Payment of Additional Retired Pay

B-197603: Aug 21, 1980

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An advanced decision was requested concerning the propriety of making payment on a voucher to a retired Air Force officer for additional retirement pay he might be due. After the officer became entitled to disability retirement pay, he was awarded Veterans Administration (VA) compensation for a service-connected disability. Since the amount of the VA compensation exceeded his then current retired pay entitlement, payment of the retired pay was discontinued, as required by law. It was discovered that his retired pay entitlement had risen to the point where it had exceeded his VA compensation and he might be due retired pay for the difference, subject to a 6-year statute of limitations. Because the officer waived receipt of his retired pay for VA compensation purposes, rather than waiving only a portion thereof, doubt was expressed as to the propriety of payment. The record indicated that the officer was never notified of his options to elect coverage under the Survivor Benefit Plan or the Retired Serviceman's Family Protection Plan, which, if he had elected to participate, might have effected the amounts which might otherwise be due him. GAO did not have a claim from the officer. GAO held that the officer's waiver of retired pay was not a total waiver, and therefore, he was entitled to the excess. However, in order to collect that amount it was necessary for him to submit a claim, which he had not done. GAO also stated that he should be promptly contacted and advised of the procedures for filing the claim. The officer should be advised by the Air Force of survivor coverage under the Retired Serviceman's Family Protection Plan and the Survivor Benefit Plan and of the financial implications should he desire to participate and seek to have his records corrected to show that he elected into either or both plans.