B-163342, FEB. 15, 1968

B-163342: Feb 15, 1968

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LAURA CLIFTON SWANSON: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS DATED DECEMBER 23. WHO WAS LISTED IN OFFICIAL RECORDS AS BEING KILLED IN ACTION ON MARCH 24. YOU WERE ADVISED THAT FAVORABLE ACTION COULD NOT BE TAKEN ON YOUR CLAIM AT THIS TIME. INFORMATION ON FILE HERE SHOWS THAT SUBSEQUENT TO YOUR SON'S DEATH A CLAIM RELATING TO HIS ARMY SERVICE WAS RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE AND THAT CERTAIN ALLOWANCES WERE ISSUED IN THE CASE ON DECEMBER 4. DURING WHICH TIME THE RECORDS NECESSARY TO EITHER JUSTIFY OR REFUTE THE CLAIM HAVE BEEN DESTROYED PURSUANT TO LAW. THE PRESUMPTION ARISES THAT THE CLAIM WAS NEVER VALID OR IF VALID. YOU DISCOVERED THAT THE PAYMENT RECEIVED BY YOU CAME FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS AS A STATE BONUS AND THAT THE ONLY OTHER AMOUNTS RECEIVED BY YOU WERE THE "INSURANCE AND COMPENSATION DUE TO HIS DEATH.'.

B-163342, FEB. 15, 1968

ARMED SERVICES - SIX MONTHS DEATH GRATUITY DECISION TO MOTHER OF NAVY MEMBER KILLED IN ACTION ON MARCH 24, 1945, RE CLAIM FOR SIX MONTHS DEATH GRATUITY. CLAIM RECEIVED MORE THAN 22 YEARS AFTER DATE OF FIRST ACCRUAL MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED.

TO MRS. LAURA CLIFTON SWANSON:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS DATED DECEMBER 23, 1967, AND JANUARY 23, 1968, CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR SIX-MONTH DEATH GRATUITY UNDER THE ACT OF DECEMBER 17, 1919, CH. 6, 41 STAT. 367, AS AMENDED, 10 U.S.C. 903 (1940 ED.), WHICH YOU BELIEVE TO BE DUE INCIDENT TO THE DEATH OF YOUR SON, WILLIAM J. CLIFTON, ASN 16 171 859, WHO WAS LISTED IN OFFICIAL RECORDS AS BEING KILLED IN ACTION ON MARCH 24, 1945.

OUR FILE SHOWS THAT IN CLAIMS DIVISION LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 7, 1967, YOU WERE ADVISED THAT FAVORABLE ACTION COULD NOT BE TAKEN ON YOUR CLAIM AT THIS TIME. AS INDICATED IN THAT LETTER, INFORMATION ON FILE HERE SHOWS THAT SUBSEQUENT TO YOUR SON'S DEATH A CLAIM RELATING TO HIS ARMY SERVICE WAS RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE AND THAT CERTAIN ALLOWANCES WERE ISSUED IN THE CASE ON DECEMBER 4, 1945, AND JULY 7, 1947. NO RECORD HAS BEEN FOUND OF ANY SUBSEQUENT ACTION IN THE MATTER UNTIL RECEIPT OF YOUR CLAIM IN 1967. IN SUCH A CASE WHERE A LONG PERIOD OF TIME HAS ELAPSED FROM THE DATE OF LAST ACTION ON A CLAIM TO THE DATE OF RECEIPT OF A SUBSEQUENT CLAIM, DURING WHICH TIME THE RECORDS NECESSARY TO EITHER JUSTIFY OR REFUTE THE CLAIM HAVE BEEN DESTROYED PURSUANT TO LAW, THE PRESUMPTION ARISES THAT THE CLAIM WAS NEVER VALID OR IF VALID, THAT IT ALREADY HAS BEEN PAID. YOU STATE THAT WHILE YOU ONCE THOUGHT YOU HAD RECEIVED THE GRATUITY PAYMENT, YOU DISCOVERED THAT THE PAYMENT RECEIVED BY YOU CAME FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS AS A STATE BONUS AND THAT THE ONLY OTHER AMOUNTS RECEIVED BY YOU WERE THE "INSURANCE AND COMPENSATION DUE TO HIS DEATH.'

THE ABOVE-CITED PROVISIONS OF LAW DID NOT CONTEMPLATE THE SUBMISSION OF A CLAIM AS A PREREQUISITE TO PAYMENT OF THE DEATH GRATUITY, IT BEING PROVIDED THAT THE CHIEF OF FINANCE OF THE ARMY "SHALL CAUSE TO BE PAID" THE AMOUNT INVOLVED TO THE PERSON ENTITLED THERETO "IMMEDIATELY UPON OFFICIAL NOTIFICATION OF DEATH.' WE HAVE NO INFORMATION AS TO THE ACTION TAKEN BY THE CHIEF OF FINANCE IN THIS CASE. IF THE DEATH GRATUITY WAS NOT PAID TO YOU BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY AND YOU SUBMITTED A CLAIM THEREFOR TO THIS OFFICE AT THAT TIME, IT MUST BE ASSUMED THAT YOU WERE PAID THE AMOUNT INVOLVED UNDER EITHER THE SETTLEMENT ISSUED BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION ON DECEMBER 4, 1945, OR THAT ISSUED ON JULY 7, 1947, IF YOU WERE THE PROPER PERSON ENTITLED THERETO. IF YOU SUBMITTED NO CLAIM UNTIL YOUR LETTER OF JULY 9, 1967, ADDRESSED TO THE NATIONAL PERSONNEL RECORDS CENTER -- WHICH WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE BY THE U.S. ARMY FINANCE CENTER AND RECEIVED HERE ON OCTOBER 11, 1967 -- WE ARE WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO CONSIDER IT.

CLAIMS FOR DEATH GRATUITY PAYMENTS ARE SUBJECT TO THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, CH. 788, 54 STAT. 1061, 31 U.S.C. 71A, WHICH ACT PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART:

"/1) EVERY CLAIM OR DEMAND * * * AGAINST THE UNITED STATES COGNIZABLE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE * * * SHALL BE FOREVER BARRED UNLESS SUCH CLAIM, BEARING THE SIGNATURE AND ADDRESS OF THE CLAIMANT OR AN AUTHORIZED AGENT OR ATTORNEY, SHALL BE RECEIVED IN SAID OFFICE WITHIN TEN FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE SUCH CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED * * *.'

SINCE A RIGHT TO THE DEATH GRATUITY IN CONNECTION WITH THE DEATH OF YOUR SON ACCRUED IN 1945, SUCH CLAIM HAD TO BE RECEIVED HERE WITHIN 10 YEARS THEREAFTER IN ORDER FOR US TO CONSIDER THE MERITS THEREOF. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT YOUR PRESENT CLAIM WAS NOT RECEIVED HERE FOR MORE THAN 22 YEARS AFTER THE DATE IT FIRST ACCRUED, WE TRUST YOU WILL UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE PRECLUDED BY LAW FROM CONSIDERING SUCH CLAIM AND THAT NO FURTHER ACTION CAN BE TAKEN IN THE MATTER BY OUR OFFICE.