B-166215, APR. 17, 1969

B-166215: Apr 17, 1969

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PLATTS: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 9. THAT DESIGNATION WAS MADE ON THE RECORD OF EMERGENCY DATA (DD FORM 93) EXECUTED BY HIM ON JULY 26. ON THE SAME FORM YOUR SON DESIGNATED YOU TO RECEIVE THE 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY PROVIDED HE WAS NOT SURVIVED BY A SPOUSE OR ELIGIBLE CHILD. IT APPEARS THAT IN 1967 YOU WROTE THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY CONCERNING THE DEATH GRATUITY PAYMENT AND YOU WERE ADVISED THAT DUE TO THE QUESTIONED VALIDITY OF YOUR SON'S MARITAL STATUS. PAYMENT OF THE GRATUITY WAS NOT MADE TO HIS WIDOW. PAYMENT OF A 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY WAS AUTHORIZED UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 4. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION IN SETTLEMENT DATED JUNE 17.

B-166215, APR. 17, 1969

TO MR. BYRON J. PLATTS:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 9, 1969, WITH ENCLOSURES, CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY BELIEVED TO BE DUE YOU INCIDENT TO THE DEATH OF YOUR SON, TOMMY L. PLATTS, ON NOVEMBER 19, 1955, WHILE SERVING AS AN ENGINE MAN, SECOND CLASS, UNITED STATES NAVY.

THE RECORDS BEFORE US INDICATE THAT YOUR SON DESIGNATED A MAXINE LUCILLE PLATTS AS HIS WIFE AND PRINCIPAL BENEFICIARY TO RECEIVE HIS INSURANCE. THAT DESIGNATION WAS MADE ON THE RECORD OF EMERGENCY DATA (DD FORM 93) EXECUTED BY HIM ON JULY 26, 1955. ON THE SAME FORM YOUR SON DESIGNATED YOU TO RECEIVE THE 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY PROVIDED HE WAS NOT SURVIVED BY A SPOUSE OR ELIGIBLE CHILD. IT APPEARS THAT IN 1967 YOU WROTE THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY CONCERNING THE DEATH GRATUITY PAYMENT AND YOU WERE ADVISED THAT DUE TO THE QUESTIONED VALIDITY OF YOUR SON'S MARITAL STATUS, PAYMENT OF THE GRATUITY WAS NOT MADE TO HIS WIDOW. THE NAVY, HOWEVER, REFERRED YOUR CLAIM HERE FOR CONSIDERATION BECAUSE OF THE LENGTH OF TIME WHICH HAD ELAPSED BETWEEN YOUR SON'S DEATH AND YOUR INQUIRY CONCERNING THE MATTER.

PAYMENT OF A 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY WAS AUTHORIZED UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1920, CH. 228, 41 STAT. 824, AS AMENDED, 34 U.S.C. 943 (1952 ED.), IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF YOUR SON'S DEATH, WHICH PROVIDED, IN SUBSTANCE, THAT THE PAYMASTER GENERAL OF THE NAVY "SHALL CAUSE TO BE PAID" THE AMOUNT INVOLVED TO THE PERSON ENTITLED THERETO "IMMEDIATELY UPON OFFICIAL NOTIFICATION OF THE DEATH.'

YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION IN SETTLEMENT DATED JUNE 17, 1968, SUBSTANTIALLY FOR THE REASON THAT SINCE SUCH CLAIM ACCRUED ON NOVEMBER 19, 1955, THE DATE OF YOUR SON'S DEATH, AND SINCE YOUR CLAIM WAS FIRST RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE ON APRIL 8, 1968, MORE THAN 10 YEARS AFTER IT FIRST ACCRUED, WE ARE PRECLUDED FROM CONSIDERING SUCH CLAIM BY REASON OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, CH. 788, 54 STAT. 1061, 31 U.S.C. 71A, 237. THAT ACT BARS CONSIDERATION OF ,EVERY CLAIM OR DEMAND * * * AGAINST THE UNITED STATES COGNIZABLE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE * * * UNLESS SUCH CLAIM * * * SHALL BE RECEIVED IN SAID OFFICE WITHIN TEN FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE SUCH CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED.'

WE HAVE HELD THAT CLAIMS FOR PAYMENTS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE DEATH GRATUITY LAW (CURRENTLY CONTAINED IN 10 U.S.C. 1475-1480) ARE SUBJECT TO THE 1940 BARRING ACT. SEE OUR DECISION OF MAY 8, 1963, B 150008, 42 COMP. GEN. 622, QUOTING THE SYLLABUS AS FOLLOWS: "A CLAIM FOR THE 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY AUTHORIZED UNDER 10 U.S.C. 1475, ET SEQ., MAY NOT BE VIEWED AS A CLAIM FOR THE PAYMENT OF A TRUST FUND DEPOSITED WITH THE GOVERNMENT UNDER STATUTORY AUTHORITY AS FUNDS OF THE CLAIMANT AND NOT SUBJECT TO THE 10-YEAR STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, 31 U.S.C. 71A, THE PAYMENT OF THE CLAIM BEING CONTINGENT UPON AN ADJUDICATION OF THE ELIGIBILITY OF THE CLAIMANT, WHO IS REQUIRED TO ESTABLISH HIS RIGHT TO THE GRATUITY, AND UPON A DETERMINATION OF THE AMOUNT DUE, WHICH IF PAYABLE IS MADE FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS; THEREFORE, A CLAIMANT WHO FAILED TO PRESENT THE PROPER FORMS FOR THE GRATUITY WITHIN 10 FULL YEARS AFTER THE ACCRUAL OF HIS CLAIM AT THE DATE OF DEATH, OR THE DETERMINATION OF PRESUMPTIVE DEATH OF A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES, IN THE ABSENCE OF AUTHORITY TO WAIVE THE STATUTE, IS NOT ENTITLED TO THE PAYMENT OF THE 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY INCIDENT TO THE MEMBER'S DEATH.'

SINCE A RIGHT TO THE DEATH GRATUITY IN CONNECTION WITH THE DEATH OF YOUR SON ACCRUED IN 1955, 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 CLAIM WAS RECEIVED HERE IN APRIL 1968, MORE THAN 10 YEARS AFTER IT FIRST ACCRUED, WE TRUST YOU WILL UNDERSTAND THAT WE ARE PRECLUDED BY LAW FROM CONSIDERING SUCH CLAIM AND THAT NO FURTHER ACTION MAY BE TAKEN IN THE MATTER BY OUR OFFICE.