[Request for Reconsideration of Claims Group Settlement]

B-217631: Jun 12, 1985

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A former service member requested reconsideration of a Claims Group settlement of his claims for amounts believed due to him after the Army upgraded the characterization of his discharge from dishonorable to general under honorable conditions. In addition, he was hospitalized at a Veterans Administration center and issued a bill of collection for an 18-day period for which he was liable since he was not eligible for the benefits. The Claims Group denied the claims for reenlistment and savings deposit refund, but allowed him a $300 credit on his discharge; however, since the bill of collection remained outstanding, the money was applied to the reduction of the debt. The former member claimed that, since his discharge was upgraded, his medical bill should have been offset and his claims for savings accounts, reenlistment bonuses, and discharge pay should be paid. GAO held that: (1) it has no authority to change or reverse any decision of the Veterans Administration pertaining to veterans benefits; (2) mustering-out payments for service members are authorized at the time of final discharge from active service in a maximum amount of $300; (3) the statute of limitations barred applicable claims for reenlistment bonuses; and (4) although he was entitled to a full refund of any amount deposited as savings, there were no records found to substantiate the former member's claim. The former member disagreed with the validity and amount of the bill for the hospitalization; however, since the bill of collection remains outstanding, GAO concluded that the $300 mustering-out payment was properly applied towards the partial satisfaction of his debt. Accordingly, the Claims Group's settlement was sustained.