B-43361, FEBRUARY 22, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 623

B-43361: Feb 22, 1945

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AS WELL AS CHILDREN EXCEPT WHERE THEIR FATHER IS DEAD OR THEY ARE IN FACT DEPENDENT ON THEIR MOTHER FOR THEIR CHIEF SUPPORT. 1945: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 18. OR GRANDPARENT SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN DEPENDENT UPON SUCH OFFICER. IS HEREBY AMENDED BY INSERTING BEFORE THE PERIOD AT THE END OF SECTION 1 THEREOF THE FOLLOWING WORDS: "OR AS HEREAFTER AMENDED.'" SECTION 3. THAT THE HUSBANDS OF SUCH MEMBERS SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED DEPENDENTS AND THE CHILDREN OF SUCH MEMBERS SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED DEPENDENTS UNLESS THEIR FATHER IS DEAD OR THEY ARE IN FACT DEPENDENT ON THEIR MOTHER FOR THEIR CHIEF SUPPORT. IS SURVIVED BY HUSBAND. OR GRANDPARENT SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN DEPENDENT UPON SUCH OFFICER OR ENLISTED MEMBER OF THE WOMEN'S RESERVE.

B-43361, FEBRUARY 22, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 623

SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY - HUSBANDS OR CHILDREN OF DECEASED WOMEN RESERVISTS INSOFAR AS CONCERNS SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY PAYMENTS UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 29, 1944, THE ACT OF NOVEMBER 8, 1943, WHICH EXCLUDES HUSBANDS AS DEPENDENTS OF MEMBERS OF THE WOMEN'S RESERVE OF THE NAVY, MARINE CORPS, AND COAST GUARD, FOR PURPOSES OF ALLOWANCES OR BENEFITS, AS WELL AS CHILDREN EXCEPT WHERE THEIR FATHER IS DEAD OR THEY ARE IN FACT DEPENDENT ON THEIR MOTHER FOR THEIR CHIEF SUPPORT, PRECLUDES PAYMENT TO HUSBANDS OR CHILDREN AS PREFERRED BENEFICIARIES SOLELY BY VIRTUE OF SUCH RELATIONSHIP, BUT DOES NOT PRECLUDE PAYMENTS TO CHILDREN AS PREFERRED BENEFICIARIES IF WITHIN THE EXCEPTION, OR TO HUSBANDS OR OTHER CHILDREN ON THE SAME BASIS AS OTHER NEAR RELATIVES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, FEBRUARY 22, 1945:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 18, 1944, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ACT APPROVED MARCH 29, 1944 ( PUBLIC LAW 269-78TH CONGRESS), WHICH AMENDED AND REENACTED THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY LAW AS SET FORTH IN 34 U.S.C., SUPP. III, 943, PROVIDES FOR PAYMENT OF SUCH GRATUITY TO THE WIDOW, AND IF THERE BE NO WIDOW, TO THE CHILD OR CHILDREN, AND IF THERE BE NO WIDOW OR CHILDREN, TO ANY OTHER DEPENDENT RELATIVE PREVIOUSLY DESIGNATED BY THE OFFICER, ENLISTED MAN, OR NURSE OF THE NAVY OR MARINE CORPS WHOSE DEATH OCCURS WHILE ON THE ACTIVE LIST OR ON ACTIVE DUTY, IF RETIRED, WITH A PROVISO THAT IF THERE BY NO WIDOW, CHILD, OR PREVIOUSLY DESIGNATED DEPENDENT RELATIVE, THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY SHALL CAUSE THE GRATUITY TO BE PAID TO ANY GRANDCHILD, PARENT, BROTHER OR SISTER, OR GRANDPARENT SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN DEPENDENT UPON SUCH OFFICER, ENLISTED MAN, OR NURSE PRIOR TO HIS OR HER DEATH. SECTION 1 OF THE CITED ACT PROVIDES, IN PART, THAT---

"THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY SHALL ESTABLISH REGULATIONS REQUIRING EACH OFFICER AND ENLISTED MAN OR NURSE HAVING NO WIFE OR CHILD TO DESIGNATE THE PROPER DEPENDENT RELATIVE TO WHOM THIS AMOUNT SHALL BE PAID IN CASE OF HIS OR HER DEATH.'

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 29, 1944, SUPRA, PROVIDES:

"THE ACT OF APPROVED MARCH 17, 1941, ENTITLED "AN ACT EXTENDING THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT APPROVED AUGUST 27, 1940, ENTITLED "AN ACT INCREASING THE NUMBER OF NAVAL AVIATORS IN THE LINE OF THE REGULAR NAVY AND MARINE CORPS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES" " (55 STAT. 43; 34 U.S.C., SUPP. 855C-2), IS HEREBY AMENDED BY INSERTING BEFORE THE PERIOD AT THE END OF SECTION 1 THEREOF THE FOLLOWING WORDS: "OR AS HEREAFTER AMENDED.'"

SECTION 3, SUPRA, AMENDED THE ACT OF MARCH 17, 1941 (55 STAT. 43; 34 U.S.C, III, 855C-2), SO AS TO EXTEND ANY SUBSEQUENT AMENDMENTS WITH RESPECT TO PAYMENT OF THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY TO INCLUDE OFFICERS, NURSES, WARRANT OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE NAVAL RESERVE OR MARINE CORPS RESERVE WHEN THE DEATH OF SUCH MEMBERS OCCURRED UNDER THE CONDITIONS STATED IN SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 27, 1940 (34 U.S.C. 855C-1).

THE ACT APPROVED NOVEMBER 8, 1943 (57 STAT. 586; 34 U.S.C., SUPP. III, 857E), STRUCK OUT SECTION 506 OF THE NAVAL RESERVE ACT OF 1938, AND SUBSTITUTED THEREFOR THE FOLLOWING NEW SECTION:

"SEC. 506. MEMBERS OF THE WOMEN'S RESERVE OF THE NAVY, MARINE CORPS, COAST GUARD, OR THEIR DEPENDENTS, SHALL BE ENTITLED TO ALL ALLOWANCES OR BENEFITS PROVIDED BY LAW FOR MALE OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF SUCH SERVICES WITH DEPENDENTS: PROVIDED, THAT THE HUSBANDS OF SUCH MEMBERS SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED DEPENDENTS AND THE CHILDREN OF SUCH MEMBERS SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED DEPENDENTS UNLESS THEIR FATHER IS DEAD OR THEY ARE IN FACT DEPENDENT ON THEIR MOTHER FOR THEIR CHIEF SUPPORT. THIS SECTION SHALL BE EFFECTIVE FROM JULY 30, 1942.'

THE "BENEFITS" AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 506 INCLUDE PAYMENT OF THE DEATH GRATUITY. IN THIS CONNECTION, WHEN A MEMBER OF THE WOMEN'S RESERVE DIES, AND IS SURVIVED BY HUSBAND, THE QUESTION ARISES AS TO WHETHER THE DEATH GRATUITY MAY BE PAID TO A SURVIVING DEPENDENT CHILD OR OTHER DEPENDENT RELATIVE, OR IF THERE BE NO CHILD OR PREVIOUSLY DESIGNATED DEPENDENT RELATIVE, TO ANY GRANDCHILD, PARENT, BROTHER OR SISTER, OR GRANDPARENT SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN DEPENDENT UPON SUCH OFFICER OR ENLISTED MEMBER OF THE WOMEN'S RESERVE. THE QUESTION ARISES WHETHER PAYMENT OF THE DEATH GRATUITY IN ANY SUCH CASE SHOULD PROPERLY BE DENIED TO A SURVIVING DEPENDENT CHILD OR OTHER DEPENDENT RELATIVE OF A DECEASED MEMBER OF THE WOMEN'S RESERVE, ON THE THEORY THAT THE EXISTENCE OF A WIDOW PRECLUDES SUCH PAYMENT, JUST AS THE EXISTENCE OF A WIDOW WOULD PRECLUDE PAYMENT TO ANY OTHER PERSON IN THE CASE OF A MALE MEMBER OF THE NAVAL SERVICE. SHOULD BE NOTED, HOWEVER, THAT THE TWO SITUATIONS MENTIONED ARE NOT ENTIRELY PARALLEL, SINCE PAYMENT OF THE DEATH GRATUITY IN THE CASE OF DECEASED MALE MEMBER OF THE SERVICE IS LIMITED TO THE WIDOW PRIMARILY BECAUSE SHE IS LEGALLY A DEPENDENT IN ALMOST EVERY CASE, WHEREAS, THE HUSBAND OF A MEMBER OF THE WOMEN'S RESERVE MAY NOT, UNDER THE LAW, BE CONSIDERED AS A DEPENDENT.

IT APPEARS TO THE NAVY DEPARTMENT THAT THE EXISTENCE OF A SURVIVING HUSBAND IN A CASE AS ABOVE DESCRIBED SHOULD NOT NECESSARILY PREVENT PAYMENT OF THE DEATH GRATUITY TO A CHILD OR OTHER RELATIVE WHO WAS IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON A MEMBER OF THE WOMEN'S RESERVE. IF THE SURVIVING HUSBAND OF A MEMBER OF THE WOMEN'S RESERVE IS INCAPACITATED AND THE DECEDENT ALSO IS SURVIVED BY A CHILD OR CHILDREN OR OTHER RELATIVES WHO WERE IN FACT DEPENDENT ON HER AND ON WHOSE ACCOUNT SHE HAD BEEN RECEIVING INCREASED ALLOWANCES, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT DENIAL OF THE DEATH GRATUITY PAYMENT TO THE CHILDREN OR OTHER DEPENDENT RELATIVES IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES WOULD NOT ONLY BE INEQUITABLE BUT CONTRARY TO THE CLEAR INTENT AND PURPOSE OF THE DEATH GRATUITY STATUTE. IN THE SAME CIRCUMSTANCES, THE CHILDREN OR OTHER DEPENDENT RELATIVES OF A DIVORCED MEMBER OF THE WOMEN'S RESERVE WHO DIES WHILE ON ACTIVE DUTY WOULD BE ENTITLED TO PAYMENT OF THE DEATH GRATUITY UNDER THE REGULATIONS TO BE ISSUED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY ON THIS SUBJECT. SUCH REGULATIONS WILL PROVIDE, INTER ALIA, THAT THE DEATH GRATUITY SHALL BE PAID, IN THE CASE OF A MEMBER OF THE WOMEN'S RESERVE WHO HAS BEEN DIVORCED, TO THE SURVIVING CHILD OR CHILDREN (WHERE THE MOTHER HAS ACTUALLY BEEN THE CHIEF SUPPORT OF SUCH CHILD OR CHILDREN SINCE DIVORCE), OR IN THE ABSENCE OF A CHILD OR CHILDREN, TO ANY OTHER DESIGNATED DEPENDENT RELATIVE.

YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE DEATH GRATUITY MAY BE PAID TO A SURVIVING CHILD OR CHILDREN OR OTHER DEPENDENT RELATIVE OF A DECEASED MEMBER OF THE WOMEN'S RESERVE WHO WAS IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON SUCH DECEDENT FOR CHIEF SUPPORT AT THE TIME OF HER DEATH AND EVEN THOUGH SHE IS SURVIVED BY A HUSBAND.

THE MATTER HAS BEEN GIVEN CAREFUL CONSIDERATION BUT NO CLEAR ANSWER TO THE QUESTIONS INVOLVED APPEARS POSSIBLE. THE DIFFICULTY ARISES THROUGH THE FACT THAT THE LANGUAGE OF THE SUBSTITUTED SECTION 506 QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER FROM THE ACT OF NOVEMBER 8, 1943, 57 STAT. 586, ORIGINATED AS SUPPLEMENTARY TO A PROPOSAL MERELY TO STRIKE OUT THE ORIGINAL SECTION 506 OF THE NAVAL RESERVE ACT OF 1938--- WHICH WOULD HAVE HAD THE EFFECT OF CONFERRING ON NAVAL WOMEN RESERVISTS THE RIGHTS TO DEATH AND DISABILITY BENEFITS PRECLUDED BY THE ORIGINAL SECTION 506- - THE SUPPLEMENTARY LANGUAGE AT FIRST BEING REGARDED AS NECESSARY TO CONFER DEPENDENCY ALLOWANCES NEGATIVED BY PRIOR DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE, WITHOUT REFERENCE TO THE ORIGINAL SECTION 506, BUT, IN THE LEGISLATIVE COURSE THROUGH THE CONGRESS, COMING TO BE REGARDED AS CONFERRING BOTH CLASSES OF RIGHTS, SO THAT IT DOES NOT APPEAR PERMISSIBLE TO DIVORCE THE RESTRICTIONS OF THE PROVISO IN THE SECTION 506, AS FINALLY ENACTED, FROM SOME APPLICATION TO SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY PAYMENTS, ALTHOUGH ANY ATTEMPT TO APPLY THE LANGUAGE LITERALLY TO SUCH PAYMENTS LEADS TO ANOMALIES NOT REASONABLY ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE CONGRESS. SEE THE REPORT OF THE HEARING BEFORE THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON NAVAL AFFAIRS, MARCH 23, 1943, ON THE BILL H.R. 1364, PAGES 679 TO 681, WHERE THE PURPOSE AND EFFECT OF STRIKING OUT THE ORIGINAL SECTION 506 TO CONFER DEATH AND DISABILITY BENEFITS WERE DISCUSSED AND ADDITIONAL LANGUAGE TO CONFER DEPENDENCY BENEFITS NEGATIVED BY PRIOR DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE WAS PROPOSED AND CONSIDERED; THE COMMITTEE REPORT ON THE SAID BILL, H.R. REPORT NO. 307, MARCH 25, 1943, WHERE THAT VIEW OF THE LANGUAGE APPEARS FAIRLY INDICATED; THE SUBSEQUENT COMMITTEE REPORT, H.R. REPORT NO. 527, JUNE 4, 1943, ON THE SUBSTITUTED BILL, H.R. 2859-- WHICH WAS FINALLY ENACTED--- CONTAINING ESSENTIALLY THE SAME LANGUAGE WITH RESPECT TO SECTION 506 AS IN THE PRIOR BILL, BUT WHERE THE COMMITTEE APPARENTLY TOOK THE VIEW THAT THE BROAD LANGUAGE OF THE PROPOSED NEW SECTION 506 WAS TO CONFER BOTH CLASSES OF RIGHTS; AND THE REPORT OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SENATE REPORT NO. 572, DECEMBER 7, 1943, ON THE COMPANION BILL, H.R. 1616, SUBSEQUENTLY ENACTED AS THE ACT OF DECEMBER 23, 1943, 57 STAT. 608, TO PUT COAST GUARD WOMEN RESERVISTS ON THE SAME BASIS AS NAVAL WOMEN RESERVISTS UNDER THE SAID ACT OF NOVEMBER 8, 1943. THE LATTER REPORT IS, IN PART, AS OLLOWS:

THE BILL WOULD ALSO ELIMINATE SECTION 406 FROM THE PRESENT LAW. THIS SECTION, WHICH PROVIDES THAT DISABILITY AND DEATH BENEFITS FOR SPARS SHALL BE THE SAME AS THOSE PRESCRIBED FOR CIVIL EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES, IS NO LONGER NECESSARY HAVING BEEN SUPERSEDED BY THE AMENDMENT, DISCUSSED ABOVE, TO THE NAVAL RESERVE ACT GRANTING TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE WOMEN'S RESERVE OF THE NAVY, MARINE CORPS, AND COAST GUARD, THE SAME ALLOWANCES AND BENEFITS AS ARE PROVIDED FOR MALE MEMBERS OF THOSE SERVICES.

IN THE LIGHT OF SUCH LEGISLATIVE HISTORY, THE CONCLUSION APPEARS REQUIRED THAT PAYMENT OF THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY IN THE CASES OF BOTH NAVAL WOMEN RESERVISTS AND COAST GUARD WOMEN RESERVISTS WAS CONSIDERED TO BE WITHIN THE AMBIT OF THE NEW SECTION 506 QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER FROM THE SAID ACT OF NOVEMBER 8, 1943. THAT SUCH IS THE ADMINISTRATIVE VIEW IS INDICATED BY THE STATEMENT IN YOUR LETTER THAT "THE "BENEFITS" AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 506 INCLUDE PAYMENT OF THE DEATH GRATUITY.' TREATING SUCH PAYMENTS AS INTENDED TO BE AUTHORIZED BY THE LANGUAGE OF THAT SECTION, RATHER THAN AS BEING AUTHORIZED INDEPENDENTLY THEREOF UPON STRIKING OUT THE ORIGINAL SECTION 506 (AND THE COMPARABLE SECTION 406 IN THE COAST GUARD AUXILIARY AHD RESERVE ACT), THE QUESTION ARISES AS TO HOW SUCH DEATH GRATUITY PAYMENTS ARE AFFECTED BY THE PROVISO IN THE NEW SECTION 506, AS FOLLOWS:

PROVIDED, THAT THE HUSBANDS OF SUCH MEMBERS SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED DEPENDENTS AND THE CHILDREN OF SUCH MEMBERS SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED DEPENDENTS UNLESS THEIR FATHER IS DEAD OR THEY ARE IN FACT DEPENDENT ON THEIR MOTHER FOR THEIR CHIEF SUPPORT.

THE NAVY SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY STATUTE OF JUNE 4, 1940, 41 STAT. 824, AS AMENDED BY THE ACTS OF MAY 22, 1928, 45 STAT. 710, AND MARCH 7, 1942, 56 STAT. 146, 34 U.S.C. SUPP. III 943 (APPLICABLE, ALSO, TO THE COAST GUARD), WAS REENACTED, WITH FURTHER AMENDMENTS, BY THE ACT OF MARCH 29, 1944, 58 STAT. 129, PUBLIC LAW 269, TO READ, IN MATERIAL PART, AS FOLLOWS:

IMMEDIATELY UPON OFFICIAL NOTIFICATION OF THE DEATH FROM WOUNDS OR DISEASE, NOT THE RESULT OF HIS OR HER OWN MISCONDUCT, OF ANY OFFICER, ENLISTED MAN, OR NURSE ON THE ACTIVE LIST OF THE REGULAR NAVY OR REGULAR MARINE CORPS, OR ON THE RETIRED LIST WHEN ON ACTIVE DUTY, THE PAYMASTER GENERAL OF THE NAVY SHALL CAUSE TO BE PAID TO THE WIDOW, AND IF THERE BE NO WIDOW, TO THE CHILD OR CHILDREN, AND IF THERE BE NO WIDOW OR CHILD, TO ANY OTHER DEPENDENT RELATIVE OF SUCH OFFICER, ENLISTED MAN, OR NURSE PREVIOUSLY DESIGNATED BY HIM OR HE, AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO SIX MONTHS' PAY AT THE RATE RECEIVED BY SUCH OFFICER, ENLISTED MAN, OR NURSE AT THE DATE OF HIS OR HER DEATH. THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY SHALL ESTABLISH REGULATIONS REQUIRING EACH OFFICER AND ENLISTED MAN OR NURSE HAVING NO WIFE OR CHILD TO DESIGNATE THE PROPER DEPENDENT RELATIVE TO WHOM THIS AMOUNT SHALL BE PAID IN CASE OF HIS OR HER DEATH. SAID AMOUNT SHALL BE PAID FROM FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR THE PAY OF THE NAVY AND PAY OF THE MARINE CORPS, RESPECTIVELY: PROVIDED, THAT IF THERE BE NO WIDOW, CHILD, OR PREVIOUSLY DESIGNATED DEPENDENT RELATIVE, THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY SHALL CAUSE THE AMOUNT HEREIN PROVIDED TO BE PAID TO ANY GRANDCHILD, PARENT, BROTHER OR SISTER, OR GRANDPARENT SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN DEPENDENT UPON SUCH OFFICER, ENLISTED MAN, OR NURSE PRIOR TO HIS OR HER DEATH, AND THE DETERMINATION OF SUCH FACT BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY SHALL BE FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE UPON THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT * * *.

WHERE THERE IS NO WIDOW OR CHILD, THE STATUTE DIRECTS THAT PAYMENT BE MADE TO ANY OTHER PREVIOUSLY DESIGNATED "DEPENDENT RELATIVE," AND, IF NONE HAS BEEN DESIGNATED, THE STATUTE AUTHORIZES PAYMENT TO ANY ONE OF CERTAIN NEAR RELATIVES "SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN DEPENDENT" UPON THE DECEDENT. IN VIEW OF SUCH TERMS, THE PROVISO IN SECTION 506 OF THE ACT OF NOVEMBER 8, 1943, SUPRA, THAT HUSBANDS AND CERTAIN CHILDREN OF WOMEN RESERVISTS SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED DEPENDENTS, MAY NOT BE TREATED AS HAVING NO APPLICATION WHATEVER TO DEATH GRATUITY PAYMENTS, ALTHOUGH IT SEEMS EVIDENT FROM THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE LATTER ACT THAT SUCH PROVISO WAS DIRECTED PRIMARILY AT OTHER CLASSES OF PAYMENTS. HOWEVER, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE GRATUITY STATUTE USES THE TERMS "DEPENDENT" AND "DEPENDENT RELATIVE," PAYMENTS THEREUNDER ARE NOT CONDITIONED ON ACTUAL DEPENDENCY, BUT ARE MORE IN THE NATURE OF INSURANCE PAYMENTS TO NEAR RELATIVES WITHOUT REGARD TO ACTUAL DEPENDENCY. CF. 22 COMP. GEN. 85. THAT ACTUAL DEPENDENCY IS NOT A PREREQUISITE TO PAYMENT IS CLEARLY SHOWN BY THE AMENDMENT OF MARCH 7, 1942, 56 STAT. 145, 146, WHICH EXPRESSLY DELETED THE WORD "ACTUALLY" THERETOFORE CONTAINED IN THE FIRST PROVISO, WHICH, PRIOR TO SUCH AMENDMENT, AUTHORIZED PAYMENTS, WHERE THERE HAD BEEN NO PREVIOUS DESIGNATION, TO ANY ONE OF CERTAIN NEAR RELATIVES "SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN ACTUALLY DEPENDENT" UPON THE DECEDENT. THE PROVISO IN THE NEW SECTION 506 MENTIONS ONLY HUSBANDS AND CHILDREN AND, HENCE, EVINCES NO PURPOSE TO RESTRICT PAYMENTS OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED BY LAW WITH RESPECT TO OTHER DEPENDENTS OR RELATIVES. ON THE OTHER HAND, THERE SENSIBLY MAY NOT BE ATTRIBUTED TO THE CONGRESS AN INTENT TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST THE HUSBAND OR CHILDREN, WHO NORMALLY WOULD BE THE PREFERRED BENEFICIARIES, IN FAVOR OF MORE DISTANT RELATIVES, WHO ARE MADE BENEFICIARIES, UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, WITHOUT REGARD TO ACTUAL DEPENDENCY. THAT THERE IS NO GENERAL LEGISLATIVE POLICY AGAINST PAYMENTS OF DEPENDENCY BENEFITS AND ALLOWANCES TO, OR ON ACCOUNT OF, HUSBANDS OF WOMEN MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES IS SHOWN BY SECTION 14 OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 26, 1943, 57 STAT. 581, AMENDING THE SERVICEMEN'S DEPENDENTS ALLOWANCE ACT TO AUTHORIZE FAMILY ALLOWANCE PAYMENTS TO DEPENDENT HUSBANDS OF ENLISTED FEMALE PERSONNEL AND, ALSO, BY SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7, 1944, 58 STAT. 730, PUBLIC LAW 421, AMENDING SECTION 4 OF THE PAY READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1942, 56 STAT. 361, TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENTS OF DEPENDENCY ALLOWANCES AND BENEFITS UNDER THE LATTER ACT TO FEMALE MEMBERS OF THE ARMED SERVICES ON ACCOUNT OF DEPENDENT HUSBANDS. SEE, ALSO, DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 24, 1942, 23 COMP. GEN. 216, 224, HOLDING, INTER ALIA, THAT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE WOMEN'S ARMY CORPS ACT OF JULY 1, 1943, 57 STAT. 371, THE SURVIVING HUSBAND OF A DECEASED MEMBER OF THE WOMEN'S ARMY CORPS SHOULD BE REGARDED AS THE PREFERRED BENEFICIARY UNDER THE SIMILAR PROVISIONS OF THE ARMY SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY STATUTE OF DECEMBER 17, 1919, AS AMENDED, 10 U.S.C. 903.

FACED WITH THESE VARIOUS CONSIDERATIONS, I THINK THE MOST TENABLE CONCLUSION, IN THE ABSENCE OF CLARIFYING LEGISLATION, IS THAT THE PROVISO IN THE NEW SECTION 506 WAS NOT INTENDED WHOLLY TO ELIMINATE THE HUSBANDS AND MOST CHILDREN OF DECEASED WOMEN RESERVISTS AS BENEFICIARIES UNDER THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY STATUTE, BUT IS TO BE VIEWED AS GOING NO FURTHER THAN PRECLUDING PAYMENTS TO THEM AS PREFERRED BENEFICIARIES SOLELY BY VIRTUE OF SUCH RELATIONSHIP. ON THAT BASIS, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT A SURVIVING HUSBAND WOULD NOT BE ENTITLED TO PAYMENT AS THE PREFERRED BENEFICIARY SOLELY BY VIRTUE OF THE RELATIONSHIP; CHILDREN WOULD BE ENTITLED TO PAYMENT AS THE PREFERRED BENEFICIARIES IF THE FATHER BE DEAD OR THEY WERE IN FACT DEPENDENT ON THEIR MOTHER FOR THEIR CHIEF SUPPORT; BUT IF THERE BE NO CHILD SO ENTITLED AS THE PREFERRED BENEFICIARY, THEN PAYMENT TO THE HUSBAND OR CHILD WOULD BE AUTHORIZED, IF PREVIOUSLY DESIGNATED, THE SAME AS TO ANY OTHER PREVIOUSLY DESIGNATED DEPENDENT RELATIVE; AND IF THERE BE NO SUCH PREVIOUS DESIGNATION, PAYMENT WOULD BE AUTHORIZED TO THE HUSBAND OR CHILD PURSUANT TO ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION, ON A PARITY WITH THE OTHER NEAR RELATIVES WHO MAY BE SO PAID UNDER THE FIRST PROVISO OF THE GRATUITY STATUTE.