B-142955, JUN. 16, 1960

B-142955: Jun 16, 1960

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HITCHENS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS DATED MAY 9. THERE WAS RECEIVED IN OUR CLAIMS DIVISION FROM THE FINANCE CENTER. THAT IN THE CASE OF A MEMBER WHO HAS BEEN DISCHARGED AND IS INCAPABLE OF MANAGING HIS OWN FINANCIAL AFFAIRS. PAYMENT WILL BE MADE TO PERSONS HAVING THE ACTUAL CARE AND CUSTODY OF THE INDIVIDUAL. YOU WERE FURTHER ADVISED THAT SINCE A CLAIM FOR THE PAY AND ALLOWANCES DUE YOUR SON HAD BEEN RECEIVED FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE NORTHERN STATE HOSPITAL. SINCE YOUR SON WAS IN THE CARE AND CUSTODY OF THE HOSPITAL. YOU URGE THAT PAYMENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE TO YOU AS FATHER OF RICHARD G. YOU REQUESTED THAT WE HAVE THE NORTHERN STATE HOSPITAL RETURN TO US THE AMOUNT OF $551.98 PAID TO THAT INSTITUTION AS PAY AND ALLOWANCES DUE YOUR SON.

B-142955, JUN. 16, 1960

TO MR. ROBERT G. HITCHENS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS DATED MAY 9, MAY 25, AND JUNE 3, 1960, CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR UNPAID PAY AND ALLOWANCES DUE YOUR SON, RICHARD G. HITCHENS, AS OF DECEMBER 3, 1959, THE DATE OF HIS DISCHARGE AS AN ENLISTED MAN, UNITED STATES ARMY.

ON APRIL 13, 1960, THERE WAS RECEIVED IN OUR CLAIMS DIVISION FROM THE FINANCE CENTER, UNITED STATES ARMY, INDIANAPOLIS 49, INDIANA, YOUR APPLICATION DATED JANUARY 25, 1960, FOR YOUR DESIGNATION UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 21, 1950, 64 STAT. 249, TO RECEIVE THE AMOUNTS DUE YOUR SON ON ACCOUNT OF HIS ARMY SERVICE. BY LETTER DATED MAY 2, 1960, TO YOU, THE CLAIMS DIVISION ADVISED YOU THAT THE ACT OF JUNE 21, 1950, AUTHORIZING THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY TO DESIGNATE A PERSON TO RECEIVE AMOUNTS DUE A MENTALLY INCOMPETENT MEMBER OF THE ARMY, APPLIES ONLY TO PAYMENTS EFFECTED ON OR BEFORE DISCHARGE, AND THAT IN THE CASE OF A MEMBER WHO HAS BEEN DISCHARGED AND IS INCAPABLE OF MANAGING HIS OWN FINANCIAL AFFAIRS,PAYMENT WILL BE MADE TO PERSONS HAVING THE ACTUAL CARE AND CUSTODY OF THE INDIVIDUAL. YOU WERE FURTHER ADVISED THAT SINCE A CLAIM FOR THE PAY AND ALLOWANCES DUE YOUR SON HAD BEEN RECEIVED FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE NORTHERN STATE HOSPITAL, SEDRO WOOLLEY, WASHINGTON, AND SINCE YOUR SON WAS IN THE CARE AND CUSTODY OF THE HOSPITAL, THE AMOUNT DUE HAD BEEN APPROVED FOR PAYMENT TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE HOSPITAL, AS TRUSTEE OF THE FUNDS OF YOUR SON. IN THE LETTERS OF MAY 9 AND 25, 1960, YOU URGE THAT PAYMENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE TO YOU AS FATHER OF RICHARD G. HITCHENS AND IN THE LETTER OF JUNE 3, 1960, YOU REQUESTED THAT WE HAVE THE NORTHERN STATE HOSPITAL RETURN TO US THE AMOUNT OF $551.98 PAID TO THAT INSTITUTION AS PAY AND ALLOWANCES DUE YOUR SON, AND THAT WE HOLD THAT AMOUNT UNTIL SUCH TIME AS YOUR SON MAKES CLAIM FOR IT.

SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 21, 1950, 64 STAT. 249, PROVIDES, IN PART, THAT:

"ANY ACTIVE-DUTY PAY AND ALLOWANCES, OR ANY AMOUNTS DUE FOR ACCUMULATED OR ACCRUED LEAVE, OR ANY RETIRED OR RETAINER PAY, OTHERWISE PAYABLE TO ANY MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHO, IN THE OPINION OF COMPETENT MEDICAL AUTHORITY, IS MENTALLY INCAPABLE OF MANAGING HIS OWN AFFAIRS, IS AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID, FOR THE USE AND BENEFIT OF SUCH INCOMPETENT MEMBER, TO SUCH PERSON OR PERSONS WHO MAY BE DESIGNATED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY * * *.'

YOU WILL NOTE THAT THE ABOVE STATUTE APPLIES ONLY TO PAYMENTS DUE MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES. AS POINTED OUT IN YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 3, 1960, YOUR SON IS A CIVILIAN, A FORMER MEMBER OF THE ARMY, AND HENCE PAYMENT IN HIS CASE COULD NOT BE MADE UNDER THAT STATUTE.

IT APPEARS FROM YOUR LETTER OF MAY 9, 1960, THAT YOUR SON WAS INVOLUNTARILY HOSPITALIZED AT NORTHERN STATE HOSPITAL. CHAPTER 71.02.570 OF THE REVISED CODE OF WASHINGTON PROVIDES THAT THE SUPERINTENDENT OF A STATE HOSPITAL SHALL BE THE GUARDIAN, WITHOUT COMPENSATION, OF THE ESTATE OF A PATIENT INVOLUNTARILY HOSPITALIZED THEREIN, WITHOUT FURTHER PROCEEDINGS. THUS, THE PAYMENT OF $551.98 TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE NORTHERN STATE HOSPITAL, AS GUARDIAN OF YOUR SON'S ESTATE, WOULD SEEM TO BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW AND WE HAVE NO BASIS FOR DEMANDING THAT THE HOSPITAL RETURN IT TO US.

ACCORDINGLY, WHILE WE APPRECIATE YOUR FEELINGS IN THE MATTER, THE ACTION OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION IN DENYING YOUR CLAIM AND PAYING THE CLAIM OF THE NORTHERN STATE HOSPITAL WAS PROPER AND THAT ACTION MUST BE SUSTAINED.