B-155787, JAN. 27, 1965

B-155787: Jan 27, 1965

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DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 8. WHILE SHE WAS SERVING ON ANNUAL ACTIVE DUTY FOR TRAINING. BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS IS PAYABLE TO MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES UNDER 37 U.S.C. 403. FOR THE PURPOSE OF QUALIFICATION FOR THIS ALLOWANCE THE TERM "DEPENDENT" IS DEFINED IN 37 U.S.C. 401 AS: "/1) HIS SPOUSE. A PERSON IS NOT A DEPENDENT OF A FEMALE MEMBER UNLESS HE IS IN FACT DEPENDENT ON HER FOR OVER ONE-HALF OF HIS SUPPORT. * * *.'. DEPENDENT ON HIS WIFE FOR THE PURPOSE OF ALLOWING HER INCREASED BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS ONLY IF HE IS INCAPABLE OF SELF-SUPPORT BECAUSE OF PHYSICAL OR MENTAL INCAPACITY OR SOME OTHER REASON. 32 COMP. MAJOR WATTS' CLAIM IS BASED ON A LETTER DATED MARCH 20.

B-155787, JAN. 27, 1965

TO COLONEL H. E. FORD, FC, FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 8, 1964, WITH ENCLOSURES, FORWARDED UNDER DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MILITARY PAY AND ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE NUMBER A 816, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT OF A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF MAJOR LOUISE E. WATTS, M 01 041, AR, COVERING BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS AS AN OFFICER WITH A DEPENDENT HUSBAND FOR THE PERIOD AUGUST 9 TO 22, 1964, WHILE SHE WAS SERVING ON ANNUAL ACTIVE DUTY FOR TRAINING.

BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS IS PAYABLE TO MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES UNDER 37 U.S.C. 403. FOR THE PURPOSE OF QUALIFICATION FOR THIS ALLOWANCE THE TERM "DEPENDENT" IS DEFINED IN 37 U.S.C. 401 AS:

"/1) HIS SPOUSE;

HOWEVER, A PERSON IS NOT A DEPENDENT OF A FEMALE MEMBER UNLESS HE IS IN FACT DEPENDENT ON HER FOR OVER ONE-HALF OF HIS SUPPORT. * * *.'

IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT A HUSBAND MAY BE REGARDED AS, IN FACT, DEPENDENT ON HIS WIFE FOR THE PURPOSE OF ALLOWING HER INCREASED BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS ONLY IF HE IS INCAPABLE OF SELF-SUPPORT BECAUSE OF PHYSICAL OR MENTAL INCAPACITY OR SOME OTHER REASON. 32 COMP. GEN. 364.

MAJOR WATTS' CLAIM IS BASED ON A LETTER DATED MARCH 20, 1964, FROM THE MANAGER OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION REGIONAL OFFICE, ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, ADDRESSED TO THE ARMED SERVICES COMMISSARY POST EXCHANGE, U.S. COAST GUARD STATION, ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, WHERE IT IS STATED THAT THE MEDICAL STAFF OF THAT HOSPITAL DETERMINED THAT HOWARD W. WATTS, THE HUSBAND OF MAJOR LOUISE E. WATTS, WAS TOTALLY DISABLED AND WAS "RECEIVING CONTINUOUS MEDICAL CARE AND TREATMENT" AT THE EXPENSE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION FOR HIS DISABILITY. IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT THE VETERANS'S 100 PERCENT DISABILITY WAS SERVICE INCURRED. HOWEVER, THE DISABILITY SUFFERED BY HIM WAS NOT IDENTIFIED AND NO STATEMENT FROM AN ATTENDING PHYSICIAN WAS FURNISHED. NO EXPLANATION HAS BEEN FURNISHED TO ESTABLISH THAT HE WAS PHYSICALLY OR MENTALLY INCAPABLE OF SELF-SUPPORT DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION.

WHILE MAJOR WATTS' HUSBAND MAY HAVE BEEN TOTALLY DISABLED AND PHYSICALLY INCAPABLE OF EARNING A LIVING ON MARCH 20, 1964, THERE IS NOTHING IN THE STATEMENT FURNISHED WHICH WOULD INDICATE THAT HIS DISABILITY WAS OF A PERMANENT NATURE OR THAT IT CONTINUED TO PREVENT HIM FROM EARNING A LIVING IN AUGUST 1964 WHEN HIS WIFE WAS ORDERED TO ACTIVE DUTY FOR TRAINING UNDER HER RESERVE COMMISSION. SEE 34 COMP. GEN. 21.

THE OFFICER STATES THAT HER HUSBAND'S MONTHLY LIVING EXPENSES DURING THE PERIOD OF THE CLAIM WERE $125, THAT HIS TOTAL INCOME FROM SOURCES OTHER THAN HER CONTRIBUTION WAS $40 PER MONTH AND THAT HER MONTHLY CONTRIBUTION WAS $300. ALTHOUGH MR. WATTS WAS RATED AS 100 PERCENT DISABLED BY THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, THE EVIDENCE FURNISHED IN SUPPORT OF THIS CLAIM CONTAINS NO EXPLANATION AS TO THE REASON HE DID NOT RECEIVE DISABILITY BENEFITS FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION COMMENSURATE WITH THAT DISABILITY RATING.

THE STATEMENT OF THE MANAGER OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION REGIONAL OFFICE THAT HOWARD W. WATTS WAS RECEIVING "CONTINUOUS" MEDICAL CARE AND TREATMENT INDICATES THAT HE MAY HAVE BEEN A PATIENT IN A VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL OVER A PROLONGED PERIOD OF TIME. PRESUMABLY MAJOR WATTS WAS FURNISHED QUARTERS FOR HER OWN USE WHILE ON TRAINING DUTY. THEREFORE IF HER HUSBAND WAS A PATIENT IN A VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL DURING THAT TIME, IT APPEARS THAT ENTITLEMENT TO BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS ON ACCOUNT OF A DEPENDENT HUSBAND WOULD NOT ARISE. SEE 40 COMP. GEN. 215.

SINCE THE DEPENDENCY OF MAJOR WATTS' HUSBAND WITHIN THE MEANING OF 37 U.S.C. 401 HAS NOT BEEN ESTABLISHED, PAYMENT TO HER OF BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS ON ACCOUNT OF A DEPENDENT HUSBAND IS NOT AUTHORIZED ON THE BASIS OF THE PRESENT RECORD AND THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER IS RETAINED IN THIS OFFICE.

THIS ACTION DOES NOT PRECLUDE FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF MAJOR WATTS' CLAIM IF MEDICAL EVIDENCE AS TO HER HUSBAND'S CONDITION SHOULD BE FURNISHED WHICH WOULD ESTABLISH THAT HE, ON ACCOUNT OF A PERMANENT TYPE PHYSICAL OR MENTAL INCAPACITY, OR FOR OTHER REASONS, WAS INCAPABLE OF SELF-SUPPORT DURING THE PERIOD INVOLVED AND IF EVIDENCE SHOULD BE FURNISHED TO CLARIFY THE BENEFITS HE RECEIVED FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION AND ESTABLISH THAT HE IS, IN FACT, DEPENDENT ON HIS WIFE FOR MORE THAN ONE-HALF OF HIS SUPPORT.