A-14202, JUNE 22, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 1006

A-14202: Jun 22, 1926

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IS NOT AUTHORIZED IN THE CASE OF PERSONS DYING IN THE SERVICE UNLESS THE DEATH WAS THE RESULT OF A DISABILITY INCURRED BETWEEN APRIL 6. HIS BURIAL EXPENSES ARE PROVIDED FOR IN THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR THOSE SERVICES. THERE WAS FOUND TO BE DUE FROM THE UNITED STATES THE SUM OF $289.60 AS ARREARS OF PAY. FROM THE AMOUNT THUS FOUND TO BE DUE THERE WAS DEDUCTED. THE HEIRS OF THE SOLDIER HAVE REQUESTED REVIEW OF THE ABOVE SETTLEMENT WITH A VIEW TO DETERMINING WHETHER THE FUNERAL EXPENSES IN QUESTION SHOULD NOT BE BORNE BY THE GOVERNMENT RATHER THAN PAID BY DEDUCTION FROM ARREARS OF PAY. WAS SERVING IN THAT ENLISTMENT AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH ON JANUARY 21. ROVIDES: IF DEATH OCCUR OR SHALL HAVE OCCURRED SUBSEQUENT TO APRIL 6.

A-14202, JUNE 22, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 1006

BURIAL EXPENSES - VETERANS OF THE WORLD WAR UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 212 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 623, PAYMENT OF BURIAL EXPENSES AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 201 OF SAID ACT AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1925, 43 STAT. 1305, IS NOT AUTHORIZED IN THE CASE OF PERSONS DYING IN THE SERVICE UNLESS THE DEATH WAS THE RESULT OF A DISABILITY INCURRED BETWEEN APRIL 6, 1917, AND JULY 2, 1921. WHERE A PERSON DIES IN THE SERVICE OF THE ARMY, NAVY, OR MARINE CORPS DURING A PERIOD OF ENLISTMENT ENTERED UPON SUBSEQUENT TO JULY 2, 1921, HIS BURIAL EXPENSES ARE PROVIDED FOR IN THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR THOSE SERVICES.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, JUNE 22, 1926:

BY SETTLEMENT NO. 0-102241-W, DATED DECEMBER 8, 1925, THERE WAS FOUND TO BE DUE FROM THE UNITED STATES THE SUM OF $289.60 AS ARREARS OF PAY, ETC., IN THE CASE OF PVT. WILLIAM GOONAN, QUARTERMASTER CORPS, WHO DIED AT FORT MILLS, P.I., JANUARY 21, 1924. FROM THE AMOUNT THUS FOUND TO BE DUE THERE WAS DEDUCTED, PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1906, 34 STAT. 750, THE SUM OF $105 FOR PAYMENT TO ROBERT REISINGER, UNDERTAKER, AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR BURIAL EXPENSES INCURRED BY HIM IN CONNECTION WITH THE BURIAL OF THE SOLDIER IN DAYTON, OHIO, IN APRIL, 1924. THE HEIRS OF THE SOLDIER HAVE REQUESTED REVIEW OF THE ABOVE SETTLEMENT WITH A VIEW TO DETERMINING WHETHER THE FUNERAL EXPENSES IN QUESTION SHOULD NOT BE BORNE BY THE GOVERNMENT RATHER THAN PAID BY DEDUCTION FROM ARREARS OF PAY, ETC., DUE THE SOLDIER.

THE RECORDS SHOW THAT PRIVATE GOONAN SERVED DURING THE PERIOD OF THE WORLD WAR FROM SEPTEMBER 17, 1917, TO APRIL 27, 1919. HE ALSO SERVED FOR THE PERIOD FROM MARCH 11, 1920, TO MARCH 22, 1923. FOLLOWING THE HONORABLE DISCHARGE OF MARCH 22, 1923, HE REENLISTED MARCH 23, 1923, AND WAS SERVING IN THAT ENLISTMENT AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH ON JANUARY 21, 1924.

WITH REGARD TO THE QUESTION OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR FUNERAL EXPENSES, SECTION 201 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, 1924, 43 STAT. 617, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1925, 43 STAT. 1305, ROVIDES:

IF DEATH OCCUR OR SHALL HAVE OCCURRED SUBSEQUENT TO APRIL 6, 1917, AND BEFORE DISCHARGE OR RESIGNATION FROM THE SERVICE, THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU SHALL PAY FOR BURIAL AND FUNERAL EXPENSES AND THE RETURN OF THE BODY TO HIS HOME A SUM NOT TO EXCEED $100, AS MAY BE FIXED BY REGULATION. WHERE A VETERAN OF ANY WAR, INCLUDING THOSE PERSONS WHO SERVED HONORABLY AS ARMY NURSES UNDER CONTRACTS FOR NINETY DAYS OR MORE DURING THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, WHO WAS NOT DISHONORABLY DISCHARGED DIES AFTER DISCHARGE OR RESIGNATION FROM THE SERVICE AND DOES NOT IN THE JUDGMENT OF THE DIRECTOR LEAVE SUFFICIENT ASSETS TO MEET THE EXPENSES OF BURIAL AND FUNERAL AND THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE BODY, THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU SHALL PAY THE FOLLOWING SUMS: FOR A FLAG TO DRAPE THE CASKET, AND AFTER BURIAL TO BE GIVEN TO THE NEXT OF KIN OF THE DECEASED, A SUM NOT EXCEEDING $7; ALSO, FOR BURIAL AND FUNERAL EXPENSES AND THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE BODY (INCLUDING PREPARATION OF THE BODY) TO THE PLACE OF BURIAL, A SUM NOT EXCEEDING $100 TO COVER SUCH ITEMS AND TO BE PAID TO SUCH PERSON OR PERSONS AS MAY BE FIXED BY REGULATIONS: PROVIDED, THAT WHEN SUCH PERSON DIES WHILE RECEIVING FROM THE BUREAU COMPENSATION OR VOCATIONAL TRAINING, THE ABOVE BENEFITS SHALL BE PAYABLE IN ALL CASES: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT WHERE SUCH PERSON, WHILE RECEIVING FROM THE BUREAU MEDICAL, SURGICAL, OR HOSPITAL TREATMENT OR VOCATIONAL TRAINING, DIES AWAY FROM HOME AND AT THE PLACE TO WHICH HE WAS ORDERED BY THE BUREAU, OR WHILE TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS OF THE BUREAU, THE ABOVE BENEFITS SHALL BE PAYABLE IN ALL CASES AND IN ADDITION THERETO THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY COST OF THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE BODY OF THE PERSON (INCLUDING PREPARATION OF THE BODY) TO THE PLACE OF BURIAL, WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES, ITS TERRITORIES OR POSSESSIONS AND INCLUDING ALSO, IN THE DISCRETION OF THE DIRECTOR, THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF AN ATTENDANT: AND PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT NO ACCRUED PENSION, COMPENSATION, OR INSURANCE DUE AT THE TIME OF DEATH SHALL BE DEDUCTED FROM THE SUM ALLOWED.

THE FIRST SENTENCE OF THE ABOVE ACT RELATES IN EXPRESS TERMS TO THOSE CASES OF DEATH WHICH OCCUR WHILE THE SOLDIER IS STILL IN THE MILITARY SERVICE, AND, TAKEN ALONE, THIS PROVISION MIGHT APPEAR TO AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT IN THE INSTANT CASE. HOWEVER, SECTION 201, WHICH THE ABOVE- QUOTED PROVISION AMENDS, IS A PART OF TITLE II OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, 1924, AND MUST THEREFORE BE READ IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 212 OF SAID ACT, 43 STAT. 623, AS FOLLOWS:

THIS ACT IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE A SYSTEM FOR THE RELIEF OF PERSONS WHO WERE DISABLED, AND FOR THE DEPENDENTS OF THOSE WHO DIED AS A RESULT OF DISABILITY SUFFERED IN THE MILITARY SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES BETWEEN APRIL 6, 1917, AND JULY 2, 1921. FOR SUCH DISABILITIES AND DEATHS NO OTHER PENSION LAWS OR LAWS PROVIDING FOR GRATUITIES OR PAYMENTS IN THE EVENT OF DEATH IN THE SERVICE SHALL BE APPLICABLE: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT THE LAWS RELATING TO THE RETIREMENT OF PERSONS IN THE REGULAR MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE SHALL NOT BE CONSIDERED TO BE LAWS PROVIDING FOR PENSIONS, GRATUITIES, OR PAYMENTS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THIS SECTION: AND PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT COMPENSATION UNDER THIS TITLE SHALL NOT BE PAID WHILE THE PERSON IS IN RECEIPT OF ACTIVE SERVICE OR RETIREMENT PAY. TITLES II AND IV OF THIS ACT SHALL NOT BE APPLICABLE TO ANY DISABILITY OR RESULTANT DEATH IN THE SERVICE IF SUCH DISABILITY OCCURRED AS A RESULT OF SERVICE PRIOR TO APRIL 6, 1917, OR AFTER JULY 2, 1921.

PRIVATE GOONAN DIED JANUARY 21, 1924, WHILE SERVING IN AN ENLISTMENT ENTERED INTO MARCH 23, 1923, AND HENCE UNDER THE TERMS OF SECTION 212 OF THE ABOVE ACT THE FIRST SENTENCE OF SECTION 201 IS NOT APPLICABLE TO THE CASE.

THE CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR FUNERAL EXPENSES IN THE INSTANT CASE WAS ORIGINALLY PRESENTED TO THE VETERANS' BUREAU FOR PAYMENT, BUT WAS REFERRED BY SAID BUREAU TO THIS OFFICE BY LETTER OF FEBRUARY 4, 1925, STATING THAT THE CLAIM COULD NOT BE ALLOWED BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU FOR THE REASON THAT THE SOLDIER DID NOT DIE INDIGENT. IT IS TRUE THAT THE SOLDIER, HAVING THE SUM OF $289.60 DUE HIM AS ARREARS OF PAY AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH, DID NOT, IN FACT, DIE INDIGENT. BUT THE QUESTION OF THE INDIGENCY OF THE SOLDIER HAS NO BEARING UPON THE MATTER OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR FUNERAL EXPENSES, FOR THE SOLDIER DIED "WHILE IN THE SERVICE," AND THE QUESTION OF INDIGENCY IS ONE FOR CONSIDERATION ONLY IN CASES OF VETERANS WHO DIE "AFTER DISCHARGE OR RESIGNATION FROM THE SERVICE.' IN THE CASE OF SOLDIERS WHO DIE IN THE SERVICE, THERE ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE WAR DEPARTMENT ANNUAL APPROPRIATION FOR THE "DISPOSITION OF REMAINS OF OFFICERS, SOLDIERS, AND CIVIL EMPLOYEES" FUNDS FOR DEFRAYING THE EXPENSES OF INTERMENT OR OF THE PREPARATION AND TRANSPORTATION OF THE BODY TO HIS HOME. IN THE CASE NOW UNDER CONSIDERATION THE WAR DEPARTMENT ADVISES INFORMALLY THAT IT PAID $172.92 FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE BODY OF PRIVATE GOONAN FROM SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF., TO DAYTON, OHIO, AFTER TRANSPORTING IT BY GOVERNMENT VESSEL FROM THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS TO SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. IN ADDITION TO THIS EXPENSE THE WAR DEPARTMENT ALSO FURNISHED THE CASKET AND PREPARED THE BODY FOR INTERMENT. UNDER ARMY REGULATIONS 35 1520, THERE IS AUTHORIZED TO BE SPENT FOR THE CASKET AND FOR THE PREPARATION OF THE BODY A SUM NOT TO EXCEED $85. IT IS APPARENT, THEREFORE, THAT APPROXIMATELY $250 HAS BEEN SPENT BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSPORTATION AND BURIAL OF PRIVATE GOONAN.

IN ADDITION, PROVISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE FOR THE BURIAL OF ENLISTED MEN OF BOTH THE NAVY AND THE MARINE CORPS IN THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR SAID SERVICES.

IT MUST ACCORDINGLY BE HELD THAT REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, WAS NOT AUTHORIZED IN THIS CASE.