B-179999, MAY 1, 1974

B-179999: May 1, 1974

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

BOTH OF WHICH WERE INDICATED TO BE MUSTERING-OUT PAY. FIRST IS CLAIMED TO BE REENLISTMENT BONUS UNDER 37 U.S.C. 238 (1952 ED.). WHO WAS SERVING IN AN ORIGINAL ENLISTMENT WHEN HE VOLUNTARILY EXTENDED. WAS NOT ENTITLED TO EITHER A REENLISTMENT BONUS OR AN EXTENSION BONUS AND SINCE THE PROVISIONS OF TITLE V OF PUBLIC LAW 82-550 AUTHORIZES ONLY ONE MUSTERING-OUT PAY PAYMENT TO A MEMBER. ACTION TO RECOUP THE SECOND PAYMENT AS AN OVERPAYMENT WAS PROPER. HUEBNER: THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO AN APPEAL BY MR. WHICH WAS DETERMINED BY THE U.S. WAS IN FACT A REENLISTMENT BONUS PAID HIM FOR A 1-YEAR EXTENSION OF HIS ENLISTMENT AND. DID NOT CONSTITUTE AN OVERPAYMENT AND SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN COLLECTED BACK FROM HIM.

B-179999, MAY 1, 1974

WHERE FORMER MEMBER RECEIVED TWO $300 PAYMENTS, BOTH OF WHICH WERE INDICATED TO BE MUSTERING-OUT PAY, BUT FIRST IS CLAIMED TO BE REENLISTMENT BONUS UNDER 37 U.S.C. 238 (1952 ED.) BASED ON A ONE-YEAR EXTENSION OF A TWO-YEAR ENLISTMENT, SINCE MEMBER, WHO WAS SERVING IN AN ORIGINAL ENLISTMENT WHEN HE VOLUNTARILY EXTENDED, WAS NOT ENTITLED TO EITHER A REENLISTMENT BONUS OR AN EXTENSION BONUS AND SINCE THE PROVISIONS OF TITLE V OF PUBLIC LAW 82-550 AUTHORIZES ONLY ONE MUSTERING-OUT PAY PAYMENT TO A MEMBER, ACTION TO RECOUP THE SECOND PAYMENT AS AN OVERPAYMENT WAS PROPER.

TO MR. GEORGE W. HUEBNER:

THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO AN APPEAL BY MR. GEORGE W. HUEBNER FROM ACTION TAKEN BY THE TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE IN CONNECTION WITH OVERPAYMENTS OF MUSTERING-OUT PAY AND LEAVE INCIDENT TO HIS SERVICE IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY FROM AUGUST 6, 1951, THROUGH JULY 27, 1954.

MR. HUEBNER CONTENDS THAT A PAYMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $300, RECEIVED BY HIM ON AUGUST 5, 1953, WHICH WAS DETERMINED BY THE U.S. ARMY FINANCE SUPPORT AGENCY TO BE MUSTERING-OUT PAY, WAS IN FACT A REENLISTMENT BONUS PAID HIM FOR A 1-YEAR EXTENSION OF HIS ENLISTMENT AND, AS SUCH, DID NOT CONSTITUTE AN OVERPAYMENT AND SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN COLLECTED BACK FROM HIM.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT MR. HUEBNER WAS INDUCTED INTO THE ARMY ON AUGUST 6, 1951, FOR A 2-YEAR PERIOD AND THAT HE EXTENDED HIS ENLISTMENT UNTIL JULY 27, 1954, AT THE TIME HIS INITIAL ENLISTMENT EXPIRED AUGUST 5, 1953. THE RECORDS INDICATE THAT HIS PAY ACCOUNT WAS CREDITED WITH A $300 MUSTERING-OUT PAYMENT IN 1953 AND ANOTHER MUSTERING-OUT PAYMENT OF $300 AT THE TIME OF HIS FINAL SEPARATION ON JULY 27, 1954. THE ERROR WAS DISCOVERED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN AN AUDIT OF MR. HUEBNER'S PAY ACCOUNT WHICH WAS PERFORMED IN 1954. MR. HUEBNER, ON BEING INFORMED OF THE $300 OVERPAYMENT, REPAID THAT AMOUNT TO THE ARMY.

SUBSEQUENTLY, AN ERROR IN THE COMPUTATION OF MR. HUEBNER'S LEAVE WAS DISCOVERED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN 1957. IT APPEARS THAT DURING THE PERIOD AUGUST 6, 1953, TO JULY 27, 1954, MR. HUEBNER ACCRUED 30 DAYS LEAVE. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT HE USED 5 DAYS OF LEAVE DURING THE PERIOD DECEMBER 31, 1953, THROUGH JANUARY 4, 1954, WHICH SHOULD HAVE LEFT A BALANCE OF 25 DAYS. HOWEVER, AT THE TIME OF HIS DISCHARGE HE WAS PAID FOR 53 DAYS OF LEAVE, RESULTING IN AN OVERPAYMENT OF $169.42. WHILE THE RECORD IS NOT ENTIRELY CLEAR AS TO THE AMOUNT REPAID BY MR. HUEBNER, IT IS ASSUMED HE REPAID THE ENTIRE AMOUNT.

BY LETTER DATED DECEMBER 6, 1971, MR. HUEBNER WROTE TO THE NATIONAL PERSONNEL RECORDS CENTER, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, AND REQUESTED A REVIEW OF HIS RECORD AND A REFUND OF ANY AMOUNT FOUND DUE. HIS CLAIM WAS FORWARDED BY THE UNITED STATES ARMY FINANCE SUPPORT AGENCY TO THE TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE AND RECEIVED HERE SEPTEMBER 28, 1972.

BY LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 26, 1973, THE TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE INFORMED MR. HUEBNER THAT SINCE IT APPEARS THAT THE ABOVE OVERPAYMENTS WERE PROPERLY COMPUTED AND SINCE IT APPEARS THAT THE AMOUNT WAS REPAID IN FULL NO FURTHER ACTION MAY BE GIVEN THE MATTER.

WITH REGARD TO THE MEMBER'S CLAIM THAT THE $300 PAYMENT RECEIVED BY HIM IN 1953 WAS A REENLISTMENT BONUS, THE PROVISIONS OF LAW GOVERNING ENTITLEMENT TO A REENLISTMENT BONUS, WHICH WERE IN EFFECT AT THAT TIME, WERE CONTAINED IN 37 U.S.C. 238 (1952 ED.). SUBSECTION (A) OF THAT SECTION PROVIDED IN PERTINENT PART THAT A LUMP SUM REENLISTMENT BONUS OF $40, $90, $160, $250 OR $360, SHALL BE PAID UPON REENLISTMENT FOR A PERIOD OF TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE OR SIX YEARS, RESPECTIVELY. HOWEVER, NOTHING IS CONTAINED THEREIN WHICH PURPORTS TO AUTHORIZE A REENLISTMENT BONUS FOR A ONE-YEAR EXTENSION OF AN ENLISTMENT. THE ONLY PROVISIONS OF SECTION 238 WHICH REFER TO AND AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF AN EXTENSION BONUS ARE THOSE CONTAINED IN SUBSECTION 238(C), WHICH AUTHORIZES PAYMENT OF AN EXTENSION BONUS OF $20 PER YEAR TO ENLISTED MEMBERS WHO HAVE ALREADY REENLISTED AND WHO EXTEND THEIR REENLISTMENT TO ONE OF THE LONGER REENLISTMENT PERIODS PRESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (A), WHICH, IN EFFECT, CREATED AN AMENDED REENLISTMENT CONTRACT. SEE ANSWER TO QUESTION 4, 30 COMP. GEN. 109 (1950).

THE RECORD IN THE MEMBER'S CASE INDICATES THAT HE WAS SERVING IN AN ORIGINAL ENLISTMENT WHEN HE VOLUNTARILY EXTENDED THAT ENLISTMENT PERIOD FOR ONE YEAR. THEREFORE, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE MEMBER WAS NOT ENTITLED TO RECEIVE EITHER A REENLISTMENT BONUS OR AN EXTENSION BONUS AT THAT TIME AND THAT THE $300 PAYMENT RECEIVED BY HIM WAS MUSTERING OUT PAY.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF TITLE V OF PUBLIC LAW 82-550, JULY 16, 1952, 66 STAT. 663, 688, A MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES WHO WAS DISCHARGED OR RELIEVED FROM ACTIVE SERVICE UNDER HONORABLE CONDITIONS, WAS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE A MUSTERING-OUT PAYMENT. IF THE MEMBER HAD PERFORMED ACTIVE SERVICE FOR 60 DAYS OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES OR IN ALASKA THE PAYMENT WAS TO BE IN THE AMOUNT OF $300.

THE ACT ALSO PROVIDED THAT A PERSON WHO WAS DISCHARGED FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENLISTMENT, REENLISTMENT, OR APPOINTMENT IN A REGULAR COMPONENT OF THE ARMED FORCES, WAS ENTITLED TO A MUSTERING-OUT PAYMENT. HOWEVER, NO MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES WAS ENTITLED TO RECEIVE MORE THAN ONE SUCH PAYMENT UNDER THE ACT.

THEREFORE, WHEN THE MEMBER WAS SUBSEQUENTLY DISCHARGED ON JULY 27, 1954, AND RECEIVED A $300 MUSTERING-OUT PAYMENT AT THAT TIME, SUCH PAYMENT CONSTITUTED THE SECOND MUSTERING-OUT PAYMENT AND SINCE THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1952, AUTHORIZED ONLY ONE MUSTERING-OUT PAYMENT, SUCH AMOUNT WAS PROPERLY FOR RECOUPMENT.

ACCORDINGLY, THE ACTION TAKEN BY OUR TRANSPORTATION AND CLAIMS DIVISION ON MR. HUEBNER'S CLAIM IS SUSTAINED.