B-87728, JULY 14, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 20

B-87728: Jul 14, 1949

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ARE ENTITLED. 1949: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 8. WHICH INCREASES WERE MADE EFFECTIVE "AS OF THE FIRST DAY OF THE FIRST PAY PERIOD WHICH BEGAN AFTER JUNE 30. THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER ARE STATED AS FOLLOWS: 1. THE DATE ON WHICH THE ACTIVE MEMBERS WILL RECEIVE THE AUTHORIZED INCREASE. 2. IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE DOUBTS IN THE MATTER ARISE BECAUSE OF THE LANGUAGE CONTAINED IN THE SO-CALLED "EQUALIZATION ACT" OF FEBRUARY 17. IT IS CLEAR FROM A READING OF THE SAID ACT OF JUNE 30. THE CONCLUSION IS INESCAPABLE THAT INCREASES IN RETIREMENT BENEFITS. IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE REQUIRED APPLICATION FOR INCREASED RETIREMENT BENEFITS IS TO BE FILED BY THE RETIRED PERSON HIMSELF.

B-87728, JULY 14, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 20

PENSIONS - INCREASES IN BENEFITS - RETIRED PERSONNEL RECEIVING BENEFITS FROM THE POLICEMEN AND FIREMEN'S RELIEF FUND, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA RETIRED PERSONNEL RECEIVING RETIREMENT BENEFITS FROM THE POLICEMEN AND FIREMEN'S RELIEF FUND, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ARE ENTITLED, BY VIRTUE OF THE PENSION EQUALIZATION PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 17, 1923, TO INCREASE IN PENSION BENEFITS ON ACCOUNT OF THE INCREASE IN PAY AUTHORIZED FOR ACTIVE MEMBERS OF THE SERVICE UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1949, EFFECTIVE AS OF THE FIRST DAY OF THE FIRST PAY PERIOD AFTER JUNE 30, 1948; HOWEVER, SUCH INCREASES IN RETIREMENT BENEFITS MAY NOT BE GRANTED FOR ANY PERIOD PRIOR TO THE DATE OF FILING AN APPLICATION THEREFOR, AS REQUIRED BY THE 1923 ACT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE PRESIDENT, BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, JULY 14, 1949:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 8, 1949, REQUESTING DECISION UPON SEVERAL QUESTIONS HEREINAFTER SET FORTH, RELATING TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF INCREASED PENSION BENEFITS ARISING IN CONNECTION WITH THE ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 151, 81ST CONGRESS, APPROVED JUNE 30, 1949, 63 STAT. 376, TO RETIRED PERSONNEL RECEIVING RELIEF FROM THE POLICEMEN AND FIREMEN'S RELIEF FUND. THE SAID ACT OF JUNE 30, 1949, PROVIDES, INTER ALIA, FOR INCREASES IN COMPENSATION TO CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, INCLUDING MEMBERS OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE, THE UNITED STATES PARK POLICE, WHITE HOUSE POLICE, AND THE FIRE DEPARTMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, WHICH INCREASES WERE MADE EFFECTIVE "AS OF THE FIRST DAY OF THE FIRST PAY PERIOD WHICH BEGAN AFTER JUNE 30, 1948.'

THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER ARE STATED AS FOLLOWS:

1. WHETHER THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1949, CAN BE CONSTRUED SO AS TO INCREASE THE PENSION BENEFITS TO RETIRED MEMBERS BY NOT TO EXCEED 50 PERCENTUM OF THE ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION TO MEMBERS OF THE FIRE DEPARTMENT. METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, THE UNITED STATES PARK POLICE AND THE WHITE HOUSE POLICE FORCE, RETROACTIVELY EFFECTIVE TO JULY 1, 1948, THE DATE ON WHICH THE ACTIVE MEMBERS WILL RECEIVE THE AUTHORIZED INCREASE.

2. WHETHER THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA MAY INCREASE THE RETIREMENT BENEFITS ON THE NEW BASIC SALARY RATE TO THE MEMBERS OF THE DEPARTMENTS, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1948, BY THE ISSUANCE OF A BLANKET ORDER TO THAT EFFECT.

3. WHETHER THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA MAY NOW INCREASE THE RETIREMENT BENEFITS ON THE NEW BASIC SALARY RATE TO THE MEMBERS OF THE DEPARTMENTS BY THE ISSUANCE OF A BLANKET ORDER TO THAT EFFECT, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1949; AND

4. WHETHER SAID INCREASE IN BENEFIT PAYMENTS MAY BE EFFECTIVE ONLY FROM THE DATE ON WHICH THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS MAKE APPLICATION FOR THE INCREASE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 17, 1923.

IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE DOUBTS IN THE MATTER ARISE BECAUSE OF THE LANGUAGE CONTAINED IN THE SO-CALLED "EQUALIZATION ACT" OF FEBRUARY 17, 1923, 42 STAT. 1263, WHICH PROVIDES, IN EFFECT, THAT ALL PERSONS RECEIVING RELIEF FROM THE POLICEMEN AND FIREMEN'S RELIEF FUND (WHICH INCLUDED MEMBERS OF THE SERVICES REFERRED TO IN THE QUESTIONS, SUPRA) SHALL BE ENTITLED TO ALL PENSION BENEFITS RESULTING FROM INCREASE IN PAY THAT HAS BEEN OR MAY THEREAFTER BE GRANTED BY THE CONGRESS, WITH THE EXPRESS PROVISION THAT "NO ARREARS OF PENSION SHALL BE GRANTED FOR ANY PERIOD PRIOR TO AN APPLICATION FOR AN INCREASE IN PENSION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT.'

IT IS CLEAR FROM A READING OF THE SAID ACT OF JUNE 30, 1949--- PERTAINING AS IT DOES ONLY TO INCREASES IN COMPENSATION FOR ACTIVE-DUTY STATUS, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM A RETIRED STATUS--- THAT NO DIRECT BENEFITS ACCRUE THEREUNDER TO RETIRED PERSONNEL. HENCE, ANY BENEFITS WHICH MIGHT ACCRUE TO RETIRED PERSONNEL BY VIRTUE OF THE ENACTMENT OF THAT STATUTE ACCRUE SOLELY BECAUSE OF THE PROVISIONS OF, AND SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATIONS CONTAINED IN, THE SAID EQUALIZATION ACT OF 1923, SUPRA.THE LAST-MENTIONED ACT, AS DISCLOSED BY THE LANGUAGE THEREOF QUOTED ABOVE, SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES THAT ARREARS OF PENSION SHALL NOT BE GRANTED FOR ANY PERIOD PRIOR TO AN APPLICATION FOR AN INCREASE IN PENSION UNDER THAT ACT. CONSEQUENTLY, THE CONCLUSION IS INESCAPABLE THAT INCREASES IN RETIREMENT BENEFITS, AS PROVIDED BY THE SAID EQUALIZATION ACT OF 1923, ON ACCOUNT OF THE ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 151, SUPRA, MAY NOT BE GRANTED FOR ANY PERIOD PRIOR TO THE FILING OF AN APPLICATION THEREOF. IN THAT CONNECTION, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE REQUIRED APPLICATION FOR INCREASED RETIREMENT BENEFITS IS TO BE FILED BY THE RETIRED PERSON HIMSELF, OR BY ONE AUTHORIZED TO ACT IN HIS BEHALF.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, QUESTIONS 1, 2, AND 3 ARE ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE, AND QUESTION 4 IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.