Computation of Annuity

B-195625: Feb 28, 1980

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The Air Force requested an advance decision concerning the computation of an annuity to be paid to the widow of an Air Force member. The member was reported missing in action in Vietnam. While in that status, he was promoted to the permanent grade of lieutenant colonel, and then to the temporary grade of colonel. His status was changed to killed in action less than 6 months after the date of his temporary promotion. The annuity due to his widow was computed based on his rate of pay as a lieutenant colonel. Regulations provide that the annuity for the surviving spouse of a member who dies while on active duty is computed on the grade and years of service as though the member retired on the day he died. Computation includes the 6-month in grade requirement. However, GAO has held that where a member who was missing in action is determined to have been killed in action, the 6-month grade requirement did not apply since promotions received while in a missing status are fully effective for all purposes under the statute. Accordingly, GAO held that the annuity in this case should have been computed based on the member's grade of colonel.