§ 555. Secretarial review
(a) Except as provided in subsection (d), when a member of a uniformed service entitled to pay and allowances under section 552 of this title has been in a missing status, and the official report of his death or of the circumstances of his absence has not been received by the Secretary concerned, he shall, before the end of a 12-month period in that status, have the case fully reviewed. After that review and the end of the 12-month period in a missing status, or after a later review which shall be made when warranted by information received or other circumstances, the Secretary concerned, or his designee, may—
(1) if the member can reasonably be presumed to be living, direct a continuance of his missing status; or
(2) make a finding of death.
(b) When a finding of death is made under subsection (a), it shall include the date death is presumed to have occurred for the purpose of—
(1) ending the crediting of pay and allowances;
(2) settlement of accounts; and
(3) payment of death gratuities.
That date is—
(A) the day after the day on which the 12-month period in a missing status ends; or
(B) if the missing status has been continued under subsection (a), the day determined by the Secretary concerned, or his designee.
(c) For the sole purpose of determining status under this section, a dependent of a member on active duty is treated as if he were a member. Any determination made by the Secretary concerned, or his designee, under this section is conclusive on all other departments and agencies of the United States. This subsection does not entitle a dependent to pay, allowances, or other compensation to which he is not otherwise entitled.
(d) This section does not apply in a case to which section 1502 of title 10 applies.
(Added Pub. L. 89–554, § 5(b), Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 628; amended Pub. L. 102–25, title VII, § 702(b)(1), (c), Apr. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 117; Pub. L. 104–106, div. A, title V, § 569(c)(1), Feb. 10, 1996, 110 Stat. 351.)