B-126961, MAR. 1, 1956

B-126961: Mar 1, 1956

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MACEO SIMPSON: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JANUARY 25. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE THE DECEDENT LEFT A DAUGHTER. WHO IS ENTITLED. IT IS ALLEGED THAT A BROTHER OF THE DECEDENT HAS ADVANCED THE UNDERTAKER'S CHARGES AND OTHER AMOUNTS FAR IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT DUE THE DECEDENT'S ESTATE. ALSO HAVE PAID MONEY OUT OF YOUR OWN FUNDS FOR VARIOUS EXPENSES. UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE IN THE CASE OF A DECEASED CIVILIAN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS REQUIRED TO BE DISTRIBUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT OF AUGUST 3. 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.

B-126961, MAR. 1, 1956

TO MR. MACEO SIMPSON:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JANUARY 25, 1956, WRITTEN ON YOUR BEHALF BY H. G. FLORIN, ATTORNEY, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED JANUARY 16, 1956, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM, AS ADMINISTRATOR, FOR COMPENSATION DUE IN THE CASE OF IDA S. WHITE, DECEASED, AS A FORMER EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE.

YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE THE DECEDENT LEFT A DAUGHTER, DENESE WHITE, WHO IS ENTITLED, UNDER THE ACT OF AUGUST 3, 1950, 64 STAT. 395, TO ANY FUNDS UNPAID TO THE DECEDENT. IN SUPPORT OF THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW, IT IS ALLEGED THAT A BROTHER OF THE DECEDENT HAS ADVANCED THE UNDERTAKER'S CHARGES AND OTHER AMOUNTS FAR IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT DUE THE DECEDENT'S ESTATE, AND THAT YOU, AS ADMINISTRATOR, ALSO HAVE PAID MONEY OUT OF YOUR OWN FUNDS FOR VARIOUS EXPENSES.

WE FULLY UNDERSTAND YOUR POSITION IN THIS MATTER; HOWEVER, AS POINTED OUT IN OUR SETTLEMENT OF JANUARY 16, 1956, UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE IN THE CASE OF A DECEASED CIVILIAN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS REQUIRED TO BE DISTRIBUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT OF AUGUST 3, 1950, 64 STAT. 395, WHICH 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 TO RECOVERY BY ANY OTHER PERSON OR 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; * * *"

UNDER THE PLAIN WORDING OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED STATUTE, WHERE AN EMPLOYEE DIES WITHOUT DESIGNATING A BENEFICIARY, SUCH AS HERE, A CHILD OF THE DECEDENT TAKES PREFERENCE OVER THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE DECEDENT'S ESTATE, WHOSE CLAIM UNDER THE STATUTE IS IN THE FIFTH ORDER OR PRECEDENCE, AND THE FACT THAT THE DECEDENT'S FUNERAL, OR OTHER EXPENSES, MAY HAVE BEEN PAID BY ANOTHER ON BEHALF OF THE ESTATE IS NOT CONTROLLING. IT WILL BE APPARENT FROM THE FOLLOWING THAT WE HAVE NO DISCRETION OTHER THAN TO ALLOW THE AMOUNT DUE TO ONE VALIDLY CLAIMING ON BEHALF OF THE DECEDENT'S MINOR CHILD, DENESE WHITE.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT ACTION DATED JANUARY 16, 1956, MUST BE SUSTAINED.