32 CFR 716.5 - Delegation of authority.
(a) Pursuant to the authority contained in title 10 U.S.C., section 1479, as to deaths described in section 1475 thereof, the Secretary of the Navy has delegated to commanding officers of naval commands, installations, or districts, with respect to naval personnel, and to Marine Corps commanding generals and officers in command of regiments, battalions or equivalent units and of separate or detached commands who have custody of service records, with respect to Marine Corps personnel, authority to certify for the payment of death gratuity the lawful spouse or designated beneficiary(ies) of the deceased service member who was residing with him at or near his place of duty at the time of his death, except in cases in which a doubt may exist as to the identity of the legal beneficiary. Disbursing officers are authorized to make payment of the death gratuity upon receipt of certification from the Commanding Officer.
(b) The Secretary of the Navy has delegated authority to the Chief of Naval Personnel as to naval personnel, and to the Commandant of the Marine Corps (Code MSPA-1) as to Marine Corps personnel, the authority to certify the beneficiary(ies) for receipt of payment of death gratuity in all appropriate cases of payment of death gratuity under the Servicemen's and Veterans' Survivor Benefits Act (now reenacted in 10 U.S.C. 1475- 1480), including, but not limited to:
(1) Cases in which a doubt may exist as to the identity of the legal beneficiary; and
(2) Cases in which the widow or designated beneficiary(ies) of the deceased service member was not residing with him at or near his place of duty at the time of his death.