B-133941, OCT. 29, 1957

B-133941: Oct 29, 1957

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AS YOU WERE INFORMED BY OUR SETTLEMENT. UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE DECEASED FEDERAL EMPLOYEES IS 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. YOU WILL NOTE THAT WHERE NO BENEFICIARY IS DESIGNATED. THE CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED EMPLOYEE (CLASS 3) ARE ENTITLED TO PAYMENT IN PREFERENCE TO HIS PARENTS (CLASS 4). HENCE THERE IS NO PROPER BASIS FOR PAYING TO YOU. THE CHILDREN MAY HAVE BEEN ADOPTED BY THEIR MOTHER'S SECOND HUSBAND. THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO WAIVE OR DISREGARD THE LAW.

B-133941, OCT. 29, 1957

TO MRS. GEORGIE PEARL GIFFORD:

YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 16, 1957, REQUESTS REVIEW OF OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 6, WHICH DENIED YOUR CLAIM FOR UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE YOUR SON MYLON E. GIFFORD, DECEASED, FOR SERVICES HE RENDERED AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL NO. 5207, BIG SPRING, TEXAS.

AS YOU WERE INFORMED BY OUR SETTLEMENT, UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE DECEASED FEDERAL EMPLOYEES IS DISTRIBUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT OF AUGUST 3, 1950, 64 STAT. 395, 5 U.S.C. 61F. THIS ACT PROVIDES THAT ALL UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE SUCH AN 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:

"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 DESCENDENTS 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.'

THE RECORD HERE INDICATES YOUR SON DID NOT DESIGNATE A BENEFICIARY TO RECEIVE THE COMPENSATION DUE ON HIS DEATH. YOU WILL NOTE THAT WHERE NO BENEFICIARY IS DESIGNATED, UNDER THE STATUTE, THE CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED EMPLOYEE (CLASS 3) ARE ENTITLED TO PAYMENT IN PREFERENCE TO HIS PARENTS (CLASS 4). HENCE THERE IS NO PROPER BASIS FOR PAYING TO YOU, AS MOTHER, THE SALARY DUE UNLESS IT BE SHOWN THAT THE TWO CHILDREN OF THE DECEDENT PREDECEASED HIM.

THE RECORD CONTAINS A NUMBER OF REASONS ADVANCED BY YOU IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CLAIM, SUCH AS THE FACT THAT YOUR SON DIVORCED THE MOTHER OF HIS TWO CHILDREN, THE CHILDREN DO NOT BEAR HIS NAME, THEIR MOTHER HAS REMARRIED, THE CHILDREN MAY HAVE BEEN ADOPTED BY THEIR MOTHER'S SECOND HUSBAND, AND THAT YOUR SON WANTED HIS UNPAID COMPENSATION PAID TO YOU. WHILE WE UNDERSTAND YOUR FEELINGS IN THE MATTER, THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO WAIVE OR DISREGARD THE LAW. THE DISTRIBUTION TO THE DECEDENT'S CHILDREN IS BASED UPON THEIR NATURAL RELATIONSHIP TO THE DECEDENT AND IS NOT AFFECTED BY THE QUESTIONS OF SUPPORT, DIVORCE, OR CUSTODY OF CHILDREN, NOR IS IT RELEVANT THAT THE CHILDREN MAY HAVE BEEN ADOPTED SINCE TITLE III, ARTICLE 46A, SECTION 9 OF VERNON'S ANNOTATED CIVIL STATUTES OF THE STATE OF TEXAS--- THE STATE IN WHICH THE DECEDENT WAS DOMICILED--- PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART:

"* * * (AN ADOPTED) CHILD SHALL INHERIT FROM AND THROUGH ITS NATURAL PARENT * * *"

SINCE THE PRESENT RECORD INDICATES THAT YOUR SON WAS SURVIVED BY TWO CHILDREN AND DID NOT DESIGNATE A BENEFICIARY, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO PAY YOU THE FINAL COMPENSATION EARNED BY YOUR SON. THE ACTION TAKEN IN SO ADVISING YOU, ACCORDINGLY, IS SUSTAINED.