B-124723, AUG. 5, 1955

B-124723: Aug 5, 1955

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SMITH: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED MAY 26. THERE WAS CERTIFIED TO BE DUE YOU THE SUM OF $27.83. THE BALANCE WAS RESERVED FOR THE FATHER. YOU EXPRESS THE BELIEF THAT YOU ARE ENTITLED TO THE BALANCE OF THE PAY AND ALLOWANCES DUE. WHILE YOUR FEELINGS IN THE MATTER ARE APPRECIATED. WE MUST COMPLY WITH THE APPLICABLE FEDERAL STATUTES GOVERNING THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED PERSONNEL OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES AND WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO ALLOW CLAIMS FOR AMOUNTS DUE THE ESTATES OF SUCH PERSONNEL EXCEPT AS AUTHORIZED BY SUCH STATUTES. THE SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS FOR AMOUNTS DUE THE ESTATES OF DECEASED PERSONNEL OF THE MARINE CORPS IS GOVERNED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 25. THAT ACT EXPRESSLY PROVIDES THAT WHERE NO DEMAND IS PRESENTED BY A DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEDENT AND HE IS NOT SURVIVED BY A WIDOW OR DESCENDANT.

B-124723, AUG. 5, 1955

TO MRS. ALMA C. SMITH:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED MAY 26, 1955, FORWARDED HERE BY HEADQUARTERS, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS, CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR THE BALANCE OF PAY AND ALLOWANCES DUE THE ESTATE OF YOUR LATE SON, GEORGE W. TALTON, PRIVATE, FIRST CLASS, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS, AS OF OCTOBER 13, 1954, THE DATE OF HIS DEATH.

BY ACTION OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION DATED MARCH 8, 1955, THERE WAS CERTIFIED TO BE DUE YOU THE SUM OF $27.83, REPRESENTING YOUR SHARE OF THE AMOUNT OF $55.66, REPORTED BY THE MARINE CORPS TO BE DUE AS PAY AND ALLOWANCES. THE BALANCE WAS RESERVED FOR THE FATHER. IN THE LETTER OF MAY 26, 1955, YOU STATE THAT THE FATHER DESERTED YOU THREE MONTHS PRIOR TO THE BIRTH OF THE DECEDENT AND NEVER CONTRIBUTED TO HIS SUPPORT. YOU ALSO SAY THAT YOU DIVORCED THE FATHER IN 1951 AND THAT YOU SUPPORTED THE DECEDENT UNTIL HIS ENTRY INTO THE SERVICE. HENCE, YOU EXPRESS THE BELIEF THAT YOU ARE ENTITLED TO THE BALANCE OF THE PAY AND ALLOWANCES DUE.

WHILE YOUR FEELINGS IN THE MATTER ARE APPRECIATED, WE MUST COMPLY WITH THE APPLICABLE FEDERAL STATUTES GOVERNING THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED PERSONNEL OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES AND WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO ALLOW CLAIMS FOR AMOUNTS DUE THE ESTATES OF SUCH PERSONNEL EXCEPT AS AUTHORIZED BY SUCH STATUTES. THE SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS FOR AMOUNTS DUE THE ESTATES OF DECEASED PERSONNEL OF THE MARINE CORPS IS GOVERNED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 25, 1946, 60 STAT. 30. THAT ACT EXPRESSLY PROVIDES THAT WHERE NO DEMAND IS PRESENTED BY A DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEDENT AND HE 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.