING ATTENTION TO THE RETROACTIVE FEATURE OF THE COMBAT DUTY PAY ACT OF 1952 ( TITLE VII OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1953, PUBLIC LAW 488, APPROVED JULY 10, 1952, 66 STAT. 538), SUCH ACT BEING EFFECTIVE WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN KOREAN COMBAT SERVICE ON AND AFTER JUNE 1, 1950.

YOU INDICATE IT IS EXPECTED THAT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CLAIMS WILL BE MADE UNDER THE SAID ACT BY FORMER SERVICE MEN, AND BE MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES SERVING IN ENLISTMENTS ENTERED INTO SUBSEQUENT TO THE PERIODS OF MILITARY SERVICE INVOLVED IN THE CLAIMS, AND YOU REQUEST DECISION WHETHER THIS OFFICE WILL BE "REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO SETTLEMENT OF ALL SUCH CLAIMS BY THE SERVICE CONCERNED" IN VIEW OF THE "LARGE VOLUME OF CLAIMS ANTICIPATED, AND THE OBVIOUS NECESSITY FOR EXPEDITIOUS SETTLEMENTS, AND ALSO IN THE INTERESTS OF ECONOMY.' YOU STATE THAT " IT IS, OF COURSE, UNDERSTOOD THAT ANY SUCH SETTLEMENTS WOULD BE FOR REVIEW IN THE NORMAL COURSE OF OPERATIONS OF THE AUDIT DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.' YOU STATE, ALSO, THAT:

IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT IN EXCESS OF THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND VALID CLAIMS WILL BE MADE AND UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES AT LEAST A LIKE NUMBER OF CLAIMS NOT PROPER FOR PAYMENT. AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 707 (A) OF PUBLIC LAW 488, THE DETERMINATION OF FACTS UPON WHICH ENTITLEMENT OR DISALLOWANCE WILL BE ASCERTAINED, IS TO BE MADE BY THE SERVICES, AND WHEN MADE IS FINAL. IS, THEREFORE, CONTEMPLATED THAT THESE CLAIMS WILL BE SUBMITTED INITIALLY TO THE SERVICE CONCERNED AND ALL NECESSARY PROCESSING SHORT OF PAYMENT OR FINAL ACTION WILL BE TAKEN BY SUCH SERVICES. IN THE ABSENCE OF AUTHORIZATION BY YOU FOR ANY OTHER PROCEDURE, THESE CLAIMS WOULD THEN BE SUBMITTED TO YOUR CLAIMS DIVISION FOR DETERMINATION AS TO ENTITLEMENT PRIOR TO ANY ACTION BY DISBURSING OFFICERS OF THE APPROPRIATE SERVICE.

AS A GENERAL PROPOSITION, OF COURSE, THE SETTLEMENT AND ADJUSTMENT OF CLAIMS OF FORMER MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES, AND OF MEMBERS OF SUCH SERVICES WHOSE CLAIMS RELATE TO PRIOR ENLISTMENTS, ARE MATTERS PROPERLY FOR DISPOSITION BY THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. SEE, GENERALLY, B-38066, B-45459, DATED FEBRUARY 6, 1951, TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE. HOWEVER, THE CLAIMS CONTEMPLATED BY YOUR LETTER (ASSUMING THAT CLAIMS FOR COMBAT PAY DUE DECEASED AND INCOMPETENT PERSONS ARE NOT SO CONTEMPLATED), WHILE EXCEEDINGLY NUMEROUS, ARE OF A FEW VERY SPECIAL RELATED CLASSES SO THAT, GENERALLY, ANY ONE WILL BE ALMOST IDENTICAL TO MANY THOUSANDS OF OTHERS AND QUITE SIMILAR TO ALL OF THE OTHERS. MOREOVER, CLAIMS OF THIS TYPE WILL PROBABLY AVERAGE NOT IN EXCESS OF $150 AND ALL OF SUCH CLAIMS ARE FOR SETTLEMENT PRIMARILY ON THE BASIS OF DETERMINATIONS OF THE SERVICES CONCERNED. FOR SUCH REASONS THIS OFFICE WILL NOT OBJECT TO THE PROCESSING AND PAYMENT OF SUCH CLAIMS DIRECTLY BY THE SERVICES CONCERNED WITHOUT SUBMISSION THEREOF TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE, IT BEING UNDERSTOOD, OF COURSE, THAT CLAIMS FOR COMBAT PAY SUBMITTED BY LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES OR HEIRS OF DECEASED AND INCOMPETENT PERSONS WHO EARNED SUCH PAY WILL BE SETTLED BY THE CLAIMS DIVISION AND THAT ALL PAYMENTS OF COMBAT PAY MADE WITHOUT SUBMISSION TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION WILL BE SUBJECT TO AUDIT BY THE DIVISION OF AUDITS OF THIS OFFICE.