B-165541, DEC. 16, 1968

B-165541: Dec 16, 1968

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

ELGIN: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 8. IN THE LETTER YOU SAY THAT WHILE YOUR SON WAS ON DUTY WITH THE 82ND AIRBORNE DIVISION AT FORT BRAGG. HE WAS SENT TO VIETNAM IN FEBRUARY 1968. ALSO YOU SAY THAT SINCE HE DID NOT HAVE THE TIME TO BRING HIS CAR HOME HE PLACED IT IN STORAGE NEAR THAT STATION. YOUR SON WAS KILLED IN ACTION IN VIETNAM AND THAT YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND TRAVELED TO FAYETTEVILLE. NO ITEMIZATION OF SUCH EXPENSES AND NO RECEIPTS OR OTHER SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS HAVE BEEN FURNISHED IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CLAIM. YOU WERE ADVISED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE THAT IT WAS NOT AWARE OF ANY REGULATION THAT WOULD PERMIT FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION OF YOUR CLAIM. THE CLAIM WAS TRANSMITTED TO OUR OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION AS TO WHETHER IT SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE CONGRESS UNDER THE MERITORIOUS CLAIMS ACT OF 1928.

B-165541, DEC. 16, 1968

TO MRS. A. F. ELGIN:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 8, 1968, TO THE TRANSPORTATION DIVISION, U.S. ARMY FINANCE CENTER, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, PERTAINING TO YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INVOLVED IN BRINGING THE AUTOMOBILE OF YOUR SON, ROBERT G. ELGIN, DECEASED, E-5, REGULAR ARMY, TO YOUR HOME.

IN THE LETTER YOU SAY THAT WHILE YOUR SON WAS ON DUTY WITH THE 82ND AIRBORNE DIVISION AT FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA, HE WAS SENT TO VIETNAM IN FEBRUARY 1968, ON A FEW HOURS NOTICE. ALSO YOU SAY THAT SINCE HE DID NOT HAVE THE TIME TO BRING HIS CAR HOME HE PLACED IT IN STORAGE NEAR THAT STATION. YOU SAY FURTHER THAT ON APRIL 4, 1968, YOUR SON WAS KILLED IN ACTION IN VIETNAM AND THAT YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND TRAVELED TO FAYETTEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, AND BROUGHT HIS CAR BACK TO YOUR HOME IN CALIFORNIA. YOU MADE A CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES YOU INCURRED OF OVER $500, PLUS $100 STORAGE CHARGES. NO ITEMIZATION OF SUCH EXPENSES AND NO RECEIPTS OR OTHER SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS HAVE BEEN FURNISHED IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CLAIM.

YOU WERE ADVISED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE THAT IT WAS NOT AWARE OF ANY REGULATION THAT WOULD PERMIT FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION OF YOUR CLAIM. HOWEVER, THE CLAIM WAS TRANSMITTED TO OUR OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION AS TO WHETHER IT SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE CONGRESS UNDER THE MERITORIOUS CLAIMS ACT OF 1928, 31 U.S.C. 236.

IN A LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1968, YOU SAID THAT YOU WERE UNABLE TO OBTAIN INFORMATION FROM THE SURVIVAL ASSISTANCE OFFICE AT THE PRESIDIO IN SAN FRANCISCO OR FROM VETERANS ORGANIZATIONS AS TO WHETHER THERE WAS PROVISION FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF YOUR SON'S CAR TO HIS HOME AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, BUT SINCE STORAGE CHARGES WERE ACCRUING EACH DAY, YOU DECIDED TO BRING THE CAR BACK AT PERSONAL EXPENSE AND REQUEST REIMBURSEMENT. YOU STATED THAT YOU WOULD SETTLE FOR THE AMOUNT NORMALLY PAID FOR TRANSPORTATION CHARGES INVOLVED.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 37 U.S.C. 554 THE GOVERNMENT COULD HAVE TRANSPORTED YOUR SON'S VEHICLE AT ITS OWN EXPENSE. HOWEVER, WE ARE NOT AWARE OF ANY PROVISION OF LAW WHICH AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED BY PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS IN MOVING A DECEASED MEMBER'S AUTOMOBILE IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES INVOLVED. UNDER THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT TO SECTION 406 OF TITLE 37, UNITED STATES CODE, A MEMBER OTHERWISE ELIGIBLE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF PERMANENT STATION, INCLUDING FROM HIS LAST DUTY STATION TO HIS HOME UPON RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY. ALSO, A MEMBER WHO IS AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM SUCH TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE MAY RECEIVE A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE AT THE RATE OF 6 CENTS A MILE FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE INVOLVED. SUCH ALLOWANCE IS TO COVER THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION AS WELL AS THE COST OF SUBSISTENCE, LODGING AND OTHER INCIDENTAL EXPENSES.

SECTION 406 (F) OF TITLE 37 PROVIDES AUTHORIZATION FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS, BAGGAGE AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF A MEMBER WHO DIES WHILE ENTITLED TO BASIC PAY. HOWEVER, IT MAKES NO PROVISION FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF A MOTOR VEHICLE BELONGING TO A DECEASED MEMBER. PARAGRAPH 12-12B, ARMY REGULATIONS 55-71, DATED APRIL 28, 1967, IMPLEMENTING THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY CITED, EXCLUDES MOTOR VEHICLES FROM THE TERMS "HOUSEHOLD GOODS" AND "PERSONAL EFFECTS" THAT MAY BE SHIPPED INCIDENT TO A MEMBER'S DEATH PURSUANT TO SECTION 406 (F) OF TITLE 37, OTHER THAN THOSE WHICH MAY HAVE BEEN PREVIOUSLY SHIPPED OVERSEAS INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION. HOWEVER, IN THE CASE OF TRANSOCEANIC SHIPMENT OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES OF DECEASED PERSONNEL, SECTION 2634 OF TITLE 10, U.S.C. WHICH GOVERNS SUCH SHIPMENTS, PROVIDES ONLY THAT THEY BE MADE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE GOVERNMENT ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED OR GOVERNMENT -PROCURED VESSELS. THAT ACT MAKES NO PROVISION FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES AT PERSONAL EXPENSE.

IT IS REGRETTED THAT YOU WERE NOT FURNISHED THE NECESSARY INFORMATION REGARDING THE STATUTORY AND REGULATORY PROVISIONS PRIOR TO YOUR ACTION IN MOVING YOUR SON'S CAR TO YOUR HOME AT PERSONAL EXPENSE. HOWEVER, SINCE THE STATUTES AND REGULATIONS MAKE NO PROVISION FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES INCURRED, THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS UPON WHICH WE MAY APPROVE THE PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF APRIL 10, 1928, 45 STAT. 413, 31 U.S.C. 236, OUR OFFICE IS AUTHORIZED TO SUBMIT TO THE CONGRESS THOSE CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES WHICH MAY NOT BE LAWFULLY ADJUSTED, BUT WHICH ARE DETERMINED TO CONTAIN "SUCH ELEMENTS OF LEGAL LIABILITY OR EQUITY AS TO BE DESERVING OF THE CONSIDERATION OF THE CONGRESS.'

SINCE YOUR CLAIM IS NOT SUPPORTED BY INFORMATION AS TO THE MAKE AND MODEL OF THE CAR, ANY RECEIPTS COVERING YOUR EXPENDITURES, AND AN ITEMIZED STATEMENT OF THE EXPENSES INCURRED, WE HAVE NO BASIS ON WHICH TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE CLAIM MAY BE DESERVING OF THE CONSIDERATION OF CONGRESS. HENCE, ON THE PRESENT RECORD, NO ACTION MAY BE TAKEN TO REPORT THE MATTER TO CONGRESS. IF SUCH INFORMATION AND EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT YOUR EXPENSES IS FURNISHED, HOWEVER, WE WILL GIVE THE MATTER FURTHER CONSIDERATION.

SINCE THE STORAGE CHARGES WERE INCURRED BY YOUR SON, THEY WOULD APPEAR TO BE A CHARGE AGAINST HIS ESTATE AND THERE WOULD SEEM TO BE NO OBLIGATION ON THE GOVERNMENT TO ASSUME THAT EXPENSE. ALSO, WHILE YOU SAY THAT YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND TRAVELED TO FAYETTEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, TO OBTAIN THE AUTOMOBILE AND RETURN WITH IT TO YOUR HOME IN CALIFORNIA, IT WOULD APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN UNNECESSARY FOR MORE THAN ONE PERSON TO PERFORM THE TRAVEL SOLELY FOR THAT PURPOSE.

AS WE HAVE INDICATED, MILEAGE AT THE RATE OF 6 CENTS A MILE FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE OF APPROXIMATELY 2850 MILES WOULD HAVE BEEN PAYABLE TO A MEMBER FOR TRAVEL INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM FAYETTEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, TO SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA, WHICH WOULD COVER THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION, SUBSISTENCE, LODGING AND INCIDENTAL EXPENSE EN ROUTE. IF FURTHER EVIDENCE IS SUBMITTED TO SUBSTANTIATE YOUR CLAIM, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT YOU INCLUDE A STATEMENT SIGNED BY BOTH YOU AND MR. ELGIN INDICATING WHETHER YOU WILL ACCEPT SETTLEMENT OF YOUR CLAIM ON THE ALTERNATIVE BASIS OF THE COST OF ONE FARE FOR TRAVEL BY AIR FROM SANTA CLARA TO FAYETTEVILLE PLUS AN ALLOWANCE AT THE RATE OF 6 CENTS A MILE FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE FROM FAYETTEVILLE TO SANTA CLARA.