B-127143, MAY 17, 1956

B-127143: May 17, 1956

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SR.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR RECENT LETTER REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED NOVEMBER 15. THE SUM NOW CLAIMED WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE THE DECEDENT FAILED TO DESIGNATE A BENEFICIARY (OR BENEFICIARIES). THE UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE A DECEDENT WHO LEFT NO ISSUE OR A SURVIVING SPOUSE IS PAYABLE TO THE DECEDENT'S PARENTS. 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. IN YOUR RECENT LETTER YOU MAKE REFERENCE TO THE FACT THAT YOUR LAST CORRESPONDENCE WITH THIS OFFICE WAS WELL OVER A YEAR AGO. INASMUCH AS NO CLAIM THEREFOR WAS FILED BY THE DECEDENT'S MOTHER WITHIN ONE YEAR AFTER THE DEATH OF THE INSURED.

B-127143, MAY 17, 1956

TO MR. ROBERT F. SANFORD, SR.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR RECENT LETTER REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED NOVEMBER 15, 1954, WHICH ALLOWED YOU, AS FATHER OF ROBERT F. SANFORD, JR., DECEASED, ONE-HALF OF THE AMOUNT DUE THE DECEDENT AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH FOR SALARY AND FOR LUMP-SUM PAYMENT FOR UNUSED ANNUAL LEAVE IN CONNECTION WITH HIS EMPLOYMENT WITH THE NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD, DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, PORTSMOUTH, VIRGINIA.

THE SUM NOW CLAIMED WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE THE DECEDENT FAILED TO DESIGNATE A BENEFICIARY (OR BENEFICIARIES), UNDER SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 3, 1950, 64 STAT. 395, AND IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH DESIGNATION, THE UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE A DECEDENT WHO LEFT NO ISSUE OR A SURVIVING SPOUSE IS PAYABLE TO THE DECEDENT'S PARENTS, OR THE SURVIVOR OF THEM. THE CITED ACT READS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"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;

"FOURTH, IF NONE OF THE ABOVE, TO THE PARENTS OF SUCH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, OR THE SURVIVOR OF THEM;

"FIFTH, IF THERE BE NONE OF THE ABOVE, TO THE DULY APPOINTED LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, OR IF THERE BE NONE, TO THE PERSON OR PERSONS DETERMINED TO BE ENTITLED THERETO UNDER THE LAWS OF THE DOMICILE OF THE DECEASED OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE.'

IN YOUR RECENT LETTER YOU MAKE REFERENCE TO THE FACT THAT YOUR LAST CORRESPONDENCE WITH THIS OFFICE WAS WELL OVER A YEAR AGO, AND YOU STATE THAT AS FATHER OF THE DECEDENT, YOU RECENTLY RECEIVED PAYMENT OF THE BALANCE DUE THE DECEDENT'S ESTATE FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES' GROUP LIFE INSURANCE, INASMUCH AS NO CLAIM THEREFOR WAS FILED BY THE DECEDENT'S MOTHER WITHIN ONE YEAR AFTER THE DEATH OF THE INSURED. AS A RESULT THEREOF, COUPLED WITH THE FACT THAT THE MOTHER IS SHOWN TO HAVE DESERTED HIM WHEN HE WAS EIGHT YEARS OF AGE, YOU IMPLY THAT YOU SHOULD BE ALLOWED THE UNPAID COMPENSATION ($462.70) WITHHELD FOR THE MOTHER WHOSE PRESENT WHEREABOUTS ARE UNKNOWN.

AS INDICATED IN THE SETTLEMENT, THE PROVISIONS OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED STATUTE ARE MANDATORY AND BINDING UPON THIS OFFICE, AND IN THE ABSENCE OF A DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY, ALL UNPAID COMPENSATION IS REQUIRED TO BE DISTRIBUTED IN THE ORDER OF PRECEDENCE SET FORTH IN THE STATUTE. THE FACT THAT YOU MAY HAVE RECEIVED CERTAIN GROUP LIFE INSURANCE BENEFIT PAYMENTS UNDER THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES' GROUP LIFE INSURANCE ACT OF 1954, 68 STAT. 736, FORMS NO BASIS FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF UNPAID COMPENSATION, THE DISTRIBUTION OF WHICH IS GOVERNED BY AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT STATUTE. THE REGULATIONS (CHAPTER I-3-22 FEDERAL PERSONNEL MANUAL, CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION) GOVERNING THE DISTRIBUTION OF GROUP LIFE INSURANCE SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE "IF ANY PERSON ENTITLED TO PAYMENT DOES NOT FILE A CLAIM WITHIN 1 YEAR AFTER THE DEATH OF THE INSURED EMPLOYEE OR RETIRED EMPLOYEE, SETTLEMENT MAY BE MADE AS IF THE PERSON ENTITLED HAD PREDECEASED THE INSURED AND SUCH A SETTLEMENT WILL BE A BAR TO RECOVERY BY ANY OTHER PERSON.' SEE, ALSO, SECTION 4 OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES' GROUP LIFE INSURANCE ACT OF 1954, 68 STAT. 738.

ON THE BASIS OF THE PRESENT RECORD INDICATING THAT THE DECEDENT'S MOTHER DID NOT PREDECEASE HIM, IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT THE ACTION TAKEN IN DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM WAS PROPER, AND THE SETTLEMENT OF NOVEMBER 15, 1954, MUST BE SUSTAINED. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE TIME THAT HAS ELAPSED SINCE THE MOTHER REPORTEDLY DESERTED THE DECEDENT, YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE PROCEDURE OUTLINED IN TITLE 64, SECTIONS 64-101, 64-105, 64 -106, 64-107 AND 64-108 OF THE CODE OF VIRGINIA, 1950.