B-122604, APRIL 18, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 538

B-122604: Apr 18, 1955

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ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL AND RETURN TO THE PANAMA CANAL ZONE ARE AUTHORIZED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR THE DEPENDENTS OF A CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE WHO DIED WHILE ON LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES. FOLLOWING THE DEPENDENTS' RETURN TO THE CANAL ZONE THEY ARE ENTITLED TO SUBSEQUENT REPATRIATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNDER THE ACT OF JULY 8. - * * * (1) IF AN EMPLOYEE AND HIS DEPENDENTS ARE IN THE UNITED STATES UNDER TRANSPORTATION ORDERS ISSUED UNDER THE LEAVE TRAVEL PROVISIONS OF SECTION 7 OF THE ( ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES) ACT (OF 1946). ARE SUCH DEPENDENTS. ARE THE WIDOW AND OTHER DEPENDENTS ENTITLED TO REPATRIATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 8 AND 9 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 8557 ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF JULY 8.

B-122604, APRIL 18, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 538

TRANSPORTATION - DEPENDENTS - EMPLOYEES APPOINTED OR ASSIGNED TO DUTY OVERSEAS - DEATH OF EMPLOYEE WHILE ON LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE LEAVE TRAVEL PROVISIONS OF SECTION 7 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL AND RETURN TO THE PANAMA CANAL ZONE ARE AUTHORIZED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR THE DEPENDENTS OF A CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE WHO DIED WHILE ON LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES; FOLLOWING THE DEPENDENTS' RETURN TO THE CANAL ZONE THEY ARE ENTITLED TO SUBSEQUENT REPATRIATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNDER THE ACT OF JULY 8, 1940, AND EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8557, WHICH AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF RETURN TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES WHO DIE DURING PERIOD OF ASSIGNMENT OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL WEITZEL TO THE GOVERNOR, CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT, APRIL 18, 1955:

YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 11, 1955, REQUESTS OUR DECISION REGARDING THE ALLOWABILITY OF CERTAIN TRAVEL EXPENSES OF THE WIFE AND OTHER DEPENDENTS OF AN EMPLOYEE WHO DIED WHILE ON LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES. SPECIFICALLY, YOU REQUEST ANSWERS TO THE FOLLOWING TWO QUESTIONS---

* * * (1) IF AN EMPLOYEE AND HIS DEPENDENTS ARE IN THE UNITED STATES UNDER TRANSPORTATION ORDERS ISSUED UNDER THE LEAVE TRAVEL PROVISIONS OF SECTION 7 OF THE ( ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES) ACT (OF 1946), AS AMENDED BY PUBLIC LAW 737, ARE SUCH DEPENDENTS, SUBSEQUENT TO THE EMPLOYEE'S DEATH WHILE ON LEAVE, ENTITLED TO COMPLETE THE ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL AND RETURN TO THE ISTHMUS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE AND, (2) FOLLOWING THEIR RETURN TO THE ISTHMUS, WHETHER UNDER LEAVE TRAVEL ORDERS OR OTHERWISE, ARE THE WIDOW AND OTHER DEPENDENTS ENTITLED TO REPATRIATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 8 AND 9 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 8557 ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF JULY 8, 1940 (54 STAT. 743/?

CONCERNING THE FIRST QUESTION, YOU SAY THAT TO DENY THE RIGHT OF THE DEPENDENTS TO THE RETURN EXPENSES WOULD IMPOSE AN UNANTICIPATED AND INEQUITABLE ECONOMIC BURDEN UPON THE DEPENDENTS SINCE IT CAN REASONABLY BE ASSUMED THAT THE WIDOW WOULD BE COMPELLED TO RETURN TO THE OVERSEAS POST. YOU POINT OUT THAT IN MOST INSTANCES EMPLOYEES OF THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT AND THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY ENTER INTO SERVICE WITH THE CANAL AGENCIES UPON A LONG-TERM CAREER BASIS. THUS, THE PROBLEMS OF SETTLING AFFAIRS AND ARRANGING FOR THE SHIPMENT OR DISPOSITION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS ARE OFTEN COMPLEX AND BURDENSOME AND CANNOT GENERALLY BE HANDLED SUITABLY OTHER THAN BY A MEMBER OF THE DECEASED EMPLOYEE'S IMMEDIATE FAMILY. AS TO THE SECOND QUESTION, YOU SUGGEST IT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE TO ALLOW THE REPATRIATION EXPENSES WHERE THE WIDOW WAS RESIDING AT AND RETURNS OVERSEAS WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME AFTER THE EMPLOYEE'S DEATH TO TERMINATE HER OBLIGATIONS AND ARRANGE FOR THE SHIPMENT OR DISPOSITION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS.

SECTION 7 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 31, 1954, 68 STAT. 1008, IN PERTINENT PART, PROVIDES:

* * * THAT EXPENSES OF ROUND TRIP TRAVEL OF EMPLOYEE AND TRANSPORTATION OF IMMEDIATE FAMILY BUT EXCLUDING HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, FROM THEIR POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES TO THE PLACES OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT TIME OF APPOINTMENT OR TRANSFER TO SUCH OVERSEAS POSTS OF DUTY, SHALL BE ALLOWED IN THE CASE OF PERSONS WHO HAVE SATISFACTORILY COMPLETED AN AGREED PERIOD OF SERVICE OVERSEAS AND ARE RETURNING TO THEIR ACTUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE FOR THE PURPOSE OF TAKING LEAVE PRIOR TO SERVING ANOTHER TOUR OF DUTY AT THE SAME OR SOME OTHER OVERSEAS POST, UNDER A NEW WRITTEN AGREEMENT ENTERED INTO BEFORE DEPARTING FROM THE OVERSEAS POST: *

THE ISSUANCE OF ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL ORDERS TO THE EMPLOYEE FOR HIMSELF AND HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY, UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 31, UPON COMPLETION OF THE PRESCRIBED PERIOD OF SERVICE AND THE EXECUTION BY HIM OF A NEW WRITTEN AGREEMENT BEFORE LEAVING THE CANAL ZONE, CREATED AN ENTITLEMENT TO THE AUTHORIZED TRAVEL. THE RIGHT OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY UNDER THOSE ORDERS WAS NOT AUTOMATICALLY NULLIFIED BY THE DEATH OF THE EMPLOYEE SUBSEQUENT TO COMMENCEMENT OF BUT PRIOR TO COMPLETION OF THE TRAVEL. ACCORDINGLY, IN THE ABSENCE OF APPROPRIATE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TERMINATING THE AUTHORIZATION FOR RETURN TRAVEL, THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY MAY BE ALLOWED OTHERWISE PROPER COSTS OF THEIR RETURN TO THE CANAL ZONE UNDER THAT ACT. YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

SECTION 1 (B) OF THE ACT OF JULY 8, 1940, 54 STAT. 743, 744, AUTHORIZES THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT, AGENCY, OR FEDERALLY OWNED OR CONTROLLED CORPORATION CONCERNED, UNDER REGULATIONS TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT, TO PAY:

(B) IN CASE OF THE DEATH OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WHILE PERFORMING OFFICIAL DUTIES IN A TERRITORY OR POSSESSION OF THE UNITED STATES OR IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY OR IN TRANSIT THERETO OR THEREFROM, THE TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF HIS DEPENDENTS, INCLUDING EXPENSES INCURRED IN PACKING, CRATING, DRAYAGE, AND TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AND OTHER PERSONAL PROPERTY TO HIS FORMER HOME OR SUCH OTHER PLACE AS THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT SHALL DETERMINE.

SECTION 2 OF THE ACT PROVIDES:

THE BENEFITS OF SECTION 1 OF THIS ACT SHALL NOT BE DENIED IN ANY CASE ON THE GROUND THAT THE DECEASED WAS TEMPORARILY ABSENT FROM DUTY WHEN DEATH OCCURRED.

SECTIONS 8, 9, AND 14 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8557, ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE ACT, PROVIDE:

SECTION 8. WHEN AN EMPLOYEE DIES DURING A PERIOD OF ASSIGNMENT TO A POST OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES OR WHILE IN TRANSIT TO OR FROM SUCH POST, THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED SHALL PAY THE COSTS OF TRANSPORTATION OF THE DEPENDENTS OF THE DECEDENT AND OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AND OTHER PERSONAL PROPERTY OF THE DECEDENT AND HIS DEPENDENTS TO HIS FORMER HOME OR TO SUCH OTHER PLACE IN THE UNITED STATES NOT MORE DISTANT THAN THE FORMER HOME AS THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT MAY DESIGNATE.

SECTION 9. TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS. THE COSTS OF TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS ALLOWABLE UNDER SECTION 8 OF THESE REGULATIONS SHALL INCLUDE THE ACTUAL COSTS OF TRANSPORTING SUCH OF THE DEPENDENTS OF THE DECEDENT AS ARE OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE DESIGNATED DESTINATION, PROVIDED THAT THE COSTS SHALL NOT EXCEED THE COSTS OF TRANSPORTATION BY THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE FROM THE OFFICIAL STATION OF THE DECEASED EMPLOYEE TO SAID DESTINATION, AND PROVIDED THAT TRAVEL IS UNDERTAKEN DURING THE PERIOD OF ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE OF DEATH OF THE DECEDENT. SUCH TRANSPORTATION SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE HEADS OF THE RESPECTIVE DEPARTMENTS MAY PRESCRIBE THEREUNDER GOVERNING THE PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES GENERALLY.

SECTION 14. DEATH DURING PERIOD OF ABSENCE FROM DUTY. WHEN AN EMPLOYEE DIES WHILE TEMPORARILY ABSENT FROM DUTY DURING A PERIOD OF TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OR DURING THE PERIOD OF HIS ASSIGNMENT TO A POST OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES, THE PROVISIONS OF THESE REGULATIONS SHALL APPLY, EXCEPT THAT THE AMOUNT ALLOWED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE REMAINS TO THE PLACE OF INTERMENT SHALL NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE HAD DEATH OCCURRED AT THE POINT FROM WHICH THE DECEDENT DEPARTED ON SUCH TEMPORARY ABSENCE.

IN THE CASE PRESENTED THE DEPENDENTS OF THE DECEASED EMPLOYEE WERE NOT PHYSICALLY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES AT THE TIME OF THE EMPLOYEE'S DEATH. HOWEVER, AS POINTED OUT ABOVE, THE DEPENDENTS COULD, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, RETURN TO THE POST OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE OFFICIAL ORDERS WHICH HAD BEEN ISSUED PRIOR TO THE EMPLOYEE'S DEATH. SINCE THE DEPENDENTS WOULD THEN BE PROPERLY LOCATED OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES, THE 1940 ACT AND EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8557 ARE CONSIDERED AS PROVIDING AUTHORITY FOR THEIR SUBSEQUENT REPATRIATION. ACCORDINGLY, YOUR SECOND QUESTION IS ALSO ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.