B-126920, MAR. 9, 1956

B-126920: Mar 9, 1956

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ATTORNEYS AT LAW: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS DATED JANUARY 5 AND 26. WHITE WAS ADVISED THAT THE ARREARS OF PAY AMOUNTING TO $468.79 HAD BEEN APPLIED IN PARTIAL LIQUIDATION OF HER INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE SUM OF $720 REPRESENTING THE AMOUNT OF AN OVERPAYMENT TO HER OF THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY. THE OVERPAYMENT RESULTED FROM THE INCLUSION IN THE GRATUITY OF FLYING PAY TO WHICH THE LATE OFFICER WAS NOT ENTITLED AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH. YOU CONTEND THAT SINCE THE GRATUITY WAS PAID TO MRS. THE CLAIM FOR THE ARREARS OF PAY IS MADE BY HER AS ADMINISTRATRIX OF HIS ESTATE. THE OVERPAYMENT IS NOT PROPERLY CHARGEABLE AGAINST THE ARREARS OF PAY. BY NECESSARY IMPLICATION WHENEVER THERE IS INVOLVED ANY CLAIM OR DEMAND WHATEVER BY THE UNITED STATES AGAINST ANY PERSON HAVING A CLAIM AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT.

B-126920, MAR. 9, 1956

TO MR. ROBERT E. MAHONEY, MAHONEY AND MAHONEY, ATTORNEYS AT LAW:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS DATED JANUARY 5 AND 26, 1956, WRITTEN ON BEHALF OF MRS. CATHERINE M. WHITE, 1016 - 2ND STREET, BOONE, IOWA, CONCERNING HER CLAIM AS ADMINISTRATRIX FOR ARREARS OF PAY DUE THE ESTATE OF HER LATE HUSBAND, ELWOOD C. WHITE, WHO DIED DECEMBER 23, 1954, WHILE SERVING AS CAPTAIN, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE.

BY LETTER DATED DECEMBER 29, 1955, FROM OUR CLAIMS DIVISION, MRS. WHITE WAS ADVISED THAT THE ARREARS OF PAY AMOUNTING TO $468.79 HAD BEEN APPLIED IN PARTIAL LIQUIDATION OF HER INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE SUM OF $720 REPRESENTING THE AMOUNT OF AN OVERPAYMENT TO HER OF THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY. THE OVERPAYMENT RESULTED FROM THE INCLUSION IN THE GRATUITY OF FLYING PAY TO WHICH THE LATE OFFICER WAS NOT ENTITLED AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH. IN THE LETTER OF JANUARY 5, 1956, YOU CONTEND THAT SINCE THE GRATUITY WAS PAID TO MRS. WHITE AS WIDOW OF THE DECEDENT, AND THE CLAIM FOR THE ARREARS OF PAY IS MADE BY HER AS ADMINISTRATRIX OF HIS ESTATE, THE OVERPAYMENT IS NOT PROPERLY CHARGEABLE AGAINST THE ARREARS OF PAY.

SECTION 236, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 305 OF THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT OF JUNE 10, 1921, 41 STAT. 24, 31 U.S.C. 71, PROVIDES THAT THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SHALL SETTLE AND ADJUST ALL CLAIMS, BOTH IN FAVOR OF AND AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. BY NECESSARY IMPLICATION WHENEVER THERE IS INVOLVED ANY CLAIM OR DEMAND WHATEVER BY THE UNITED STATES AGAINST ANY PERSON HAVING A CLAIM AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT, WE NOT ONLY HAVE THE AUTHORITY BUT ARE REQUIRED IN THE PROPER EXERCISE OF OUR DUTIES TO SET OFF ONE INDEBTEDNESS AGAINST THE OTHER AND TO CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT OR COLLECTION, ONLY THE BALANCE FOUND DUE ON ONE SIDE OR THE OTHER. SEE TAGGART V. UNITED STATES, 17 C.CLS. 322; UNITED STATES V. MUNSEY TRUST COMPANY, 332 U.S. 234; AND SEABOARD SURETY COMPANY V. UNITED STATES, 67 F.SUPP. 969.

WHILE MRS. WHITE'S CLAIM IS MADE IN A REPRESENTATIVE CAPACITY AS ADMINISTRATRIX OF THE LATE OFFICER'S ESTATE, SINCE SHE IS HIS WIDOW THE AMOUNT DUE ($468.79), OR AT LEAST A SUBSTANTIAL PORTION OF IT, PRESUMABLY WOULD BE FOR DISTRIBUTION TO HER. ACCORDINGLY, UNLESS MRS. WHITE REFUNDS THE DEATH GRATUITY OVERPAYMENT OF $720, THE AMOUNT OF PAY AND ALLOWANCES DUE WILL BE WITHHELD PENDING RECEIPT OF A DETERMINATION BY THE PROBATE COURT AS TO THE PORTION OF SUCH AMOUNT THAT WOULD BE FOR DISTRIBUTION TO HER.