Statute of Limitations for Filing Claims

B-195730: Jan 11, 1980

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GAO was requested to render an advance decision as to whether the statute of limitations for filing claims against the Government bars an Army employee from having his wife's remains transported from overseas to the United States at Government expense. If the claim is not barred, GAO was requested to determine if the employee or the Government would be responsible for the cost of exhuming the body. The employee was stationed overseas when his wife died and was erroneously told that he was not entitled to have his deceased wife's remains transported to the United States at Government expense. Therefore, he buried her overseas. Nearly 7 years later, when he learned of the mistake, he requested transportation for the remains to the United States. The Army recognized that the previous information was incorrect, but stated that legislation bars any claim not received by GAO within 6 years of the time it accrues. GAO found that the request for transportation is not a money claim and is not barred. The Army has the authority under the law to furnish transportation of the remains or to pay the cost thereof. However, the employee must pay the exhumation costs.