B-132188, AUG. 9, 1957

B-132188: Aug 9, 1957

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MARTHA ELLEN BEAUPEURT: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED MAY 28. YOUR CLAIM FOR THE GRATUITY WAS FIRST RECEIVED IN OUR OFFICE ON FEBRUARY 21. SINCE A CLAIM WAS NOT FILED WITH THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WITHIN 10 FULL YEARS FROM THAT DATE. THE CONSIDERATION OF SUCH CLAIM BY US IS BARRED BY THE EXPRESS TERMS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9. SINCE IT WAS SENT TO ANOTHER AGENCY RATHER THAN TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AS REQUIRED BY THE ACT. SINCE THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY HAS REPORTED THAT THE MARITAL STATUS OF YOUR SON AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH WAS NOT ESTABLISHED. PAYMENT COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MADE TO YOU IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE ESTABLISHING THAT YOUR SON WAS NOT SURVIVED BY A WIDOW.

B-132188, AUG. 9, 1957

TO MRS. MARTHA ELLEN BEAUPEURT:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED MAY 28, 1957, CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY BELIEVED TO BE DUE IN THE CASE OF YOUR LATE SON, LEWIS W. WEBER, AS OF JUNE 9, 1945, THE DATE OF THE RECEIPT OF EVIDENCE OF HIS DEATH WHILE SERVING AS AN ENLISTED MAN, ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES.

YOUR CLAIM FOR THE GRATUITY WAS FIRST RECEIVED IN OUR OFFICE ON FEBRUARY 21, 1957, FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY WITH THE ADVICE THAT THE CLAIM HAD NOT BEEN SETTLED BY THAT DEPARTMENT SINCE THE MARITAL STATUS OF THE DECEDENT HAD NOT BEEN ESTABLISHED. ON MARCH 13, 1957, OUR CLAIMS DIVISION RETURNED THE CLAIM TO YOU WITH A COPY OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, 54 STAT. 1061, WHICH ACT PROVIDES THAT EVERY CLAIM OR DEMAND AGAINST THE UNITED STATES SHOULD BE FOREVER BARRED UNLESS SUCH CLAIM SHALL BE RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WITHIN 10 FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE SUCH CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED; THAT WHENEVER ANY SUCH CLAIM SHALL BE RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IT SHALL BE RETURNED TO THE CLAIMANT, WITH A COPY OF THE ACT, AND THAT THE ACTION IN RETURNING THE CLAIM SHALL BE A COMPLETE RESPONSE WITHOUT FURTHER COMMUNICATION. LATER, AFTER THE RECEIPT OF YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 29, 1957, IN WHICH YOU ASSERTED THAT YOU FILED CLAIM FOR THE GRATUITY WITHIN ONE YEAR AFTER THE DEATH OF YOUR SON, THE CLAIMS DIVISION ADVISED YOU BY LETTER DATED MAY 21, 1957, THAT A CAREFUL SEARCH OF THE RECORDS OF OUR OFFICE DID NOT DISCLOSE THAT ANY SUCH CLAIM HAD BEEN RECEIVED BY US. IN THE LETTER OF MAY 28, 1957, YOU REPEAT YOUR ASSERTION THAT YOU HAD FILED A TIMELY CLAIM FOR THE GRATUITY AND YOU BELIEVE THAT YOUR CLAIM SHOULD BE ALLOWED.

ANY RIGHT YOU HAD TO RECEIVE THE GRATUITY ACCRUED ON JUNE 9, 1945, THE DATE OF THE RECEIPT OF EVIDENCE OF THE DEATH OF YOUR SON, AND SINCE A CLAIM WAS NOT FILED WITH THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WITHIN 10 FULL YEARS FROM THAT DATE, THE CONSIDERATION OF SUCH CLAIM BY US IS BARRED BY THE EXPRESS TERMS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940. WHILE IT MAY BE THAT YOU FILED CLAIM FOR THE GRATUITY WITH ANOTHER GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY, SUCH FILING MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS A SUFFICIENT COMPLIANCE WITH THE TERMS OF THE ACT, SINCE IT WAS SENT TO ANOTHER AGENCY RATHER THAN TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AS REQUIRED BY THE ACT.

FURTHERMORE, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, THE LAW AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF THE GRATUITY GIVES PREFERENCE TO A WIDOW OVER ALL OTHER HEIRS. THEREFORE, EVEN IF YOU HAD PRESENTED A CLAIM TO US WITHIN THE 10-YEAR PERIOD, SINCE THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY HAS REPORTED THAT THE MARITAL STATUS OF YOUR SON AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH WAS NOT ESTABLISHED, PAYMENT COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MADE TO YOU IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE ESTABLISHING THAT YOUR SON WAS NOT SURVIVED BY A WIDOW.