B-121732, JANUARY 13, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 335

B-121732: Jan 13, 1955

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

SHORTLY AFTER HER BIRTH IN 1936 WAS ADOPTED BY THE OFFICER'S WIFE TO HER MARRIAGE TO THE OFFICER IN APRIL 1946. THE USUAL DEFINITION OF "STEPCHILD" IS "A CHILD OF ONE'S WIFE OR HUSBAND BY A FORMER MARRIAGE" ( WEBSTER'S NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY). THERE SEEMS TO BE A DEARTH OF JUDICIAL PRECEDENTS ON THE PRECISE POINT WHETHER AN ADOPTED CHILD OF ONE SPOUSE IS THE STEPCHILD OF THE OTHER SPOUSE. IT HAS BEEN HELD UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION LAWS GRANTING BENEFITS TO A STEPCHILD WHO WAS A MEMBER OF AN EMPLOYEE'S FAMILY AND DEPENDENT ON HIM FOR SUPPORT THAT AN ILLEGITIMATE CHILD WHOSE MOTHER MARRIED THE EMPLOYEE WAS THE STEPCHILD OF THE EMPLOYEE AND ENTITLED TO THE PAYMENT OF BENEFITS UPON HIS DEATH.

B-121732, JANUARY 13, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 335

QUARTERS ALLOWANCE - DEPENDENTS - STEPCHILD A CHILD WHO HAD BEEN ADOPTED BY THE WIFE OF AN OFFICER PRIOR TO THEIR MARRIAGE AND WHO RESIDED IN THE OFFICER'S HOUSEHOLD AFTER THE DEATH OF THE WIFE MAY BE CONSIDERED DEPENDENT "STEPCHILD" SO AS TO ENTITLE THE OFFICER TO QUARTERS ALLOWANCE.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL WEITZEL TO W. CHILDS, DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, JANUARY 13, 1955:

BY LETTER DATED OCTOBER 7, 1954, FILE JAG:II:2:WGA:MK, THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL OF THE NAVY FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE YOUR LETTER DATED AUGUST 17, 1954, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER LIEUTENANT COMMANDER FLAVIS A. WILSON, 99498, USN, MAY BE CREDITED WITH BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS ON ACCOUNT OF A DEPENDENT STEPCHILD FOR THE PERIOD MAY 18 TO JULY 31, 1954.

IT APPEARS FROM THE OFFICER'S DEPENDENCY CERTIFICATE ( IDD FORM 137) AND HIS UNDATED STATEMENT, SUBMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER, THAT THE CHILD IN QUESTION, MARTHA JEANNE WILSON, SHORTLY AFTER HER BIRTH IN 1936 WAS ADOPTED BY THE OFFICER'S WIFE TO HER MARRIAGE TO THE OFFICER IN APRIL 1946; THAT THE WIFE DIED ON MAY 17, 1954, AND THAT THE DEPENDENCY OF THE CHILD CEASED ON JULY 31, 1954, DUE TO EMPLOYMENT AND PENDING MARRIAGE.

THE USUAL DEFINITION OF "STEPCHILD" IS "A CHILD OF ONE'S WIFE OR HUSBAND BY A FORMER MARRIAGE" ( WEBSTER'S NEW INTERNATIONAL DICTIONARY), AND THERE SEEMS TO BE A DEARTH OF JUDICIAL PRECEDENTS ON THE PRECISE POINT WHETHER AN ADOPTED CHILD OF ONE SPOUSE IS THE STEPCHILD OF THE OTHER SPOUSE. HOWEVER, IT HAS BEEN HELD UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION LAWS GRANTING BENEFITS TO A STEPCHILD WHO WAS A MEMBER OF AN EMPLOYEE'S FAMILY AND DEPENDENT ON HIM FOR SUPPORT THAT AN ILLEGITIMATE CHILD WHOSE MOTHER MARRIED THE EMPLOYEE WAS THE STEPCHILD OF THE EMPLOYEE AND ENTITLED TO THE PAYMENT OF BENEFITS UPON HIS DEATH, THE EMPLOYEE HAVING SUPPORTED THE CHILD AS A MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY. LUNCEFORD V. FEGLES CONSTRUCTION CO., 185 MINN. 31, 239 N.W. 673; LARSEN V. HARRIS STRUCTURAL STEEL CO., 243 N.Y.S. 654. THE OFFICER HAS FURNISHED THE CERTIFICATE PROVIDED BY PARAGRAPH 1044038-1B (6) (A), NAVY COMPTROLLER MANUAL, TO BE FURNISHED IN THE CASE OF A STEPCHILD RESIDING IN THE MEMBER'S HOUSEHOLD AFTER THE DEATH OF THE BLOOD PARENT. HOWEVER, THERE HAS NOT BEEN FURNISHED A CERTIFIED COPY OF THE DECREE OF ADOPTION EVIDENCING THE ADOPTION BY THE OFFICER'S LATE WIFE OF THE CHILD ON WHOSE ACCOUNT THE ALLOWANCE IS CLAIMED. IN THAT CONNECTION SEE PARAGRAPH 1044038-1B (5), NAVY COMPTROLLER MANUAL, RELATIVE TO FURNISHING A COPY OF THE ADOPTION DECREE IN CASES WHERE THERE IS CLAIMED BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS ON ACCOUNT OF AN ADOPTED CHILD. THERE BE FURNISHED AN AUTHENTICATED COPY OF THE ADOPTION DECREE SHOWING THAT THE CHILD WAS ADOPTED BY THE OFFICER'S LATE WIFE, THEREBY ESTABLISHING THE LEGAL RELATIONSHIP OF PARENT AND CHILD, THEN PAYMENT OF BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS TO THE OFFICER ON ACCOUNT OF A DEPENDENT STEPCHILD FOR THE PERIOD INVOLVED IS AUTHORIZED, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.

THE ORIGINAL AND ONE COPY OF THE DEPENDENCY CERTIFICATE AND THE ORIGINAL OF THE UNDATED STATEMENT ARE RETURNED. THIS DECISION, OR A COPY, TOGETHER WITH THE COPY OF THE ADOPTION DECREE SHOULD BE ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER IN THE EVENT PAYMENT IS MADE.