B-135373, MAR. 21, 1958

B-135373: Mar 21, 1958

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REQUESTS A DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON A VOUCHER STATED IN FAVOR OF MAJOR LLOYD S. THE VOUCHER SHOWS THAT THE CHILD WAS BORN MAY 24. WHOSE GROSS INCOME FROM SOURCES OTHER THAN THE OFFICER IS $90 A MONTH AND WHOSE LIVING EXPENSES AVERAGE $116 A MONTH. SUCH LIVING EXPENSES ARE ITEMIZED AS FOLLOWS: FOOD $45. STEPCHILDREN AND ADOPTED CHILDREN WHEN SUCH STEPCHILDREN OR ADOPTED CHILDREN ARE IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON SUCH MEMBER. INSOFAR AS STEPCHILDREN AND ADOPTED CHILDREN ARE CONCERNED. ARE SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME AS THE PROVISIONS OF PRIOR SIMILAR STATUTES RELATING TO THE ENTITLEMENT OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES TO TRANSPORTATION AND OTHER ALLOWANCES ON ACCOUNT OF SUCH DEPENDENTS.

B-135373, MAR. 21, 1958

TO T. A. JAMES, DISBURSING OFFICER, THROUGH THE COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS:

YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 17, 1958, REQUESTS A DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON A VOUCHER STATED IN FAVOR OF MAJOR LLOYD S. PENN, 019140, USMC, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF AN ALLEGED DEPENDENT STEPSON (JOHN T. T. O-NEILL), FROM PENSACOLA, FLORIDA, TO VIENNA, VIRGINIA, BETWEEN JANUARY 4 AND 15, 1958, PURSUANT TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS, DATED AUGUST 19, 1957.

THE VOUCHER SHOWS THAT THE CHILD WAS BORN MAY 24, 1944. IN A STATEMENT DATED JANUARY 27, 1958, THE OFFICER CERTIFIES THAT HE CONTRIBUTES FROM $25 TO $30 A MONTH FOR THE SUPPORT OF HIS STEPSON, WHOSE GROSS INCOME FROM SOURCES OTHER THAN THE OFFICER IS $90 A MONTH AND WHOSE LIVING EXPENSES AVERAGE $116 A MONTH. SUCH LIVING EXPENSES ARE ITEMIZED AS FOLLOWS: FOOD $45, LODGING $40, CLOTHES $12, ENTERTAINMENT $8, EDUCATION $6, AND MISCELLANEOUS $5.

IN ORDER FOR A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES TO BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR AN ADOPTED CHILD OR STEPCHILD, THE ADOPTED CHILD OR STEPCHILD MUST BE IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON THE MEMBER. DECISION OF APRIL 3, 1956, B-126916, 35 COMP. GEN. 536. IN THAT DECISION, IN CONSIDERING SECTION 303 OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 814, AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT TO SERVICE MEMBERS FOR TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR DEPENDENTS WHEN ORDERED TO MAKE PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION, AND SECTION 102 (G) OF THE ACT, 63 STAT. 804, DEFINING THE TERM "DEPENDENT" AS INCLUDING ,STEPCHILDREN AND ADOPTED CHILDREN WHEN SUCH STEPCHILDREN OR ADOPTED CHILDREN ARE IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON SUCH MEMBER," WE SAID:

"SUCH PROVISIONS, INSOFAR AS STEPCHILDREN AND ADOPTED CHILDREN ARE CONCERNED, ARE SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME AS THE PROVISIONS OF PRIOR SIMILAR STATUTES RELATING TO THE ENTITLEMENT OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES TO TRANSPORTATION AND OTHER ALLOWANCES ON ACCOUNT OF SUCH DEPENDENTS. THE WORDS "IN FACT DEPENDENT" WERE USED TO EXPRESS THE INTENT THAT A STEPCHILD OR ADOPTED CHILD MAY BE CONSIDERED A DEPENDENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE STATUTES ONLY WHEN IT IS ESTABLISHED THAT THE STEPCHILD OR THE ADOPTED CHILD ACTUALLY IS DEPENDENT ON THE MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES FOR ITS SUPPORT, MAINTENANCE, AND EDUCATION. WHERE SUFFICIENT FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE FROM SOURCES OTHER THAN THE MEMBER, EITHER DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, FOR THE SUPPORT, MAINTENANCE, AND EDUCATION OF A STEPCHILD OR AN ADOPTED CHILD, THE CHILD IS NOT IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON THE MEMBER.'

UNDER THE SHOWING IN THIS CASE, NAMELY, THAT THE OFFICER CONTRIBUTED ONLY $26 A MONTH OF THE CHILD'S LIVING EXPENSES OF $116 A MONTH, OR SLIGHTLY MORE THAN 22 PERCENT OF SUCH EXPENSES, IT IS NOT CONSIDERED THAT THE CHILD WAS IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON THE OFFICER WHEN THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED. COMPARE THE ANSWER TO QUESTION NO. 5 IN DECISION OF DECEMBER 23, 1955, B- 124140, TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, COPY ENCLOSED. ACCORDINGLY, PAYMENT ON THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETAINED HERE, IS NOT AUTHORIZED.