A-13452, MARCH 29, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 773

A-13452: Mar 29, 1926

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A VALID APPLICATION FOR TERM INSURANCE MAY BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING BEEN MADE BY AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE ARMY DURING HIS ACTIVE SERVICE WHERE THERE APPEARS RECORD EVIDENCE OF PREMIUM DEDUCTIONS FROM HIS PAY AND THERE IS IN EXISTENCE A TYPEWRITTEN APPLICATION UNSIGNED. WAS DISCHARGED ON A SURGEON'S CERTIFICATE OF DISABILITY SEPTEMBER 30. THERE IS ON FILE HIS APPLICATION FOR $10. THIS APPLICATION IS UNSIGNED AND A CAREFUL SEARCH OF ALL AVAILABLE FILES FAILS TO DISCLOSE ANY SIGNED COPY THEREOF. WHITAKER WAS CHECKED $13.80 FOR INSURANCE PREMIUMS ON HIS FINAL AND ONLY PAYMENT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENT TO HAVE COVERED PREMIUMS ON $10. SUBSEQUENT TO DISCHARGE THE INSURANCE WAS ALLOWED TO LAPSE.

A-13452, MARCH 29, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 773

VETERANS' BUREAU - INSURANCE - REINSTATEMENT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 400, 401, AND 402 OF THE WAR RISK INSURANCE ACT, AS AMENDED, AND REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO, A VALID APPLICATION FOR TERM INSURANCE MAY BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING BEEN MADE BY AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE ARMY DURING HIS ACTIVE SERVICE WHERE THERE APPEARS RECORD EVIDENCE OF PREMIUM DEDUCTIONS FROM HIS PAY AND THERE IS IN EXISTENCE A TYPEWRITTEN APPLICATION UNSIGNED. AN APPLICATION FOR REINSTATEMENT OF A PORTION OF THE INSURANCE BASED ON SUCH EVIDENCE, IF OTHERWISE REGULAR, MAY BE CONSIDERED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, MARCH 29, 1926:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 8, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER DUDLEY E. WHITAKER MAY BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING MADE A VALID APPLICATION FOR TERM INSURANCE DURING HIS MILITARY SERVICE.

YOU SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT OF FACTS:

DUDLEY E. WHITAKER ENTERED THE MILITARY SERVICE AUGUST 5, 1918, AND WAS DISCHARGED ON A SURGEON'S CERTIFICATE OF DISABILITY SEPTEMBER 30,1918. THERE IS ON FILE HIS APPLICATION FOR $10,000 TERM INSURANCE UNDER THE TERM INSURANCE NUMBER T-3,986,723, DATED SEPTEMBER 19, 1918, APPROXIMATELY ELEVEN DAYS PRIOR TO DISCHARGE. THIS APPLICATION IS UNSIGNED AND A CAREFUL SEARCH OF ALL AVAILABLE FILES FAILS TO DISCLOSE ANY SIGNED COPY THEREOF. THE TRANSCRIPT OF PAYMENTS MADE SHOWS THAT DUDLEY E. WHITAKER WAS CHECKED $13.80 FOR INSURANCE PREMIUMS ON HIS FINAL AND ONLY PAYMENT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENT TO HAVE COVERED PREMIUMS ON $10,000 INSURANCE FOR TWO MONTHS. HIS SERVICE RECORD ALSO CARRIES A NOTATION OF A CLASS C ALLOTMENT OF $6.90, SEPTEMBER 1, 1918.

SUBSEQUENT TO DISCHARGE THE INSURANCE WAS ALLOWED TO LAPSE, BUT UNDER DATE OF JUNE 6, 1925, DUDLEY E. WHITAKER MADE APPLICATION FOR THE REINSTATEMENT OF $1,000 TERM INSURANCE, WHICH APPLICATION WAS APPROVED EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1925. PREMIUMS UNDER THE REINSTATEMENT OF $1,000 ARE REPORTED PAID THROUGH DECEMBER, 1925, A PERIOD OF SIX MONTHS.

AT THE PRESENT TIME DUDLEY E. WHITAKER IS A PATIENT IN AN INSTITUTION FOR MENTAL DISEASES AND IN VIEW OF HIS MENTAL CONDITION IT HAS NOT BEEN POSSIBLE TO SECURE FROM HIM ANY STATEMENT RELATIVE TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE APPLICATION FOR INSURANCE OR ANY EXPLANATION OF THE FAILURE TO SIGN THE APPLICATION.

IT IS ASSUMED THAT THE VALIDITY OF THE ORIGINAL APPLICATION FOR TERM INSURANCE IS SOUGHT TO BE ESTABLISHED TO DETERMINE THE VALIDITY OF THE REINSTATEMENT OF A PORTION OF THE ORIGINAL TERM INSURANCE AND THE LEGALITY OF PAYMENTS OF INSURANCE THEREUNDER.

SECTION 400 OF THE WAR-RISK INSURANCE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, 40 STAT. 409, PROVIDES AS OLLOWS:

THAT IN ORDER TO GIVE TO EVERY COMMISSIONED OFFICER AND ENLISTED MAN AND TO EVERY MEMBER OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS (FEMALE) AND OF THE NAVY NURSE CORPS (FEMALE) WHEN EMPLOYED IN ACTIVE SERVICE UNDER THE WAR DEPARTMENT OR NAVY DEPARTMENT GREATER PROTECTION FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS THAN IS PROVIDED IN ARTICLE III, THE UNITED STATES, UPON APPLICATION TO THE BUREAU AND WITHOUT MEDICAL EXAMINATION, SHALL GRANT INSURANCE AGAINST THE DEATH OR TOTAL PERMANENT DISABILITY OF ANY SUCH PERSON IN ANY MULTIPLE $500, AND NOT LESS THAN $1,000 OR MORE THAN $10,000, UPON THE PAYMENT OF THE PREMIUMS AS HEREINAFTER PROVIDED.

SECTION 401 OF THE WAR-RISK INSURANCE ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 25, 1918, 40 STAT. 614, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

THAT SUCH INSURANCE MUST BE APPLIED FOR WITHIN ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY DAYS AFTER ENLISTMENT OR AFTER ENTRANCE INTO OR EMPLOYMENT IN THE ACTIVE SERVICE AND BEFORE DISCHARGE OR RESIGNATION, EXCEPT THAT THOSE PERSONS WHO ARE IN THE ACTIVE WAR SERVICE AT THE TIME OF THE PUBLICATION OF THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF SUCH CONTRACT OF INSURANCE MAY APPLY AT ANY TIME WITHIN ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY DAYS THEREAFTER AND WHILE IN SUCH SERVICE. * * *

SECTION 402 OF THE WAR-RISK INSURANCE ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 25, 1918, 40 STAT. 615, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

THAT THE DIRECTOR, SUBJECT TO THE GENERAL DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, SHALL PROMPTLY DETERMINE UPON AND PUBLISH THE FULL AND EXACT TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF SUCH CONTRACT OF INSURANCE. * * *

SECTION 404 OF THE WAR-RISK INSURANCE ACT OF OCTOBER 6, 1917, 40 STAT. 410, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

* * * REGULATIONS * * * SHALL PRESCRIBE THE TIME AND METHOD OF PAYMENT OF THE PREMIUMS THEREON * * *.

PURSUANT TO THIS STATUTORY AUTHORITY, THE FOLLOWING REGULATIONS WERE ISSUED EFFECTIVE APRIL 25, 1919, AND LATER INCLUDED AS SECTIONS 4021, 4022, AND 4023, REGULATIONS, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, 1923:

SEC. 4021. ON RECEIPT OF A CLAIM FROM AN OFFICER OR ENLISTED MAN OR A MEMBER OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS (FEMALE), OR FROM A PERSON CLAIMING THE BENEFITS OF INSURANCE ON THE LIFE OF AN OFFICER OR ENLISTED MAN OR MEMBER OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS (FEMALE), THAT AN APPLICATION FOR GOVERNMENT INSURANCE WAS EXECUTED AND THAT DEDUCTIONS OF PAY ON ACCOUNT OF PREMIUM THEREON WERE MADE, BUT NO APPLICATION CAN BE FOUND AND NO COPY THEREOF CAN BE SUPPLIED BY THE OFFICE OF THE ADJUTANT GENERAL, A SEARCH SHALL BE MADE THROUGH THE ABSTRACTS OF PAY VOUCHERS FURNISHED TO THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT IN ORDER TO ASCERTAIN WHAT AMOUNTS, IF ANY, WERE DEDUCTED FOR INSURANCE PREMIUMS FROM THE PAY OF THE OFFICER, ENLISTED MAN, OR MEMBER OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS (FEMALE). (W.R. REGULATION 32, APRIL 25, 1919.)

SEC. 4022. IF THE SEARCH SO MADE DISCLOSES ANY RECORD OF DEDUCTIONS OF PAY ON ACCOUNT OF INSURANCE PREMIUMS AND THE PARTICULAR ABSTRACT OR ABSTRACTS SHOWING SUCH INFORMATION ARE PROPERLY CERTIFIED BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER, CLERKS AUTHORIZED THERETO SHALL PREPARE A CERTIFICATE SHOWING THE MONTH OR MONTHS DURING WHICH SUCH DEDUCTIONS WERE MADE AND THE AMOUNTS OF SUCH DEDUCTIONS AND THAT THE PARTICULAR ABSTRACTS WERE PROPERLY CERTIFIED. THE CERTIFICATE SHALL ALSO CONTAIN SUFFICIENT DATA TO IDENTIFY THE PARTICULAR VOUCHER OR VOUCHERS FROM WHICH THE INFORMATION WAS OBTAINED. (W.R. REGULATION 32, APRIL 25, 1919.)

SEC. 4023. IF THE INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM THE ABSTRACT OF PAY VOUCHERS SUBSTANTIATES THE CLAIM AS TO THE EXISTENCE OF INSURANCE, THE CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY A CLERK DESIGNATED FOR THAT PURPOSE SHALL BE CONSIDERED SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE OF THE EXISTENCE OF A PROPERLY EXECUTED APPLICATION FOR INSURANCE TO AUTHORIZE THE ISSUANCE OF AN INSURANCE CERTIFICATE, IF THE INSURED IS ALIVE AND OTHERWISE ENTITLED THERETO; OR IF THE INSURED IS DEAD OR TOTALLY AND PERMANENTLY DISABLED, THE CERTIFICATE SHALL BE ACCEPTED AS PROOF THAT INSURANCE WAS APPLIED FOR AND AN AWARD MAY BE MADE ACCORDINGLY. (W.R. REGULATION 32, APRIL 25, 1919.)

THESE REGULATIONS ARE APPLICABLE TO ALL CLAIMS FOR INSURANCE FILED SUBSEQUENT TO APRIL 25, 1919, REGARDLESS OF WHEN THE APPLICATION FOR INSURANCE IS SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN MADE; THAT IS, WHETHER PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT TO APRIL 25, 1919.

AS DUDLEY E. WHITAKER WAS AN "ENLISTED MAN * * * IN ACTIVE SERVICE UNDER THE WAR DEPARTMENT" HE CAME WITHIN THE CLASSES ENTITLED TO APPLY FOR WAR- RISK INSURANCE "WITHOUT MEDICAL EXAMINATION.' HE WAS IN THE SERVICE ONLY 57 DAYS. IF HE APPLIED FOR INSURANCE AT ANY TIME DURING SUCH ACTIVE SERVICE, THE APPLICATION WAS MADE WITHIN THE TIME FIXED BY THE STATUTE. THEREFORE NO LEGAL OBJECTION COULD BE RAISED AGAINST THE APPLICATION FOR INSURANCE ON THE BASIS OF THE SHORT DURATION OF HIS SERVICE, HIS DISCHARGE BECAUSE OF DISABILITY, OR THE SHORT PERIOD OF TIME BETWEEN THE APPLICATION FOR INSURANCE AND HIS DISCHARGE FOR DISABILITY.

THE ONLY QUESTION PRESENTED IS WHETHER THE ABSENCE OF A SIGNATURE ON THE TYPEWRITTEN APPLICATION FOR INSURANCE INVALIDATED THE APPLICATION. THE REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT TO LAW, QUOTED ABOVE, RECOGNIZE AN APPLICATION FOR INSURANCE ON THE BASIS OF A PROPER RECORD OF DEDUCTIONS OF MONTHLY PREMIUMS FROM THE PAY OF THE INSURED DURING HIS ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE WHEN THE APPLICATION ITSELF HAS BEEN LOST. THIS IS UNDERSTOOD TO HAVE BEEN ESTABLISHED IN THE PRESENT CASE. THE EXISTENCE OF A TYPEWRITTEN APPLICATION WITHOUT A SIGNATURE SHOULD NOT PLACE THE CASE IN A WORSE POSITION THAN A CASE IN WHICH THERE IS NOTHING BUT THE PROPER RECORD OF DEDUCTIONS. ON THE CONTRARY, THE TYPEWRITTEN APPLICATION WITHOUT THE SIGNATURE OF THE APPLICANT IS RATHER CORROBORATIVE OF THE OTHER EVIDENCE TENDING TO SHOW THAT THE APPLICATION FOR INSURANCE HAD IN FACT BEEN MADE.

ON THE EVIDENCE SUBMITTED IT MAY BE CONCLUDED THAT THERE WAS A VALID APPLICATION FOR TERM INSURANCE MADE BY DUDLEY E. WHITAKER DURING HIS MILITARY SERVICE WITHIN THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS, ON THE BASIS OF WHICH CONSIDERATION WAS AUTHORIZED OF THE REINSTATEMENT OF $1,000 OF INSURANCE.