B-41472, OCTOBER 7, 1944, 24 COMP. GEN. 282

B-41472: Oct 7, 1944

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AS WAS THE CASE UNDER PRIOR SIMILAR ACTS. NO ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION IS REQUIRED AS TO WHETHER THERE IS OR IS NOT A DEPENDENT RELATIVE EXCEPT IN CASES IN WHICH SOMEONE. 1944: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 14. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS FORWARDED HEREWITH FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION A LETTER FROM THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES ACCOUNTS. IT WILL BE OBSERVED FROM THE ENCLOSURE THAT THE LATE LIEUTENANT (JG) SIBLEY DIED SUBSEQUENT TO THE DATE ON WHICH ENTITLEMENT TO REIMBURSEMENT ACCRUED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 27. IT WAS HELD THAT WHERE AN OFFICER OF THE NAVY. WHO WAS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY. RIGHT TO SUCH REIMBURSEMENT VESTED IN THE OFFICER PRIOR TO HIS DEATH AND THE AMOUNT TO WHICH HE WAS ENTITLED COULD BE PAID TO HIS LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES.

B-41472, OCTOBER 7, 1944, 24 COMP. GEN. 282

PROPERTY - PRIVATE - DAMAGE, LOSS, OR DESTRUCTION IN NAVAL SERVICE UNDER THE ACT OF OCTOBER 27, 1943, AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT TO CERTAIN NAVAL AND CIVILIAN PERSONNEL FOR THE LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION OF THEIR PERSONAL PROPERTY UNDER SPECIFIED CONDITIONS, AND PROVIDING FOR PAYMENT TO ANY DEPENDENT RELATIVE, AS DETERMINED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, IF THE OWNER DIES EITHER PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT TO THE LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION, PAYMENT MAY BE MADE ONLY TO A DEPENDENT RELATIVE OF A DECEASED OWNER OF PROPERTY COMING WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE STATUTE; AND, EVEN THOUGH THERE BE NO SURVIVING DEPENDENT RELATIVE, THE RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT DOES NOT PASS TO THE DECEDENT'S HEIRS OR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE, GENERALLY, AS WAS THE CASE UNDER PRIOR SIMILAR ACTS. CF. 8 COMP. DEC. 688 AND 10 COMP. GEN. 525. UNDER THE REGULATIONS ISSUED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF OCTOBER 27, 1943, WITH RESPECT TO PAYMENTS TO DEPENDENT RELATIVES FOR THE LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION OF THE PROPERTY OF DECEASED NAVAL AND CIVILIAN PERSONNEL, NO ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION IS REQUIRED AS TO WHETHER THERE IS OR IS NOT A DEPENDENT RELATIVE EXCEPT IN CASES IN WHICH SOMEONE--- OTHER THAN A WIDOW OR MINOR CHILD-- PURPORTING TO BE A DEPENDENT RELATIVE PRESENTS A CLAIM FOR THE AMOUNT INVOLVED.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, OCTOBER 7, 1944:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 14, 1944, WITH ENCLOSURES, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS FORWARDED HEREWITH FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION A LETTER FROM THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES ACCOUNTS, NAVY DEPARTMENT, DATED APRIL 5, 1944, WITH ACCOMPANYING ENDORSEMENT AND CLAIM OF THE LATE LIEUTENANT (JG) EDWIN H. SIBLEY, A-V/N) USNR, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF LOSS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY DUE TO OPERATIONS OF WAR.

IT WILL BE OBSERVED FROM THE ENCLOSURE THAT THE LATE LIEUTENANT (JG) SIBLEY DIED SUBSEQUENT TO THE DATE ON WHICH ENTITLEMENT TO REIMBURSEMENT ACCRUED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 27, 1943 ( PUBLIC LAW 176-78TH CONGRESS), ENTITLED " AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND OTHERS, IN THE NAVAL SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES FOR PROPERTY LOST, DAMAGED, OR DESTROYED IN SUCH SERVICE.'

IN 8 COMP. DEC. 688, MARCH 29, 1902, IT WAS HELD THAT WHERE AN OFFICER OF THE NAVY, WHO WAS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY, DIED PRIOR TO REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR, RIGHT TO SUCH REIMBURSEMENT VESTED IN THE OFFICER PRIOR TO HIS DEATH AND THE AMOUNT TO WHICH HE WAS ENTITLED COULD BE PAID TO HIS LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES. IN 10 COMP. GEN. 525, MAY 25, 1931, IT WAS HELD THAT WHERE AN OFFICER WAS KILLED IN THE SAME ACCIDENT IN WHICH HIS PERSONAL PROPERTY WAS LOST, RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT DID NOT VEST IN HIM PRIOR TO HIS DEATH AND THEREFORE DOES NOT BECOME A PART OF HIS PERSONAL ESTATE WHICH PASSES ON HIS DEATH TO HIS HEIRS OR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES.

YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE RULINGS ANNOUNCED IN THE CITED DECISIONS 8 COMP. DEC. 688 AND 10 COMP. GEN. 525 ARE STILL APPLICABLE IN THE SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS FOR LOSS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY WHICH COME WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 27, 1943, SUPRA.

SECTION 3 OF THE CITED ACT OF OCTOBER 27, 1943, PROVIDES THAT IN EVENT OF THE DEATH OF ANY PERSON DESIGNATED IN SECTION 1 THEREOF, WHETHER OCCURRING PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT TO THE TIME ANY LOSS, DESTRUCTION, OR DAMAGE OCCURS, REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE MADE TO ANY DEPENDENT RELATIVE AS DETERMINED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY. REGULATIONS ISSUED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY PURSUANT TO THIS PROVISION ARE CONTAINED IN 8 FEDERAL REGISTER 16931-32, WHICH DEFINE THE TERM "DEPENDENT" AS USED IN SAID SECTION 3 AS THE WIDOW OF THE PERSON ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OR, IF THERE BE NO WIDOW, THE CHILD OR CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED, OR, IF THERE BE NO WIDOW AND NO CHILD, ANY RELATIVE OF THE DECEASED PERSON WHOM THE CHIEF OF NAVAL PERSONNEL DETERMINES WAS DEPENDENT UPON THE DECEASED PERSON. IT THUS APPEARS THAT WHERE A DECEDENT IS NOT SURVIVED BY A WIFE, CHILD, OR OTHER DEPENDENT RELATIVE, THE RULINGS AS PRESCRIBED IN 10 COMP. GEN. 525 AND 8 COMP. DEC. 688 WOULD GOVERN IN THE SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS ARISING UNDER THE ACT OF OCTOBER 27, 1943. YOUR DECISION ON THIS QUESTION IS REQUESTED.

YOUR FURTHER DECISION IS REQUESTED ON THE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPHS 5 AND 6 OF THE ENCLOSED COMMUNICATION FROM THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS.

THE LETTER OF APRIL 5, 1944, FROM THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS IS ADDRESSED TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY AND IS, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS: SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL WITH REGARD TO SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY DUE TO OPERATIONS OF WAR, AND OTHER CAUSES FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS AUTHORIZED, IN THE CASE OF DECEASED PERSONS. REF: (A) DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL A 36424, DATED 25 MAY

1933 (1931) (10 COMP DEC (GEN.) 525).

(B) PUBLIC LAW 176--- 78TH CONGRESS, APPROVED OCTOBER 27, 1943.

(C) REGULATIONS OF THE SECNAV ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS

OF PUBLIC LAW 176, CONTAINED IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER,

VOLUME 8, PAGE 16931-32. ENCL: (A) APPROVED CLOTHING CLAIM OF LIEUT. (JG) EDWIN HENRY

SIBLEY, A-V (N) USNR. * * * *

4.THE CLAIM OF LIEUT. (JG) EDWIN HENRY SIBLEY, A-V (N) USNR, IS ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE CASE WHERE THE OFFICER DIED SUBSEQUENT TO THE DATE ON WHICH ENTITLEMENT TO REIMBURSEMENT ACCRUED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF REF (B). ON 12 JAN 1943 THIS OFFICER SUFFERED A LOSS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY DUE TO ATTENTION GIVEN TO THE SAVING OF LIFE AND PROPERTY BELONGING TO THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED IN ENCL (A). CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT WAS FILED ON 12 FEB 1943, THE CLAIMANT DIED ON 16 OCT 1943, AND HIS CLAIM WAS APPROVED BY THE BUREAU OF NAVAL PERSONNEL ON 14 DEC 1943. THERE IS NO WIDOW OR CHILD, AND NO DETERMINATION HAS BEEN MADE BY THE CHIEF OF NAVAL PERSONNEL AS TO WHETHER THERE IS A DEPENDENT RELATIVE.

5. IT IS REQUESTED THAT THE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS BE OBTAINED:

(A) IN THE SETTLEMENT OF THE CLAIM REPRESENTED BY ENCL (A) IS A DETERMINATION BY THE CHIEF OF NAVAL PERSONNEL THAT THERE IS OR IS NOT A DEPENDENT RELATIVE TO WHOM PAYMENT MAY BE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF REF (B) AND (C) REQUIRED?

(B) IF THE ANSWER TO (A) IS IN THE NEGATIVE, WILL ENCL (A) BE GIVEN CONSIDERATION BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN THE SETTLEMENT OF CLAIM FOR ARREARS OF PAY OF THE DECEASED OFFICER?

(C) IF THE ANSWER TO (A) IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE AND THERE IS A DEPENDENT RELATIVE, IS PAYMENT OF ENCL (A) TO SUCH DEPENDENT RELATIVE IN ORDER?

(D) IF THE ANSWER TO (A) IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE BUT IT IS FOUND THAT THERE IS NO DEPENDENT RELATIVE, WILL ENCL (A) BE GIVEN CONSIDERATION BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN THE SETTLEMENT OF CLAIM FOR ARREARS OF PAY OF THE DECEASED OFFICER?

(E) HAD THE CLAIM OF THE OFFICER BEEN APPROVED PRIOR TO HIS DEATH, BUT PAYMENT HAD NOT BEEN MADE, WOULD THE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS (A), (B), (C) AND (D) STILL HOLD?

6. IT IS ALSO REQUESTED THAT A DECISION BE OBTAINED FROM THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ON THE FOLLOWING POINT:

IF AN INDIVIDUAL SPECIFIED IN SECTION 1 OF REF (B) DIES PRIOR TO FILING CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS OF HIS PERSONAL PROPERTY UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES ENUMERATED IN SECTION 1 OF REF (B) AND THERE IS NO DEPENDENT RELATIVE OF SUCH INDIVIDUAL, SHOULD A CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH LOSS BE APPROVED BY AN AUTHORIZED OFFICER AND FORWARDED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR ETTLEMENT?

IN THE REFERRED TO DECISIONS--- 8 COMP. DEC. 688 AND 10 COMP. GEN. 525--- CONSIDERATION WAS GIVEN TO THE EFFECT OF STATUTES AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOST OR DESTROYED PRIVATE PROPERTY BELONGING TO CERTAIN PERSONNEL OF THE NAVAL SERVICE UNDER THE ACTS OF MARCH 2, 1895, 28 STAT. 962, AND OCTOBER 6, 1917, 40 STAT. 389, AS AMENDED, BUT IN NEITHER OF SAID ACTS WERE THE BENEFITS OF REIMBURSEMENT EXPRESSLY EXTENDED TO THE HEIRS OR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES OF SUCH PERSONNEL WHO MAY HAVE DIED PRIOR TO PAYMENT IN REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH LOSS OR DESTRUCTION. THE THIRD PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER CORRECTLY EPITOMIZES THE CONCLUSIONS OF SAID DECISIONS, BUT IT IS NOT CLEAR THAT EITHER OF THEM HAS ANY PROPER APPLICATION IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 27, 1943, AND THE REGULATIONS ISSUED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY IN PURSUANCE THEREOF.

THE ACT OF OCTOBER 27, 1943, PUBLIC LAW 176, 57 STAT. 582, PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

THAT THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY AND, SUBJECT TO APPEAL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, SUCH OTHER OFFICER OR OFFICERS AS HE MAY DESIGNATE FOR SUCH PURPOSES AND UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS HE MAY PRESCRIBE, ARE HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO CONSIDER, AND TO ASCERTAIN, ADJUST, DETERMINE, AND PAY ANY CLAIM FILED UNDER OATH OF THE COMMISSIONED, APPOINTED, ENROLLED, AND ENLISTED PERSONNEL OF THE NAVY AND MARINE CORPS, AND OF THE COAST GUARD WHEN OPERATING AS A PART OF THE NAVY, AND OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT, FOR LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION OF THEIR PRIVATE PERSONAL PROPERTY OCCURRING ON OR AFTER DECEMBER 7, 1941, WHEN SUCH LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION IS NOT DUE TO FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE CLAIMANT AND HAS OCCURRED OR SHALL HEREAFTER OCCUR UNDER THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES:

FIRST. WHEN THE LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION IS DUE TO OPERATIONS OF WAR, SHIPWRECK, OR OTHER MARINE DISASTER, OR THE WRECK OF AN AIRCRAFT OR OTHER DISASTER THERETO: PROVIDED, THAT THE TERM ,MARINE DISASTER" AS USED HEREIN SHALL INCLUDE AN ACCIDENT OCCURRING ON BOARD A VESSEL.

SECOND. WHEN THE LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION IS IN CONSEQUENCE OF THE SERVICEMAN OR EMPLOYEE HAVING GIVEN HIS ATTENTION TO THE SAVING OF THE LIFE OF ANOTHER, OR OF PROPERTY BELONGING TO THE UNITED STATES.

THIRD. WHEN SUCH PROPERTY IS LOST, DAMAGED, OR DESTROYED BY REASON OF BEING SHIPPED ON BOARD AN UNSEAWORTHY VESSEL BY ORDER OF AN OFFICER AUTHORIZED TO GIVE SUCH ORDER OR DIRECT SUCH HIPMENT; OR IS LOST, DAMAGED, OR DESTROYED, WHETHER OR NOT DUE TO NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL, WHILE IN SHIPMENT PURSUANT TO ORDERS ISSUED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY, BUT WHERE THE PROPERTY WAS TRANSPORTED BY A COMMON CARRIER, THE REIMBURSEMENT SHALL BE LIMITED TO THE EXTENT OF SUCH LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION OVER AND ABOVE THE AMOUNT RECOVERABLE FROM SUCH CARRIER.

FOURTH. WHEN SUCH PROPERTY IS LOST, DAMAGED, OR DESTROYED BY REASON OF BEING FURNISHED AT THE DIRECTION OF COMPETENT AUTHORITY TO ANOTHER PERSON UNDER CONDITIONS OF IMMEDIATE AND URGENT DISTRESS.

REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE MADE IN ALL SUCH CASES FOR LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION OF SUCH ARTICLES AS ARE REQUIRED TO BE POSSESSED AND USED BY OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND OTHERS IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR SERVICE OR EMPLOYMENT, AND SUCH ADDITIONAL ITEMS OF PERSONAL PROPERTY, INCLUDING MONEY OR CURRENCY, AS THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY SHALL DETERMINE TO HAVE BEEN REASONABLY AND PROPERLY IN THE PLACE WHEN THEY WERE LOST, DAMAGED, OR DESTROYED, IN CONSEQUENCE OF THE SERVICE OR EMPLOYMENT IN WHICH THE SERVICEMAN OR EMPLOYEE WAS ENGAGED: PROVIDED, THAT REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE MADE FOR LOSS OF MONEY OR CURRENCY ONLY WHEN SUCH MONEY OR CURRENCY HAS BEEN DEPOSITED FOR SAFE KEEPING AS PROVIDED BY REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY OR AS PROVIDED BY ORDERS OF THE COMMANDING OFFICER.

SEC. 2. THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY IS AUTHORIZED TO REIMBURSE THE CLAIMANT IN KIND OUT OF AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT PROPERTY, OR TO PAY THE AMOUNT DETERMINED TO BE DUE ON CLAIMS UNDER THIS ACT, OUT OF ANY APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR THE PURPOSE.

SEC. 3. SEPARATION FROM THE NAVAL SERVICE OR ESTABLISHMENT SHALL NOT BAR THE AUTHORITY TO CONSIDER, ASCERTAIN, ADJUST, DETERMINE, AND PAY ANY CLAIM OTHERWISE FALLING WITHIN THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT WHICH ACCRUED PRIOR TO SUCH SEPARATION. IN THE EVENT OF THE DEATH OF ANY PERSON DESIGNATED IN SECTION 1 HEREOF, WHETHER OCCURRING PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT TO THE TIME ANY LOSS, DESTRUCTION, OR DAMAGE OCCURS, REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE MADE TO ANY DEPENDENT RELATIVE, AS DETERMINED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY.

SEC. 4. EXISTING CLAIMS SHALL BE PRESENTED WITHIN TWO YEARS FROM THE DATE OF THIS ACT AND ALL SUCH CLAIMS HEREAFTER ARISING SHALL BE PRESENTED WITHIN TWO YEARS FROM THE OCCURRENCE OF THE LOSS, DESTRUCTION, OR DAMAGE, EXCEPT THAT ANY PERSON MISSING WHO IS NOT WILLFULLY ABSENT, OR ANY PERSON WHO IS A PRISONER IN THE HANDS OF THE ENEMY, OR WHO IS INTERNED IN A NEUTRAL COUNTRY, SHALL IN ADDITION BE ALLOWED ONE YEAR FROM THE TIME OF RETURN TO THE JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED STATES IN WHICH TO FILE SUCH CLAIM. * * * * * * * *

SEC. 9. THE SAID ACT APPROVED OCTOBER 6, 1917 (40 STAT. 389), ENTITLED " AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND OTHERS IN THE NAVAL SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES FOR PROPERTY LOST OR DESTROYED IN SUCH SERVICE," AS AMENDED, IS HEREBY REPEALED.

THE REGULATIONS DATED DECEMBER 17, 1943, PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY (8 FEDERAL REGISTER 16931-32) IN SECTION 14.1 (A) DEFINES A "CLAIM" TO MEAN ANY CLAIM FILED UNDER OATH BY COMMISSIONED, APPOINTED, ENROLLED AND ENLISTED PERSONNEL AND BY CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT FOR SUCH ARTICLES OF PERSONAL PROPERTY AS ARE REQUIRED TO BE POSSESSED AND USED BY THEM IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR SERVICE OR EMPLOYMENT AND SUCH ADDITIONAL ITEMS OF PROPERTY, INCLUDING MONEY OR CURRENCY, UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES AS THEREIN MORE PARTICULARLY DESCRIBED. SECTION 14.1 (I) OF THE REGULATIONS DEFINES "DEPENDENT RELATIVE" TO MEAN THE WIDOW OF THE PERSON ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE SAID ACT OR IF THERE BE NOR WIDOW THEN THE CHILD OR CHILDREN OF THE DECEASED PERSON WHO ARE UNDER TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE AND UNMARRIED. IT PROVIDES, ALSO, THAT IF THE DECEASED PERSON LEAVES NO WIDOW AND NO CHILD UNDER THE AGE OF TWENTY-ONE YEARS AND MARRIED,"DEPENDENT RELATIVE" MEANS ANY OTHER RELATIVE OF THE DECEASED PERSON WHOM THE CHIEF OF NAVAL PERSONNEL DETERMINES WAS DEPENDENT UPON THE DECEASED PERSON. SAID REGULATIONS FURTHER PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS: 14.2 (B) REIMBURSEMENT.--- UPON APPROVAL OF CLAIMS, REIMBURSEMENT SHALL BE MADE BY PAYMENT BY THE PAYMASTER GENERAL OF THE NAVY, OR BY DISBURSING OFFICERS, FROM THE APPROPRIATION " PAY, SUBSISTENCE AND TRANSPORTATION, NAVY" OR BY REIMBURSEMENT IN KIND OF SUPPLY OFFICERS OF THE NAVY, AS PROVIDED IN INSTRUCTIONS ISSUED BY THE CHIEF OF NAVAL PERSONNEL.

14.7 DEATH OF CLAIMANT.--- IN THE EVENT OF ANY PERSON ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT UNDER SUBJECT ACT, WHETHER SUCH DEATH OCCURS PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT TO THE TIME OF THE LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION, REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH LOSS, DAMAGE, OR DESTRUCTION MAY BE MADE TO A DEPENDENT RELATIVE OF SUCH DECEASED PERSON. IN THE DECISION OF MAY 25, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 525, WHICH INVOLVED THE CLAIM OF THE WIDOW FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE LOSS OF A WATCH BELONGING TO HER OFFICER HUSBAND WHO LOST HIS LIFE IN THE AIRPLANE ACCIDENT WHICH CAUSED THE LOSS OF HIS PERSONAL PROPERTY, REFERENCE WAS MADE TO A RULING OF THE SECOND COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY IN CONSIDERING SECTION 290 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, PROVIDING FOR COMPENSATING OFFICERS OF THE NAVY AND MARINE CORPS FOR THEIR PERSONAL EFFECTS UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, WHEREIN IT WAS HELD:

THE LAW PROVIDING COMPENSATION FOR LOSS OF PERSONAL EFFECTS (SECTION 290 OF THE REVISED STATUTES) APPLIES ONLY TO THE OFFICER HIMSELF, EXCEPT IN CASE OF THE DEATH OF THE OFFICER SUBSEQUENT TO THE DATE OF THE LOSS OF THE EFFECTS, IN WHICH CASE IT MAY BE PAID TO THE HEIRS. BUT THE HEIRS CANNOT BE PAID AN INDEMNITY FOR THE LOSS OF EFFECTS WHERE THE OFFICER LOST HIS LIFE BY THE SAME CASUALTY THAT CAUSED THE LOSS OF THE EFFECTS. ( DIGEST DEC. SECOND COMP., VOL. 3, SEC. 784.)

AFTER REFERRING TO THE CONCLUSION IN 8 COMP. DEC. 688, IN WHICH IT WAS HELD THAT REIMBURSEMENT WAS AUTHORIZED TO THE HEIRS OF AN OFFICER WHO DIED SUBSEQUENT TO THE LOSS OF HIS PRIVATE PROPERTY, IT WAS STATED, 10 COMP. GEN 525, 527, AS FOLLOWS:

APPARENTLY THE REASONS OF THE ABOVE HOLDINGS ARE THAT WHERE THE RIGHT OF THE OFFICER TO REIMBURSEMENT HAS VESTED SUCH VESTED RIGHT ON HIS DEATH PASSES TO HIS HEIRS OR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES AS A PART OF HIS PERSONAL ESTATE, BUT WHERE THE OFFICER IS KILLED IN THE SAME ACCIDENT IN WHICH HIS PERSONAL PROPERTY IS LOST, THE RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT DOES NOT VEST IN THE OFFICER AND THEREFORE DOES NOT BECOME A PART OF HIS ESTATE WHICH PASSES ON HIS DEATH TO HIS HEIRS OR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES.

THE RIGHT OF THE WIDOW OF LIEUTENANT THOMPSON UNDER THE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, AS AMENDED, IS AS HIS HEIR OR DISTRIBUTEE OF HIS ESTATE. THE DESTRUCTION OF LIEUTENANT THOMPSON'S WATCH AND HIS DEATH APPARENTLY OCCURRED AT THE SAME TIME. AS HIS RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE ACT DID NOT VEST IN HIM PRIOR TO HIS DEATH, SUCH RIGHT WAS NOT A PART OF HIS ESTATE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH, AND, THEREFORE, DID NOT PASS TO HIS HEIRS OR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES.

UNLIKE THE PRIOR STATUTES COVERING, GENERALLY, THE SAME SUBJECT MATTER, THE ACT OF OCTOBER 27, 1943, BY SECTION 3 THEREOF, EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT TO ANY DEPENDENT RELATIVE, AS DETERMINED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, IN THE EVENT OF THE DEATH OF ANY PERSON DESIGNATED IN SECTION (1) OF THE ACT, WHETHER DEATH OCCURS PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT TO THE TIME OF LOSS, DAMAGE OR DESTRUCTION, AND WHILE THE REFERENCE TO SECTION (1) PROBABLY COULD BE VIEWED AS LIMITING REIMBURSEMENT TO THE CLASS OF PERSONS THEREIN ENUMERATED WHO HAD FILED A CLAIM UNDER OATH, IT SEEMS EVIDENT THAT SUCH AN INTERPRETATION WOULD BE AT VARIANCE WITH THE PLAIN PURPOSE SOUGHT TO BE ACCOMPLISHED BY SECTION 3. OBVIOUSLY, IF DEATH OCCURS PRIOR TO THE LOSS, DAMAGE OR DESTRUCTION, THE PERSON TO WHOM THE PROPERTY BELONGS COULD NOT HAVE FILED A CLAIM UNDER OATH FOR REIMBURSEMENT. IT APPEARS CLEAR, THEREFORE, THAT WHILE THE SAID ACT OF OCTOBER 27, 1943, IN THIS RESPECT IS BROADER IN TERMS THAN ITS ANTECEDENTS IN THAT REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE MADE TO ANY DEPENDENT RELATIVE AS DETERMINED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, EVEN IN THOSE CASES WHERE THE DEATH OF THE PERSON DESIGNATED IN SECTION (1) OCCURS PRIOR TO THE LOSS, DAMAGE OR DESTRUCTION TO THE PERSONAL PROPERTY, INASMUCH AS A SPECIFIC LIMITATION HAS BEEN PLACED UPON THE CLASS OF BENEFICIARIES WHO MAY BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER THE LOSS, DESTRUCTION OR DAMAGE TO THE PERSONAL PROPERTY OCCURS PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT TO THE DEATH OF THE PERSON TO WHOM THE PROPERTY BELONGED, IT NO LONGER LAWFULLY MAY BE HELD, SUBSEQUENT TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE ACT, THAT THE ESTATE OR HEIRS GENERALLY OF THE DECEASED PERSON DESIGNATED IN SECTION (1) ARE ENTITLED TO BENEFITS UNDER SECTION (3) THEREOF EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY MAY BE A DEPENDENT RELATIVE AS DETERMINED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY.

WITH RESPECT TO THE QUESTIONS CONTAINED IN THE 4TH AND 5TH PARAGRAPHS OF YOUR LETTER, IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT THE DECISIONS REFERRED TO DID NOT PRESUME TO DETERMINE ANYTHING MORE THAN THAT IF THE RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT WAS VESTED IN THE OFFICER OR ENLISTED MAN PRIOR TO HIS DEATH, SUCH RIGHT CONSTITUTED AN ASSET OF HIS ESTATE AND NECESSARILY SURVIVED TO HIS HEIRS OR LEGAL REPRESENTATIVES. SAID DECISIONS DID NOT PRESUME TO QUALIFY OR SPECIFY ANY RELATIONSHIP OF SAID HEIRS AS A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO PAYMENT. AS HEREINBEFORE INDICATED, HOWEVER, THE ACT OF OCTOBER 27, 1943, WORKS A MATERIAL MODIFICATION IN RESTRICTING REIMBURSEMENT TO A DEPENDENT RELATIVE SPECIFIED IN SECTION (3), THE RIGHT IN THE CASE OF DECEASED PERSONNEL ACCRUING TO A DEPENDENT RELATIVE WHETHER THE PERSON DESIGNATED IN SECTION (1) DIED PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT TO THE DATE OF LOSS. ACCORDINGLY, THE QUESTION IN THE 4TH PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE, AND THE QUESTION CONTAINED IN THE 5TH PARAGRAPH IS ANSWERED BY SAYING THAT IN SITUATIONS WHERE A DECEDENT IS NOT SURVIVED BY A DEPENDENT RELATIVE PAYMENT WOULD NOT LEGALLY BE AUTHORIZED REGARDLESS OF DATE OF DEATH OF THE PERSON DESIGNATED IN SECTION (1) OF THE ACT.

THE QUESTIONS CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH 5 IN THE LETTER OF THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS ARE REPEATED SERIATIM AND ANSWERED IN THAT ORDER, AS FOLLOWS:

(A) IN THE SETTLEMENT OF THE CLAIM REPRESENTED BY ENCL (A) IS A DETERMINATION BY THE CHIEF OF NAVAL PERSONNEL THAT THERE IS OR IS NOT A DEPENDENT RELATIVE TO WHOM PAYMENT MAY BE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF REFS (B) AND (C) REQUIRED?

UNDER THE REGULATIONS HERE APPLICABLE, THE CHIEF OF NAVAL PERSONNEL IS NOT REQUIRED TO MAKE A DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER THERE IS OR IS NOT A DEPENDENT RELATIVE EXCEPT IN CASES IN WHICH SOMEONE--- OTHER THAN A WIDOW OR UNMARRIED CHILD UNDER 21 YEARS OF AGE--- PURPORTING TO BE A DEPENDENT RELATIVE PRESENTS A CLAIM FOR THE AMOUNT INVOLVED. SINCE, IN THE PRESENT CASE, IT APPEARS THAT THE OFFICER WAS NOT SURVIVED BY A WIDOW OR CHILD AND THAT NO CLAIM HAS BEEN PRESENTED BY ANY PERSON PURPORTING TO BE A DEPENDENT RELATIVE OF THE OFFICER, THIS QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

(B) IF THE ANSWER TO (A) IS IN THE NEGATIVE, WILL ENCL (A) BE GIVEN CONSIDERATION BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN THE SETTLEMENT OF CLAIM FOR ARREARS OF PAY OF THE DECEASED OFFICER?

FOR REASONS HEREINBEFORE STATED, THIS QUESTION, ALSO, IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

(C) IF THE ANSWER TO (A) IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE AND THERE IS A DEPENDENT RELATIVE, IS PAYMENT OF ENCL (A) TO SUCH DEPENDENT RELATIVE IN ORDER?

(D) IF THE ANSWER TO (A) IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE BUT IT IS FOUND THAT THERE IS NO DEPENDENT RELATIVE, WILL ENCL (A) BE GIVEN CONSIDERATION BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN THE SETTLEMENT OF CLAIM FOR ARREARS OF PAY OF THE DECEASED OFFICER?

QUESTION (A) HAVING BEEN ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE, NO ANSWER IS REQUIRED TO THESE QUESTIONS. HOWEVER, IF A CLAIM HAD BEEN PRESENTED BY SOMEONE PURPORTING TO BE A DEPENDENT RELATIVE OF THE OFFICER AND HAD THE CHIEF OF NAVAL PERSONNEL DETERMINED THAT SUCH CLAIMANT WAS A DEPENDENT RELATIVE OF THE OFFICER, QUESTION (C) WOULD BE FOR ANSWERING IN THE AFFIRMATIVE; AND, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES SUPPOSED IN QUESTION (D), THAT QUESTION WOULD BE ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

(E) HAD THE CLAIM OF THE OFFICER BEEN APPROVED PRIOR TO HIS DEATH, BUT PAYMENT HAD NOT BEEN MADE, WOULD THE ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS (A), (B), (C), AND (D) STILL HOLD?

THE CLAIM OF THE OFFICER WAS FILED PRIOR TO THE DATE OF THE ACT AND WAS APPROVED SUBSEQUENT THERETO. IT WAS AN EXISTING CLAIM, AND UNDER SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 27, 1943, 57 STAT. 583, IT WAS SUBJECT TO ADJUDICATION UNDER THE TERMS OF THAT ACT. THIS QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

THE QUESTION IN PARAGRAPH 6 OF THE LETTER OF THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.