B-131419, MAY 13, 1957

B-131419: May 13, 1957

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ROUSE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 19. FAMILY ALLOWANCE WAS AUTHORIZED IN THEIR FAVOR EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 1. THE ALLOWANCE WAS DISCONTINUED EFFECTIVE MAY 31. WAS DETERMINED. YOU WERE JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY LIABLE WITH YOUR WIFE ONLY FOR THE OVERPAYMENTS MADE FROM NOVEMBER 1. DURING THE PERIOD NOVEMBER 1943 THROUGH APRIL 1944 DEDUCTIONS WERE MADE FROM YOUR PAY AT THE RATE OF $22 PER MONTH AS YOUR STATUTORY CONTRIBUTION TO THE ALLOWANCE. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT SUCH DEDUCTIONS IN THE AMOUNT OF $132 WERE REFUNDED TO YOU ON D.O. IT APPEARS FROM THE RECORD THAT YOU ARE PRESENTLY EMPLOYED AS A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE AT MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE. THAT PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS ARE BEING MADE TO LIQUIDATE YOUR INDEBTEDNESS.

B-131419, MAY 13, 1957

TO MR. EDWIN E. ROUSE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 19, 1957, WITH ENCLOSURE, CONCERNING YOUR INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES ON ACCOUNT OF ERRONEOUS FAMILY ALLOWANCE PAYMENTS MADE TO YOUR FORMER WIFE AND STEPCHILD AFTER ENTITLEMENT CEASED. THERE HAS ALSO BEEN RECEIVED HERE CORRESPONDENCE FROM HONORABLE HENRY N. JACKSON AND HONORABLE WARREN G. MAGNUSON, UNITED STATES SENATE, AND HONORABLE THOR C. TOLLEFSON, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WRITTEN IN YOUR BEHALF CONCERNING THE MATTER.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT ON JANUARY 8, 1943, YOU MADE APPLICATION FOR PAYMENT OF FAMILY ALLOWANCE TO YOUR WIFE, JUANITA MARY ROUSE, AND YOUR STEPCHILD, FARREL EUGENE FORBES. FAMILY ALLOWANCE WAS AUTHORIZED IN THEIR FAVOR EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 1, 1943, AT THE RATE OF $62 PER MONTH AND PAID FOR THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 1, 1943, THROUGH OCTOBER 31, 1943, AND AT THE RATE OF $80 PER MONTH FROM NOVEMBER 1, 1943, THROUGH MAY 31, 1944. THE ALLOWANCE WAS DISCONTINUED EFFECTIVE MAY 31, 1944, WHEN THE DISBURSING OFFICER PAYING THE ALLOWANCE ACTUALLY RECEIVED NOTICE (MAY 13, 1944) ON AGO FORM NO. 641 EXECUTED BY YOU ON APRIL 28, 1944, THAT AN INTERLOCUTORY DECREE OF DIVORCE ENTERED ON OCTOBER 11, 1943, BECAME FINAL ON APRIL 11 (17), 1944. UPON RECEIPT OF THE INFORMATION REGARDING YOUR DIVORCE, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY DETERMINED THAT THE RIGHT TO PAYMENT OF THE ALLOWANCE TERMINATED ON OCTOBER 31, 1943, THUS RESULTING IN AN OVERPAYMENT OF THE ALLOWANCE IN THE AMOUNT OF $560 (7 MONTHS AT $80 PER MONTH). WAS DETERMINED, HOWEVER, THAT SINCE UPON RECEIPT OF THE FINAL DECREE OF DIVORCE YOU ACTED PROMPTLY IN NOTIFYING THE DISBURSING OFFICER PAYING THE FAMILY ALLOWANCE, YOU WERE JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY LIABLE WITH YOUR WIFE ONLY FOR THE OVERPAYMENTS MADE FROM NOVEMBER 1, 1943, TO APRIL 30, 1944, IN THE AMOUNT OF $480. DURING THE PERIOD NOVEMBER 1943 THROUGH APRIL 1944 DEDUCTIONS WERE MADE FROM YOUR PAY AT THE RATE OF $22 PER MONTH AS YOUR STATUTORY CONTRIBUTION TO THE ALLOWANCE, OR A TOTAL OF $132. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT SUCH DEDUCTIONS IN THE AMOUNT OF $132 WERE REFUNDED TO YOU ON D.O. VOUCHER NO. 4434, NOVEMBER 1944 ACCOUNTS OF J. A. BYERS.

IT APPEARS FROM THE RECORD THAT YOU ARE PRESENTLY EMPLOYED AS A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE AT MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, TACOMA, WASHINGTON, AND THAT PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS ARE BEING MADE TO LIQUIDATE YOUR INDEBTEDNESS.

IN YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 19, 1957, AND ENCLOSURE, YOU RELATE THAT AS SOON AS YOU RECEIVED A COPY OF THE INTERLOCUTORY DIVORCE DECREE YOU PRESENTED IT TO THE FINANCE OFFICER AT LADD FIELD, FAIRBANKS, ALASKA, WHERE YOU WERE STATIONED AT THAT TIME. YOU SAY THAT YOU WERE ADVISED BY THE FINANCE OFFICER THAT IN VIEW OF THE STATUS OF AN INTERLOCUTORY DECREE IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, SUCH DECREE WAS NOT SUFFICIENT TO DISCONTINUE THE ALLOTMENT UNTIL THE FINAL DIVORCE DECREE WAS ENTERED.

SECTION 102 OF THE SERVICEMEN'S DEPENDENTS ALLOWANCE ACT OF 1942, 56 STAT. 381, AS AMENDED, 37 U.S.C. 202, PROVIDED THAT THE FAMILY ALLOWANCE SHALL BE COMPOSED OF TWO PARTS, (1) THE GOVERNMENT'S CONTRIBUTION AND (2) THE REDUCTION IN, OR CHARGE TO, THE PAY OF THE ENLISTED MAN. WHILE SECTION 107/B) OF THE ACT, AS AMENDED, PROVIDED THAT ENTITLEMENT TO FAMILY ALLOWANCE SHALL TERMINATE OR BE MODIFIED AT THE END OF THE MONTH IN WHICH A CHANGE IN STATUS OF THE ENLISTED MAN OR HIS DEPENDENT OCCURS, SUCH SECTION ALSO SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED THAT PAYMENT OF SUCH ALLOWANCE SHALL BE TERMINATED ON THE LAST DAY OF THE MONTH IN WHICH THE DISBURSING OFFICER PAYING THE ALLOWANCE RECEIVES NOTICE OF A CHANGE IN STATUS OF THE ENLISTED MAN OR HIS DEPENDENT WHICH TERMINATED THE RIGHT OF THE DEPENDENT TO RECEIVE SUCH ALLOWANCE, AND SECTION 106/A) OF THE ACT PROVIDED THAT THE MONTHLY PAY OF THE ENLISTED MAN SHALL BE REDUCED BY, OR CHARGED WITH, THE AMOUNT OF $22 FOR ANY MONTH FOR WHICH A FAMILY ALLOWANCE IS PAID TO HIS DEPENDENT.

SECTION 106 (C) (1) OF THE ACT AUTHORIZES PAYMENT OF A FAMILY ALLOWANCE TO A WIFE LIVING SEPARATE AND APART FROM THE ENLISTED MAN UNDER A COURT ORDER OR WRITTEN AGREEMENT, WHERE EITHER THE COURT ORDER OR WRITTEN AGREEMENT MADE PROVISION FOR PAYMENT OF ALIMONY OR SUPPORT, AND IF THE COURT ORDER, DECREE, OR WRITTEN AGREEMENT PROVIDED NO AMOUNT TO BE PAID TO THE WIFE, NO FAMILY ALLOWANCE WAS PAYABLE TO HER. SINCE THE INTERLOCUTORY DECREE OF OCTOBER 11, 1943, MADE NO PROVISION FOR THE PAYMENT OF ALIMONY OR SUPPORT, JUANITA ROUSE'S ENTITLEMENT TO FAMILY ALLOWANCE UNDER THE STATUTE CEASED ON THE LAST DAY OF OCTOBER 1943.

IT WAS CONTEMPLATED BY THE CONGRESS THAT THE FAMILY ALLOWANCE WOULD BE PAID TO THE DEPENDENT OF AN ENLISTED MAN FROM THE TIME WHEN ENTITLEMENT CEASED UNTIL THE LAST DAY OF THE MONTH IN WHICH THE DISBURSING OFFICER PAYING THE ALLOWANCE RECEIVED NOTICE OF A CHANGE IN THE STATUS OF THE ENLISTED MAN OR HIS DEPENDENT, AND UNDER THE STATUTE, AS INDICATED ABOVE, YOU ARE CHARGEABLE WITH THE ENLISTED MAN'S CONTRIBUTION OF $22 MONTHLY TO THE DATE OF RECEIPT OF NOTICE BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER PAYING THE ALLOWANCE.

WHILE THE RECORD CLEARLY SHOWS THAT THE DISBURSING OFFICER PAYING THE ALLOWANCE DID NOT RECEIVE YOUR WRITTEN NOTICE OF APRIL 28, 1944, REQUESTING DISCONTINUANCE UNTIL MAY 13, 1944, IT DOES APPEAR THAT YOU ATTEMPTED TO HAVE THE ALLOWANCE DISCONTINUED AS SOON AS YOU HAD NOTICE OF THE INTERLOCUTORY DECREE AND THAT THE PAYMENTS WERE CONTINUED THROUGH NO FAULT OF YOURS. THUS, IT APPEARS THAT YOU ARE LEGALLY LIABLE ONLY FOR THE AMOUNT OF $22 PER MONTH FOR THE MONTHS OF NOVEMBER 1943 THROUGH APRIL 1944, AS REQUIRED BY THE EXPRESS PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE, OR $132, RATHER THAN $480 AS PREVIOUSLY DETERMINED. SEE 33 COMP. GEN. 309. WHILE THE $22 PER MONTH WAS ORIGINALLY DEDUCTED FROM YOUR PAY FOR THE PERIOD IN QUESTION, IT WAS REFUNDED TO YOU (AS INDICATED ABOVE) AND REMAINS AN AMOUNT DUE THE GOVERNMENT.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE IS BEING ADVISED BY LETTER OF TODAY TO ADJUST YOUR INDEBTEDNESS TO REFLECT THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF $132, LESS ANY REFUNDS PREVIOUSLY MADE BY YOU.