B-160135, NOVEMBER 17, 1966, 46 COMP. GEN. 411

B-160135: Nov 17, 1966

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

AS THE EFFECTIVE DATE FOR SERVICEMEN'S GROUP LIFE INSURANCE BENEFITS AND PROVIDED THAT ALL MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ON ACTIVE DUTY FOR A PERIOD OF 31 DAYS OR MORE WERE AUTOMATICALLY COVERED WITH $10. 000 LIFE INSURANCE UNTIL WRITTEN NOTICE OF A WAIVER OR REDUCTION IS FILED. - AN OFFICER WAIVING INSURANCE COVERAGE IN OCTOBER 1965 IS NEVERTHELESS LIABLE FOR THE COST OF THE OCTOBER PREMIUM. THE LAW NOT REQUIRING THAT THE PREMIUM DEDUCTION BE MADE FROM THE PAY FOR THE MONTH DURING WHICH INSURANCE IS PROVIDED. THE FACT THAT THE DEDUCTION WAS MADE FROM THE NOVEMBER PAY OF THE OFFICER DOES NOT ENTITLE HIM TO A REFUND OF THE PREMIUM. 1966: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 6.

B-160135, NOVEMBER 17, 1966, 46 COMP. GEN. 411

VETERANS - INSURANCE - WAIVER - PREMIUM LIABILITY THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HAVING ESTABLISHED SEPTEMBER 29, 1965, AS THE EFFECTIVE DATE FOR SERVICEMEN'S GROUP LIFE INSURANCE BENEFITS AND PROVIDED THAT ALL MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ON ACTIVE DUTY FOR A PERIOD OF 31 DAYS OR MORE WERE AUTOMATICALLY COVERED WITH $10,000 LIFE INSURANCE UNTIL WRITTEN NOTICE OF A WAIVER OR REDUCTION IS FILED, THE WAIVER OR REDUCTION TO BE EFFECTIVE AS OF THE MONTH RECEIVED --- A FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE DETERMINATION PURSUANT TO 38 U.S.C. 785--- AN OFFICER WAIVING INSURANCE COVERAGE IN OCTOBER 1965 IS NEVERTHELESS LIABLE FOR THE COST OF THE OCTOBER PREMIUM, AND THE LAW NOT REQUIRING THAT THE PREMIUM DEDUCTION BE MADE FROM THE PAY FOR THE MONTH DURING WHICH INSURANCE IS PROVIDED, THE FACT THAT THE DEDUCTION WAS MADE FROM THE NOVEMBER PAY OF THE OFFICER DOES NOT ENTITLE HIM TO A REFUND OF THE PREMIUM.

TO CAPTAIN ALBERT W. L. MOORE, JR; NOVEMBER 17, 1966:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 6, 1966, IN EFFECT REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED JULY 18, 1966, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND OF $2 DEDUCTED FROM YOUR PAY FOR SERVICEMEN'S GROUP LIFE INSURANCE PREMIUM FOR THE MONTH OF OCTOBER 1965.

YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND OF THE PREMIUM FOR OCTOBER 1965, DEDUCTED FROM YOUR PAY IN NOVEMBER 1965, IS BASED ON TWO ALLEGATIONS. YOU CONTEND IN THE FIRST PLACE THAT THE WORD "UNLESS" USED IN SECTION 767 OF TITLE 38, U.S. CODE, AS ADDED BY PUBLIC LAW 89-214, 79 STAT. 881, DOES NOT MEAN ,UNTIL" AS ADMINISTRATIVELY INTERPRETED AND, SECONDLY, YOU ALLEGE THAT UNDER SECTION 769 AS ADDED BY THAT ACT, WHICH AUTHORIZES DEDUCTIONS FROM A MEMBER'S MONTHLY PAY OF PREMIUMS DURING ANY PERIOD IN WHICH THE MEMBER IS INSURED, THERE WAS NO AUTHORITY TO DEDUCT A PREMIUM IN NOVEMBER 1965, AT WHICH TIME YOU WERE NO LONGER INSURED. YOU ALSO ASK WHETHER YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDY FOR RECOVERY OF THE AMOUNT DEDUCTED HAS BEEN EXHAUSTED.

PUBLIC LAW 89-214, DATED SEPTEMBER 29, 1965, 79 STAT. 880, AMENDED CHAPTER 19 OF TITLE 38, U.S. CODE, BY ADDING A NEW SUBCHAPTER HEADED "SERVICEMEN'S GROUP LIFE INSURANCE", SECTIONS 765 THROUGH 776. SECTION 766 PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART THAT THE ADMINISTRATOR (OF THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION) IS AUTHORIZED TO PURCHASE FROM QUALIFIED LIFE INSURANCE COMPANIES A POLICY OR POLICIES OF GROUP LIFE INSURANCE TO PROVIDE THE BENEFITS OF THAT SUBCHAPTER. SECTION 767 (A) PROVIDES THAT ANY POLICY OF INSURANCE PURCHASED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR SHALL AUTOMATICALLY INSURE ANY MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ON ACTIVE DUTY AGAINST DEATH IN THE AMOUNT OF $10,000 FROM THE FIRST DAY OF SUCH DUTY, OR FROM THE DATE CERTIFIED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR TO THE SECRETARY CONCERNED AS THE DATE THE INSURANCE TAKES EFFECT, WHICHEVER DATE IS THE LATER DATE, UNLESS SUCH MEMBER ELECTS IN WRITING (1) NOT TO BE INSURED UNDER THAT SUBCHAPTER OR (2) TO BE INSURED IN THE AMOUNT OF $5,000.

SECTION 769 (A) PROVIDES THAT DURING ANY PERIOD IN WHICH A MEMBER IS INSURED UNDER A POLICY PURCHASED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR, THERE SHALL BE DEDUCTED EACH MONTH FROM THE MEMBER'S BASIC OR OTHER PAY UNTIL SEPARATION OR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY AN AMOUNT DETERMINED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR AS THE SHARE OF THE COST ATTRIBUTABLE TO INSURING SUCH MEMBER UNDER THE POLICY. ALSO, ANY AMOUNT NOT DEDUCTED FROM THE BASIC OR OTHER PAY OF A MEMBER INSURED WHILE ON ACTIVE DUTY, IF NOT OTHERWISE PAID, SHALL BE DEDUCTED FROM THE PROCEEDS OF ANY INSURANCE THEREAFTER PAYABLE. SECTION 769 (C) PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART THAT AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE FIRST AMOUNT DUE ON ANY SUCH INSURANCE MAY BE ADVANCED FROM CURRENT APPROPRIATIONS FOR ACTIVE-SERVICE PAY TO ANY SUCH MEMBER, WHICH AMOUNT SHALL CONSTITUTE A LIEN UPON ANY SERVICE OR OTHER PAY ACCRUING TO THE PERSON FROM WHOM SUCH ADVANCE WAS MADE AND SHALL BE COLLECTED THEREFROM IF NOT OTHERWISE PAID.

SECTION 785, TITLE 38, U.S. CODE, PROVIDES IN CONNECTION WITH CHAPTER 19 OF THAT TITLE, PERTAINING TO INSURANCE, AS FOLLOWS:

EXCEPT IN THE EVENT OF SUIT AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 784 OF THIS TITLE, OR OTHER APPROPRIATE COURT PROCEEDINGS, ALL DECISIONS RENDERED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS CHAPTER SHALL BE FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE ON ALL QUESTIONS OF LAW OR FACT, AND NO OTHER OFFICIAL OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL HAVE JURISDICTION TO REVIEW ANY SUCH DECISIONS.

BY LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 30, 1965 (COPY ENCLOSED), THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS AFFAIRS CERTIFIED TO THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE THAT THE LAW (PUBLIC LAW 89-214) WAS EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 29, 1965, FOR INSURANCE BENEFITS AND STATED THAT ALL MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ON ACTIVE DUTY UNDER ORDERS FOR A PERIOD OF 31 DAYS OR MORE WERE AUTOMATICALLY PROVIDED WITH LIFE INSURANCE. HE STATED FURTHER THAT THE COVERAGE WILL BE $10,000 UNTIL WRITTEN NOTICE OF A WAIVER OR REDUCTION IS FILED AND THE WAIVER OR REDUCTION WILL BE EFFECTIVE AS OF THE END OF THE MONTH RECEIVED. ON PAGE 2 OF THE LETTER, THE ADMINISTRATOR, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 769 (C) OF TITLE 38, U.S. CODE, REQUESTED AN ADVANCE OF THE FIRST MONTHLY PAYMENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND REQUESTED FURTHER THAT THE AMOUNT BE BASED ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT ALL ELIGIBLE MEMBERS WOULD BE INSURED DURING THAT MONTH IN THE AMOUNT OF $10,000.

UNDER THE ADMINISTRATOR'S DETERMINATION AND SINCE YOU SAY THAT YOU EXECUTED A WAIVER OF THE INSURANCE IN OCTOBER 1965, IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT YOU WERE INSURED DURING THAT MONTH AND THERE WAS CHARGEABLE AGAINST YOUR PAY THE SUM OF $2 AS YOUR CONTRIBUTION FOR SUCH INSURANCE. IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF 38 U.S.C. 785, OUR OFFICE HAS NO JURISDICTION TO QUESTION THE DETERMINATION BY THE ADMINISTRATOR MADE IN HIS LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 30, 1965, WITH RESPECT TO THE INSURANCE COVERAGE.

AS TO THE LEGALITY OF DEDUCTING THE CONTRIBUTION DUE FOR OCTOBER 1965, FROM YOUR PAY IN NOVEMBER 1965, WHEN YOU WERE NO LONGER INSURED, YOUR ATTENTION IS DIRECTED TO SECTION 769 (C) OF TITLE 38, WHICH MAKES THE FIRST AMOUNT DUE FOR WHICH AN ADVANCE WAS REQUIRED, A LIEN UPON THE SERVICE OR OTHER PAY ACCRUING TO THE PERSON FOR WHOM SUCH ADVANCE WAS MADE, WHICH WAS TO BE COLLECTED FROM SUCH PAY, IF NOT OTHERWISE PAID. THE LAW DOES NOT REQUIRE THAT THE DEDUCTION BE MADE ONLY FROM PAY FOR THE MONTH DURING WHICH INSURANCE IS PROVIDED AND THERE IS NO MERIT TO YOUR CONTENTION THAT A DEDUCTION DURING NOVEMBER 1965 WAS NOT AUTHORIZED FOR THE INSURANCE IN EFFECT DURING THE PRECEDING MONTH.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT OF JULY 18, 1966, WAS CORRECT AND IS SUSTAINED.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR REQUEST AS TO WHETHER YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDY FOR RECOVERY OF THE AMOUNT DEDUCTED HAS BEEN EXHAUSTED, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF A DETERMINATION BY THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS AFFAIRS THAT YOU WERE NOT INSURED DURING THE PERIOD INVOLVED, THERE APPEARS TO BE NO FURTHER ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION THAT CAN BE TAKEN TO REFUND THE AMOUNT CLAIMED. UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 38 U.S.C. 784, HOWEVER, SUITS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES CONCERNING CERTAIN INSURANCE MATTERS MAY BE BROUGHT IN THE APPROPRIATE UNITED STATES COURT, AS THERE PROVIDED.