A-15159, AUGUST 18, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 126

A-15159: Aug 18, 1926

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THE PENSIONS OF VETERANS ARE NOT RELIEVED FROM DEDUCTION FOR BOARD. WHILE SUCH VETERANS ARE IN ST. UNLESS AND UNTIL SUCH VETERANS HAVE COME UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU. 1926: I HAVE YOUR SUBMISSION OF JULY 22. THE TERMS OF WHICH ARE AS FOLLOWS: (10) THAT ALL HOSPITAL FACILITIES UNDER THE CONTROL AND JURISDICTION OF THE BUREAU SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR EVERY HONORABLY DISCHARGED VETERAN OF THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR. REGARDLESS WHETHER SUCH AILMENTS OR DISEASES ARE DUE TO MILITARY SERVICE OR OTHERWISE. THE DIRECTOR IS FURTHER AUTHORIZED. THAT PREFERENCE TO ADMISSION TO ANY GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL FOR HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE GIVEN TO THOSE VETERANS WHO ARE FINANCIALLY UNABLE TO PAY FOR HOSPITALIZATION AND THEIR NECESSARY TRAVELING EXPENSES: PROVIDED FURTHER.

A-15159, AUGUST 18, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 126

MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT - PENSIONERS IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION (10), SECTION 202, OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 9 OF THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 796, THE PENSIONS OF VETERANS ARE NOT RELIEVED FROM DEDUCTION FOR BOARD, MAINTENANCE, ETC., WHILE SUCH VETERANS ARE IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, UNLESS AND UNTIL SUCH VETERANS HAVE COME UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU. THE PROVISO IN SECTION 9 OF THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1926, AMENDING THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1909, 35 STAT. 592, HAS REFERENCE TO THAT PART OF THE ACT OF 1909 PROVIDING FOR THE DEDUCTION FROM THE PENSION OF A PATIENT IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL FOR THE PAYMENT OF BOARD AND MAINTENANCE INCIDENT TO HOSPITALIZATION. THE OTHER PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF 1909 PROVIDING FOR PAYMENT TO DEPENDENTS AND FOR DEPOSIT OF A PORTION OF THE PENSION FOR PERSONAL USE OF THE PENSIONER REMAIN IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, AUGUST 18, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR SUBMISSION OF JULY 22, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION UPON CERTAIN QUESTIONS ARISING UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION (10), SECTION 202, WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 620, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 9, ACT OF JULY 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 796, THE TERMS OF WHICH ARE AS FOLLOWS:

(10) THAT ALL HOSPITAL FACILITIES UNDER THE CONTROL AND JURISDICTION OF THE BUREAU SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR EVERY HONORABLY DISCHARGED VETERAN OF THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, THE PHILIPPINE INSURRECTION, THE BOXER REBELLION, OR THE WORLD WAR SUFFERING FROM NEUROPSYCHIATRIC OR TUBERCULAR AILMENTS AND DISEASES, PARALYSIS AGITANS, ENCEPHALITIS LETHARGICA, OR AMOEBIC DYSENTERY, OR THE LOSS OF SIGHT OF BOTH EYES, REGARDLESS WHETHER SUCH AILMENTS OR DISEASES ARE DUE TO MILITARY SERVICE OR OTHERWISE, INCLUDING TRAVELING EXPENSES AS GRANTED TO THOSE RECEIVING COMPENSATION AND HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THIS ACT. THE DIRECTOR IS FURTHER AUTHORIZED, SO FAR AS HE SHALL FIND THAT EXISTING GOVERNMENT FACILITIES PERMIT, TO FURNISH HOSPITALIZATION AND NECESSARY TRAVELING EXPENSES INCIDENT TO HOSPITALIZATION TO VETERANS OF ANY WAR, MILITARY OCCUPATION OR MILITARY EXPEDITION, INCLUDING THOSE WOMEN WHO SERVED AS ARMY NURSES UNDER CONTRACTS BETWEEN APRIL 21, 1898, AND FEBRUARY 2, 1901, NOT DISHONORABLY DISCHARGED, WITHOUT REGARD TO THE NATURE OR ORIGIN OF THEIR DISABILITIES: PROVIDED, THAT ANY AND ALL LAWS APPLICABLE TO WOMEN WHO BELONGED TO THE NURSE CORPS OF THE ARMY AFTER FEBRUARY 2, 1901, SHALL APPLY EQUALLY TO MEMBERS OF THE ARMY NURSE CORPS WHO SERVED UNDER CONTRACT BETWEEN APRIL 21, 1898, AND FEBRUARY 2, 1901, INCLUDING ALL WOMEN WHO SERVED HONORABLY AS NURSES, CHIEF NURSES, OR SUPERINTENDENT OF SAID CORPS IN SAID PERIOD: PROVIDED, THAT PREFERENCE TO ADMISSION TO ANY GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL FOR HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE GIVEN TO THOSE VETERANS WHO ARE FINANCIALLY UNABLE TO PAY FOR HOSPITALIZATION AND THEIR NECESSARY TRAVELING EXPENSES: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT WHERE A VETERAN HOSPITALIZED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THIS SUBDIVISION IS FINANCIALLY UNABLE TO SUPPLY HIMSELF WITH CLOTHING, HE SHALL ALSO BE FURNISHED WITH SUCH CLOTHING AS THE DIRECTOR MAY DEEM NECESSARY: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT WHERE A VETERAN ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION IS SUFFERING WITH A DISEASE OR INJURY NECESSITATING THE WEARING OF A PROSTHETIC APPLIANCE AND IS FINANCIALLY UNABLE TO SUPPLY HIMSELF WITH SAME, UPON AN AFFIDAVIT TO THAT EFFECT THE DIRECTOR IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO FURNISH SUCH APPLIANCE AND TO EFFECT NECESSARY REPAIRS TO THE SAME WITHOUT COST TO THE VETERAN: AND PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT THE PENSION OF A VETERAN ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO DEDUCTION, WHILE SUCH VETERAN IS HOSPITALIZED IN ANY GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL, FOR BOARD, MAINTENANCE, OR ANY OTHER PURPOSE INCIDENT TO HOSPITALIZATION: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT THE ACT OF MAY 4, 1898, ENTITLED "AN ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE NAVAL SERVICE FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1899, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES," THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1861, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1909, RELATIVE TO THE GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, OR ANY OTHER ACT, IN SO FAR AS THEY ARE INCONSISTENT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION BE, AND THEY ARE, HEREBY MODIFIED ACCORDINGLY.

WITH RESPECT TO THE TWO PROVISOS LAST QUOTED IT IS STATED IN THE SUBMISSION:

THESE ACTS, THEREFORE, WILL BE MODIFIED SO THAT THE PENSION OF A VETERAN ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION AS A BENEFICIARY OF THE U.S. VETERANS' BUREAU CAN NOT BE USED TO REIMBURSE THE HOSPITAL FOR BOARD AND TREATMENT WHILE IN THIS INSTITUTION. THE HOSPITAL HAS SEVERAL BENEFICIARIES OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU WHO ARE RECEIVING HOSPITALIZATION FROM THAT BUREAU, AND FOR WHOM THE HOSPITAL IS DRAWING A PENSION; ONE SIXTH BEING PLACED TO THEIR CREDIT AND THE BALANCE, NOT EXCEEDING $1.50 PER DAY, BEING USED TO REIMBURSE THE HOSPITAL FOR THEIR BOARD. THE BALANCE OF THEIR PENSION THAT IS USED TO REIMBURSE THE HOSPITAL FOR THEIR BOARD, IS CREDITED TO U.S. VETERANS' BUREAU ON THE MONTHLY BILL RENDERED FOR THE BOARD AND TREATMENT OF THEIR BENEFICIARIES, AND REDUCES THE AMOUNT THAT THEY WOULD OTHERWISE PAY THE HOSPITAL FOR THIS PURPOSE.

THE PROVISION NOTED STATES THAT THE PENSION OF A VETERAN ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO DEDUCTION WHILE SUCH VETERAN IS HOSPITALIZED IN ANY GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL FOR BOARD, MAINTENANCE, ETC. THE HOSPITAL HAS SEVERAL OF THESE PATIENTS WHO ARE BEING HOSPITALIZED AS BENEFICIARIES OF THE U.S. VETERANS' BUREAU, AND THERE ARE SEVERAL OTHER OF THE SAME CLASS ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION; NAMELY, SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR VETERANS, SERVICE MEN RECEIVED IN THE HOSPITAL SINCE 1898, WHO HAVE NOT BEEN TAKEN UP BY THE U.S. VETERANS' BUREAU AND ARE NOT BEING HOSPITALIZED AS THEIR BENEFICIARIES. WOULD THESE MEN BE EXEMPTED FROM REIMBURSING THE HOSPITAL FOR BOARD AND TREATMENT, THE SAME AS THOSE WHO HAVE BECOME BENEFICIARIES OF THE U.S. VETERANS' BUREAU?

THE RIGHT TO HOSPITALIZATION UNDER SECTION 202 (10), WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED, IS NOT ABSOLUTE IN THE VETERAN. BEFORE HE IS ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION IT MUST BE DETERMINED BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU THAT HE COMES WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THAT SECTION, SUCH MATTERS AS TO WHETHER HE WAS HONORABLY DISCHARGED, IS NOT FINANCIALLY ABLE TO PAY, ETC., TO BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION BY THE DIRECTOR IN HIS DETERMINATION. THUS, IN ORDER FOR A VETERAN TO BE "ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION" SO AS TO RELIEVE HIS PENSION FROM DEDUCTION FOR BOARD, MAINTENANCE, ETC., WHILE IN A GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL, THE VETERAN MUST HAVE COME UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU. YOU ARE ACCORDINGLY ADVISED THAT VETERANS WHO HAVE NOT BEEN TAKEN OVER BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU AND ARE NOT BEING HOSPITALIZED IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL ACCORDINGLY ARE NOT EXEMPTED FROM REIMBURSING THE HOSPITAL FOR BOARD, TREATMENT, ETC.

YOUR SUBMISSION FURTHER STATES:

THE PENSION FUNDS DRAWN BY THE HOSPITAL UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1909 (35 STAT. 592), ARE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THIS INSTITUTION, AND THE RECORDS KEPT IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR DATED MAY 1ST, 1909, COPY OF WHICH IS INCLOSED. UNDER THESE REGULATIONS, ONE-SIXTH OF THE AMOUNT DRAWN IS PLACED ASIDE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PATIENT. A CERTAIN PART, IF ANY DEPENDENT BENEFICIARIES APPEAR, IS PAID TO SUCH BENEFICIARIES, THE BALANCE BEING USED EITHER TO REIMBURSE THE HOSPITAL FOR BOARD OR PLACED TO THE CREDIT OF SAID PATIENTS. UNDER THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1926, IT WOULD BE NECESSARY TO MAKE A CHANGE IN THE METHOD OF DISTRIBUTING THESE FUNDS. KINDLY ADVISE US IF THE FULL AMOUNT IS TO BE PLACED TO THE CREDIT OF THE PATIENT FOR HIS USE, WHETHER SUCH FUNDS IF A DEPENDENT BENEFICIARY SHOULD MAKE CLAIM SHOULD BE USED FOR THEIR BENEFIT, OR IN WHAT WAY PAYMENTS SHOULD BE MADE TO THE PATIENT FOR HIS USE.

THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1909, 35 STAT. 592, ARE MODIFIED BY THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1926, SUPRA, ONLY IN SO FAR AS THEY RELATE TO THE DEDUCTION FROM PENSION MONEY FOR BOARD AND MAINTENANCE IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU. THE OTHER PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF 1909, NOT BEING INCONSISTENT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 202 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED, ARE NOT MODIFIED AND THEREFORE REMAIN IN FULL FORCE AND EFFECT.

THE AUTHORITY UNDER THE ACT OF 1909 TO PAY DEPENDENTS OF THE PENSIONER A PART OF THE PENSION, OR TO DEPOSIT A PART OF THE PENSION TO THE CREDIT OF THE PENSIONER FOR HIS PERSONAL USE, IS NOT AFFECTED BY THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1926, EXCEPT IN SO FAR AS THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR MAY DEEM IT ADVISABLE TO MAKE ADJUSTMENT IN THE AMOUNTS SO PAID, BASED UPON THE CONDITIONS AS AT PRESENT APPEARING IN THOSE ACCOUNTS, BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT NO PART OF THE PENSION IS NOW SUBJECT TO DEDUCTION FOR SUBSISTENCE, ETC., IN THESE CASES WHERE THE VETERAN PENSIONER HAS BECOME A BENEFICIARY OF THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU.

THE REMAINING QUESTION, I.E., WHETHER THE PROVISIONS IN THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1926, WILL AFFECT ,THE PAYING OF BOARD OF PENSIONERS, VETERANS OF THE CIVIL WAR, OR WHO ARE RECEIVING PENSIONS FOR OTHER SERVICES, HAVING A PORTION OF SAID PENSION USED FOR REIMBURSING THE HOSPITAL FOR THEIR BOARD AND MAINTENANCE," HAS BEEN ANSWERED IN WHAT HAS ALREADY BEEN STATED HEREIN. THAT IS, UNLESS AND UNTIL IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED BY THE DIRECTOR THAT A CIVIL WAR VETERAN IS ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION UNDER SECTION 202 (10) OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED, HIS PENSION IS NOT RELIEVED FROM DEDUCTION FOR BOARD, ETC., WHILE IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL.