B-134998, MAY 27, 1958

B-134998: May 27, 1958

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AMOUNTS WERE DEDUCTED FROM HIS HOTEL WAGES AND PAID INTO THE SOCIAL SECURITY FUND. IN DEATH CASES THE SURVIVORS OF A WAGE EARNER ARE ENTITLED UNDER ONLY ONE SYSTEM EVEN THOUGH THE WAGE EARNER MIGHT HAVE BEEN ENTITLED DURING HIS LIFETIME UNDER BOTH SYSTEMS. THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION REPORTS THAT IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT SURVIVORS' BENEFITS ARE PAYABLE ONLY UNDER ONE SYSTEM. WHEN A PAYMENT IS DUE UNDER THE RAILROAD RETIREMENT ACT. CREDIT IS GIVEN FOR TAXABLE SOCIAL SECURITY EARNINGS AS WELL AS RAILROAD RETIREMENT COMPENSATION AND THAT THE LUMP-SUM DEATH BENEFIT PAID UNDER THE RAILROAD RETIREMENT ACT WAS BASED ON A COMBINATION OF ROBERT L. WHICH WERE PAID TO HIM DURING THE PERIOD OF DECEMBER 1949 THROUGH NOVEMBER 1954.

B-134998, MAY 27, 1958

TO MR. DAYTON R. PARMELEE:

YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 15, 1957, REQUESTS AN EXPLANATION OF THE "ACCOUNTING FACTS" SUPPORTING OUR REQUEST FOR A REFUND OF THE LUMP-SUM DEATH PAYMENT OF $126.60 MADE TO YOU BY THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION AS A RESULT OF THE DEATH OF YOUR FATHER, ROBERT L. PARMELEE, ON DECEMBER 12, 1954.

YOU SAY THAT YOU RECEIVED LUMP-SUM DEATH BENEFITS FROM BOTH THE RAILROAD RETIREMENT BOARD AND THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, BUT YOU SEE NO INCONSISTENCY IN THIS BECAUSE YOUR FATHER PAID MONEY INTO BOTH FUNDS--- HE HAVING OBTAINED EMPLOYMENT IN A HOTEL AFTER RETIRING ON HIS RAILROAD PENSION. AMOUNTS WERE DEDUCTED FROM HIS HOTEL WAGES AND PAID INTO THE SOCIAL SECURITY FUND.

SECTION 202 (1) OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 28, 1950, 64 STAT. 488, PROVIDES:

"IF ANY PERSON WOULD BE ENTITLED, UPON FILING APPLICATION THEREFOR TO AN ANNUITY UNDER SECTION 5 OF THE RAILROAD RETIREMENT ACT OF 1937, OR TO A LUMP-SUM PAYMENT UNDER SUBSECTION (F) (1) OF SUCH SECTION, WITH RESPECT TO THE DEATH OF AN EMPLOYEE (AS DEFINED IN SUCH ACT) NO LUMP SUM DEATH PAYMENT, AND NO MONTHLY BENEFIT FOR THE MONTH IN WHICH SUCH EMPLOYEE DIED OR FOR ANY MONTH THEREAFTER, SHALL BE PAID UNDER THIS SECTION TO ANY PERSON ON THE BASIS OF THE WAGES AND SELF-EMPLOYMENT INCOME OF SUCH EMPLOYEE.'

SIMILARLY, SECTION 5 (G) (1) OF THE RAILROAD RETIREMENT ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 31, 1946, 60 STAT. 730, STATES IN PART:

"AN INDIVIDUAL, ENTITLED ON APPLYING THEREFOR TO ANY ANNUITY OR LUMP SUM UNDER THIS SECTION WITH RESPECT TO THE DEATH OF AN EMPLOYEE, SHALL NOT BE ENTITLED TO A LUMP-SUM DEATH PAYMENT . . . UNDER THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT ON THE BASIS OF THE WAGES OF THE SAME EMPLOYEE.'

THEREFORE, UNDER BOTH THE RAILROAD RETIREMENT ACT, AS AMENDED, AND THE SOCIAL SECURITY ACT, AS AMENDED, IN DEATH CASES THE SURVIVORS OF A WAGE EARNER ARE ENTITLED UNDER ONLY ONE SYSTEM EVEN THOUGH THE WAGE EARNER MIGHT HAVE BEEN ENTITLED DURING HIS LIFETIME UNDER BOTH SYSTEMS. HOWEVER, THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION REPORTS THAT IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT SURVIVORS' BENEFITS ARE PAYABLE ONLY UNDER ONE SYSTEM, WHEN A PAYMENT IS DUE UNDER THE RAILROAD RETIREMENT ACT, CREDIT IS GIVEN FOR TAXABLE SOCIAL SECURITY EARNINGS AS WELL AS RAILROAD RETIREMENT COMPENSATION AND THAT THE LUMP-SUM DEATH BENEFIT PAID UNDER THE RAILROAD RETIREMENT ACT WAS BASED ON A COMBINATION OF ROBERT L. PARMELEE'S RAILROAD EARNINGS AND HIS SOCIAL SECURITY CREDITS. MOREOVER, THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION REPORTS THAT ROBERT L. PARMELEE'S SOCIAL SECURITY DEDUCTIONS AMOUNTED TO $115.54 BASED ON TOTAL EARNINGS OF $8,998.95, AND THAT THESE DEDUCTIONS FORMED THE BASIS FOR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFIT PAYMENTS OF $1,938.90, WHICH WERE PAID TO HIM DURING THE PERIOD OF DECEMBER 1949 THROUGH NOVEMBER 1954. WE TRUST THAT THE FOREGOING SATISFACTORILY EXPLAINS THE EQUITIES OF THE SITUATION AS WELL AS THE SPECIFIC LEGAL BASIS UPON WHICH THE CONCLUSION WAS REACHED THAT THE LUMP-SUM SOCIAL SECURITY DEATH PAYMENT WAS ERRONEOUS AND CONTRARY TO LAW.

THEREFORE, UNDER THE LAW REFUND OF THE OVERPAYMENT IS REQUIRED AND SHOULD BE MADE BY CHECK OR MONEY ORDER PAYABLE TO THE U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, POST OFFICE BOX 2610, WASHINGTON 13, ..END :