B-34962, JUNE 29, 1943, 22 COMP. GEN. 1139

B-34962: Jun 29, 1943

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REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER A PERSON WHO IS IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON AN OFFICER WHO IS A SON BY LEGAL ADOPTION MAY BE CONSIDERED AS A DEPENDENT MOTHER OR FATHER UNDER SECTION 4 OF THE PAY READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1942 AND. WHETHER THE FACT THAT THE OFFICER IS RELATED TO THE ADOPTIVE PARENT WOULD AFFECT THE CASE. IT SHALL ALSO INCLUDE THE FATHER OR MOTHER OF THE PERSON CONCERNED PROVIDED HE OR SHE IS IN FACT DEPENDENT ON SUCH PERSON FOR HIS OR HER CHIEF SUPPORT: PROVIDED. THAT THE TERM "CHILDREN" SHALL BE HELD TO INCLUDE STEPCHILDREN AND ADOPTED CHILDREN WHEN SUCH STEPCHILDREN OR ADOPTED CHILDREN ARE IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON THE PERSON CLAIMING DEPENDENCY ALLOWANCE. " IT IS IDENTICAL WITH SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10.

B-34962, JUNE 29, 1943, 22 COMP. GEN. 1139

RENTAL, ETC., ALLOWANCES - DEPENDENTS - ADOPTIVE PARENTS THE WORDS "FATHER" AND "MOTHER" AS USED IN SECTION 4 OF THE PAY READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1942, DEFINING THE DEPENDENTS ON ACCOUNT OF WHOM MILITARY, NAVAL, ETC., PERSONNEL MAY BE PAID INCREASED RENTAL, SUBSISTENCE, ETC., ALLOWANCES, INCLUDE ONLY THE NATURAL PARENTS OF THE PERSON CONCERNED, AND, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER THE PARTIES BE RELATED, DO NOT INCLUDE ADOPTIVE PARENTS.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, JUNE 29, 1943:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 2, 1943, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER A PERSON WHO IS IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON AN OFFICER WHO IS A SON BY LEGAL ADOPTION MAY BE CONSIDERED AS A DEPENDENT MOTHER OR FATHER UNDER SECTION 4 OF THE PAY READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1942 AND, IF SO, WHETHER THE FACT THAT THE OFFICER IS RELATED TO THE ADOPTIVE PARENT WOULD AFFECT THE CASE.

SECTION 4 OF THE PAY READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1942, APPROVED JUNE 16, 1942, 56 STAT. 359, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

THE TERM "DEPENDENT" AS USED IN THE SUCCEEDING SECTIONS OF THIS ACT SHALL INCLUDE AT ALL TIMES AND IN ALL PLACES A LAWFUL WIFE AND UNMARRIED CHILDREN UNDER TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE. IT SHALL ALSO INCLUDE THE FATHER OR MOTHER OF THE PERSON CONCERNED PROVIDED HE OR SHE IS IN FACT DEPENDENT ON SUCH PERSON FOR HIS OR HER CHIEF SUPPORT: PROVIDED, THAT THE TERM "CHILDREN" SHALL BE HELD TO INCLUDE STEPCHILDREN AND ADOPTED CHILDREN WHEN SUCH STEPCHILDREN OR ADOPTED CHILDREN ARE IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON THE PERSON CLAIMING DEPENDENCY ALLOWANCE.

SO FAR AS THE STATUTE DEFINES THE TERM "DEPENDENT" AS INCLUDING THE "MOTHER OF THE PERSON CONCERNED," IT IS IDENTICAL WITH SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, 42 STAT. 627, WHICH IS AS FOLLOWS:

THAT THE TERM "DEPENDENT" AS USED IN THE SUCCEEDING SECTIONS OF THIS ACT SHALL INCLUDE AT ALL TIMES AND IN ALL PLACES A LAWFUL WIFE AND UNMARRIED CHILDREN UNDER TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE. IT SHALL ALSO INCLUDE THE MOTHER OF THE OFFICER PROVIDED SHE IS IN FACT DEPENDENT ON HIM FOR HER CHIEF SUPPORT.

THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1929, 45 STAT. 1254, EXTENDED THE PROVISIONS OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED SECTION OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, TO INCLUDE STEPCHILDREN AND ADOPTED CHILDREN. HOWEVER, IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT NO CHANGE OR EXTENSION IN MEANING WAS GIVEN TO THE TERM "MOTHER" AS USED IN SUCH ACT.

IT CONSISTENTLY HAS BEEN HELD BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS, BOTH PRIOR AND SUBSEQUENT TO THE AMENDMENT OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, SUPRA, THAT THE TERM "MOTHER" AS USED IN THE BASIC ACT HAD REFERENCE ONLY TO THE "NATURAL MOTHER" OF THE PERSON CONCERNED. A-4662, AUGUST 27, 1924; A-21044, JANUARY 14, 1928; A-65294, SEPTEMBER 19, 1935; A-75357, JUNE 1, 1936; B- 18028, SEPTEMBER 16, 1941; B-19610, SEPTEMBER 16, 1941. B 31843, JANUARY 29, 1943; AND 21 COMP. GEN. 648. CF. JACKSON V. ALEXIOU ( KY), 56 A.L.R. 1345; MOUNT V. TREMONT LBR. CO. ( LA), 16 L.R.A.N.S. 199; AND MCKINNEY V. MINKLER, 102 S.W. (2D) 273.

THAT SUCH WAS THE MEANING INTENDED BY THE CONGRESS IS SUPPORTED BY THE ENACTMENT OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1929, SUPRA, AMENDING THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, BY SPECIFICALLY DEFINING THE TERM ,DEPENDENTS" TO INCLUDE STEPCHILDREN AND ADOPTED CHILDREN. HAD THE CONGRESS INTENDED THAT THE ALLOWANCES BE AUTHORIZED IN THE CASE OF A DEPENDENT MOTHER OTHER THAN A NATURAL MOTHER, IT IS ONLY REASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT IT WOULD HAVE PROVIDED SO SPECIFICALLY IN THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, OR THE AMENDMENT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1929. FURTHER SUPPORT TO SUCH A VIEW APPEARS IN THE ENACTMENT OF THE ACT OF JUNE 16, 1942, SUPRA, WHEREIN IT IS PROVIDED THAT THE TERM "CHILDREN," UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDES STEPCHILDREN AND ADOPTED CHILDREN. IN THIS STATUTE, LIKEWISE, NO CHANGE OR EXTENSION IN MEANING WAS GIVEN THE TERM "MOTHER," ALTHOUGH BENEFITS GRANTED THEREUNDER WERE EXTENDED TO INCLUDE ALLOWANCES ON ACCOUNT OF A DEPENDENT FATHER.

IN THIS CONNECTION, IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT WHEN THE CONGRESS HAS INTENDED THAT THE WORDS ,PARENT, IT HAS EXPRESSLY SO PROVIDED. THUS, THE SERVICEMEN'S DEPENDENTS ALLOWANCE ACT OF 1942, APPROVED JUNE 23, 1942, 56 STAT. 385--- WHICH WAS BEFORE THE SENATE MILITARY AFFAIRS COMMITTEE AT THE TIME OF THE ENACTMENT OF THE ACT OF JUNE 16, 1942, SUPRA--- SPECIFICALLY DEFINES THE TERM ,PARENT" TO INCLUDE OTHER THAN THE NATURAL PARENT. ALSO, SEE THE WORLD WAR ADJUSTED COMPENSATION ACT OF MAY 19, 1924, 43 STAT. 121, 130, AND THE NATIONAL SERVICE LIFE INSURANCE ACT OF OCTOBER 8, 1940, 54 STAT. 1008, 1010, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 11, 1942, 56 STAT. 659, WHEREIN THE TERMS ,PARENT," "MOTHER," AND "FATHER" ARE SPECIFICALLY DEFINED TO INCLUDE OTHER THAN THE NATURAL PARENT.

FOR REASONS ABOVE STATED, BOTH QUESTIONS PRESENTED ARE ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.