B-174260, NOV 12, 1974

B-174260: Nov 12, 1974

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CLAIM FOR PAYMENT OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MILITARY RETIRED PAY AND VETERANS COMPENSATION IS BARRED UNLESS THE CLAIM IS RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WITHIN TEN YEARS OF THE TIME THE CLAIM ACCRUES. FOR DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RETIRED MILITARY APY AND VETERANS COMPENSATION: THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE PRESIDENT BY WILLIAM C. CLAIMANT'S LETTER WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION AND ANSWER BECAUSE OF A PRIOR PARTIAL SETTLEMENT BASED ON THE FOLLOWING FACTUAL CIRCUMSTANCES AND APPLICABLE LAW. HARRISON WAS RETIRED FROM THE UNITED STATES NAVY EFFECTIVE MAY 1. IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT MR. HIS RETIRED PAY WAS RESUMED. WAS FORWARDED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AND RECEIVED THERE ON MARCH 30.

B-174260, NOV 12, 1974

CLAIM FOR PAYMENT OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MILITARY RETIRED PAY AND VETERANS COMPENSATION IS BARRED UNLESS THE CLAIM IS RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WITHIN TEN YEARS OF THE TIME THE CLAIM ACCRUES.

CLAIM BY WILLIAM C. HARRISON, AN, USN RETIRED, FOR DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RETIRED MILITARY APY AND VETERANS COMPENSATION:

THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A LETTER ADDRESSED TO THE PRESIDENT BY WILLIAM C. HARRISON, AN, USN RETIRED, REQUESTING PAYMENT OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE MILITARY RETIRED PAY AND VETERANS COMPENSATION FOR THE PERIOD FROM MAY 7, 1956, THROUGH MARCH 29, 1961. CLAIMANT'S LETTER WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION AND ANSWER BECAUSE OF A PRIOR PARTIAL SETTLEMENT BASED ON THE FOLLOWING FACTUAL CIRCUMSTANCES AND APPLICABLE LAW.

MR. HARRISON WAS RETIRED FROM THE UNITED STATES NAVY EFFECTIVE MAY 1, 1952. ON MARCH 1, 1955, HE WAIVED RECEIPT OF RETIRED PAY IN ORDER TO RECEIVE GREATER BENEFITS FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION. DURING THE COURSE OF AN INVESTIGATION, INITIATED BY THE NAVY FINANCE CENTER, IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT MR. HARRISON'S VETERANS ADMINISTRATION DISABILITY AWARD HAD BEEN REDUCED ON MAY 7, 1956, FROM 30 PERCENT TO 10 PERCENT, AN AMOUNT LESS THAN HIS RETIRED PAY. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE FINANCE CENTER HAD NO PREVIOUS INFORMATION, EITHER FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION OFFICE OR FROM MR. HARRISON, THAT THOSE BENEFITS HAD BEEN REDUCED. UPON RECEIPT OF THE INFORMATION, THE FINANCE CENTER, ON MARCH 19, 1971, ISSUED TO HIM A PAYMENT OF $922.02, REPRESENTING RETIRED PAY DUE HIM FROM JULY 1, 1968, THROUGH FEBRUARY 28, 1971, PAYABLE UNDER CURRENT APPROPRIATIONS. HIS RETIRED PAY WAS RESUMED, EFFECTIVE MARCH 1, 1971, ON A REGULAR MONTHLY BASIS.

SINCE THE REMAINDER OF THE CLAIM COULD NOT BE PAID FROM CURRENT APPROPRIATIONS, THE CLAIM FOR THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE RETIRED PAY DUE HIM AS A RETIRED MEMBER OF THE U.S. NAVY AND THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION COMPENSATION HE RECEIVED DURING THE PERIOD FROM MAY 7, 1956, THROUGH JUNE 30, 1968, WAS FORWARDED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AND RECEIVED THERE ON MARCH 30, 1971.

BY SETTLEMENT DATED JUNE 16, 1971, THE CLAIMS DIVISION (NOW TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION) ALLOWED HIM $2,028.15 FOR THE PERIOD FROM MARCH 30, 1961, THROUGH JUNE 30, 1968, AND DISALLOWED THAT PORTION OF HIS CLAIM FOR THE PERIOD PRIOR TO MARCH 30, 1961, FOR THE REASON THAT CLAIM FOR SUCH PERIOD IS FOREVER BARRED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, CH. 788, 54 STAT. 1061, 31 U.S.C. 71A, 237.

THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"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 ***."

THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE BARRING ACT IS TO RELIEVE THE GOVERNMENT OF THE NECESSITY OF RETAINING AND GOING BACK OVER OLD RECORDS FOR THE PURPOSE OF SETTLING STALE CLAIMS. NO MATTER HOW MERITORIOUS A CLAIM MAY BE, THIS OFFICE MAY MAKE NO EXCEPTION TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE NOR MAY ANY EXTENSION OF TIME BE GRANTED WITHIN WHICH CLAIMS MAY BE FILED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.

THUS, MR. HARRISON RECEIVED PAYMENT ONLY FOR THE PERIOD MARCH 30, 1961 THROUGH FEBRUARY 28, 1971. EVEN THOUGH THE CLAIMANT DID NOT RECEIVE ALL OF THE RETIRED PAY TO WHICH HE WAS ENTITLED, THIS OFFICE IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO CONSIDER THAT PORTION OF THE CLAIM FOR THE PERIOD PRIOR TO MARCH 30, 1961, SINCE THE CLAIM WAS NOT RECEIVED HERE UNTIL MARCH 30, 1971, MORE THAN 10 FULL YEARS FROM THE DATE THE CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED.

ACCORDINGLY, THE ACTION TAKEN BY OUR TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION IS CORRECT AND IS SUSTAINED.