B-167593, AUG. 29, 1969

B-167593: Aug 29, 1969

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WHICH CLAIM WAS NOT RECEIVED IN GAO UNTIL 22 YEARS AFTER DISCHARGE AND THEREFORE CLAIM MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED. EUSTAQUIO VILLAFLORES: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 4. WAS FIRST RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON AUGUST 6. YOU WERE ADVISED BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION THAT THIS OFFICE IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO CONSIDER SUCH CLAIM. FOREVER BARS ANY CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES WHICH IS NOT RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE WITHIN 10 FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE SUCH CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED. YOU WERE ALSO ADVISED THAT THE FACT THAT YOU WERE NOT ACQUAINTED WITH THAT ACT CONSTITUTES NO LEGAL BASIS UPON WHICH OUR OFFICE MAY GIVE CONSIDERATION TO YOUR CLAIM. IN YOUR RECENT LETTER YOU QUESTION WHY CLAIMS FROM SOLDIERS FROM THE PHILIPPINES WHO HELPED THE UNITED STATES FORCES IN THE PACIFIC DURING WORLD WAR II HAVE BEEN BARRED.

B-167593, AUG. 29, 1969

MILITARY - MUSTERING-OUT PAY - PHILIPPINE SCOUTS - BARRED CLAIM DECISION TO CLAIMANT CONCERNING CLAIM FOR MUSTERING-OUT PAY INCIDENT TO DISCHARGE FROM PHILIPPINE SCOUTS ON JUNE 30, 1946, WHICH CLAIM WAS NOT RECEIVED IN GAO UNTIL 22 YEARS AFTER DISCHARGE AND THEREFORE CLAIM MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED.

TO MR. EUSTAQUIO VILLAFLORES:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 4, 1969, CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR MUSTERING-OUT PAY INCIDENT TO YOUR DISCHARGE FROM MILITARY SERVICE AS A PHILIPPINE SCOUT ON JUNE 30, 1946.

YOUR CLAIM FOR MUSTERING-OUT PAY DATED MAY 23, 1968, WAS FIRST RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON AUGUST 6, 1968, MORE THAN 10 FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE OF YOUR DISCHARGE WHEN THE CLAIM ACCRUED. BY LETTERS DATED SEPTEMBER 25, 1968, AND JANUARY 23, 1969, YOU WERE ADVISED BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION THAT THIS OFFICE IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO CONSIDER SUCH CLAIM, SINCE THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, 54 STAT. 1061, FOREVER BARS ANY CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES WHICH IS NOT RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE WITHIN 10 FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE SUCH CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED. YOU WERE ALSO ADVISED THAT THE FACT THAT YOU WERE NOT ACQUAINTED WITH THAT ACT CONSTITUTES NO LEGAL BASIS UPON WHICH OUR OFFICE MAY GIVE CONSIDERATION TO YOUR CLAIM, SINCE THE 1940 ACT MAKES NO EXCEPTIONS WHICH WOULD PERMIT ANY ACTION ON CLAIMS OF INDIVIDUALS WHO BELATEDLY LEARN OF THEIR RIGHTS.

IN YOUR RECENT LETTER YOU QUESTION WHY CLAIMS FROM SOLDIERS FROM THE PHILIPPINES WHO HELPED THE UNITED STATES FORCES IN THE PACIFIC DURING WORLD WAR II HAVE BEEN BARRED. YOU STATE THAT NOTHING HAS BEEN PAID TO YOU AND REQUEST INFORMATION AS TO WHICH AGENCY YOU SHOULD APPLY CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM.

THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, 54 STAT. 1061, AS CODIFIED IN 31 U.S.C. 71A, READS IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"/1) EVERY CLAIM OR DEMAND * * * AGAINST THE UNITED STATES COGNIZABLE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE * * * SHALL BE FOREVER BARRED UNLESS SUCH CLAIM * * * SHALL BE RECEIVED IN SAID OFFICE WITHIN TEN FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE SUCH CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED: * * *.

"/2) WHENEVER ANY CLAIM BARRED BY SUBSECTION (1) OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, IT SHALL BE RETURNED TO THE CLAIMANT, WITH A COPY OF THIS SECTION, AND SUCH ACTION SHALL BE A COMPLETE RESPONSE WITHOUT FURTHER COMMUNICATION.'

GENERALLY, OTHERWISE PROPER CLAIMS FOR MUSTERING-OUT PAY UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE MUSTERING-OUT PAYMENT ACT OF 1944, 38 U.S.C. 691-691G (1946 ED.), MADE APPLICABLE TO PERSONS FOR SERVICE IN THE PHILIPPINE SCOUTS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 14 OF PUBLIC LAW 190, 79TH CONGRESS, DATED OCTOBER 6, 1945, 59 STAT. 543, BY TITLE II OF THE ACT OF MAY 27, 1946, 60 STAT. 223, WERE PAID BY THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED, WHICH IN YOUR CASE WAS THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY. THE ACT DID NOT PRESCRIBE A TIME LIMITATION FOR THE FILING OF CLAIMS FOR MUSTERING-OUT PAY BY THOSE MEMBERS WHO WERE DISCHARGED ON OR AFTER THE DATE OF ITS ENACTMENT, AS IN YOUR CASE.

HOWEVER, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. 71, THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS AUTHORIZED TO SETTLE AND ADJUST ALL CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES. HENCE, CLAIMS FOR MUSTERING-OUT PAY BY FORMER MEMBERS WHO WERE DISCHARGED AFTER ENACTMENT OF THE 1944 ACT WERE ALSO COGNIZABLE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AND ARE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, 54 STAT. 1061, 31 U.S.C. 71A.

ACCORDINGLY, CLAIMS FOR MUSTERING-OUT PAY RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE MORE THAN 10 YEARS AFTER THEY FIRST ACCRUED, MAY NOT BE PAID BY OUR OFFICE OR BY ANY OTHER AGENCY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. THE ACT PROVIDES NO EXCEPTIONS NOR DOES IT GRANT ANY EXTENSION OF TIME WITHIN WHICH SUCH CLAIMS MAY BE FILED.

ALL PERSONS ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THIS LAW AND OTHER PUBLIC LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES REGARDLESS OF THEIR RESIDENCY OR CITIZENSHIP. WHILE THE MILITARY DEPARTMENTS MAY ADVISE MEMBERS OF THEIR RIGHTS, ENTITLEMENTS AND BENEFITS UNDER LAWS IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF THEIR SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE, THERE IS NO OBLIGATION TO FURNISH SUCH MEMBERS WITH COPIES OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, OR OTHER LAWS. THE FACT THAT YOU WERE UNAWARE OF THAT LAW PROVIDES NO BASIS FOR ANY EXCEPTION.

YOU STATED IN YOUR CLAIM THAT YOU HAD SERVED WITH THE UNITED STATES ARMY FAR EAST AND WERE DISCHARGED ON JUNE 30, 1946. SINCE WE HAVE NO RECORD OF RECEIPT OF A CLAIM FROM YOU FOR MUSTERING-OUT PAY PRIOR TO AUGUST 6, 1968, WHICH IS MORE THAN 22 YEARS AFTER THE DATE OF YOUR DISCHARGE, THE CLAIM IS BARRED BY THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, AND THERE IS NO ACTION WE OR ANY OTHER AGENCY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MAY TAKE IN THE MATTER.