[Query Concerning Civilian Earnings of Coast Guard Member]

B-207299: Oct 6, 1982

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An authorized certifying officer of the Coast Guard requested an advance decision as to whether the interim civilian earnings of a former Coast Guard member should be offset against the amount of pay and allowances determined to be due as a result of the correction of his service record. The former member's service record was corrected to show a new date of discharge, later than the original date. GAO is without authority to question the determinations of the Coast Guard Board for Correction of Military Records since, in the absence of fraud, an authorized correction is conclusive. Federal regulations provide that the agency may pay a claim for the loss of pay if, as a result of correcting a record, the amount is found to be due the claimant. The former member was legally entitled to receive backpay and allowances for the period of his extended active duty. GAO could find no express authority in law or regulation for the Coast Guard to set off the interim civilian earnings of a former member who claims backpay and allowances incident to a correction of his service records extending his active duty. Therefore, GAO held that the Coast Guard should pay the former member full pay and allowances for the period of his extended active duty. The former member's interim civilian earnings for that period should not be deducted from his entitlement. The vouchers and supporting papers in this case were returned for payment on the basis of this decision.