B-172966, JUL 7, 1971

B-172966: Jul 7, 1971

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STEENBERG WAS NOT CONFINED TO A HOSPITAL WHILE UNDERGOING MEDICAL TREATMENT. VAN STEENBERG FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR RECENT LETTER WITH ENCLOSURES IN EFFECT REQUESTING REVIEW OF YOUR REQUEST FOR AN EXTENSION OF TIME FOR SHIPMENT OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE INCIDENT TO YOUR RETIREMENT FROM THE UNITED STATES ARMY. THE RECORDS WHICH YOU HAVE FURNISHED SHOW THAT BY ORDERS DATED SEPTEMBER 20. YOU WERE RELEASED FROM ACTIVE DUTY ON OCTOBER 31. YOU REQUESTED AND WERE GRANTED AN EXTENSION OF THE ENTITLEMENT PERIOD OF ONE YEAR. IT WAS FURTHER INDICATED THAT IN APRIL 1969 YOU HAD RECURRING BACK PAINS AS A RESULT OF A PREVIOUS DISC OPERATION PERFORMED IN 1956 AND UNDERWENT TREATMENT BY DOCTOR P.

B-172966, JUL 7, 1971

MILITARY PERSONNEL - RETIREMENT - SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - EXTENSION OF TIME DECISION AFFIRMING ADMINISTRATIVE RULING WHICH DENIED REQUEST OF MR. THOMAS W. VAN STEENBERG FOR EXTENSION OF TIME FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INCIDENT TO HIS RETIREMENT FROM THE UNITED STATES ARMY. STEENBERG WAS NOT CONFINED TO A HOSPITAL WHILE UNDERGOING MEDICAL TREATMENT, NO LEGAL BASIS EXISTED FOR SECOND EXTENSION OF TIME FOR SHIPMENT; COST OF MOVE AFTER THE DEADLINE MUST BE BORNE BY THE INDIVIDUAL.

TO MR. THOMAS W. VAN STEENBERG

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR RECENT LETTER WITH ENCLOSURES IN EFFECT REQUESTING REVIEW OF YOUR REQUEST FOR AN EXTENSION OF TIME FOR SHIPMENT OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE INCIDENT TO YOUR RETIREMENT FROM THE UNITED STATES ARMY.

THE RECORDS WHICH YOU HAVE FURNISHED SHOW THAT BY ORDERS DATED SEPTEMBER 20, 1967, ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, YOU WERE RELEASED FROM ACTIVE DUTY ON OCTOBER 31, 1967, AND PLACED ON THE RETIRED LIST EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 1967, AT FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, MARYLAND, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 10 U.S.C. 3914. BY VIRTUE OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 404(C), 406(D) AND 406(G) OF TITLE 37, U.S. CODE, AND IMPLEMENTING PROVISIONS IN THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, YOU BECAME ENTITLED TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES FOR YOURSELF, YOUR DEPENDENTS AND YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO YOUR HOME OF SELECTION WITHIN ONE YEAR AFTER THE DATE OF YOUR RETIREMENT.

THE RECORDS INDICATE THAT DURING THAT ONE-YEAR PERIOD YOU UNDERTOOK TO ACQUIRE ADDITIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING FOR THE PURPOSE OF QUALIFYING FOR SUITABLE CIVILIAN EMPLOYMENT AND THAT UNDER PARAGRAPH M8260-5 OF VOLUME I OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, YOU REQUESTED AND WERE GRANTED AN EXTENSION OF THE ENTITLEMENT PERIOD OF ONE YEAR, FROM NOVEMBER 1, 1968, UNTIL MAY 1, 1969. IT WAS FURTHER INDICATED THAT IN APRIL 1969 YOU HAD RECURRING BACK PAINS AS A RESULT OF A PREVIOUS DISC OPERATION PERFORMED IN 1956 AND UNDERWENT TREATMENT BY DOCTOR P. N. PAPPAS. AS A RESULT, YOU SOUGHT AN ADDITIONAL EXTENSION OF TIME WITHIN WHICH TO MOVE YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS BUT SUCH REQUEST WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DENIED.

THIS MATTER WAS THE SUBJECT OF A LETTER FROM THIS OFFICE TO THE HONORABLE RICHARD S. SCHWEIKER, UNITED STATES SENATE, DATED OCTOBER 9, 1970, IN WHICH WE ADVISED HIM THAT, WHILE YOUR RIGHT TO THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WAS PROPERLY EXTENDED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY TO MAY 1, 1969, ON THE BASIS OF THE EDUCATION OR TRAINING THAT YOU UNDERWENT DURING THE YEAR FOLLOWING YOUR RETIREMENT, YOUR REQUEST FOR A FURTHER EXTENSION BASED UPON YOUR MEDICAL TREATMENT SINCE APRIL 1969 WAS PROPERLY DENIED UNDER THE APPLICABLE REGULATIONS. SINCE THE PERIOD DURING WHICH YOU WERE ENTITLED TO HAVE YOUR GOODS SHIPPED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE EXPIRED ON MAY 1, 1969, WE SAID THAT SHIPMENT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY IS NOT NOW AUTHORIZED AND THAT YOU WOULD NOT BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR ANY PERSONAL EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO SUCH MOVE AFTER THAT DATE.

YOU NOW SAY THAT IN RESPONSE TO YOUR MEDICAL EXTENSION REQUEST, YOU WERE ASKED BY APPROPRIATE MILITARY AUTHORITY TO SUBMIT VERIFICATION OF ALL HOSPITALIZATION OR MEDICAL TREATMENT WHICH YOU RECEIVED SINCE YOU WERE RETIRED. YOU FURTHER SAY THAT YOU WERE ADVISED THAT APPROVAL WOULD BE PROMPTLY GRANTED TO EXTEND YOUR ENTITLEMENT EQUIVALENT TO A PERIOD FOR WHICH SUCH MEDICAL VERIFICATION IS PROVIDED, BUT THAT UPON SUBMISSION OF THIS VERIFICATION YOUR REQUEST WAS DENIED. YOU NOW CONTEND THAT SINCE NO EXPENSE HAS BEEN INCURRED BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT THE DENIAL BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY OF YOUR REQUEST FOR AN ADDITIONAL EXTENSION OF TIME TO SHIP YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WAS IMPROPER.

THE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES OF MEMBERS OF THE ARMED SERVICES UPON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION, INCLUDING THE CHANGE FROM A MEMBER'S LAST STATION TO HIS HOME, ARE GOVERNED BY THE PROVISIONS OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE SECRETARIES OF THE SERVICES CONCERNED PURSUANT TO THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY GRANTED IN 37 U.S.C. 404 AND 406. PARAGRAPH M8260 OF THOSE REGULATIONS AUTHORIZES HOME OF SELECTION SHIPMENTS OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WHEN A MEMBER OTHERWISE ELIGIBLE IS RETIRED. THIS REGULATION FURTHER PROVIDES THAT EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN SUBPARAGRAPHS 4 AND 5, THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO BE SHIPPED MUST BE TURNED OVER TO A TRANSPORTATION OFFICER OR CARRIER FOR SHIPMENT WITHIN ONE YEAR FOLLOWING TERMINATION OF ACTIVE DUTY.

SUBPARAGRAPH 5, UNDER WHICH YOU RECEIVED AN EXTENSION, PROVIDES THAT IN THOSE SITUATIONS WHERE A MEMBER COMMENCES EDUCATION OR TRAINING WITHIN THE ONE-YEAR PERIOD FOLLOWING TERMINATION OF ACTIVE DUTY AND REQUESTS AN EXTENSION ON THOSE GROUNDS, SUCH PERIOD WILL BE EXTENDED TO ONE YEAR AFTER COMPLETION OF THAT EDUCATION OR TRAINING OR TWO YEARS AFTER THE DATE OF TERMINATION OF ACTIVE DUTY, WHICHEVER IS EARLIER. THIS SUBPARAGRAPH CONTAINS A FURTHER PROVISO THAT A FURTHER EXTENSION OF THAT TIME MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE SECRETARY, HOWEVER, THIS ADDITIONAL EXTENSION PERIOD RELATES TO THOSE EXTRAORDINARY SITUATIONS WHERE THE TRAINING OR EDUCATION UNDERTAKEN BY A MEMBER MAY REQUIRE A LONGER PERIOD TO COMPLETE.

THE OTHER EXCEPTION TO THIS TIME LIMITATION IS CONTAINED IN SUBPARAGRAPH 4 AND RELATES TO SITUATIONS WHERE A MEMBER IS UNDERGOING HOSPITALIZATION OR MEDICAL TREATMENT AT A HOSPITAL AND PROVIDES:

"A. ON DATE OF TERMINATION OF ACTIVE DUTY. A MEMBER WHO IS ENTITLED TO SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO A HOME OF SELECTION AND WHO IS CONFINED IN, OR UNDERGOING TREATMENT AT, A GOVERNMENT OR CIVILIAN HOSPITAL ON THE DATE OF TERMINATION OF ACTIVE DUTY, WILL BE ENTITLED TO SHIPMENT AND STORAGE OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS *** UNTIL 1 YEAR AFTER THE DATE OF DISCHARGE FROM THE HOSPITAL OR TERMINATION OF MEDICAL TREATMENT. FURTHER EXTENSION OF THIS TIME LIMIT MAY BE APPROVED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE SERVICE CONCERNED OR HIS DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE.

"B. DURING 1-YEAR PERIOD SUBSEQUENT TO DATE OF TERMINATION OF ACTIVE DUTY. A MEMBER WHO IS ENTITLED TO SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO A HOME OF SELECTION AND WHO IS CONFINED IN, OR UNDERGOING TREATMENT AT, A GOVERNMENT OR CIVILIAN HOSPITAL FOR ANY PERIOD OF TIME DURING THE 1 YEAR PERIOD FOLLOWING TERMINATION OF ACTIVE DUTY, WILL BE ENTITLED TO SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS UNTIL 1 YEAR AFTER DATE OF TERMINATION OF ACTIVE DUTY, PLUS A PERIOD EQUAL TO THE PERIOD OF THE MEMBER'S HOSPITALIZATION OR TREATMENT. *** "

IT IS TO BE OBSERVED THAT THE ABOVE-QUOTED LANGUAGE EXPLICITLY PROVIDES THAT AS A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO THE APPLICATION OF THIS EXCEPTION TO THE GENERAL RULE REGARDING THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WITHIN ONE YEAR FOLLOWING TERMINATION OF ACTIVE DUTY, A MEMBER MUST UNDERGO MEDICAL TREATMENT AT A GOVERNMENT OR CIVILIAN HOSPITAL AND IF THE MEMBER IS NOT UNDER MEDICAL CARE AT A HOSPITAL ON THE DATE OF HIS TERMINATION OF ACTIVE DUTY, SUCH TREATMENT MUST AT LEAST BE INITIATED WITHIN THE ONE-YEAR PERIOD FOLLOWING THAT DATE.

IN THE STATEMENT OF DR. PAPPAS, DATED DECEMBER 26, 1969, WHICH YOU SUBMITTED TO SUPPORT YOUR REQUEST FOR AN EXTENSION OF THE PERIOD IN WHICH TO MOVE YOUR EFFECTS, HE SAID THAT YOU HAD BEEN UNDER HIS CARE "FOR LOW BACK SYNDROME SINCE APRIL, 1969." THUS, HIS STATEMENT INDICATES THAT THE MEDICAL TREATMENT COMMENCED IN APRIL 1969, CONSIDERABLY MORE THAN ONE YEAR AFTER THE TERMINATION DATE OF YOUR ACTIVE SERVICE, AND DOES NOT INDICATE THAT YOU RECEIVED SUCH MEDICAL CARE AT A GOVERNMENT OR CIVILIAN HOSPITAL.

CONSEQUENTLY, THE STATEMENT PROVIDED NO LEGAL BASIS FOR APPROVING YOUR REQUEST FOR EXTENSION OF THE PERIOD IN WHICH YOU WOULD BE PERMITTED TO SHIP YOUR HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE INCIDENT TO THE MEDICAL TREATMENT WHICH YOU RECEIVED AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE DENIAL OF YOUR EXTENSION REQUEST WAS PROPER.

IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT YOU WERE FORCED TO DELAY YOUR MOVE TO YOUR HOME OF SELECTION UNTIL AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE EXTENSION PERIOD GRANTED YOU. HOWEVER, OTHER MEMBERS WHO HAVE RETIRED FROM THE ARMED SERVICES ARE CONFRONTED WITH PROBLEMS SIMILAR TO YOURS AND ARE SUBJECT TO THE SAME REQUIREMENT THAT TRAVEL TO HOME OF SELECTION MUST BE COMPLETED WITHIN THE PERIOD AUTHORIZED BY LAW AND REGULATIONS FOLLOWING TERMINATION OF ACTIVE DUTY.