A-25476, JANUARY 4, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 332

A-25476: Jan 4, 1929

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OR FROM THE FIRST OF THE MONTH THEREAFTER IN WHICH THE DETERMINATION IS MADE THAT THE PARENTS WERE NOT DEPENDENT AS OF JANUARY 1. WHATEVER IS THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF DETERMINATION IN INDIVIDUAL CASES. REQUESTING DECISION ON A QUESTION PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS: I HAVE THE HONOR TO REFER TO SECTION 201. MAY BE PROPERLY APPLIED TO THOSE CASES WHERE COMPENSATION IS DISCONTINUED BECAUSE IT IS DETERMINED AFTER A REVIEW OF THE EVIDENCE SUBMITTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS ACTION THAT DEPENDENCY NO LONGER EXISTS. IF COMPENSATION IS INCREASED. NO REDUCTION OR DISCONTINUANCE OF COMPENSATION SHALL BE EFFECTIVE UNTIL THE 1ST DAY OF THE THIRD CALENDAR MONTH NEXT SUCCEEDING THAT IN WHICH SUCH REDUCTION OR DISCONTINUANCE IS DETERMINED.'.

A-25476, JANUARY 4, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 332

VETERANS' BUREAU - DISCONTINUANCE OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION - DEPENDENT PARENTS DISCONTINUANCE OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION BASED ON DEPENDENCY OF PARENTS UNDER SECTION 201 (F) OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MAY 29, 1928, 45 STAT. 965, SHOULD DATE, IN SO FAR AS PRACTICABLE, FROM JANUARY 1, OR FROM THE FIRST OF THE MONTH THEREAFTER IN WHICH THE DETERMINATION IS MADE THAT THE PARENTS WERE NOT DEPENDENT AS OF JANUARY 1. DEPENDENCY OF PARENTS AS OF JANUARY 1, REQUIRED TO BE DETERMINED UNDER THE STATUTE, SHOULD CONTROL ONE YEAR'S PAYMENTS OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION, WHATEVER IS THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF DETERMINATION IN INDIVIDUAL CASES, WHETHER JANUARY 1 OR THE FIRST OF ANY SUCCEEDING MONTH.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL GINN TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, JANUARY 4, 1929:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 15, 1928, REQUESTING DECISION ON A QUESTION PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS:

I HAVE THE HONOR TO REFER TO SECTION 201, PARAGRAPH (F) OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED, MAY 29, 1928, WHICH PROVIDES, IN PART:

"THAT THE STATUS OF DEPENDENCY SHALL BE DETERMINED AS OF THE FIRST DAY OF EACH YEAR, * * *.'

AND TO REQUEST YOUR DECISION ON THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER SECTION 205 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED, MAY BE PROPERLY APPLIED TO THOSE CASES WHERE COMPENSATION IS DISCONTINUED BECAUSE IT IS DETERMINED AFTER A REVIEW OF THE EVIDENCE SUBMITTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS ACTION THAT DEPENDENCY NO LONGER EXISTS.

SECTION 205, AS AMENDED, READS AS FOLLOWS:

"UPON ITS OWN MOTION OR UPON APPLICATION THE BUREAU MAY AT ANY TIME REVIEW AN AWARD AND, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FACTS FOUND UPON SUCH REVIEW, MAY END, DIMINISH, OR INCREASE THE COMPENSATION PREVIOUSLY AWARDED, OR, IF COMPENSATION IS INCREASED, OR IF COMPENSATION HAS BEEN REFUSED, REDUCED, OR DISCONTINUED, MAY (SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 210 HEREOF) AWARD COMPENSATION IN PROPORTION TO THE DEGREE OF DISABILITY SUSTAINED AS OF THE DATE SUCH DEGREE OF DISABILITY BEGAN, BUT NOT EARLIER THAN THE DATE OF DISCHARGE OR RESIGNATION. EXCEPT IN CASES OF FRAUD PARTICIPATED IN BY THE BENEFICIARY, NO REDUCTION OR DISCONTINUANCE OF COMPENSATION SHALL BE EFFECTIVE UNTIL THE 1ST DAY OF THE THIRD CALENDAR MONTH NEXT SUCCEEDING THAT IN WHICH SUCH REDUCTION OR DISCONTINUANCE IS DETERMINED.'

IN YOUR DECISION DATED AUGUST 21, 1925 (6 COMP. GEN. 149) IN THE CASE OF FRED SINDAR IT WAS HELD:

"SECTION 205 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43STAT. 622, DEALS WITH "REVIEW" OF AWARDS, AND THE EFFECTIVE DATE FOR REDUCTIONS OR DISCONTINUANCES IN COMPENSATION THEREUNDER RELATES TO CHANGES RESULTING FROM SUCH REVIEW. THIS SECTION DOES NOT RELATE TO CHANGES IN RATES OF COMPENSATION AUTHORIZED OR REQUIRED BY OTHER PROVISIONS OF LAW OR REGULATION WHICH THEMSELVES LIMIT THE PERIOD OF THE RATING OR FIX THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF REDUCTION OR DISCONTINUANCE IN COMPENSATION, BECAUSE OF SOME PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCE OR HAPPENING.'

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE SPECIFIC QUESTION PRESENTED BY YOUR SUBMISSION IS AS TO WHAT SHOULD BE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF DISCONTINUANCE OF PAYMENTS OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION TO DEPENDENT PARENTS OF VETERANS WHEN IT IS DETERMINED UNDER SECTION 201 (F) OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED, THAT THE DEPENDENCY DID NOT EXIST AS OF THE FIRST OF ANY YEAR.

SECTION 201 (F) OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MAY 29, 1928, 45 STAT. 965, IS AS FOLLOWS:

IF THERE IS A DEPENDENT MOTHER (OR DEPENDENT FATHER), $20, OR BOTH, $30. THE AMOUNT PAYABLE UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT EXCEED THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TOTAL AMOUNT PAYABLE TO THE WIDOW AND CHILDREN AND THE SUM OF $75. SUCH COMPENSATION SHALL BE PAYABLE, WHETHER THE DEPENDENCY OF THE FATHER OR MOTHER OR BOTH ARISES BEFORE OR AFTER THE DEATH OF THE PERSON: PROVIDED, THAT THE STATUS OF DEPENDENCY SHALL BE DETERMINED AS OF THE FIRST DAY OF EACH YEAR, AND THE DIRECTOR IS AUTHORIZED TO REQUIRE A SUBMISSION OF SUCH PROOF DEPENDENCY AS HE, IN HIS DISCRETION, MAY DEEM NECESSARY:PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT UPON REFUSAL OR NEGLECT OF THE CLAIMANT OR CLAIMANTS TO SUPPLY SUCH PROOF OF DEPENDENCY IN A REASONABLE TIME, THE PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION SHALL BE SUSPENDED OR DISCONTINUED.

IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE WORD "YEAR" IN THE FIRST PROVISO REFERS TO THE CALENDAR YEAR. THE STATUTE CONTEMPLATES ONLY YEARLY ADJUSTMENTS IN DISABILITY COMPENSATION TO DEPENDENT PARENTS OF VETERANS; THAT IS, COMPENSATION MAY BE NEITHER DISCONTINUED NOR COMMENCED AT ANY TIME DURING THE YEAR OTHER THAN THE EFFECTIVE DATE BASED ON THE DETERMINATION OF DEPENDENCY AS OF JANUARY 1. DEPENDENCY AS OF JANUARY 1 MUST CONTROL ONE YEAR'S PAYMENTS WHATEVER IS THE EFFECTIVE DATE IN INDIVIDUAL CASES. SECTION 205 OF THE STATUTE DOES NOT CONTROL DISCONTINUANCE OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION DETERMINED UNDER SECTION 201 (F) OF THE STATUTE ON THE BASIS THAT NO DEPENDENCY IS SHOWN TO HAVE EXISTED AS OF JANUARY 1. IN ADDITION TO THE QUOTATION APPEARING IN YOUR LETTER, FROM DECISION OF AUGUST 21, 1925, REFERENCE IS ALSO MADE TO THE FOLLOWING FROM THE SAME DECISION:

AS TO THE SECOND CLASS, SECTION 202 (1) OF THE STATUTE AUTHORIZES PAYMENT OF ADDITIONAL AMOUNTS OF COMPENSATION ON ACCOUNT OF DEPENDENT RELATIVES OF THE BENEFICIARY. PAYMENT OF THIS ADDITIONAL AMOUNT WOULD OBVIOUSLY BE LIMITED TO THE PERIOD THE RELATIONSHIP CONTINUED. DISCONTINUANCE ON ACCOUNT OF ANY PARTICULAR DEPENDENT WOULD BE AUTOMATICALLY EFFECTIVE ON THE HAPPENING THAT SEVERED THE RELATIONSHIP. AS NO "REVIEW" WOULD BE NECESSARY, SECTION 205 OF THE STATUTE WOULD NOT BE FOR APPLICATION.

THE STATUTE WOULD APPEAR TO CONTEMPLATE JANUARY 1 AS THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF ADJUSTMENTS IN DISABILITY COMPENSATION OF DEPENDENT PARENTS BASED ON DEPENDENCY DETERMINED AS OF THAT DATE, IN SO FAR AS MAY BE ADMINISTRATIVELY PRACTICABLE TO RECEIVE AND ACT UPON THE SHOWING OF DEPENDENCY AND THERE SHOULD BE ADOPTED SUCH ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE AS WILL ACCOMPLISH THE INTENT OF THE STATUTE. BUT THE STATUTE DOES NOT NECESSITATE REFUNDS OF PAYMENTS PROPERLY MADE PRIOR TO A NEW DETERMINATION OF DEPENDENCY AS OF JANUARY 1, WHICH MIGHT RESULT IF IT PROVED TO BE ADMINISTRATIVELY IMPRACTICABLE TO ACT UPON ALL CASES TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS IN DISABILITY COMPENSATION EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT DISABILITY COMPENSATION IS PAID MONTHLY ON OR ABOUT THE LAST OF THE MONTH FOR WHICH DUE, AND THAT IT IS NEVER PAID IN ADVANCE. THEREFORE, ANY FINAL DETERMINATION OF DEPENDENCY AS OF JANUARY 1, AS EFFECTING DISCONTINUANCES AS WELL AS COMMENCEMENTS OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION, PROPERLY MAY RELATE TO THE FIRST OF THE MONTH IN WHICH THE DETERMINATION OF DEPENDENCY AS OF JANUARY 1 IS MADE. FOR INSTANCE, THE DETERMINATIONS MADE DURING JANUARY WOULD REQUIRE ADJUSTMENTS EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, DETERMINATIONS MADE DURING FEBRUARY WOULD REQUIRE ADJUSTMENTS EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 1, ETC.

ANSWERING THE QUESTION SPECIFICALLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT DISCONTINUANCE OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION BASED ON DEPENDENCY OF PARENTS UNDER SECTION 201 (F) OF THE STATUTE SHOULD DATE, IN SO FAR AS PRACTICABLE, FROM JANUARY 1, OR FROM THE FIRST OF THE MONTH THEREAFTER IN WHICH THE DETERMINATION IS MADE THAT THE PARENTS WERE NOT DEPENDENT AS OF JANUARY 1.