B-126476, APR. 2, 1956

B-126476: Apr 2, 1956

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YOU REQUEST A DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON A VOUCHER STATED IN FAVOR OF MAJOR STANLEY R. WHO IS THE CHILD OF A DECEASED AIRMAN AND WHO RECEIVES A MONTHLY PAYMENT FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION (INVESTED IN UNITED STATES SAVINGS BONDS AND NOT AVAILABLE FOR LIVING EXPENSES). THE VOUCHER SHOWS THAT THE CHILD WAS BORN ON MAY 16. IN HIS SUPPLEMENTAL CERTIFICATE ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER THE OFFICER RELATES THAT THE CHILD IS HIS WIFE'S DAUGHTER. THE OFFICER ALSO RELATES THAT THE CHILD IS A "WARD OF GOVT. WAR BONDS ARE PURCHASED AND KEPT IN FED RES BANK. WHILE NOT SPECIFICALLY STATED IT APPEARS THAT THE CHILD IS A MEMBER OF THE OFFICER'S HOUSEHOLD AND THAT SHE HAS NO OTHER INCOME OR PROPERTY IN HER OWN RIGHT.

B-126476, APR. 2, 1956

TO MAJOR W. E. DEABLER, FC, DISBURSING OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY:

IN YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 25, 1955, YOU REQUEST A DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON A VOUCHER STATED IN FAVOR OF MAJOR STANLEY R. MATHEWS, JR., 137737, ARTILLERY, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF HIS STEPDAUGHTER, SHARON ALIX STEPHENS, FROM FORT LEWIS, WASHINGTON, TO FORT LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS, THE TRAVEL HAVING BEEN PERFORMED BETWEEN JULY 24 AND AUGUST 31, 1955, INCIDENT TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS DATED MARCH 24, 1955. YOUR DOUBT IN THE MATTER STEMS FROM THE QUESTION WHETHER THE STEPDAUGHTER, WHO IS THE CHILD OF A DECEASED AIRMAN AND WHO RECEIVES A MONTHLY PAYMENT FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION (INVESTED IN UNITED STATES SAVINGS BONDS AND NOT AVAILABLE FOR LIVING EXPENSES), MAY BE CONSIDERED A "DEPENDENT" OF THE OFFICER AS DEFINED IN THE LAW AND REGULATIONS AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS.

THE VOUCHER SHOWS THAT THE CHILD WAS BORN ON MAY 16, 1948. IN HIS SUPPLEMENTAL CERTIFICATE ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER THE OFFICER RELATES THAT THE CHILD IS HIS WIFE'S DAUGHTER, THAT HER LIVING EXPENSES AMOUNT TO $75 A MONTH, AND THAT HE CONTRIBUTES $75 A MONTH FOR HER SUPPORT. THE OFFICER ALSO RELATES THAT THE CHILD IS A "WARD OF GOVT. AS CHILD OF DECEASED AIRMAN. RECEIVES $53.60 MONTHLY. WAR BONDS ARE PURCHASED AND KEPT IN FED RES BANK. TOTAL TRUST $2,963.02.' WHILE NOT SPECIFICALLY STATED IT APPEARS THAT THE CHILD IS A MEMBER OF THE OFFICER'S HOUSEHOLD AND THAT SHE HAS NO OTHER INCOME OR PROPERTY IN HER OWN RIGHT.

IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT PENSION (COMPENSATION) PAYMENTS MUST BE CONSIDERED AS INCOME IN DETERMINING THE DEPENDENCY STATUS OF AN ALLEGED DEPENDENT. HENCE, THE PAYMENTS RECEIVED BY MAJOR MATHEWS' STEPDAUGHTER CONSTITUTE INCOME, NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT THE AMOUNT OF THE PAYMENTS IS USED FOR THE PURCHASE OF BONDS. 33 COMP. GEN. 336; 34 COMP. GEN. 694. IT HAS BEEN HELD, ALSO, THAT 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; COMPARE B-124149, DECEMBER 23, 1955.

IT APPEARS FROM THE SUBMITTED EVIDENCE THAT THE CHILD IS DEPENDENT ON THE OFFICER TO THE EXTENT OF APPROXIMATELY 28 PERCENT OF THE AMOUNT REQUIRED FOR HER SUPPORT. THEREFORE, SINCE MAJOR MATHEWS ACTUALLY CONTRIBUTES SUBSTANTIALLY TO THE SUPPORT, MAINTENANCE, AND EDUCATION OF HIS STEPCHILD, WHO APPEARS TO BE 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 A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION.

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