Further Consideration of Claim for Disability Continuation Pay

B-199837: Nov 10, 1980

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A member of the Air National Guard requested reconsideration of his claim for disability continuation pay and allowances incident to his service. The Claims Group disallowed the claim on the basis that the member did not promptly report the accident and injury to the appropriate service authorities, nor did he comply with regulations which require monthly certification of his continuing disability. The member stated that he could not promptly report the injury, because he was unaware of its nature and extent until after the occurrence, and it had been corrected. He asserted that to deny payment was a disregard of the spirit of the law. Regulations provide that a member of a Reserve component is entitled to active duty pay and allowances and medical benefits commensurate with members of the Regular forces so long as he is unfit for his normal military duties as determined by medical authorities. Such entitlement is not affected by the member's resumption of his normal civilian occupation; however, should the member fail to provide current and sufficient information regarding his disability, such a failure may result in the discontinuation of the disability pay and allowances. The first official notice that the member had a service connected accident was given to the service medical authority nearly 2 years after the accident supposedly occurred and after he had been released by his civilian physician as able to perform light duty following surgery. There was nothing in the record to show that he made an effort, at any time during this period, to inform the service authority that he had an accident while on training duty. GAO did not feel that the member acted in a reasonable manner when he acquired knowledge of his condition and failed to notify appropriate service authorities for many months thereafter. Since the appropriate service authorities were effectively prevented by the member from making a reasonable contemporaneous investigation of the events of the injury, a determination of his disability, and their interconnection, the member's right to receive disability continuation pay and allowances was not established. The disallowance of the claim was sustained.