B-124491, JUL. 28, 1955

B-124491: Jul 28, 1955

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ELSIE FOWLER: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 27. YOU WERE ALLOWED THE SUM OF $30.94. YOU WERE ADVISED THAT THE BALANCE WAS RESERVED FOR THE FATHER. OUR CLAIMS DIVISION FURTHER EXPLAINED THAT THE ACTION TAKEN IN THE SETTLEMENT WAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 25. YOU SAY YOU HAVE NOT LIVED WITH THE FATHER SINCE YOUR LATE SON WAS THREE YEARS OLD AND THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW WHERE THE FATHER IS OR ANYTHING ABOUT HIM. YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY HE IS ENTITLED TO ANY OF THE ARREARS OF PAY. WHILE YOUR FEELINGS IN THE MATTER ARE APPRECIATED. WE MUST COMPLY WITH THE APPLICABLE FEDERAL STATUTE IN SETTLING SUCH ACCOUNTS AND WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO ALLOW CLAIMS FOR AMOUNTS DUE ESTATES OF DECEASED NAVY PERSONNEL EXCEPT AS AUTHORIZED BY THAT STATUTE.

B-124491, JUL. 28, 1955

TO MRS. ELSIE FOWLER:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 27, 1955, FORWARDED HERE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, FOR CONSIDERATION OF THAT PORTION WHICH CONCERNS YOUR CLAIM FOR THE BALANCE OF THE PAY AND ALLOWANCES DUE THE ESTATE OF YOUR LATE SON, JOSEPH PATRICK CAPPER, AVIATION ORDNANCE MAN, FIRST CLASS, UNITED STATES NAVY, AS OF OCTOBER 16, 1953, THE DATE OF HIS DEATH.

BY SETTLEMENT DATED JANUARY 14, 1954, YOU WERE ALLOWED THE SUM OF $30.94, REPRESENTING YOUR SHARE OF THE AMOUNT OF $61.88, REPORTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY TO BE DUE AS PAY AND ALLOWANCES. YOU WERE ADVISED THAT THE BALANCE WAS RESERVED FOR THE FATHER. LATER, BY LETTER DATED MARCH 30, 1954, OUR CLAIMS DIVISION FURTHER EXPLAINED THAT THE ACTION TAKEN IN THE SETTLEMENT WAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 25, 1946, 60 STAT. 30, WHICH GOVERNS THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED PERSONNEL OF THE NAVY. IN THE LETTER OF APRIL 27, 1955, YOU SAY YOU HAVE NOT LIVED WITH THE FATHER SINCE YOUR LATE SON WAS THREE YEARS OLD AND THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW WHERE THE FATHER IS OR ANYTHING ABOUT HIM. ALSO, YOU SAY THAT YOU RAISED YOUR SON WITHOUT ANY HELP OR SUPPORT FROM THE FATHER, AND YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY HE IS ENTITLED TO ANY OF THE ARREARS OF PAY.

WHILE YOUR FEELINGS IN THE MATTER ARE APPRECIATED, WE MUST COMPLY WITH THE APPLICABLE FEDERAL STATUTE IN SETTLING SUCH ACCOUNTS AND WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO ALLOW CLAIMS FOR AMOUNTS DUE ESTATES OF DECEASED NAVY PERSONNEL EXCEPT AS AUTHORIZED BY THAT STATUTE. THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 25, 1946, EXPRESSLY PROVIDES THAT WHERE NO DEMAND IS PRESENTED BY A DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE AND THE DECEDENT IS NOT SURVIVED BY A WIDOW OR DESCENDANT, THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS MAY ALLOW THE AMOUNT FOUND DUE "TO THE FATHER AND MOTHER IN EQUAL PARTS," OR "IF EITHER THE FATHER OR MOTHER BE DEAD, THEN TO THE ONE SURVIVING.' THE DISTRIBUTION TO THE FATHER AND MOTHER IN EQUAL PARTS, AS EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED, IS BASED ON THEIR LEGAL RELATIONSHIP TO THE DECEDENT AND IS NOT AFFECTED BY QUESTIONS OF SUPPORT, DIVORCE, OR CUSTODY OF CHILDREN BY EITHER OF THEM. THE CONGRESS HAVING EXPRESSLY SO PROVIDED, WE HAVE NO DISCRETION IN THE MATTER AND MAY NOT ALLOW ONE PARENT MORE THAN ONE-HALF OF THE AMOUNT DUE WHILE THE OTHER IS ALIVE.

ACCORDINGLY, IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING THAT THE FATHER IS DEAD, THE REMAINING AMOUNT DUE YOUR LATE SON'S ESTATE MAY BE ALLOWED ONLY TO THE FATHER.