B-98026, OCTOBER 10, 1950, 30 COMP. GEN. 148

B-98026: Oct 10, 1950

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QUARTERS ALLOWANCE - DEPENDENTS - EFFECT OF HUSBAND'S RECEIPT OF VETERAN'S SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHOSE HUSBAND IS RECEIVING AN INCREASED SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE UNDER THE SERVICEMEN'S READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1944. IS NOT ENTITLED UNDER THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949 TO BE PAID AN INCREASED BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS ON ACCOUNT OF HER HUSBAND. 1950: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 22. REQUESTING A DECISION WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO CREDIT CAPTAIN MARGARETTA B. YOU DOUBT THE PROPRIETY OF MAKING PAYMENT BECAUSE THE HUSBAND IS A VETERAN RECEIVING A SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION IN THE AMOUNT OF $105 PER MONTH WHILE UNDERGOING STUDIES UNDER "THE GI BILL OF RIGHTS.

B-98026, OCTOBER 10, 1950, 30 COMP. GEN. 148

QUARTERS ALLOWANCE - DEPENDENTS - EFFECT OF HUSBAND'S RECEIPT OF VETERAN'S SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHOSE HUSBAND IS RECEIVING AN INCREASED SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE UNDER THE SERVICEMEN'S READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1944, AS AMENDED, AS A VETERAN WITH A DEPENDENT (WIFE), IS NOT ENTITLED UNDER THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949 TO BE PAID AN INCREASED BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS ON ACCOUNT OF HER HUSBAND, IN THE ABSENCE OF A JUDICIAL DETERMINATION IN THE MATTER.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO COL. J. R. BERRIOS, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, OCTOBER 10, 1950:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 22, 1950, WITH ENCLOSURES, FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE BY SECOND INDORSEMENT DATED SEPTEMBER 12, 1950, OF THE CHIEF OF FINANCE, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, REQUESTING A DECISION WHETHER YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO CREDIT CAPTAIN MARGARETTA B. PINNEO, N-716, ANC, WITH INCREASED BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS ON ACCOUNT OF DEPENDENTS (HUSBAND) UNDER THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, PUBLIC LAW 351, APPROVED OCTOBER 12, 1949, 63 STAT. 802. YOU DOUBT THE PROPRIETY OF MAKING PAYMENT BECAUSE THE HUSBAND IS A VETERAN RECEIVING A SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION IN THE AMOUNT OF $105 PER MONTH WHILE UNDERGOING STUDIES UNDER "THE GI BILL OF RIGHTS," AND BECAUSE OF YOUR DOUBT AS TO WHETHER SOME OF THE ITEMS INCLUDED IN THE OFFICER'S ITEMIZATION OF HER HUSBAND'S LIVING EXPENSES PROPERLY MAY BE INCLUDED IN DETERMINING THE DEPENDENCY STATUS OF THE HUSBAND. IT IS PRESUMED THAT THE SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE RECEIVED BY THE HUSBAND IS THAT AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 6 OF THE SERVICEMEN'S READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1944, 58 STAT. 289, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MAY 4, 1948, 62 STAT. 208, FOR A VETERAN HAVING ONE DEPENDENT--- IN THIS CASE A WIFE--- AND PURSUING A COURSE OF FULL-TIME INSTITUTIONAL TRAINING.

SECTION 302 (F) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 813, AUTHORIZES PAYMENT OF MONTHLY BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS TO MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES, THE AMOUNT OF WHICH IN THE CASE OF A MEMBER WITH A DEPENDENT OR DEPENDENTS BEING GREATER THAN THAT IN THE CASE OF A MEMBER WITHOUT A DEPENDENT. THE TERM "DEPENDENT" IS DEFINED IN SECTION 102 (G) OF THE ACT, 63 STAT. 804, AND, INSOFAR AS IS HEREIN MATERIAL, IT IS PROVIDED---

* * * THAT IN THE CASE OF FEMALE MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES, THE TERM "DEPENDENTS" SHALL INCLUDE A HUSBAND IN ADDITION TO THOSE PERSONS OTHERWISE DEFINED AS DEPENDENTS IN THIS SUBSECTION, BUT ONLY WHEN SUCH HUSBAND, OR CHILDREN, AS DEFINED ABOVE, ARE IN FACT DEPENDENT UPON SAID FEMALE MEMBER FOR OVER HALF OF HIS OR HER SUPPORT.

WHILE THE QUOTED PORTION OF SECTION 102 (G) OF THE ACT MIGHT--- IF TAKEN LITERALLY AND IN THE EVENT PROPER EVIDENCE WERE SUBMITTED--- BE VIEWED AS PERMITTING THE PAYMENT OF A BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS TO A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WITH A DEPENDENT OR DEPENDENTS UNDER CONDITIONS SUCH AS THOSE APPEARING IN THIS CASE, IT IS A SETTLED RULE OF STATUTORY INTERPRETATION THAT LAWS ARE TO BE GIVEN A SENSIBLE CONSTRUCTION, AND A LITERAL APPLICATION OF A STATUTE WHICH WOULD LEAD TO ABSURD CONSEQUENCES IS TO BE AVOIDED WHENEVER A REASONABLE APPLICATION CAN BE GIVEN TO IT. BEACH V. UNITED STATES, 144 F.2D 533; PETERS V. FELBER, 152 P.2D 42; RUSSELL V. LUND, 39 A.2D 337; LAMBUR V. YATES, 148 F.2D 137. ALSO, THAT THE LITERAL MEANING OF A STATUTE NEED NOT BE FOLLOWED IF SO DOING WOULD ACHIEVE A RESULT CONTRARY TO ITS EVIDENT PURPOSE AND LEGISLATIVE INTENT. UNITED STATES V. AMERICAN TRUCKING ASSOCIATION, INC., 310 U.S. 534; UNITED STATES V. KATZ, 271 U.S. 354.

THE INCREASED SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE AUTHORIZED FOR A VETERAN HAVING A DEPENDENT OR DEPENDENTS, AND PURSUING A COURSE OF FULL-TIME INSTITUTIONAL TRAINING, IS TO ASSIST THE VETERAN IN CARING FOR HIS DEPENDENT OR DEPENDENTS WHILE IN TRAINING. HENCE, A HOLDING THAT THE CLAIMANT'S HUSBAND IS A ,DEPENDENT" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT TERM AS USED IN SECTION 102 (G) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT, SUPRA, WHILE THE HUSBAND IS IN RECEIPT OF AN INCREASED SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE UNDER THE SERVICEMEN'S READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1944, SUPRA, ON ACCOUNT OF THE MEMBER (WIFE) AS HIS "DEPENDENT," WOULD LEAD TO AN ABSURD CONCLUSION THAT EACH "DEPENDENT" IS DEPENDENT ON THE OTHER "DEPENDENT" FOR HIS OR HER SUPPORT. THEREFORE, ASIDE FROM YOUR EXPRESSED DOUBT REGARDING CERTAIN ITEMS LISTED IN THE HUSBAND'S LIVING EXPENSES, THIS OFFICE MUST VIEW THE MATTER AS FRAUGHT WITH SUCH REASONABLE DOUBT AS TO REQUIRE THAT IT NOT AUTHORIZE THE CREDITING IN CAPTAIN PINNEO'S PAY ACCOUNT OF AN INCREASED BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR QUARTERS ON ACCOUNT OF HER HUSBAND IN THE ABSENCE OF A JUDICIAL DETERMINATION OF THE RIGHT OF A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES TO THE INCREASED ALLOWANCE IN SUCH CASES.

THE ENCLOSURES SUBMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER ARE RETAINED IN THIS OFFICE.