A-24082, SEPTEMBER 12, 1928, 8 COMP. GEN. 108

A-24082: Sep 12, 1928

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

NO CLAIM WILL BE ENTERTAINED ON THE BASIS OF THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF $107 WHERE A CLAIM ON ACCOUNT OF THE SAME VETERAN WAS SETTLED PRIOR TO MAY 29. 1928: THERE HAVE ARISEN IN THE PREAUDIT OF VOUCHERS SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU QUESTIONS INVOLVING THE LEGALITY OF PROPOSED ADDITIONAL PAYMENTS AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR BURIAL EXPENSES OF VETERANS OF ANY WAR UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 201. IT WAS PROVIDED. THE EVIDENT INTENT WAS TO ELIMINATE THE SPECIAL ALLOWANCE OF $7 FOR A FLAG AND TO ADD THAT AMOUNT TO THE TOTAL AUTHORIZED FOR ANY ITEM OF FUNERAL OR BURIAL EXPENSE (INCLUDING FLAG) AS MIGHT BE FIXED BY REGULATION. ALTHOUGH THE SECTION AS AMENDED IS APPLICABLE TO UNSETTLED CLAIMS ON THE DATE OF THE ACT.

A-24082, SEPTEMBER 12, 1928, 8 COMP. GEN. 108

BURIAL EXPENSES - VETERANS OF ANY WAR UNDER THE ACT OF MAY 29, 1928, 45 STAT. 966, AMENDING SECTION 201, PARAGRAPH (F), SUBSECTION (2) OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AUTHORIZING A MAXIMUM ALLOWANCE OF $107 FOR FUNERAL AND BURIAL EXPENSES OF VETERANS OF ANY WAR, IN LIEU OF $100 AND NOT TO EXCEED $7 FOR A FLAG AS FIXED BY THE EARLIER LAW, NO CLAIM WILL BE ENTERTAINED ON THE BASIS OF THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF $107 WHERE A CLAIM ON ACCOUNT OF THE SAME VETERAN WAS SETTLED PRIOR TO MAY 29, 1928, UNDER THE EARLIER STATUTE FOR THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF $100.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, SEPTEMBER 12, 1928:

THERE HAVE ARISEN IN THE PREAUDIT OF VOUCHERS SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU QUESTIONS INVOLVING THE LEGALITY OF PROPOSED ADDITIONAL PAYMENTS AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR BURIAL EXPENSES OF VETERANS OF ANY WAR UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 201, PARAGRAPH (F), SUBSECTION (2), OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF MAY 29, 1928, 45 STAT. 966, IN CASES WHERE PRIOR TO MAY 29, 1928, SETTLEMENT HAD BEEN MADE IN WHOLE OR IN PART UNDER THE TERMS OF THE SECTION AS APPEARING IN PRIOR STATUTES.

UNDER THE SECTION AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 794, IT WAS PROVIDED, IN SO FAR AS HERE MATERIAL:

(F) * * * WHERE A VETERAN OF ANY WAR * * * DIES AFTER DISCHARGE OR RESIGNATION FROM THE SERVICE AND DOES NOT LEAVE ASSETS WHICH, IN THE JUDGMENT OF THE DIRECTOR, SHOULD BE APPLIED TO MEET THE EXPENSES OF BURIAL AND FUNERAL AND THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE BODY (THE DECISION OF THE DIRECTOR TO BE BINDING FOR ALL PURPOSES), 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; * * *.

THE SAME SECTION AS APPEARING IN THE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 617, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

(7) THAT THIS SECTION SHALL BE DEEMED TO BE IN EFFECT AS OF APRIL 6, 1917. * * *.

THE ACT OF MAY 29, 1928, AMENDED THE QUOTED PORTION FROM SECTION 202, PARAGRAPH (F), SUBSECTION (1), TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

* * * WHERE A VETERAN OF ANY WAR * * * DIES AFTER DISCHARGE OR RESIGNATION FROM THE SERVICE, THE DIRECTOR, IN HIS DISCRETION AND WITH DUE REGARD TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF EACH CASE, SHALL PAY 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 $107 TO COVER SUCH ITEMS AND TO BE PAID TO SUCH PERSON OR PERSONS AS MAY BE FIXED BY REGULATIONS.

THE LATEST CHANGE IN THE LAW AS QUOTED ABOVE MAKES THE MAXIMUM ALLOWANCE FOR FUNERAL AND BURIAL EXPENSES $107 IN LIEU OF $100, AND NOT TO EXCEED $7 FOR A FLAG AS FIXED IN THE EARLIER LAW. THE EVIDENT INTENT WAS TO ELIMINATE THE SPECIAL ALLOWANCE OF $7 FOR A FLAG AND TO ADD THAT AMOUNT TO THE TOTAL AUTHORIZED FOR ANY ITEM OF FUNERAL OR BURIAL EXPENSE (INCLUDING FLAG) AS MIGHT BE FIXED BY REGULATION. THE VOUCHERS SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE COVERING THE PROPOSED ADDITIONAL PAYMENTS PRESENT THE QUESTION WHETHER THE LAW MAY BE CONSTRUED AND APPLIED AS AUTHORIZING REOPENING OF ANY CASE SETTLED PRIOR TO MAY 29, 1928, ON THE BASIS OF $100 MAXIMUM FOR FUNERAL AND BURIAL AND $7 FOR A FLAG, SO THAT THERE MAY BE PAID THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNT PREVIOUSLY ALLOWED FOR FUNERAL AND BURIAL AND $107. ALTHOUGH THE SECTION AS AMENDED IS APPLICABLE TO UNSETTLED CLAIMS ON THE DATE OF THE ACT, MAY 29, 1928, FOR BURIAL OF VETERANS OF ANY WAR DYING ON OR SUBSEQUENT TO APRIL 6, 1917, THERE IS NOTHING EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED IN THE STATUTE TO SHOW AN INTENT TO AUTHORIZE THE REOPENING OF CLAIMS SETTLED FOR THE MAXIMUM AUTHORIZED BY THE EARLIER LAWS.

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS HELD THAT CLAIMS MAY BE ENTERTAINED UNDER THE AMENDED STATUTE OF MAY 29, 1928, FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF FUNERAL AND BURIAL EXPENSES ON THE BASIS OF THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF $107 ONLY IN CASES (1) WHERE NO CLAIM WAS SETTLED UNDER ANY EARLIER STATUTE, AND (2) WHERE A CLAIM WAS SETTLED FOR ONLY A PART OF THE MAXIMUM OF $100 AUTHORIZED UNDER THE EARLIER STATUTE.

STATING IT CONVERSELY, NO CLAIM SHOULD BE ENTERTAINED UNDER THE AMENDED STATUTE ON THE BASIS OF THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF $107 WHERE A CLAIM WAS SETTLED PRIOR TO MAY 29, 1928, UNDER THE EARLIER STATUTE FOR THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF $100.