B-169601, MAY 14, 1970

B-169601: May 14, 1970

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BURDEN OF PROOF CLAIM FOR ACCRUED BUT UNPAID PAY AND ALLOWANCES BELIEVED DUE ON DATE OF CLAIMANT'S DISCHARGE FROM MILITARY SERVICE IN 1950 IS DENIED SINCE FINANCE CENTER RECORDS OF VOUCHER PAYMENTS MADE AND VOUCHERS SUPPORTING THEM. HAVE BEEN DESTROYED AFTER 12 YRS. IS ON PERSON ASSERTING CLAIM. IT MUST BE PRESUMED PAYMENT WAS PROPERLY MADE AND RECEIVED. COOK: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED MARCH 30. THAT CERTIFIED VOUCHER WAS SUBMITTED TO THE U. WE HAVE RECENTLY RECEIVED INFORMATION FROM THE FINANCE CENTER THAT RECORDS OF VOUCHER PAYMENTS MADE DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION ALONG WITH THE VOUCHERS SUPPORTING THOSE PAYMENTS WERE DESTROYED AFTER 12 YEARS. THE BURDEN OF PROOF AS TO THE EXISTENCE AND NONPAYMENT OF A VALID CLAIM AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT IS ON THE PERSON WHO ASSERTS SUCH CLAIM.

B-169601, MAY 14, 1970

CLAIMS--VALIDITY--BURDEN OF PROOF CLAIM FOR ACCRUED BUT UNPAID PAY AND ALLOWANCES BELIEVED DUE ON DATE OF CLAIMANT'S DISCHARGE FROM MILITARY SERVICE IN 1950 IS DENIED SINCE FINANCE CENTER RECORDS OF VOUCHER PAYMENTS MADE AND VOUCHERS SUPPORTING THEM, HAVE BEEN DESTROYED AFTER 12 YRS. PURSUANT TO LAW ON DISPOSED OF OLD RECORDS. ABSENT SUCH CLAIM VERIFICATION AND SINCE BURDEN OF PROOF AS TO EXISTENCE AND NONPAYMENT OF VALID CLAIM AGAINST GOVT. IS ON PERSON ASSERTING CLAIM, IT MUST BE PRESUMED PAYMENT WAS PROPERLY MADE AND RECEIVED.

TO MR. DON B. COOK:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED MARCH 30, 1970, CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR ACCRUED BUT UNPAID PAY AND ALLOWANCES BELIEVED DUE ON THE DATE OF YOUR DISCHARGE FROM MILITARY SERVICE ON JANUARY 13, 1950.

BY LETTER OF MARCH 20, 1970, OUR CLAIMS DIVISION ADVISED YOU THAT ON FEBRUARY 2, 1956, THIS OFFICE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $29.06, REPRESENTING THE ACCRUED BUT UNPAID PAY AND ALLOWANCES DUE YOU AT THE DATE OF YOUR DISCHARGE FROM MILITARY SERVICE. THAT CERTIFIED VOUCHER WAS SUBMITTED TO THE U. S. ARMY FINANCE CENTER FOR ISSUANCE OF A CHECK IN PAYMENT. WE HAVE RECENTLY RECEIVED INFORMATION FROM THE FINANCE CENTER THAT RECORDS OF VOUCHER PAYMENTS MADE DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION ALONG WITH THE VOUCHERS SUPPORTING THOSE PAYMENTS WERE DESTROYED AFTER 12 YEARS, PURSUANT TO THE LAW RELATING TO THE DISPOSAL OF OLD RECORDS. SEE CHAPTER 10 OF TITLE 44, U. S. CODE. YOU NOW STATE THAT OUR RECORDS MUST BE IN ERROR, CONTENDING THAT YOU DID NOT RECEIVE A CHECK FOR PAY AND ALLOWANCES AFTER YOUR DISCHARGE.

THE BURDEN OF PROOF AS TO THE EXISTENCE AND NONPAYMENT OF A VALID CLAIM AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT IS ON THE PERSON WHO ASSERTS SUCH CLAIM. VERIFICATION OF THE VALIDITY OF A CLAIM ORDINARILY CAN BE FOUND IN GOVERNMENT RECORDS. HOWEVER, IN CASES SUCH AS THIS, WHERE THE PERSON CONCERNED MAKES NO INQUIRY CONCERNING HIS CLAIM FOR A PERIOD OF OVER 13 YEARS DURING WHICH TIME THE RECORDS WHICH WOULD EITHER PROVE OR DISPROVE PAYMENT OF THE CLAIM HAVE BEEN DESTROYED, THIS OFFICE HAS NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO PRESUME THAT THE PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT CERTIFIED TO THE FINANCE CENTER WAS PROPERLY MADE AND RECEIVED BY YOU.