B-122932, APRIL 25, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 547

B-122932: Apr 25, 1955

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

IS ENTITLED TO INCREASED BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS AS FOR OFFICER WITH DEPENDENT WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 102 (G) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949. ALTHOUGH THERE IS NO STATUTORY REQUIREMENT THAT AN ADVANCE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL BE OBTAINED ON EACH CLAIM OF A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES FOR INCREASED BASIC QUARTERS ALLOWANCE ON ACCOUNT OF ADOPTED CHILDREN OR STEPCHILDREN. WHERE THERE IS DOUBT AS TO THE VALIDITY OF SUCH CLAIMS. THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY ALSO REQUESTED A DECISION WHETHER ALL CLAIMS OF OFFICERS FOR AN INCREASED BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS ON ACCOUNT OF ADOPTED CHILDREN OR STEPCHILDREN ARE REQUIRED TO BE SUBMITTED FOR ADVANCE DECISION. AMONG THE PAPERS SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF LIEUTENANT CASEY'S CLAIM IS A PHOTOSTAT OF A " DECREE OF ADOPTION.

B-122932, APRIL 25, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 547

QUARTERS ALLOWANCE - DEPENDENTS - ADOPTED CHILDREN; GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE - ADVANCE DECISIONS A NAVAL OFFICER WHO, IN ACCORDANCE WITH A SEPARATION AGREEMENT, CONTRIBUTES $100 A MONTH FOR CARE, MAINTENANCE, AND EDUCATION OF AN ADOPTED MINOR CHILD WHO HAS NO OTHER INCOME AND RESIDES WITH HER MOTHER, IS ENTITLED TO INCREASED BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS AS FOR OFFICER WITH DEPENDENT WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 102 (G) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949. ALTHOUGH THERE IS NO STATUTORY REQUIREMENT THAT AN ADVANCE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL BE OBTAINED ON EACH CLAIM OF A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES FOR INCREASED BASIC QUARTERS ALLOWANCE ON ACCOUNT OF ADOPTED CHILDREN OR STEPCHILDREN, SECTION 304 OF THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT, 1921, AUTHORIZES DISBURSING OFFICERS OR HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS OR ESTABLISHMENTS TO APPLY FOR ADVANCE DECISIONS; AND, THEREFORE, WHERE THERE IS DOUBT AS TO THE VALIDITY OF SUCH CLAIMS, DISBURSING OFFICERS SHOULD SUBMIT THEM FOR ADVANCE DECISIONS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL CAMPBELL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, APRIL 25, 1955:

ON FEBRUARY 9, 1955, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY ( PERSONNEL AND RESERVE FORCES), FORWARDED A REQUEST DATED JANUARY 14, 1955, FROM THE OFFICER IN CHARGE, U.S. NAVY OFFICERS ACCOUNTS OFFICE, WASHINGTON 25, D.C., FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION WHETHER LIEUTENANT JOHN W. CASEY, 355518, USN, MAY BE CREDITED WITH AN INCREASED BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS AS FOR AN OFFICER WITH AN ADOPTED CHILD ON AND AFTER APRIL 1, 1954. THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY ALSO REQUESTED A DECISION WHETHER ALL CLAIMS OF OFFICERS FOR AN INCREASED BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS ON ACCOUNT OF ADOPTED CHILDREN OR STEPCHILDREN ARE REQUIRED TO BE SUBMITTED FOR ADVANCE DECISION.

AMONG THE PAPERS SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF LIEUTENANT CASEY'S CLAIM IS A PHOTOSTAT OF A " DECREE OF ADOPTION," DATED OCTOBER 29, 1953, ISSUED BY THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR CHARLES COUNTY, STATE OF MARYLAND, IN THE MATTER OF THE ADOPTION OF A FEMALE MINOR CHILD (NAME CHANGED BY THE DECREE TO DONA MARIA CASEY) BY SYLVIA MARIA CASEY AND JOHN W. CASEY, HER HUSBAND. THERE WAS ALSO SUBMITTED A PHOTOSTAT OF A " PROPERTY SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT" EXECUTED BY JOHN W. CASEY AND SYLVIA MARIA CASEY ON APRIL 1, 1954.

THE PROPERTY SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT RECITES THAT THE PARTIES HAVE BEEN, AND ARE, LIVING SEPARATE AND APART. IT PROVIDES THAT SYLVIA MARIA CASEY SHALL HAVE PERMANENT CUSTODY OF THE CHILD, DONA MARIA CASEY, AND THAT JOHN W. CASEY SHALL PAY TO HIS WIFE THE SUM OF $100 A MONTH UNTIL SHE REMARRIES, AND THEN $40 A MONTH, FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT OF THE CHILD. ALSO IT PROVIDES THAT JOHN W. CASEY SHALL PAY FOR ANY UNUSUAL MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL EXPENSES OF THE CHILD, AND THAT THE RIGHTS, INTERESTS, AND TITLE TRANSFERRED BY THE TERMS OF THE AGREEMENT TO SYLVIA MARIA CASEY SHALL BE IN LIEU OF DOWER, ALIMONY, COUNSEL FEES OR COURT COSTS, THAT MAY BE INCURRED IN ANY PROCEEDING BY EITHER OF THE PARTIES TO TERMINATE THEIR MARRIAGE.

THE OFFICER'S DEPENDENCY CERTIFICATE AND A STATEMENT EXECUTED BY HIS WIFE RELATE THAT THE CHILD WAS BORN ON JANUARY 26, 1952, AND RESIDES WITH HER ADOPTIVE MOTHER. THEY ALSO RELATE THAT THE OFFICER CONTRIBUTES $100 A MONTH FOR THE CARE, MAINTENANCE, SUPPORT, AND EDUCATION OF THE CHILD, AND THAT THE CHILD HAS NO OTHER INCOME.

ON THE EVIDENCE SUBMITTED, LIEUTENANT CASEY WILL BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE A DEPENDENT (UNMARRIED MINOR ADOPTED CHILD) WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 102 (G) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 804, AND PAYMENT TO HIM OF AN INCREASED BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS AS FOR AN OFFICER WITH A DEPENDENT IS AUTHORIZED BEGINNING APRIL 1, 1954, FOR SUCH TIME AS THERE IS NO MATERIAL CHANGE IN THE DEPENDENCY STATUS OF THE CHILD. SEE 23 COMP. GEN. 404; 29 ID. 435.

THE OFFICER'S DEPENDENCY CERTIFICATE ( DD FORM 137) IS RETURNED, THE OTHER PAPERS BEING RETAINED. A COPY OF THIS DECISION SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNT WHERE CREDIT FOR PAYMENT UNDER THE DECISION IS FIRST CLAIMED.

THERE IS NO STATUTORY REQUIREMENT THAT AN ADVANCE DECISION BE OBTAINED ON EACH CLAIM OF A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES FOR AN INCREASED BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS ON ACCOUNT OF ADOPTED CHILDREN OR STEPCHILDREN. HOWEVER, AS YOU KNOW, SECTION 304 OF THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT, 1921, 31 U.S.C. 74, AUTHORIZES A DISBURSING OFFICER OR THE HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT TO APPLY TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL FOR A DECISION IN ADVANCE UPON THE LEGALITY OF ANY PROPOSED EXPENDITURE. THE LAW REQUIRES THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL TO RENDER SUCH DECISION AND WAS DESIGNED TO AFFORD THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EXPENDITURE OF PUBLIC FUNDS AN OPPORTUNITY TO ASCERTAIN IN ADVANCE WHETHER A PROPOSED DISBURSEMENT WILL MEET WITH OBJECTION IN THE AUDIT OF THE ACCOUNTS. THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO REASON WHY CLAIMS OF THE TYPE HERE INVOLVED SHOULD NOT BE SUBMITTED TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL FOR ADVANCE DECISION IN CASES WHERE THE DISBURSING OFFICERS CONCERNED HAVE DOUBT RESPECTING THEIR VALIDITY. SEE, GENERALLY, 26 COMP. GEN. 797; 30 ID. 282; AND GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 50/REVISED, OCTOBER 24, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 539.