B-174105, OCT 27, 1971, 51 COMP GEN 252

B-174105: Oct 27, 1971

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AS THE STATEMENT ON AN INVOICE FOR MEDICAL SERVICES FURNISHED THE DAUGHTER OF A FEDERAL EMPLOYEE THAT SHE IS A "FULL-TIME STUDENT UNDER 23 YEARS OF AGE" DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY ESTABLISH DEPENDENCY. THE AMOUNT BILLED IS NOT REPRESENTED AS UNRECOVERED COSTS FROM THE EMPLOYEE OR DEPENDENT. 1971: THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 9. AGENCY REIMBURSEMENT TO THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT FOR CERTAIN AMOUNTS EXPENDED BY THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT FOR FURNISHING EDUCATION AND HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL CARE TO EMPLOYEES OF AGENCIES OF THE UNITED STATES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS IS REQUIRED BY SECTION 105 OF THE CIVIL FUNCTIONS APPROPRIATION ACT. THE APPROPRIATION OR FUND OF ANY SUCH OTHER AGENCY BEARING THE COST OF THE COMPENSATION OF THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED IS HEREBY MADE AVAILABLE FOR SUCH REIMBURSEMENTS.

B-174105, OCT 27, 1971, 51 COMP GEN 252

CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT - MEDICAL AND EDUCATIONAL SERVICES FURNISHED - DEPENDENTS - CHILDREN THE TERM "DEPENDENT" AS USED IN SECTION 105 OF THE CIVIL FUNCTIONS APPROPRIATION ACT, 1954, AS AMENDED (2 C.Z. CODE 232), WHICH AUTHORIZES PAYMENT TO THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT OF UNRECOVERABLE COSTS FROM EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS FOR EDUCATION AND HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL CARE FURNISHED, IN THE ABSENCE OF A STATUTORY OR VALID REGULATORY DEFINITION OF THE PHRASE "DEPENDENT CHILD," MAY BE CONSTRUED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DEFINITION IN BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY AND, THEREFORE, A "DEPENDENT CHILD" NEED NOT MEAN A CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF 21. HOWEVER, AS THE STATEMENT ON AN INVOICE FOR MEDICAL SERVICES FURNISHED THE DAUGHTER OF A FEDERAL EMPLOYEE THAT SHE IS A "FULL-TIME STUDENT UNDER 23 YEARS OF AGE" DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY ESTABLISH DEPENDENCY, AND THE AMOUNT BILLED IS NOT REPRESENTED AS UNRECOVERED COSTS FROM THE EMPLOYEE OR DEPENDENT, AS REQUIRED BY THE STATUTE, THE INVOICE MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

TO WINSTON S. DANIEL, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, OCTOBER 27, 1971:

THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 9, 1971, WITH WHICH YOU ENCLOSED AN INVOICE FROM THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT FOR MEDICAL SERVICES PROVIDED TO A 21-YEAR-OLD DEPENDENT DAUGHTER OF A FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYEE. IN CONNECTION WITH THAT INVOICE, YOU REQUESTED THAT WE CLARIFY CERTAIN POINTS REGARDING AGENCY RESPONSIBILITY TO THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT FOR THE COST OF EDUCATIONAL, MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES FURNISHED TO DEPENDENTS OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES BY THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT. IN EFFECT, YOU ASKED WHETHER SUCH DEPENDENTS IN THE CANAL ZONE MUST BE UNMARRIED AND UNDER AGE 21 TO QUALIFY FOR COLLEGE TUITION EXPENSES AND HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL ATTENTION AT AGENCY EXPENSE.

AGENCY REIMBURSEMENT TO THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT FOR CERTAIN AMOUNTS EXPENDED BY THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT FOR FURNISHING EDUCATION AND HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL CARE TO EMPLOYEES OF AGENCIES OF THE UNITED STATES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS IS REQUIRED BY SECTION 105 OF THE CIVIL FUNCTIONS APPROPRIATION ACT, 1954, 67 STAT. 202, AS REVISED BY SECTION 107 OF THE CIVIL FUNCTIONS APPROPRIATION ACT, 1955, 68 STAT. 335, WHICH PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, THAT:

*** AMOUNTS EXPENDED BY THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT FOR FURNISHING EDUCATION, AND HOSPITAL AND MEDICAL CARE TO EMPLOYEES OF AGENCIES OF THE UNITED STATES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS *** LESS AMOUNT PAYABLE BY SUCH EMPLOYEES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS HEREAFTER SHALL, NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, BE FULLY REIMBURSABLE TO THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT BY SUCH AGENCIES. THE APPROPRIATION OR FUND OF ANY SUCH OTHER AGENCY BEARING THE COST OF THE COMPENSATION OF THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED IS HEREBY MADE AVAILABLE FOR SUCH REIMBURSEMENTS.

THE STATUTE HAS BEEN CODIFIED AS SECTION 232 OF TITLE 2 OF THE CANAL ZONE CODE.

IN 34 COMP. GEN. 510, 512 (1955), WITH REFERENCE TO THE STATUTE, WE SAID THAT:

*** CONGRESS CLEARLY INTENDED THAT EMPLOYEES OF THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES EMPLOYED IN THE CANAL ZONE SHALL BE REQUIRED TO PAY ONLY THE CHARGES ESTABLISHED FOR EDUCATION AND MEDICAL SERVICES BY THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT, AND THAT ALL OF THE COSTS OF SUCH SERVICES NOT SO RECOVERED MUST BE BORNE BY THE EMPLOYING AGENCY INVOLVED.

IN CONSTRUING THE TERM "DEPENDENTS" AS USED IN THE STATUTE, WE HELD IN A DECISION TO THE GOVERNOR OF THE CANAL ZONE THAT WHILE THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY INDICATES THAT "THE FURNISHING OF EDUCATIONAL SERVICES *** WAS CONSIDERED *** PRIMARILY FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THE NEEDS OF MINOR DEPENDENTS *** THE PLAIN LANGUAGE OF THE STATUTE MAKES NO DISTINCTION ON THAT BASIS." B-124786, DECEMBER 31, 1956.

FOLLOWING THAT DECISION, CONGRESS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED THAT DEFENSE DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATIONS WERE AVAILABLE "FOR PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLING OF MINOR DEPENDENTS," BY INSERTING THE WORD "MINOR" IN SECTION 607 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1958, 71 STAT. 323, WHICH MADE THE LANGUAGE OF THAT SECTION DIFFER TO THAT EXTENT FROM SIMILAR LANGUAGE WHICH HAD APPEARED IN PRIOR ANNUAL DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATION ACTS. AS SO CHANGED, SIMILAR LANGUAGE HAS BEEN INCLUDED IN SUBSEQUENT DEFENSE DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACTS. WE HELD THAT AS A RESULT OF THAT LANGUAGE DEFENSE DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATIONS WERE NO LONGER AVAILABLE TO REIMBURSE THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT FOR EDUCATIONAL SERVICES FURNISHED TO WIVES OF DOD PERSONNEL. 38 COMP. GEN. 408 (1958). THIS ANNUAL RESTRICTION THAT THE DEPENDENT BE A MINOR BY ITS TERMS IS APPLICABLE ONLY TO APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE.

IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY APPLICABLE RESTRICTIVE DEFINITION, WE THINK THE TERM DEPENDENT SHOULD BE ACCORDED ITS NORMAL COMMON MEANING. DEPENDENT IS DEFINED BY BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY (4TH ED.) AS ONE "WHO DERIVES SUPPORT FROM ANOTHER" AND "WHO RELIES ON ANOTHER FOR SUPPORT OR FAVOR." SUCH A DEFINITION DOES NOT INCLUDE ANY AGE LIMITATION, BUT RATHER IS BASED ON SPECIFIC SITUATIONS OF FACTUAL DEPENDENCY.

IT IS OUR OPINION, THEREFORE, THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF A STATUTORY OR VALID REGULATORY DEFINITION OF DEPENDENT CHILD WHICH PROVIDES OTHERWISE, A CHILD NEED NOT BE UNDER THE AGE OF 21 TO COME WITHIN THE TERM "DEPENDENTS" AS USED IN THE CIVIL FUNCTIONS APPROPRIATION ACT, 1954, AS AMENDED, IF ACTUAL DEPENDENCY IS ESTABLISHED. YOUR QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

WITH RESPECT TO THE INVOICE FOR MEDICAL SERVICES FURNISHED TO YOUR EMPLOYEE'S 21-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER, WE NOTE THE STATEMENT THEREON THAT SHE IS A "FULL-TIME COLLEGE STUDENT UNDER 23 YEARS OF AGE." SUCH A STATEMENT DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY ESTABLISH DEPENDENCY UNDER THE CIVIL FUNCTIONS APPROPRIATION ACT, 1954, AS AMENDED. FURTHERMORE, THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT THE INVOICED AMOUNT REPRESENTS UNRECOVERED COSTS OVER AND ABOVE THE AMOUNT PAYABLE BY THE EMPLOYEE OR HIS DEPENDENT RECEIVING THE SERVICES, AS REQUIRED BY THE STATUTE. YOUR AGENCY IS REQUIRED TO REIMBURSE THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT ONLY FOR THE ACTUAL COSTS OF THE SERVICES PROVIDED LESS THE STANDARD CHARGE TO THE EMPLOYEE OR HIS DEPENDENT AS ESTABLISHED BY THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT FOR SUCH SERVICES. 34 COMP. GEN. 510, SUPRA, AND 37 ID. 107 (1957).

THE INVOICE WHICH MAY NOT PROPERLY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT UPON THE PRESENT RECORD, IS RETURNED HEREWITH. SEE 37 COMP. GEN. 107, SUPRA. ..END