B-140192, AUG. 5, 1959

B-140192: Aug 5, 1959

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REQUESTS REVIEW OF OUR DEMANDS FOR PAYMENT OF $421.41 WHICH WAS ERRONEOUSLY PAID TO YOU BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION AS LUMP SUM BENEFIT AND SURVIVOR'S ANNUITY BENEFIT AFTER THE DEATH OF LLOYD SNOOK. YOU HAVE BEEN INFORMED THAT PAYMENT TO YOU OF THE LUMP SUM BENEFIT WAS IN ERROR BECAUSE A VALID DESIGNATION OF BENEFICIARY ON THE PART OF LLOYD SNOOK WAS NOT ON FILE WITH THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. SNOOK IN 1948 WAS MADE NULL AND VOID BY THE ACT OF JUNE 14. NO DESIGNATION WAS SUBSEQUENTLY FILED. IS MERELY A MATTER OF PROCEDURE AND SHOULD NOT DEFEAT YOUR RIGHT TO THAT PAYMENT. THE DESIGNATION OF BENEFICIARY EXECUTED IN 1948 EXPRESSLY WAS RENDERED NULL AND VOID BY THE ACT OF JUNE 14. YOU CONTEND THAT THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION WAS IN ERROR IN ITS DETERMINATION THAT YOU HAVE FAILED TO ESTABLISH YOURSELF AS THE WIDOW OF LLOYD SNOOK AND IN ITS DEMAND FOR REPAYMENT OF ANNUITY BENEFITS YOU HAD RECEIVED.

B-140192, AUG. 5, 1959

TO MRS. ESPERANZA O. SNOOK:

YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 15, 1959, REQUESTS REVIEW OF OUR DEMANDS FOR PAYMENT OF $421.41 WHICH WAS ERRONEOUSLY PAID TO YOU BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION AS LUMP SUM BENEFIT AND SURVIVOR'S ANNUITY BENEFIT AFTER THE DEATH OF LLOYD SNOOK.

YOU HAVE BEEN INFORMED THAT PAYMENT TO YOU OF THE LUMP SUM BENEFIT WAS IN ERROR BECAUSE A VALID DESIGNATION OF BENEFICIARY ON THE PART OF LLOYD SNOOK WAS NOT ON FILE WITH THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. THE DESIGNATION OF BENEFICIARY FILED BY MR. SNOOK IN 1948 WAS MADE NULL AND VOID BY THE ACT OF JUNE 14, 1950, 64 STAT. 215, 5 U.S.C. 724 (K), AND NO DESIGNATION WAS SUBSEQUENTLY FILED. YOU NOW CONTEND THAT THE ABSENCE OF A DESIGNATION OF BENEFICIARY, EXECUTED SUBSEQUENT TO SEPTEMBER 1, 1950, AS REQUIRED BY THE CITED ACT, IN LIGHT OF THE 1948 DESIGNATION, IS MERELY A MATTER OF PROCEDURE AND SHOULD NOT DEFEAT YOUR RIGHT TO THAT PAYMENT. THE DESIGNATION OF BENEFICIARY EXECUTED IN 1948 EXPRESSLY WAS RENDERED NULL AND VOID BY THE ACT OF JUNE 14, 1950. THE ACT AFFORDED EACH EMPLOYEE AN OPPORTUNITY TO REDESIGNATE A BENEFICIARY BUT PROVIDED THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH A REDESIGNATION, PAYMENT SHALL BE MADE TO THE WIDOW OF SUCH EMPLOYEE OR AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY THE STATUTE. THE PROVISION FOR A REDESIGNATION, THEREFORE, MUST BE REGARDED AS SUBSTANTIVE RATHER THAN PROCEDURAL IN NATURE.

ALSO, YOU CONTEND THAT THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION WAS IN ERROR IN ITS DETERMINATION THAT YOU HAVE FAILED TO ESTABLISH YOURSELF AS THE WIDOW OF LLOYD SNOOK AND IN ITS DEMAND FOR REPAYMENT OF ANNUITY BENEFITS YOU HAD RECEIVED. WE ARE INFORMED THAT AFTER A CAREFUL STUDY AND FIELD INVESTIGATION, THE COMMISSION DETERMINED THAT THE VALIDITY OF YOUR MARRIAGE TO MR. SNOOK COULD NOT BE ESTABLISHED BECAUSE EVIDENCE OF THE DISSOLUTION OF MR. SNOOK'S TWO PREVIOUS MARRIAGES COULD NOT BE FOUND. THE COMMISSION IS CHARGED BY LAW WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE CIVIL SERVICE RETIREMENT ACT AND WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY TAKEN THE VIEW THAT THE DETERMINATION OF ELIGIBILITY FOR ANNUITIES OR OTHER RETIREMENT BENEFIT PAYMENTS PRIMARILY IS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE ADMINISTERING AGENCY. SEE 30 COMP. GEN. 51 AND CASES CITED THEREIN. WE ARE, HOWEVER, CHARGED BY THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT, 1921, AS AMENDED, 31 U.S.C. 71, WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF SETTLING OR ADJUSTING CLAIMS BY THE UNITED STATES.

WE HAVE BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED BY THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION THAT THERE IS NO "LUMP SUM BALANCE" DUE YOU AS WIDOW OF LLOYD SNOOK. WE MUST, THEREFORE, REQUEST THAT YOU COMPLY WITH OUR PREVIOUS DEMANDS FOR PAYMENT AND FORWARD A REMITTANCE IN THE FULL AMOUNT OR A PROMPT INITIAL PAYMENT, TOGETHER WITH A DEFINITE PLAN FOR PAYMENT OF THE BALANCE IN INSTALLMENTS WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME. REMITTANCES SHOULD BE MADE BY CHECK OR MONEY ORDER DRAWN TO THE ORDER OF THE ,U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE" AND FORWARDED TO THE U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, POST OFFICE BOX 2610, WASHINGTON 13 D.C., QUOTING THE REFERENCE DW-Z 1841539-CMM-7.