B-126289, DEC. 30, 1955

B-126289: Dec 30, 1955

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PEARL HEARD: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 12. PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM WAS DENIED FOR THE REASON THAT THE DECEDENT. WAS SURVIVED BY A MINOR SON (PERRY HEARD. WHO IS ENTITLED TO THE UNPAID AMOUNT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 3. IT IS NOTED THAT YOU ARE THE MOTHER OF THE DECEDENT AND THAT YOU WERE GRANTED LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION UPON THE ESTATE OF PERRY HEARD. TO THE BENEFICIARY OR BENEFICIARIES DESIGNATED BY THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IN WRITING TO RECEIVE SUCH COMPENSATION FILED WITH THE GOVERNMENT AGENCY IN WHICH THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WAS EMPLOYED AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH. UNDER THE ACT ALL UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE A DECEASED EMPLOYEE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH IS TO BE PAID TO THE PERSON OR PERSONS SURVIVING AND IN THE ORDER OF PRECEDENCE SET FORTH THEREIN.

B-126289, DEC. 30, 1955

TO MRS. PEARL HEARD:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 12, 1955, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED JUNE 4, 1954, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR LUMP-SUM LEAVE AND UNPAID COMPENSATION ALLEGED TO BE DUE THE ESTATE OF PERRY HEARD, DECEASED, A FORMER EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT, RED RIVER ARSENAL, TEXARKANA, TEXAS.

PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM WAS DENIED FOR THE REASON THAT THE DECEDENT, WHOSE DEATH OCCURRED SEPTEMBER 27, 1953, WAS SURVIVED BY A MINOR SON (PERRY HEARD, JR.), WHO IS ENTITLED TO THE UNPAID AMOUNT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 3, 1950 (PUBLIC LAW 636), 64 STAT. 395.

IT IS NOTED THAT YOU ARE THE MOTHER OF THE DECEDENT AND THAT YOU WERE GRANTED LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION UPON THE ESTATE OF PERRY HEARD, DECEASED, ON DECEMBER 28, 1953. ALSO, IN YOUR RECENT LETTER YOU STATE THAT YOU EXPENDED $80 OF YOUR PERSONAL FUNDS IN CONNECTION WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE DECEDENT FOR BURIAL.

THE ACT OF AUGUST 3, 1950, SUPRA, PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"THAT IN ORDER TO FACILITATE THE SETTLEMENT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (INCLUDING WHOLLY OWNED AND MIXED- OWNERSHIP GOVERNMENT CORPORATIONS) ALL UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE SUCH AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH SHALL BE PAID TO THE PERSON OR PERSONS SURVIVING AT THE DATE OF DEATH, IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER OF PRECEDENCE, AND SUCH PAYMENT SHALL BE A BAR RECOVERY BY ANY OTHER PERSON OF AMOUNTS SO PAID:

"FIRST, TO THE BENEFICIARY OR BENEFICIARIES DESIGNATED BY THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IN WRITING TO RECEIVE SUCH COMPENSATION FILED WITH THE GOVERNMENT AGENCY IN WHICH THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WAS EMPLOYED AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH, AND RECEIVED BY SUCH AGENCY PRIOR TO THE OFFICER'S OR EMPLOYEE'S DEATH;

"SECOND, IF THERE BE NO SUCH BENEFICIARY, TO THE WIDOW OR WIDOWER OF SUCH OFFICER, OR EMPLOYEE;

"THIRD, IF THERE BE NO BENEFICIARY OR SURVIVING SPOUSE, TO THE CHILD OR CHILDREN OF SUCH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, AND DESCENDANTS OF DECEASED CHILDREN, BY REPRESENTATION; "

THUS, UNDER THE ACT ALL UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE A DECEASED EMPLOYEE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH IS TO BE PAID TO THE PERSON OR PERSONS SURVIVING AND IN THE ORDER OF PRECEDENCE SET FORTH THEREIN. AN EXAMINATION OF THE RECORDS HERE DISCLOSES THAT THE DECEDENT FAILED TO DESIGNATE A BENEFICIARY (FIRST STEP IN THE ORDER OF PRECEDENCE), AND THAT HE WAS NOT SURVIVED BY A WIDOW (NEXT ENTITLED). HOWEVER, HE WAS SURVIVED BY A SON, WHO, IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY INDIVIDUAL QUALIFIED EITHER UNDER THE FIRST OR SECOND STEP OF THE ORDER OF PRECEDENCE, IS ENTITLED TO THE UNPAID COMPENSATION DETERMINED TO BE DUE YOUR SON AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH.

SINCE THE PROVISIONS OF THE QUOTED STATUTE ARE MANDATORY--- THE CHILD OF THE DECEDENT TAKING PRECEDENCE OVER YOU AS MOTHER, AS ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE ESTATE OF PERRY HEARD, DECEASED, OR AS PAYEE OF HIS FUNERAL EXPENSES-- - OUR OFFICE HAS NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO DENY YOUR CLAIM FOR THE SUM DUE THE DECEDENT AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH. ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT OF JUNE 4, 1954, MUST BE SUSTAINED.