B-123103, JUNE 22, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 694

B-123103: Jun 22, 1955

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SUBSTANTIAL DEPENDENCY IS CONTEMPLATED. ONLY A PART OF WHICH IS USED FOR HER SUPPORT. IS IN FACT A DEPENDENT FOR PURPOSES OF DEPENDENTS' TRANSPORTATION. REQUESTS A DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON A VOUCHER STATED IN FAVOR OF CAPTAIN RALPH C. YOUR DOUBT IN THE MATTER IS BASED ON THE FACT THAT THE OFFICER IS NOT THE SOLE SUPPORT OF HIS STEPDAUGHTER. THE VOUCHER SHOWS THAT THE CHILD WAS BORN ON MARCH 1. RELATES THAT HIS STEPDAUGHTER IS A MEMBER OF HIS HOUSEHOLD AND THAT SHE. THERE ARE AMONG THE PAPERS ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER AN EXPLANATORY STATEMENT EXECUTED BY THE OFFICER ON JANUARY 25. HE ALSO EXPLAINS THAT THE GROSS INCOME OF THE CHILD FROM ALL OTHER SOURCES IS THE PENSION OF $67 A MONTH RECEIVED FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION.

B-123103, JUNE 22, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 694

TRANSPORTATION - DEPENDENTS - MILITARY, NAVAL, ETC., PERSONNEL - STEPCHILDREN ALTHOUGH THE PROVISION IN THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949 AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES DOES NOT SPECIFY CHIEF SUPPORT, OR REQUIRE A PARTICULAR DEGREE OF DEPENDENCY IN THE CASE OF STEPCHILDREN OR ADOPTED CHILDREN, SUBSTANTIAL DEPENDENCY IS CONTEMPLATED, SO THAT A MARINE CORPS OFFICER'S STEPCHILD WHO RECEIVES A MONTHLY PENSION, ONLY A PART OF WHICH IS USED FOR HER SUPPORT, AND WHO RECEIVES A SUBSTANTIAL CONTRIBUTION FROM THE OFFICER FOR HER SUPPORT, IS IN FACT A DEPENDENT FOR PURPOSES OF DEPENDENTS' TRANSPORTATION.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL WEITZEL TO CAPTAIN JAMES M. WEIDNER, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS, JUNE 22, 1955:

YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 16, 1955, REQUESTS A DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON A VOUCHER STATED IN FAVOR OF CAPTAIN RALPH C. WOOD, 1047999, USMC, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS (STEPDAUGHTER, SANDRA L. CUMMINGS; DAUGHTER, LESLIE M. WOOD; WIFE, MARGARET K. WOOD) FROM BALBOA ISLAND, CALIFORNIA, TO BEAUFORT, SOUTH CAROLINA, THE TRAVEL HAVING BEEN PERFORMED DURING THE PERIOD APRIL 30 TO MAY 16, 1954, PURSUANT TO ORDERS DATED MARCH 2, 1954. YOUR DOUBT IN THE MATTER IS BASED ON THE FACT THAT THE OFFICER IS NOT THE SOLE SUPPORT OF HIS STEPDAUGHTER.

THE VOUCHER SHOWS THAT THE CHILD WAS BORN ON MARCH 1, 1944. THE OFFICER'S DEPENDENCY CERTIFICATE, ON THE REVERSE OF THE VOUCHER, RELATES THAT HIS STEPDAUGHTER IS A MEMBER OF HIS HOUSEHOLD AND THAT SHE, AS THE CHILD OF A DECEASED MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES, RECEIVES A PENSION FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION.

THERE ARE AMONG THE PAPERS ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER AN EXPLANATORY STATEMENT EXECUTED BY THE OFFICER ON JANUARY 25, 1955, AND A CERTIFIED COPY OF AN ORDER SETTLING FIRST ACCOUNT AND REPORT OF GUARDIAN, ENTERED ON DECEMBER 29, 1952, IN THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF SAN MATEO, IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE AND GUARDIANSHIP OF SANDRA LEE CUMMINGS, A MINOR. THE OFFICER EXPLAINS THAT HE CONTRIBUTES $82 A MONTH FOR THE SUPPORT OF HIS STEPCHILD AND THAT HER LIVING EXPENSES AMOUNT TO $92 EACH MONTH. HE ALSO EXPLAINS THAT THE GROSS INCOME OF THE CHILD FROM ALL OTHER SOURCES IS THE PENSION OF $67 A MONTH RECEIVED FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, BUT THAT THE USE OF THAT AMOUNT IS SUBJECT TO CERTAIN RESTRICTIONS LAID DOWN BY THE CALIFORNIA COURT. THE COURT APPROVED THE FIRST ACCOUNT OF THE CHILD'S GUARDIAN (THE OFFICER'S WIFE) AND, SINCE IT WAS STIPULATED THAT A PART ONLY OF THE CHILD'S INCOME WAS NEEDED FOR HER SUPPORT, IT DECREED THAT THE GUARDIAN MIGHT EXPEND THE SUM OF $29.50 PER MONTH FOR THAT PURPOSE. THE COURT FURTHER DECREED THAT UNITED STATES SAVINGS BONDS PURCHASED WITH THE BALANCE OF THE PENSION BE DEPOSITED WITH THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF SAN FRANCISCO AND NOT BE WITHDRAWN EXCEPT BY ITS ORDER.

IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT SINCE A PENSION IS SIMILAR TO WAGES AND SALARIES IN THAT IT IS PAYABLE IN STATED INSTALLMENTS AND MAINLY DESIGNED FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF THE PENSIONER, THE AMOUNT THEREOF SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS INCOME IN DETERMINING THE DEPENDENCY STATUS OF AN ALLEGED DEPENDENT. COMP. GEN. 336. HENCE, THE CONCLUSION APPEARS REQUIRED THAT THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE MONTHLY PENSION RECEIVED BY CAPTAIN WOOD'S STEPDAUGHTER CONSTITUTES INCOME, NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT A PART OF THE PENSION IS USED FOR THE PURCHASE OF BONDS WHICH THE CALIFORNIA COURT DECREED SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR HER SUPPORT EXCEPT PURSUANT TO ITS ORDER. HOWEVER, THE STATUTE AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS DURING THE PERIOD HERE INVOLVED, WHILE NO DOUBT CONTEMPLATING SUBSTANTIAL DEPENDENCY, DOES NOT SPECIFY CHIEF SUPPORT OR REQUIRE THAT ANY CERTAIN DEGREE OF DEPENDENCY BE SHOWN REGARDING STEPCHILDREN OR ADOPTED CHILDREN. 34 COMP. GEN. 193.

SINCE CAPTAIN WOOD ACTUALLY CONTRIBUTES SUBSTANTIALLY TO THE SUPPORT, MAINTENANCE AND EDUCATION OF HIS STEPCHILD WHO IS A MEMBER OF HIS HOUSEHOLD, AND SINCE HER INCOME IS NOT SUFFICIENT FOR HER ENTIRE SUPPORT, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT SHE IS IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON HIM FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRANSPORTATION ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION. B-3032, MAY 9, 1939.

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER AND SUPPORTING PAPERS ARE RETURNED HEREWITH, PAYMENT ON THE VOUCHER BEING AUTHORIZED, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.