B-163488, FEB. 27, 1968

B-163488: Feb 27, 1968

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SINCE THERE IS NO RECORD OF CLAIM HAVING BEEN MADE WITHIN 10 YEARS AFTER 1943. IT IS NOT COGNIZABLE BY GAO. QUESTION OF ENTITLEMENT TO VETERANS INSURANCE IS MATTER FOR V.A. WE HAVE RECEIVED YOUR LETTER POSTMARKED FEBRUARY 5. YOU INDICATED THAT SOMETIME IN 1953 YOU WERE SENT A FORM TO COMPLETE IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CLAIM FOR AMOUNTS BELIEVED DUE THE ESTATE OF YOUR LATE BROTHER. WHICH WAS NECESSARY IN ESTABLISHING YOUR ENTITLEMENT TO THE PROCEEDS DUE. YOU STATED FURTHER THAT YOU NOW HAVE THE DEATH CERTIFICATE AND REQUESTED THAT A SIMILAR FORM BE SENT TO YOU. THAT THE EXACT NATURE OF THE CLAIM IS NOT KNOWN. YOU WERE ADVISED THAT WHERE A LONG PERIOD OF TIME HAS ELAPSED BETWEEN THE FILING OF AN ORIGINAL CLAIM AND THE RECEIPT OF A SUBSEQUENT INQUIRY PERTAINING TO THE SAME MATTER.

B-163488, FEB. 27, 1968

DECEDENTS ESTATES - PAY - STALE CLAIM DECISION TO CLAIMANT FOR AMOUNTS DUE DECEASED BROTHER, U.S. ARMY MEMBER, WHO DIED IN 1943. SINCE THERE IS NO RECORD OF CLAIM HAVING BEEN MADE WITHIN 10 YEARS AFTER 1943, IT IS NOT COGNIZABLE BY GAO. QUESTION OF ENTITLEMENT TO VETERANS INSURANCE IS MATTER FOR V.A.

TO MRS. LILLIAN JONES:

YOUR RECENT LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR AMOUNTS BELIEVED DUE THE ESTATE OF YOUR LATE BROTHER, HENRY CHARLES SMITH, PRIVATE, UNITED STATES ARMY, WHO DIED APRIL 9, 1943, WHILE ON ACTIVE DUTY, HAS BEEN FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION AND REPLY. ALSO, WE HAVE RECEIVED YOUR LETTER POSTMARKED FEBRUARY 5, 1968, CONCERNING THE MATTER.

IN A LETTER DATED JUNE 16, 1967, TRANSMITTED TO OUR OFFICE BY THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION REGIONAL OFFICE, NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, YOU INDICATED THAT SOMETIME IN 1953 YOU WERE SENT A FORM TO COMPLETE IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CLAIM FOR AMOUNTS BELIEVED DUE THE ESTATE OF YOUR LATE BROTHER. YOU STATED THAT YOU DID NOT COMPLETE THE FORM BECAUSE YOU HAD NO PROOF OF YOUR MOTHER'S DEATH, WHICH WAS NECESSARY IN ESTABLISHING YOUR ENTITLEMENT TO THE PROCEEDS DUE. YOU STATED FURTHER THAT YOU NOW HAVE THE DEATH CERTIFICATE AND REQUESTED THAT A SIMILAR FORM BE SENT TO YOU.

BY LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 21, 1967, OUR CLAIMS DIVISION ADVISED YOU THAT ITS RECORDS SHOW THAT A CLAIM HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY FILED, BUT THAT THE EXACT NATURE OF THE CLAIM IS NOT KNOWN, AS THE RECORDS PERTAINING THERETO HAD BEEN DESTROYED PURSUANT TO LAW. ALSO, YOU WERE ADVISED THAT WHERE A LONG PERIOD OF TIME HAS ELAPSED BETWEEN THE FILING OF AN ORIGINAL CLAIM AND THE RECEIPT OF A SUBSEQUENT INQUIRY PERTAINING TO THE SAME MATTER, THERE IS A PRESUMPTION THAT THE CLAIM WAS NEVER VALID OR THAT IT WAS PAID AND WHEN IN SUCH CASES, THE RECORDS NECESSARY TO EITHER JUSTIFY OR REFUTE THE CLAIM HAVE BEEN DESTROYED PURSUANT TO LAW, OUR OFFICE MAY NOT ALLOW THE CLAIM UNLESS SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE IS FURNISHED BY THE CLAIMANT AS TO THE VALIDITY AND NONPAYMENT OF THE CLAIM.

BY TRANSMITTAL LETTER WHICH WAS RECEIVED IN OUR OFFICE ON NOVEMBER 27, 1967, THE FINANCE CENTER, UNITED STATES ARMY, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, FORWARDED YOUR CLAIM FOR PERSONAL BELONGINGS, BACK PAY AND 1952 BONUS BELIEVED DUE YOUR BROTHER, ON A FORM DATED AUGUST 10, 1967, TOGETHER WITH A CERTIFICATE OF DEATH DATED AUGUST 28, 1967, RECORDED FOR ONE LILLIAN S. LANGDON, WHO DIED ON JUNE 1, 1941, AT LONG BEACH, NEW YORK. IN A LETTER ACCOMPANYING THE ENCLOSURES YOU STATED THAT THIS CERTIFICATE IS WHAT YOU HAD BEEN TRYING TO SECURE FOR 14 YEARS AS PROOF OF YOUR MOTHER'S DEATH.

IN YOUR LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT, YOU QUESTIONED THE STATEMENT OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION RELATIVE TO THE PRESUMPTION OF PAYMENT, ASKING WHY A RECORD OF THE PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT WAS NOT KEPT IF PAYMENT HAD BEEN MADE. YOU CONTENDED THAT SINCE YOU WERE THE ONLY BLOOD RELATIVE OF THE DECEDENT, THERE SHOULD BE NO REASON WHY THE PAYMENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE.

IN YOUR LETTER POSTMARKED FEBRUARY 5, 1968, YOU STATE THAT IT WAS IN 1952 WHEN YOU FIRST MADE INQUIRY REGARDING ANY MONEY WHICH MAY BE DUE YOUR BROTHER AT TIME OF DEATH, IN ADDITION TO INSURANCE AND THE 1952 BONUS, AND BECAUSE OF YOUR SEPARATION FROM YOUR MOTHER AS A CHILD IT TOOK 14 YEARS TO OBTAIN THE INFORMATION ABOUT HER DEATH.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1906, AS AMENDED, 10 U.S.C. 2771, NOTE, THE ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED PERSONNEL OF THE ARMED FORCES WHO DIED PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1956, ARE FOR SETTLEMENT BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. ANY INQUIRY RECEIVED IN OUR OFFICE PERTAINING TO THE ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED MILITARY PERSONNEL IS NOTED IN OUR FILES, EVEN IF THE PAPERS PERTAINING THERETO ARE SUBSEQUENTLY RETURNED TO THE CLAIMANT, TRANSMITTED TO ANOTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY, OR DESTROYED IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS PROMULGATED UNDER THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN 44 U.S.C. 374, PERTAINING TO THE DESTRUCTION OF RECORDS AFTER BEING HELD A CERTAIN PERIOD OF TIME.

THE RECORDS SHOW THAT THE CLAIM REFERRED TO BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION WAS RECEIVED IN JUNE, 1943, LONG PRIOR TO THE TIME (1952) WHEN YOU SAY YOU MADE INQUIRY AS TO THE AMOUNTS DUE IN THE CASE, AND APPARENTLY THE CLAIM WAS NOT RECEIVED FROM YOU. HOWEVER THAT MAY BE THE RECORDS SHOW THAT THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED AND PRESUMABLY, THEREFORE, IT WAS NOT A VALID CLAIM.

IN ADDITION TO THE ADVICE IN THE CLAIMS DIVISION LETTER OF NOVEMBER 21, 1967, PERTAINING TO CLAIMS AND INQUIRIES PRESENTED LONG AFTER THE FILING OF THE ORIGINAL CLAIM OR INQUIRY, THIS OFFICE, THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, IS PRECLUDED BY THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, 54 STAT. 1061, FROM CONSIDERING ANY CLAIM (WITH CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS NOT HERE MATERIAL) WHICH IS NOT RECEIVED HERE WITHIN 10 FULL YEARS FROM THE DATE ON WHICH THE CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED. THE FILING OF A CLAIM OR INQUIRY WITH ANY OTHER OFFICE, IF NOT FORWARDED TO OUR OFFICE WITHIN THE 10-YEAR PERIOD, DOES NOT FULFIL THE REQUIREMENTS OF THAT ACT.

CLAIMS FOR THE AMOUNTS DUE IN YOUR BROTHER'S CASE ACCRUED AT OR ABOUT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH IN 1943 AND WHILE IT MAY BE THAT YOU WERE CORRESPONDING WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY OR THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION IN 1952 OR 1953 RELATIVE TO YOUR BROTHER'S ESTATE, SUCH CORRESPONDENCE WAS NOT TRANSMITTED TO OUR OFFICE FOR OUR ACTION AND WE HAVE NO RECORD OF THE RECEIPT OF A CLAIM FROM YOU WITHIN 10 YEARS AFTER 1943. ON THE PRESENT RECORD, THEREFORE, WE ARE EXPRESSLY PRECLUDED BY THE TERMS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, FROM CONSIDERING YOUR CLAIM.

ACCORDINGLY, THE ACTION OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION IN ITS LETTER OF NOVEMBER 21, 1967, MUST BE SUSTAINED.

THE MATTER OF YOUR BROTHER'S INSURANCE COMES UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION AND ANY INQUIRY IN THAT REGARD SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THAT OFFICE.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR REQUEST, WE ARE RETURNING THE CERTIFICATE OF THE DEATH OF YOUR MOTHER.