B-123725, JUL. 13, 1959

B-123725: Jul 13, 1959

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DUNHAM: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS OF APRIL 16 AND JUNE 12. YOU SAY THAT YOU HAVE NOW BEEN RECOGNIZED BY THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION AS THE LEGAL WIDOW OF THE DECEDENT AND RECEIVE A PENSION AS SUCH WIDOW. WE ARE ADVISED THAT THE ACTION OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION IN AWARDING DEPENDENCY AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION TO YOU AS WIDOW OF SERGEANT DUNHAM WAS TAKEN UNDER SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 28. IT IS ESTABLISHED BY SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE THAT SHE. WOULD HAVE BEEN VALID. ARE SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM THE LAWS RELATING TO THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AND HAVE NO APPLICATION IN THE SETTLEMENT OF SUCH ACCOUNTS BY OUR OFFICE. IS GOVERNED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 25.

B-123725, JUL. 13, 1959

TO MRS. MAE E. DUNHAM:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS OF APRIL 16 AND JUNE 12, 1959, CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR THE ARREARS OF PAY AND ALLOWANCES DUE THE ESTATE OF THE LATE MASTER SERGEANT BYRON R. DUNHAM, INFANTRY, AS OF DECEMBER 31, 1953, THE PRESUMPTIVE DATE OF HIS DEATH.

IN THE LETTERS OF APRIL 16 AND JUNE 12, 1959, YOU SAY THAT YOU HAVE NOW BEEN RECOGNIZED BY THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION AS THE LEGAL WIDOW OF THE DECEDENT AND RECEIVE A PENSION AS SUCH WIDOW. ON THE BASIS OF SUCH RECOGNITION YOU URGE THAT YOUR CLAIM AS WIDOW FOR THE ARREARS OF PAY AND ALLOWANCES SHOULD BE ALLOWED.

WE ARE ADVISED THAT THE ACTION OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION IN AWARDING DEPENDENCY AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION TO YOU AS WIDOW OF SERGEANT DUNHAM WAS TAKEN UNDER SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 28, 1957, PUBLIC LAW 85- 209, 71 STAT. 485. THIS SECTION PROVIDES THAT WHENEVER, IN THE CONSIDERATION OF ANY CLAIM FILED BY A WOMAN AS THE WIDOW OF A VETERAN FOR GRATUITOUS DEATH BENEFITS UNDER LAWS ADMINISTERED BY THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, IT IS ESTABLISHED BY SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE THAT SHE, WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE OF ANY LEGAL IMPEDIMENT, ENTERED INTO A MARRIAGE WITH SUCH VETERAN WHICH, BUT FOR A LEGAL IMPEDIMENT, WOULD HAVE BEEN VALID, AND THEREAFTER COHABITED WITH HIM FOR FIVE OR MORE YEARS IMMEDIATELY BEFORE HIS DEATH, THE PURPORTED MARRIAGE SHALL BE DEEMED TO BE A VALID MARRIAGE IF NO CLAIM HAS BEEN FILED BY THE LEGAL WIDOW.

THE LAWS RELATING TO VETERANS BENEFITS, HOWEVER, ARE SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM THE LAWS RELATING TO THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AND HAVE NO APPLICATION IN THE SETTLEMENT OF SUCH ACCOUNTS BY OUR OFFICE. HENCE, THE ACT OF AUGUST 28, 1957, AFFORDS NO BASIS FOR FAVORABLE ACTION ON YOUR CLAIM FOR THE ARREARS OF PAY AND ALLOWANCES DUE SERGEANT DUNHAM'S ESTATE. AS FULLY EXPLAINED TO YOU IN OUR DECISION OF MAY 20, 1955, B-123725, AND LETTER OF JULY 7, 1955, COPIES ENCLOSED, THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED PERSONNEL OF THE ARMY WHO DIED PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1956, IS GOVERNED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 25, 1946, 60 STAT. 30, NOW SECTION 29 OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 2, 1958, 72 STAT. 1563, AND PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT DUE IN THIS CASE, AMOUNTING TO APPROXIMATELY $2,391.95, MAY BE MADE ONLY TO A DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF THE LATE SERGEANT DUNHAM, THAT IS, AND ADMINISTRATOR OR EXECUTOR APPOINTED BY A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION.

IF THE PROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING THE APPOINTMENT OF A LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE IS NOT CLEAR TO YOU, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT YOU PRESENT THIS LETTER AND THE COPIES OF THE DECISION OF MAY 20, 1955, AND THE LATTER OF JULY 7, 1955, TO THE SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE OF ANY LOCAL SERVICEMAN'S ORGANIZATION, THE AMERICAN RED CROSS, OR TO THE CLERK OF THE PROBATE COURT, ANYONE OF WHOM, GENERALLY, WILL BE GLAD TO ADVISE YOU HOW TO PROCEED. ANY CLAIM BY A LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE SHOULD BE TRANSMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, CLAIMS DIVISION, WASHINGTON 25, D.C. ..END :