B-174969, FEB 22, 1972

B-174969: Feb 22, 1972

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IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO CONSIDER THE MERITS OF MRS. WILSON'S CLAIM SINCE THE RECORDS PERTAINING TO THE SUBJECT GRATUITY WERE DESTROYED PURSUANT TO 44 U.S.C. 3303. YOU HAVE SUBMITTED COPIES OF CORRESPONDENCE FROM THE NAVY DEPARTMENT DATED SEPTEMBER 3 AND OCTOBER 24. THAT YOU WERE NAMED AS SECOND BENEFICIARY. YOU WERE INFORMED THAT IF YOU WERE DEPENDENT OR PARTIALLY DEPENDENT UPON YOUR BROTHER AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH. YOU WERE SENT A BLANK FORM ON WHICH TO MAKE YOUR CLAIM. IN YOUR LETTER YOU ALSO SAY THAT YOUR MOTHER IS STILL LIVING. THAT BECAUSE OF THE STATE OF HER HEALTH YOU HAVE NOT DISCUSSED THIS MATTER WITH HER. THE ORIGINAL FILE PERTAINING TO THE GRATUITY PAYABLE IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR BROTHER'S DEATH WAS DESTROYED.

B-174969, FEB 22, 1972

MILITARY PERSONNEL - DEATH GRATUITY - ENTITLEMENT OF BENEFICIARY - DESTRUCTION OF RECORDS - BARRING ACT DECISION AFFIRMING PRIOR DENIAL OF A CLAIM OF KATHLEEN C. WILSON FOR SIX- MONTH DEATH GRATUITY AS A BENEFICIARY OF HER BROTHER, OLLIE P. CORSBIE, WHO DIED ON JULY 17, 1924, WHILE SERVING IN THE NAVY. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO CONSIDER THE MERITS OF MRS. WILSON'S CLAIM SINCE THE RECORDS PERTAINING TO THE SUBJECT GRATUITY WERE DESTROYED PURSUANT TO 44 U.S.C. 3303. FURTHER, THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. 71A, 237, BAR CONSIDERATION OF ALL CLAIMS RECEIVED BY GAO AFTER TEN FULL YEARS FROM THE DATE OF ACCRUAL.

TO MRS. KATHLEEN C. WILSON:

IN YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 22, 1971, YOU IN EFFECT REQUEST REVIEW OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 17, 1971, DENYING YOUR CLAIM FOR SIX- MONTH DEATH GRATUITY AS BENEFICIARY OF YOUR BROTHER, OLLIE P. CORSBIE, WHO DIED ON JULY 17, 1924, WHILE SERVING IN THE UNITED STATES NAVY.

YOU HAVE SUBMITTED COPIES OF CORRESPONDENCE FROM THE NAVY DEPARTMENT DATED SEPTEMBER 3 AND OCTOBER 24, 1925, WHICH INDICATE THAT YOUR BROTHER, OLLIE PAUL CORSBIE, CARPENTER'S MATE 2C, USN, HAD DESIGNATED YOUR MOTHER, MRS. NANCY LEE CORSBIE, AS FIRST BENEFICIARY TO RECEIVE PAYMENT OF SIX- MONTH DEATH GRATUITY UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1920, AND THAT YOU WERE NAMED AS SECOND BENEFICIARY. ADDITIONALLY, YOU WERE INFORMED THAT IF YOU WERE DEPENDENT OR PARTIALLY DEPENDENT UPON YOUR BROTHER AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH, YOU MIGHT BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE DEATH GRATUITY, AS YOUR MOTHER HAD REFUSED TO SUBMIT A CLAIM; YOU WERE SENT A BLANK FORM ON WHICH TO MAKE YOUR CLAIM.

IN YOUR LETTER YOU ALSO SAY THAT YOUR MOTHER IS STILL LIVING, THAT BECAUSE OF THE STATE OF HER HEALTH YOU HAVE NOT DISCUSSED THIS MATTER WITH HER, BUT THAT YOU BELIEVE THAT SHE NEVER MADE CLAIM FOR THE GRATUITY.

PURSUANT TO AUTHORITY FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF OLD RECORDS, CURRENTLY CONTAINED IN 44 U.S.C. 3303, THE ORIGINAL FILE PERTAINING TO THE GRATUITY PAYABLE IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR BROTHER'S DEATH WAS DESTROYED. IN THE ABSENCE OF THESE RECORDS WE ARE NOT ABLE TO DETERMINE IF THE GRATUITY WAS PAID, NOR IS IT POSSIBLE TO CONSIDER THE MERITS OF ANY CLAIM FOR IT.

THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, CH. 788, 54 STAT. 1061, 31 U.S.C. 71A, 237, PROVIDES THAT EVERY CLAIM OR DEMAND AGAINST THE UNITED STATES COGNIZABLE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE (WITH CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS NOT APPLICABLE HERE) SHALL BE FOREVER BARRED UNLESS SUCH CLAIM BE RECEIVED IN SAID OFFICE WITHIN TEN FULL YEARS AFTER THE DATE THE CLAIM FIRST ACCRUED.

YOUR CLAIM DATED JUNE 22, 1971, WAS FORWARDED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY TO THIS OFFICE WHERE IT WAS RECEIVED ON AUGUST 13, 1971. AS CLAIMS FOR THE DEATH GRATUITY FIRST ACCRUED AT THE DEATH OF YOUR BROTHER ON JULY 17, 1924, EVEN IF RECORDS WERE AVAILABLE, THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 9, 1940, WOULD BAR PAYMENT OF A CLAIM FIRST RECEIVED OVER 47 YEARS AFTER IT FIRST ACCRUED.

THEREFORE, WHILE APPRECIATING YOUR FEELINGS IN THE MATTER, WE TRUST YOU WILL UNDERSTAND THAT THE DENIAL OF YOUR CLAIM FOR SIX-MONTH DEATH GRATUITY AS BENEFICIARY OF OLLIE P. CORSBIE MUST BE SUSTAINED. SEE DECISION B- 163342, FEBRUARY 15, 1968, COPY ENCLOSED.