B-158083, JAN. 28, 1966

B-158083: Jan 28, 1966

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PEARRE: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 1. THE CLAIMS DIVISION ADVISED YOU THAT THE RECORDS INDICATE THAT A CLAIM IN THE CASE OF YOUR DECEASED SON WAS FILED IN THIS OFFICE SOMETIME SUBSEQUENT TO JANUARY 4. THAT THE EXACT NATURE OF THE CLAIM IS NOT KNOWN. YOU WERE ADVISED THAT THE DESTRUCTION OF THE RECORDS AND THE LONG DELAY BETWEEN THE TIME OF THE FILING OF THE ORIGINAL CLAIM AND THE RECEIPT OF THE SECOND INQUIRY CREATES A PRESUMPTION THAT A CLAIM FOR THE GRATUITY. THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS IN THE ABSENCE OF CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT THE CLAIM WAS VALID AND HAD NOT BEEN PAID. HAVE CONSISTENTLY REFUSED TO ALLOW SUCH CLAIMS. IN THIS REGARD YOU WERE INFORMED THAT THERE IS ON FILE CERTAIN INFORMATION WHICH INDICATES THAT AN ALLOWANCE WAS MADE IN THE CASE ON APRIL 17.

B-158083, JAN. 28, 1966

TO MR. AND MRS. CHARLES E. PEARRE:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 1, 1965, WITH ENCLOSURES, PERTAINING TO YOUR CLAIM FOR THE 6-MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY IN THE CASE OF YOUR LATE SON, CHARLES E. PEARRE, JR., WHO DIED ON JANUARY 4, 1945, WHILE SERVING AS A PRIVATE FIRST CLASS, ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES.

BY LETTER DATED JULY 9, 1965, ADDRESSED TO THE CHIEF, SETTLEMENT DIVISION, FINANCE CENTER, U.S. ARMY, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, YOU ADVISED THAT YOU HAD NEVER APPLIED FOR THE DEATH GRATUITY IN YOUR SON'S CASE AND REQUESTED PAYMENT THEREOF. THE FINANCE CENTER FORWARDED YOUR LETTER TO OUR CLAIMS DIVISION FOR DISPOSITION FOR THE REASON THAT A CLAIM FOR THE DEATH GRATUITY APPEARED TO BE BARRED UNDER THE APPLICABLE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS. BY LETTER OF OCTOBER 20, 1965, THE CLAIMS DIVISION ADVISED YOU THAT THE RECORDS INDICATE THAT A CLAIM IN THE CASE OF YOUR DECEASED SON WAS FILED IN THIS OFFICE SOMETIME SUBSEQUENT TO JANUARY 4, 1945, BUT THAT THE EXACT NATURE OF THE CLAIM IS NOT KNOWN, THE RECORDS PERTAINING THERETO HAVING BEEN DESTROYED ACCORDING TO LAW. ALSO, YOU WERE ADVISED THAT THE DESTRUCTION OF THE RECORDS AND THE LONG DELAY BETWEEN THE TIME OF THE FILING OF THE ORIGINAL CLAIM AND THE RECEIPT OF THE SECOND INQUIRY CREATES A PRESUMPTION THAT A CLAIM FOR THE GRATUITY, IF PRESENTED, HAD BEEN PAID, AND THAT IN SUCH CASES, THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS IN THE ABSENCE OF CONVINCING EVIDENCE THAT THE CLAIM WAS VALID AND HAD NOT BEEN PAID, HAVE CONSISTENTLY REFUSED TO ALLOW SUCH CLAIMS. IN THIS REGARD YOU WERE INFORMED THAT THERE IS ON FILE CERTAIN INFORMATION WHICH INDICATES THAT AN ALLOWANCE WAS MADE IN THE CASE ON APRIL 17, 1945, BUT THAT SUCH INFORMATION DOES NOT SHOW IN WHOSE FAVOR THE SETTLEMENT WAS MADE AND THE AMOUNT ALLOWED THEREON. THE CLAIMS DIVISION DECLINED TO ACT ON YOUR CLAIM.

YOU STATE IN YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 1, 1965, THAT THE ALLOWANCE MENTIONED IN OFFICE LETTER OF OCTOBER 20, 1965, RELATED ONLY TO PAY IN THE AMOUNT OF $16.93 DUE YOUR SON ON DATE OF DEATH AND SUBMIT A PHOTOCOPY OF CERTIFICATE NO. 1015848, DATED APRIL 17, 1945, WHICH REFLECTS THE ALLOWANCE OF SUCH PAY TO YOU. YOU SAY THAT THE REASON FOR YOUR DELAY IN FILING CLAIM FOR THE DEATH GRATUITY WAS THAT AT THE TIME OF NOTIFICATION OF YOUR SON'S DEATH YOU BELIEVED THAT HE WAS STILL ALIVE AND THAT FROM THAT TIME UNTIL JULY 9, 1965, YOU DID NOT REALIZE AND DID NOT KNOW THAT THE GOVERNMENT PAID SUCH GRATUITY. IN A LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 2, 1965, THE DIVISION OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, STATE OF MISSOURI, JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI, ADVISES THAT AFTER YOU RECEIVED THE APPLICATION FOR THE 6- MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY YOU RECEIVED LETTERS FROM YOUR SON AND, THEREFORE, NOT BEING CONVINCED OF YOUR SON'S DEATH, YOU DID NOT FILE CLAIM FOR SUCH GRATUITY AT THAT TIME.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FOREGOING THERE CAN BE LITTLE DOUBT THAT THE CLAIM RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE ON OCTOBER 11, 1965, WAS THE FIRST CLAIM PRESENTED BY YOU FOR THE DEATH GRATUITY.

SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, 54 STAT. 1061, PROVIDES,IN PERTINENT PART, AS OLLOWS:

"THAT EVERY CLAIM OR DEMAND * * * AGAINST THE UNITED STATES COGNIZABLE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE UNDER SECTION 305 OF THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT OF JUNE 10, 1921 (42 STAT. 24), AND THE ACT OF APRIL 10, 1928 (45 STAT. 413), SHALL BE FOREVER BARRED UNLESS SUCH CLAIM, BEARING THE SIGNATURE AND ADDRESS OF THE CLAIMANT OR OF ANY AUTHORIZED AGENT OR ATTORNEY, SHALL BE RECEIVED IN SAID OFFICE WITHIN TEN FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE SUCH CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED:* * *.'

THAT ACT, WHICH IS APPLICABLE TO CLAIMS FOR THE DEATH GRATUITY, EXPRESSLY BARS SUCH CLAIMS UNLESS THEY ARE RECEIVED IN OUR OFFICE "WITHIN TEN FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE THE CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED.' SINCE YOUR CLAIM ACCRUED ON JANUARY 4, 1945, THE DATE OF YOUR SON'S DEATH, AND WE DID NOT RECEIVE IT UNTIL OCTOBER 11, 1965, OR MORE THAN 10 YEARS AFTER THAT DATE, THERE IS NO ACTION WHICH WE MAY TAKE ON THE CLAIM. IN THIS REGARD, THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, DOES NOT PERMIT OF ANY EXCEPTION IN THE APPLICATION OF ITS PROVISIONS, NOR DOES IT VEST IN THIS OFFICE AUTHORITY TO WAIVE ITS PROVISIONS BECAUSE OF ANY PARTICULAR FACTS OR CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE DELAY IN THE PRESENTMENT OF THE CLAIM. ACCORDINGLY, WE TRUST YOU WILL UNDERSTAND THAT THERE IS NO BASIS UPON WHICH WE MAY GIVE YOUR CLAIM FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION.

A COPY OF THIS DECISION IS BEING FURNISHED THE DIVISION OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, STATE OF MISSOURI.