B-127185, MAY 28, 1956

B-127185: May 28, 1956

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THIS OFFICE HAS BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED THAT GOLDIE BATCHELOR JONES NOW IS A MENTAL PATIENT CONFINED TO THE CENTRAL STATE HOSPITAL. THE CLAIM WHICH WAS FILED BY CHRISTINE JONES CONTAINS THE SIGNATURES OF TWO WITNESSES AND THE CERTIFICATION THAT SHE AND THE DECEDENT WERE MARRIED AND TO THE BEST OF HER KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF SUCH MARRIAGE WAS NOT DISSOLVED PRIOR TO HIS DEATH. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT SUCH MARRIAGE WAS PERFORMED ON JULY 23. THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE DETERMINED THAT SHE WAS THE DECEDENT'S SURVIVING SPOUSE AND IN MAY 1954. SHE WAS ALLOWED $816.30 REPRESENTING ALL UNPAID COMPENSATION FOUND TO BE DUE THE DECEDENT AS OF THE DATE OF HIS DEATH. YOU EXPRESS THE VIEW THAT CHRISTINE STEVENSON JONES IS NOT THE SURVIVING SPOUSE OF THE DECEDENT.

B-127185, MAY 28, 1956

TO MR. FRED C. STEWART:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED HERE FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, COPIES OF SEVERAL LETTERS, INCLUDING YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 10, 1955, ADDRESSED TO THE COMMANDING OFFICER, U.S. NAVAL AIR STATION, NORFOLK, VIRGINIA, CONCERNING THE CLAIM FILED BY GOLDIE BATCHELOR JONES, AS WIDOW OF HAYWOOD JONES, DECEASED, FOR UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE THE DECEDENT ON THE DATE OF HIS DEATH INCIDENT TO HIS EMPLOYMENT WITH THE U.S. NAVAL AIR STATION, DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, NORFOLK, VIRGINIA.

THIS OFFICE HAS BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED THAT GOLDIE BATCHELOR JONES NOW IS A MENTAL PATIENT CONFINED TO THE CENTRAL STATE HOSPITAL, PETERSBURG, VIRGINIA. THE FILE HERE DOES NOT SHOW WHETHER A GUARDIAN HAS BEEN APPOINTED IN HER BEHALF. HOWEVER, IF YOU DESIRE TO REPRESENT GOLDIE BATCHELOR JONES IN THIS MATTER A POWER OF ATTORNEY PROPERLY EXECUTED AND AUTHORIZING YOU TO DO SO SHOULD BE FURNISHED.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT HAYWOOD JONES DIED, INTESTATE, AT THE STATE FARM HOSPITAL, STATE FARM, VIRGINIA, ON APRIL 11, 1954. IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE DECEDENT'S DEATH, ONE CHRISTINE STEVENSON JONES SUBMITTED A CLAIM, FORM NO. 1153, DATED APRIL 14, 1954, AS THE DECEDENT'S SURVIVING SPOUSE FOR UNPAID COMPENSATION (SALARY, LUMP-SUM LEAVE, INCLUDING BONDS), DUE THE DECEDENT AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH. THE CLAIM WHICH WAS FILED BY CHRISTINE JONES CONTAINS THE SIGNATURES OF TWO WITNESSES AND THE CERTIFICATION THAT SHE AND THE DECEDENT WERE MARRIED AND TO THE BEST OF HER KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF SUCH MARRIAGE WAS NOT DISSOLVED PRIOR TO HIS DEATH.

THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT DISCLOSES THAT THE FORMER EMPLOYEE DIED WITHOUT HAVING DESIGNATED A BENEFICIARY. WHEN HE REPORTED FOR HOSPITALIZATION HE GAVE HIS HOME ADDRESS AS 617 SPRUCE STREET EXTENDED, SUFFOLK, VIRGINIA, AND NAMED CHRISTINE STEVENSON JONES TO BE HIS WIFE AT THE SAME ADDRESS. IN ADDITION THERETO, THE REPORT INDICATES THAT A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE U.S. NAVAL AIR STATION WHO VISITED THE DECEDENT'S PLACE OF RESIDENCE JUST PRIOR TO HIS DEATH OBSERVED CHRISTINE STEVENSON JONES TO BE RESIDING AT SUCH ADDRESS AND, ALSO,"SIGHTED A MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE BETWEEN CHRISTINE STEVENSON AND HAYWOOD JONES.' IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT SUCH MARRIAGE WAS PERFORMED ON JULY 23, 1950.

ON THE EVIDENCE AND INFORMATION RECEIVED IN SUPPORT OF THE CLAIM OF CHRISTINE JONES, THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE DETERMINED THAT SHE WAS THE DECEDENT'S SURVIVING SPOUSE AND IN MAY 1954, SHE WAS ALLOWED $816.30 REPRESENTING ALL UNPAID COMPENSATION FOUND TO BE DUE THE DECEDENT AS OF THE DATE OF HIS DEATH.

IN YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 10, 1955, YOU EXPRESS THE VIEW THAT CHRISTINE STEVENSON JONES IS NOT THE SURVIVING SPOUSE OF THE DECEDENT. YOU STATE THAT GOLDIE BATCHELOR JONES WAS CONFINED TO THE CENTRAL STATE HOSPITAL, PETERSBURG, VIRGINIA, ON THE DATE OF THE DECEDENT'S DEATH; THAT SHE AND THE DECEDENT WERE MARRIED AT FRANKLIN, VIRGINIA, ON DECEMBER 27, 1932, AND THAT THERE HAS BEEN NO DISSOLUTION OF SUCH MARRIAGE BY A DIVORCE DECREE. YOU ALSO STATE THAT THE RIGHT OF GOLDIE BATCHELOR JONES TO THE DECEDENT'S ANNUITY BENEFITS UNDER THE CIVIL SERVICE RETIREMENT ACT, AS AMENDED (64 STAT. 214), ALREADY HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED AND THAT AN APPLICATION THEREFOR IS TO BE FILED BY HER SHORTLY BEFORE HER FIFTIETH BIRTHDAY. PARAGRAPH 4 OF YOUR LETTER READS:

"CAN YOU INFORM ME IF LEAD TIME FUNDS ARE PAYABLE TO A LEGAL HEIR OR AS INSURANCE WOULD BE, TO A BENEFICIARY? I FEEL THAT THIS MONEY IS RIGHTFULLY DUE GOLDIE BATCHELOR JONES AND WOULD APPRECIATE ANY SUGGESTIONS YOU CAN MAKE AS TO STEPS SHE WOULD HAVE TO TAKE TO RECOVER SAME.'

THE ACT OF AUGUST 3, 1950, 64 STAT. 395, UNDER WHICH FINAL COMPENSATION IS PAID 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 * * * 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 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; "

IT IS ESPECIALLY NOTED THAT THE INVOLVED PAYMENT WAS EFFECTED APPROXIMATELY 18 MONTHS BEFORE THE EMPLOYING AGENCY RECEIVED EITHER THE CLAIM FROM GOLDIE BATCHELOR JONES DATED NOVEMBER 19, 1955, OR YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 10, 1955, EXPRESSING AN INTEREST THEREIN. WHERE TWO CEREMONIAL MARRIAGES ARE SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN PERFORMED, THE MAJORITY OF THE COURTS FOLLOW THE PRESUMPTION FAVORING THE VALIDITY OF THE SECOND MARRIAGE. THUS, IT APPEARS THAT IN AUTHORIZING THE ALLOWANCE THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE ENDEAVORED TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED STATUTE AND EVIDENTLY THE INFORMATION SUPPLIED BY THE DECEDENT WAS A CONTRIBUTING FACTOR TO SUCH AUTHORIZATION.

SINCE THE EVIDENCE NOW OF RECORD IS CONFLICTING AND NOT SUFFICIENT TO WARRANT A DETERMINATION THAT CHRISTINE STEVENSON JONES WAS NOT THE SURVIVING SPOUSE AND THAT THE INVOLVED PAYMENT WAS IN ERROR, IT HAS BEEN CONCLUDED THAT NO BASIS EXISTS FOR A DUPLICATE PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT DUE HAYWOOD JONES TO MRS. GOLDIE BATCHELOR JONES IN THE ABSENCE OF A CERTIFIED COPY OF A DECREE OF A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION SHOWING A FINAL DETERMINATION OF SUCH COURT THAT SHE IS THE LAWFUL WIDOW OF HAYWOOD JONES, DECEASED.

THE MATTER WILL NOT BE FURTHER CONSIDERED HERE IN THE ABSENCE OF RECEIPT OF THE REQUESTED EVIDENCE EITHER FROM THE CLAIMANT, OR FROM YOU ACCOMPANIED BY A PROPERLY EXECUTED POWER OF ATTORNEY. IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOU LET US KNOW AS SOON AS POSSIBLE WHETHER YOU EXPECT TO FILE SUCH ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE. FURTHER, IF A FAVORABLE ADJUDICATION BE OBTAINED AND THE CLAIMANT IS MENTALLY INCOMPETENT, IT MAY BE THAT A LEGAL GUARDIAN WOULD BE REQUIRED TO BE APPOINTED TO ACCEPT PAYMENT ON BEHALF OF YOUR CLIENT.