A-9212, A-11471, NOVEMBER 19, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 356

A-11471,A-9212: Nov 19, 1925

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BURIAL EXPENSES - VETERANS OF ANY WAR THE ALLOWANCE FOR BURIAL EXPENSE OF A DECEASED VETERAN OF ANY WAR MADE BY A STATE IS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED AS AN ASSET OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED VETERAN. THE COST OF THE BURIAL WAS IN EXCESS OF $100 PLUS THE AMOUNT ALLOWED BY THE STATE. THERE IS AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES THE FULL AMOUNT OF $100 WITHOUT DEDUCTING THE AMOUNT ALLOWED BY THE STATE. WHO WAS A PRIVATE. THIS VETERAN IS OF THE CLASS SPECIFIED IN THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT. FOR WHOSE BURIAL EXPENSES AN AMOUNT IS AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT IF THE VETERAN LEAVES INSUFFICIENT ASSETS TO MEET THE EXPENSES OF BURIAL. THE STATUTE FIXED $100 AS THE MAXIMUM AUTHORIZED FOR THE BURIAL AND WHERE A VETERAN LEAVES ASSETS THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE HAVE HELD THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS OBLIGATED UNDER THE STATUTE ONLY FOR THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNT OF THE ASSETS LEFT BY THE DECEASED AND THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF $100.

A-9212, A-11471, NOVEMBER 19, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 356

BURIAL EXPENSES - VETERANS OF ANY WAR THE ALLOWANCE FOR BURIAL EXPENSE OF A DECEASED VETERAN OF ANY WAR MADE BY A STATE IS NOT TO BE CONSIDERED AS AN ASSET OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED VETERAN, AND WHERE THE VETERAN LEFT NO ASSETS WHATEVER, AND THE COST OF THE BURIAL WAS IN EXCESS OF $100 PLUS THE AMOUNT ALLOWED BY THE STATE, THERE IS AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES THE FULL AMOUNT OF $100 WITHOUT DEDUCTING THE AMOUNT ALLOWED BY THE STATE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, NOVEMBER 19, 1925:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 21, 1925, DIRECTING ATTENTION TO AN APPARENT DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE SYLLABUS AND TEXT OF THE DECISION OF MAY 21, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 969, 971, IN SO FAR AS SAME CONSIDERED THE ALLOWANCES MADE BY A STATE OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION FOR BURIAL EXPENSES OF UNITED STATES VETERANS, WITH THEIR RELATION TO CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES FOR $100 AUTHORIZED FOR BURIAL EXPENSES BY THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED.

IN THIS CONNECTION YOU REQUEST REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT 089069 OF JULY 30, 1925, ALLOWING MRS. MINNIE MAY ROBERTSON ONLY $25 OF HER CLAIM FOR $100, REPRESENTING REIMBURSEMENT FOR BURIAL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE DEATH OF HER VETERAN SON, VERNON ROBERTSON, WHO WAS A PRIVATE, FIRST CLASS, BATTERY E, EIGHTEENTH FIELD ARTILLERY, DISCHARGED JUNE 4, 1920, AND DIED IN THE CITY OF INDIANAPOLIS, IND., OCTOBER 8, 1920. CLAIMANT HAS ALSO REQUESTED REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT. THE AMOUNT OF $75 DEDUCTED IN THE SETTLEMENT REPRESENTS THE ALLOWANCE MADE BY THE STATE OF INDIANA UNDER THE STATE STATUTE AUTHORIZING A SPECIFIC ALLOWANCE OF $75 FOR THE BURIAL OF ANY EX- SERVICE MAN DYING WITHIN THE STATE.

THIS VETERAN IS OF THE CLASS SPECIFIED IN THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1925, 43 STAT. 1305, MADE RETROACTIVELY EFFECTIVE TO APRIL 6, 1917, FOR WHOSE BURIAL EXPENSES AN AMOUNT IS AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT IF THE VETERAN LEAVES INSUFFICIENT ASSETS TO MEET THE EXPENSES OF BURIAL. THE STATUTE FIXED $100 AS THE MAXIMUM AUTHORIZED FOR THE BURIAL AND WHERE A VETERAN LEAVES ASSETS THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE HAVE HELD THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS OBLIGATED UNDER THE STATUTE ONLY FOR THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNT OF THE ASSETS LEFT BY THE DECEASED AND THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF $100.

THE VETERAN IN THIS CASE LEFT NO ASSETS WHATEVER AND THE COST OF HIS BURIAL IS SHOWN BY RECEIPTED BILLS TO HAVE BEEN $438.50. IN THE SETTLEMENT THE AMOUNT OF $75 AUTHORIZED BY THE STATE OF INDIANA WAS CONSIDERED AS AN ASSET OF THE ESTATE OF THE VETERAN AND DEDUCTED FROM THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF $100, ALLOWING THE NET AMOUNT OF ONLY $25. THIS ACTION WAS ERRONEOUS.

IN DECISION OF MAY 21, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 969, 971, REFERRED TO BY YOU, IT WAS EXPRESSLY HELD THAT ALLOWANCES MADE FOR BURIAL OF EX SERVICE MEN BY A STATE OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OR BY A NATIONAL MILITARY HOME WHERE NOT TO BE CONSIDERED AS ASSETS OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEDENT, AND SUCH ITEMS WERE DIRECTED TO BE TREATED SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM THE ASSETS, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * ITEMS UNDER (D) AND (E) ARE NOT ASSETS OF THE ESTATE, IT IS TRUE, BUT IT MUST BE BORNE IN MIND THAT A CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES LIES ONLY FOR AMOUNTS ACTUALLY EXPENDED ON BEHALF OF INDIGENT VETERANS AND NO PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED MERELY UPON THE SHOWING OF DEATH. IF THE BURIAL HAS BEEN TAKEN CARE OF FREE OF CHARGE BY A STATE OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE UNITED STATES, OR BY A NATIONAL MILITARY HOME, NO CLAIM MAY BE ASSERTED AGAINST THE UNITED STATES BY THE RELATIVES OR PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVES OF THE DECEASED, EXCEPT FOR ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES OVER AND ABOVE THE AMOUNTS ALLOWED BY THE STATE, OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION, OR HOME, AND THE AMOUNT OF ASSETS LEFT BY THE DECEASED. THEREFORE, THE PROVISION AS TO ITEMS (D) AND (E) SHOULD BE ELIMINATED UNDER PARAGRAPH (6) OF SECTION 8105, AND THERE SHOULD BE INSERTED UNDER PARAGRAPH (3) OF THE SAME SECTION, WHICH INCLUDES THE INFORMATION TO BE FURNISHED IN THE AFFIDAVIT BY RELATIVE OR FRIEND, THE FOLLOWING:

(H) WHETHER OR NOT EXPENSES OF THE BURIAL WERE ENTIRELY OR IN PART PAID BY A STATE OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OR A NATIONAL MILITARY HOME.

THE SYLLABUS IS PERHAPS TOO BROADLY STATED, BUT IT IS THE TEXT OF THE DECISION THAT IS TO GOVERN.

AS THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF BURIAL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE BURIAL OF VERNON ROBERTSON WAS $438.50, AND HE LEFT NO ASSETS, THE FULL AMOUNT OF $100 IS PROPERLY PAYABLE TO HIS MOTHER, WHO BORE THE EXPENSE THEREOF, AS SHOWN BY THE RECEIPTED BILLS, WITHOUT DEDUCTING THE AMOUNT ALLOWED BY THE STATE OF INDIANA.

ACCORDINGLY THERE IS CERTIFIED DUE MRS. MINNIE MAY ROBERTSON THE AMOUNT OF $75, REPRESENTING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $25 ALLOWED BY SETTLEMENT 089069, AND $100 THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT AUTHORIZED UNDER THE STATUTE.