B-75195, MAY 20, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 711

B-75195: May 20, 1948

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

ARE CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE CONTRACT OBLIGATION AROSE. WHERE ALLOWABLE BURIAL SERVICES ARE SECURED BY RELATIVES OR OTHERS NOT CONNECTED WITH THE GOVERNMENT. THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE AMOUNT OF THE CLAIM IS ADMINISTRATIVELY RECOMMENDED FOR PAYMENT MAY BE CHARGED WITH SUCH EXPENSES AS ARE FINALLY ALLOWED. WHERE ALLOWABLE BURIAL SERVICES ARE SECURED BY RELATIVES OR OTHERS NOT CONNECTED WITH THE GOVERNMENT. THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE AMOUNT OF THE CLAIM IS ADMINISTRATIVELY RECOMMENDED FOR PAYMENT MAY BE CHARGED WITH SUCH EXPENSES AS ARE FINALLY ALLOWED. 1948: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED APRIL 5. WHICH IS SAID TO BE BASED ON THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT TIME OF DEATH.

B-75195, MAY 20, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 711

BURIAL EXPENSES - FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE BURIAL EXPENSES OF CERTAIN MILITARY AND CIVILIAN PERSONNEL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY INCURRED UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTRACT, AS AUTHORIZED BY 5 U.S.C. 103A AND 10 U.S.C. 916-916D, ARE CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE CONTRACT OBLIGATION AROSE, REGARDLESS OF THE DATE OF DEATH; BUT, WHERE ALLOWABLE BURIAL SERVICES ARE SECURED BY RELATIVES OR OTHERS NOT CONNECTED WITH THE GOVERNMENT, THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE AMOUNT OF THE CLAIM IS ADMINISTRATIVELY RECOMMENDED FOR PAYMENT MAY BE CHARGED WITH SUCH EXPENSES AS ARE FINALLY ALLOWED, REGARDLESS OF THE DATE OF DEATH; BUT, WHERE ALLOWABLE BURIAL SERVICES ARE SECURED BY RELATIVES OR OTHERS NOT CONNECTED WITH THE GOVERNMENT, THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE AMOUNT OF THE CLAIM IS ADMINISTRATIVELY RECOMMENDED FOR PAYMENT MAY BE CHARGED WITH SUCH EXPENSES AS ARE FINALLY ALLOWED, REGARDLESS OF THE DATE OF DEATH OR OF THE CERTIFICATE OF SETTLEMENT OF THIS OFFICE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, MAY 20, 1948:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED APRIL 5, 1948, FILE FINDT 112.1/60143 GENERAL, FROM THE ASSISTANT CHIEF OF FINANCE, RELATIVE TO THE REPORTED PRACTICE OF THE CLAIMS DIVISION, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, IN CHARGING BURIAL EXPENSES TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT TIME OF SETTLEMENT BY THIS OFFICE RATHER THAN TO THAT CERTIFIED BY THE FINANCE SERVICE OF YOUR DEPARTMENT, WHICH IS SAID TO BE BASED ON THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT TIME OF DEATH.

IT IS STATED THAT THE PRACTICE IS ONE OF LONG STANDING AND IS NOT BASED ON ANY KNOWN DECISION OF THIS OFFICE; THAT THIS OFFICE REQUIRES A CERTIFICATION AS TO THE FUND CHARGEABLE WITH THE AMOUNT OF AN APPROVED CLAIM AND FUNDS MUST NECESSARILY BE OBLIGATED AT THE TIME THE CLAIMS ARE APPROVED TO INSURE THEIR AVAILABILITY FOR PAYMENT OF THE CERTIFICATE; THAT THE ACTION TAKEN BY THE CLAIMS DIVISION DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR THE ORDERLY LIQUIDATION OF THESE OBLIGATIONS AND CREATES AN OVER-LIQUIDATION IN CURRENT YEAR APPROPRIATIONS; THAT CONTINUATION OF THE PRACTICE WOULD REQUIRE THE PROMULGATION OF OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES CONTRARY TO EXISTING METHODS OF HANDLING ALL OTHER CLAIMS PRESENTED FOR SETTLEMENT AND INVOLVE DIFFICULT ADJUSTMENTS OF THESE TRANSACTIONS ON THE BOOKS OF THE CERTIFYING AGENCIES AND IN REPORTS OF THE ACCOUNTING DIVISION OF THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF FINANCE. ACCORDINGLY, THE ASSISTANT CHIEF OF FINANCE REQUESTS THAT THE CLAIMS DIVISION BE AUTHORIZED TO CHARGE SUCH EXPENSES ALLOWED BY CERTIFICATES OF SETTLEMENT TO THE APPROPRIATIONS AS CERTIFIED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY.

PAYMENTS OF BURIAL EXPENSES OF CERTAIN MILITARY AND CIVILIAN PERSONNEL OF THE/1DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY IN WHICH THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY IS PRIMARILY INVOLVED ARE AUTHORIZED BY NUMEROUS STATUTES CITED IN PARAGRAPH 1, ARMY REGULATION 30-1830. THEY MAY INVOLVE THE REINTERMENT OF FORMER CIVIL OR REVOLUTIONARY WAR SOLDIERS IN PERMANENT ARMY POSTS OR NATIONAL CEMETERIES FROM ABANDONED POSTS OR GRAVES IN ABANDONED CEMETERIES OR THE SEGREGATION OF BODIES IN PERMANENT AMERICAN CEMETERIES IN GREAT BRITAIN AND FRANCE (10 U.S.C. 916C), THE RETURN TO THIS COUNTRY OF DECEASED PERSONNEL OF WORLD WAR II (ACT, AUGUST 5, 1947, 61 STAT. 779), OR THE BURIAL OF CURRENTLY DECEASED PERSONNEL WHOSE BURIAL EXPENSES ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID PURSUANT TO 10 U.S.C. 916B, 10 U.S.C. 455D, 32 U.S.C. 174C, 5 U.S.C. 103A, AND SIMILAR STATUTES. WHILE IT IS NOT CLEAR FROM THE SUBMISSION OF THE ASSISTANT CHIEF OF FINANCE WHAT PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES WERE CONTEMPLATED THEREBY, IT IS ASSUMED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REPLY THAT IT REFERS TO CLAIMS FOR PAYMENT OF BURIAL EXPENSES OR REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES FOR WHICH THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY FOR SEVERAL YEARS PAST HAVE INCLUDED AMOUNTS UNDER THE TITLE " QUARTERMASTER SERVICE," IN LANGUAGE SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR TO THAT CONTAINED IN THE MILITARY APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1948, 61 STAT. 551, 557, WHICH IS AS FOLLOWS:

* * * FOR BURIAL OF THE DEAD AS AUTHORIZED BY ACTS OF MAY 17, 1938 (10 U.S.C. 916-916D), AND JULY 8, 1940 (5 U.S.C. 103A), INCLUDING REMAINS OF PERSONNEL OF THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES WHO DIE WHILE ON ACTIVE DUTY, INCLUDING TRAVEL ALLOWANCES OF ATTENDANTS ACCOMPANYING REMAINS, COMMUNICATION SERVICE, TRANSPORTATION OF REMAINS, AND ACQUISITION BY LEAST OR OTHERWISE OF TEMPORARY BURIAL SITES * * *;

TITLE 10, U.S.C. SECTION 916, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS AUTHORIZED TO BE APPROPRIATED FROM TIME TO TIME SUCH SUMS AS MAY BE NECESSARY FOR FUNERAL EXPENSES OF THE PERSONS DESIGNATED IN SECTIONS 916A-916D OF THIS TITLE, TO BE EXPENDED UNDER REGULATIONS AS THE SECRETARY OF WAR MAY PRESCRIBE.

SECTION 916C OF THE SAID TITLE AUTHORIZES TO BE APPROPRIATED FROM TIME TO TIME SUMS NECESSARY FOR BURIAL OF MILITARY PRISONERS WHO DIE AT MILITARY POSTS, PRISONERS OF WAR, AND INTERNED ALIEN ENEMIES OF THE UNITED STATES; FOR REMOVAL OF REMAINS FROM ABANDONED POSTS TO PERMANENT MILITARY POSTS OF NATIONAL CEMETERIES AND OF THE REMAINS OF FEDERAL SOLDIERS, SAILORS AND MARINES INTERRED IN FIELDS OR ABANDONED GRAVES AND FOR EXPENSES OF SEGREGATION OF BODIES IN PERMANENT AMERICAN CEMETERIES IN GREAT BRITAIN AND FRANCE. SECTION 916D OF THE SAID TITLE AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT OF INDIVIDUALS OF AMOUNTS ALLOWED BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR SUCH SERVICES BUT PROVIDES THAT NO REIMBURSEMENT WILL BE MADE OF EXPENSES INCURRED PRIOR TO THE ENACTMENT OF SECTIONS 916-916D OF THE TITLE WHICH WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT PRIOR TO THE DATE OF APPROVAL THEREOF.

TITLE 5, U.S.C. 103A, AUTHORIZES--- IN CASES OF OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES WHO DIE IN THE UNITED STATES IN A TRAVEL STATUS AWAY FROM THEIR POSTS OF DUTY OR IN A TERRITORY OR POSSESSION OF THE UNITED STATES OR IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY OR IN TRANSIT THERETO OR THEREFROM--- THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS UNDER REGULATIONS TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT TO PAY THE EXPENSES OF PREPARATION AND TRANSPORTING THE REMAINS OF SAID EMPLOYEES TO THEIR HOMES OR OFFICIAL STATIONS OR TO SUCH OTHER PLACES AS THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED SHALL DETERMINE TO BE THE APPROPRIATE PLACE OF INTERMENT. SUCH SECTION PROVIDES FURTHER THAT EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY LAW SUCH EXPENSES SHALL BE PAID FROM THE APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR THE ACTIVITY IN WHICH THE EMPLOYEE WAS ENGAGED.

SECTION 13 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 8557, SEPTEMBER 30, 1940, ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF JULY 8, 1940, 5 U.S.C. 103A, READS AS FOLLOWS:

THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED MAY PAY THE EXPENSES ALLOWABLE UNDER THESE REGULATIONS EITHER DIRECTLY TO THE PERSONS PERFORMING THE PRESCRIBED SERVICES OR BY REIMBURSEMENT TO ANY PERSON WHO HAS MADE ORIGINAL PAYMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES. SECTION 16 OF THAT EXECUTIVE ORDER PROVIDES FOR USE OF A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING WHENEVER POSSIBLE WHERE SHIPMENT OF THE REMAINS IS MADE BY EXPRESS.

PARAGRAPH 4,/ARMY REGULATIONS 30-1830, WHICH SETS FORTH THE REGULATIONS OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT UNDER 10 U.S.C. 916 AND RELATED LEGISLATION, PROVIDES GENERALLY THAT BURIAL SERVICES MAY BE OBTAINED DIRECTLY BY GOVERNMENT CONTRACT OR THAT ARRANGEMENTS MAY BE MADE BY RELATIVES AND OTHERS WHERE NO MILITARY AUTHORITIES ARE HANDLING THE CASE. IN THE LATTER SITUATION PAYMENTS TO THE UNDERTAKER OR REIMBURSEMENT TO THE RELATIVES ARE PROVIDED FOR, BASED UPON WHAT THE GOVERNMENT ALLOWS FOR SUCH SERVICES AFTER RECEIPT OF THE ITEMIZED INVOICE AND CLAIM. UPON SUCH DETERMINATION BEING MADE, IT IS PROVIDED THEREIN THAT THE CLAIM WILL BE FORWARDED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT.

IT IS APPARENT FROM THE ABOVE THAT UNDER BOTH STATUTORY PROVISIONS SERVICES MAY BE PROCURED BY GOVERNMENT CONTRACT, EITHER FORMAL OR INFORMAL, AND BY RELATIVES OF THE DECEDENT OR OTHERS NOT CONNECTED WITH THE GOVERNMENT. AS TO EXPENSES INCURRED UNDER GOVERNMENT CONTRACT EITHER FORMAL OR INFORMAL, THE RULE IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTE TO THE CONTRARY THE AMOUNTS DUE ARE CHARGEABLE TO THE FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE LEGAL OBLIGATION AROSE, THAT IS, THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH A VALID CONTRACT OR AGREEMENT AS TO THE PARTICULAR SERVICE WAS ENTERED INTO. 24 COMP. GEN. 195, 23 ID. 370, 18 ID. 363, 17 ID. 664. IN SUCH CASES, REGARDLESS OF THE DATE OF DEATH, THE DATE THE CONTRACT OBLIGATION AROSE IS CONTROLLING AS TO THE FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE.

AS TO CASES WHERE THE SERVICES FOR WHICH AMOUNTS ARE ALLOWABLE ARE SECURED BY RELATIVES OF THE DECEDENT OR OTHERS NOT CONNECTED WITH THE GOVERNMENT, IT APPEARS THAT THE ACTION OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR HIS DELEGATE UNDER 5 U.S.C. 103, AND OF THE QUARTERMASTER GENERAL OR HIS DESIGNEE UNDER 10 U.S.C. 916-916D, IS PREREQUISITE TO SETTLEMENT BY THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. HENCE, ACTUALLY IT IS THE ACTION OF THE DEPARTMENT IN RECOMMENDING THE AMOUNT TO BE PAID, RATHER THAN THAT OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN CERTIFYING THE AMOUNT FOR PAYMENTS WHICH OBLIGATES THE FUND. ACCORDINGLY, AS TO SUCH CASES, THE FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME OF APPROVAL BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT MAY BE CHARGED WITH SUCH EXPENSES AS ARE FINALLY ALLOWED REGARDLESS OF THE DATE OF DEATH OR OF THE CERTIFICATE OF SETTLEMENT OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.

THIS PROCEDURE, IT IS BELIEVED, SHOULD LARGELY OBVIATE THE OBJECTIONABLE FEATURES OF THE PRESENT PRACTICE AND THE CLAIMS DIVISION HEREAFTER WILL PROCESS CLAIMS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.