B-170252 July 23, 1970

B-170252: Jul 23, 1970

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The Honorable John Stennis United States Senate Dear Senator Stennis: Further reference is made to your letter sated June 25. Bellew was entitled in the Navy on April 13. Against military regulation because he was considerably overweight. That he was released from active duty on June 17. It is also stated that Mr. Bellew filed a claim with the Veterans Administration for a disability pension which was denied for the reason that he did not have 90 days of active duty as required by law and regulations in order to be eligible for a pension from the Veterans Administration. Which provides that: "When there is filed in the General Accounting Office a claim or demand against the United States that may not lawfully be adjusted by the use of an appropriation theretofore made.

B-170252 July 23, 1970

The Honorable John Stennis United States Senate

Dear Senator Stennis:

Further reference is made to your letter sated June 25, 1970, with enclosure from Mr. John Booth Farese, attorney at Law, concerning the claim of Mr. Thomas R. Bellew for disability compensation believed to be due by reason of his service in the United States Navy in 1943.

Mr. Farese says that Mr. Bellew was entitled in the Navy on April 13, 1943, against military regulation because he was considerably overweight; that he suffered irreparable damage to his feet during basic training; and that he was released from active duty on June 17, 1943, due to that medical problem. It is also stated that Mr. Bellew filed a claim with the Veterans Administration for a disability pension which was denied for the reason that he did not have 90 days of active duty as required by law and regulations in order to be eligible for a pension from the Veterans Administration.

Mr. Farese seems to believe that Mr. Bellew's claim may be one for consideration pursuant to the Meritorious Claims Act of April 10, 1928, 45 Stat. 413, 31 U. S. C. 236, which provides that:

"When there is filed in the General Accounting Office a claim or demand against the United States that may not lawfully be adjusted by the use of an appropriation theretofore made, but which claim or demand in the judgement of the Comptroller General of the United States contains such elements of legal liability or equity as to be deserving of the consideration of the Congress, he shall submit the same to the Congress by a special report containing the material facts and his recommendation thereon.

While the statue does not contain any restrictive language as to the types of claims to be reported, we have consistently construed the 1928 act as relating to claims of the types which cone within the settlement jurisdiction of this office.

Mr. Bellew's claim arising out of his service in World War II is the type of claim which is within the purview of the laws administered by the Veterans Administration. The Congress has specifically conferred jurisdiction in such matters on that agency and the decisions of the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs on any question of law or fact concerning a claim for benefits or payments under any law administered by the Veterans Administration are final and conclusive and no other office or any court of the United States has any power or jurisdiction to review any such decision. See 38 U. S. C. 211 (a).

Under the circumstances the claim is not one which properly is for consideration and submission by this office to the Congress as a meritorious claim under the provisions of the act of April 10, 1926.

The copy of Mr. Farese's letter of July 15, 1970, is returned.

Sincerely yours,

R. F. Keller Assistant Comptroller General of the United States