B-145288, MAY 25, 1961

B-145288: May 25, 1961

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DISBURSING OFFICER: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR FIRST ENDORSEMENT OF FEBRUARY 14. REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF CAPTAIN R. THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED DURING THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 21 TO 27. THE REQUEST WAS ASSIGNED CONTROL NO. 61-4 BY THE PER DIEM. THE VOUCHER SHOWS THAT THE OFFICER'S STEPCHILDREN WERE OVER FIVE YEARS OF AGE BUT UNDER TWELVE ON THE DATE OF THE ORDERS. THE CERTIFICATE OF DEPENDENCY BY THE OFFICER INDICATES THAT THE AVERAGE MONTHLY AMOUNT REQUIRED FOR EACH CHILD'S LIVING EXPENSES IS $85. WHICH IS PLACED IN TRUST FOR THE CHILDREN AND IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THEIR SUPPORT.'. IT IS PRESUMED THAT THE LATTER AMOUNT IS A BENEFIT PAID FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE CHILDREN BY REASON OF THE DEATH OF THEIR NATURAL FATHER IN A VETERAN STATUS.

B-145288, MAY 25, 1961

TO MR. R. DEWEES, JR., DISBURSING OFFICER:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR FIRST ENDORSEMENT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1961, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF CAPTAIN R. A. UNGER, USMCR, 064576/7333, FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF HIS THREE STEPCHILDREN FROM NAPERVILLE, ILLINOIS, TO SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA. THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED DURING THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 21 TO 27, 1960, PURSUANT TO CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS DATED SEPTEMBER 9, 1960. THE REQUEST WAS ASSIGNED CONTROL NO. 61-4 BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE.

THE VOUCHER SHOWS THAT THE OFFICER'S STEPCHILDREN WERE OVER FIVE YEARS OF AGE BUT UNDER TWELVE ON THE DATE OF THE ORDERS. THE CERTIFICATE OF DEPENDENCY BY THE OFFICER INDICATES THAT THE AVERAGE MONTHLY AMOUNT REQUIRED FOR EACH CHILD'S LIVING EXPENSES IS $85; THAT HE CONTRIBUTES $49.50 PER MONTH FOR THE SUPPORT OF EACH CHILD; AND THAT THE MONTHLY GROSS INCOME OF EACH FROM OTHER SOURCES CONSISTS OF $35.50 PER MONTH FROM SOCIAL SECURITY AND "$43.77 PER CHILD VETERANS ADMINISTRATION BENEFIT, WHICH IS PLACED IN TRUST FOR THE CHILDREN AND IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THEIR SUPPORT.' IT IS PRESUMED THAT THE LATTER AMOUNT IS A BENEFIT PAID FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE CHILDREN BY REASON OF THE DEATH OF THEIR NATURAL FATHER IN A VETERAN STATUS. SEE 38 U.S.C. 3202.

IN ORDER FOR A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES TO BE ENTITLED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949 TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF A STEPCHILD, THE STEPCHILD MUST BE IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON THE MEMBER. IN 35 COMP. GEN. 536, CONCERNING A FACTUAL SITUATION SIMILAR TO THAT IN THIS CASE, WE HELD THAT (QUOTING THE SYLLABUS):

"THE FACT THAT GOVERNMENT INSURANCE AND SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS WHICH ARE PAID TO AN ARMY OFFICER'S MINOR STEPSON ON ACCOUNT OF HIS NATURAL FATHER'S DEATH IN THE MILITARY SERVICE ARE NOT USED FOR THE CHILD'S SUPPORT DOES NOT CREATE A DUPLICATE LIABILITY ON THE GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE SUPPORT BY PAYMENT OF QUARTERS OR TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES, AND THE STEPCHILD WHO RECEIVES SUCH GOVERNMENT BENEFITS IN AN AMOUNT WHICH IS NOT SHOWN TO BE INADEQUATE FOR HIS SUPPORT, IS NOT IN FACT DEPENDENT ON THE OFFICER WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 102 (G) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949 TO ENTITLE THE OFFICER TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF THE STEPSON'S TRANSPORTATION INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF STATION.'

WHILE THE TOTAL AMOUNT REQUIRED FOR EACH CHILD'S SUPPORT IS STATED TO BE $85 PER MONTH, SUCH AMOUNT IS NOT ITEMIZED OR EXPLAINED, NOR IS THERE ANY SHOWING THAT THE $79.27 PER MONTH RECEIVED FROM THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT GENERALLY ADEQUATE FOR THEIR SUPPORT AS MEMBERS OF THE OFFICER'S HOUSEHOLD. IT MAY NOT BE CONCLUDED, THEREFORE, THAT THE PRESENT RECORD ESTABLISHES THAT THE STEPCHILDREN WERE IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON THE OFFICER WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 102 (G) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, 37 U.S.C. 231 (G), WHEN THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED.

ACCORDINGLY, PAYMENT ON THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETAINED HERE, IS NOT AUTHORIZED. THE ORIGINAL ORDERS OF SEPTEMBER 9, 1960, WITH ENDORSEMENTS, ARE RETURNED HEREWITH.