A-25575, APRIL 4, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 520

A-25575: Apr 4, 1929

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BURIAL EXPENSES - VETERANS DYING IN NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS WHERE VETERANS ARE ENTITLED BY LAW TO BURIAL EXPENSES BOTH AS BENEFICIARIES OF THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS AND THE VETERANS' BUREAU. AMOUNTS AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID BECAUSE OF MEMBERSHIP IN THE HOME ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE DEDUCTED FROM THE AMOUNT OF BURIAL EXPENSES OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED UNDER THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT. WHERE VETERANS ARE ENTITLED BY LAW TO BURIAL EXPENSES AS BENEFICIARIES OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU. ARE RECEIVING VETERANS' BUREAU TREATMENT IN THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS. PAYMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES IS PROPER ONLY TO THE EXTENT OF THE MAXIMUM AUTHORIZED UNDER THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT.

A-25575, APRIL 4, 1929, 8 COMP. GEN. 520

BURIAL EXPENSES - VETERANS DYING IN NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS WHERE VETERANS ARE ENTITLED BY LAW TO BURIAL EXPENSES BOTH AS BENEFICIARIES OF THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS AND THE VETERANS' BUREAU, AMOUNTS AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID BECAUSE OF MEMBERSHIP IN THE HOME ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE DEDUCTED FROM THE AMOUNT OF BURIAL EXPENSES OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED UNDER THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED. HOWEVER, WHERE VETERANS ARE ENTITLED BY LAW TO BURIAL EXPENSES AS BENEFICIARIES OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU, ONLY, AND ARE RECEIVING VETERANS' BUREAU TREATMENT IN THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS, PAYMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES IS PROPER ONLY TO THE EXTENT OF THE MAXIMUM AUTHORIZED UNDER THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED, AND ANY ITEMS PAID BY THE HOME ON ACCOUNT THEREOF ARE FOR CONSIDERATION IN DETERMINING THE TOTAL OR NET AMOUNT TO BE PAID UNDER THE VETERANS' BUREAU APPROPRIATION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, APRIL 4, 1929:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 21, 1929, FILE DAA- F, IN CONNECTION WITH THE PREAUDIT OF VOUCHERS SUBMITTED BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU TO THIS OFFICE INVOLVING PAYMENT OF BURIAL EXPENSES OF VETERANS WHO DIE IN THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS WHILE RECEIVING FROM THE VETERANS' BUREAU MEDICAL OR SURGICAL TREATMENT.

THERE APPEARS TO BE SOME DOUBT IN THE BUREAU AS TO WHAT IS THE PROPER AMOUNT TO BE PAID FOR BURIAL EXPENSES IN CASES WHERE THERE HAD BEEN FURNISHED BY THE HOME--- AND PAID FOR FROM APPROPRIATIONS OF THE HOME--- ITEMS FOR PREPARATION OF THE BODY, ETC., THE DOUBT ARISING AS THE RESULT OF THE CHANGE IN THE APPROPRIATION "MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES, VETERANS' BUREAU" FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1929, THERE BEING OMITTED THEREFROM THE AUTHORIZATION CONTAINED IN VETERANS' BUREAU APPROPRIATIONS FOR PRIOR FISCAL YEARS FOR ALLOTMENTS OF FUNDS TO THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS.

THE VOUCHERS REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER ALL APPEAR TO COVER BURIAL EXPENSES OF VETERANS WHO WERE IN THE HOME SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF RECEIVING AUTHORIZED VETERANS' BUREAU TREATMENT. HOWEVER, IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT CASES OCCASIONALLY ARISE IN WHICH THE VETERANS ARE REGULARLY ADMITTED MEMBERS OF THE HOME AND, ON DEATH, ARE ENTITLED TO HAVE THEIR BURIAL EXPENSES PAID FROM VETERANS' BUREAU APPROPRIATIONS.

PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1928, VETERANS WHO DIED WHILE RECEIVING TREATMENT IN THE HOMES SOLELY AS VETERANS' BUREAU PATIENTS WERE HELD TO BE ENTITLED TO THE MAXIMUM AUTHORIZED VETERAN'S BUREAU BURIAL EXPENSE ALLOWANCE LESS ANY BURIAL EXPENSES PAID BY THE HOME, WHEREAS LEGALLY ADMITTED MEMBERS OF THE HOME WHO WERE ALSO VETERANS' BUREAU BENEFICIARIES WERE ENTITLED TO THE MAXIMUM AUTHORIZED VETERANS' BUREAU BURIAL EXPENSE IN ADDITION TO THOSE ITEMS FURNISHED BY THE HOME. 4 COMP. GEN. 969.

THE EFFECT OF THE OMISSION OF THE AUTHORIZATION FOR ALLOTMENT OF FUNDS TO THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS FROM THE 1929 APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE VETERANS' BUREAU, ACT OF MAY 16, 1928, 45 STAT. 588, WAS CONSIDERED IN DECISION OF JANUARY 16, 1929, A-25458, WHEREIN IT WAS SHOWN THAT THE AUTHORIZATION FOR SUCH TRANSFER WAS OMITTED IN THE PRESENT ACT BECAUSE OF AN INCREASE MADE IN APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE HOME TO COVER THE COST OF CARE OF VETERANS' BUREAU PATIENTS. SUCH BEING THE CASE, IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE SITUATION WITH RESPECT TO THE RIGHTS OF THE TWO CLASSES OF VETERANS IS AFFECTED BY THE CHANGE IN THE MANNER OF PROVIDING FUNDS FOR THE PATIENTS AUTHORIZED TO BE FURNISHED BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU.

ACCORDINGLY, IN CASES WHERE VETERANS ARE ENTITLED BY LAW TO BURIAL EXPENSES BOTH AS BENEFICIARIES OF THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS AND THE VETERANS' BUREAU, THAT IS TO SAY, WHERE THE VETERANS HAD BEEN ENTITLED TO ADMISSION TO THE HOME INDEPENDENTLY OF THEIR TREATMENT BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU, AMOUNTS AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID BECAUSE OF MEMBERSHIP IN THE HOME ARE NOT REQUIRED TO BE DEDUCTED FROM THE AMOUNT OF BURIAL EXPENSES OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED UNDER THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED. HOWEVER, WHERE VETERANS ARE ENTITLED BY LAWTO BURIAL EXPENSES AS BENEFICIARIES OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU ONLY, AND ARE RECEIVING VETERANS' BUREAU TREATMENT IN THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS, HAVING BEEN ADMITTED TO THE HOME SOLELY BECAUSE THEY WERE BENEFICIARIES OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU, AS APPEARS TO BE THE CASE IN THE VOUCHERS HERE INVOLVED, PAYMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES IS PROPER ONLY TO THE EXTENT OF THE MAXIMUM AUTHORIZED UNDER THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED, AND ANY ITEMS PAID BY THE HOME ON ACCOUNT THEREOF ARE FOR CONSIDERATION IN DETERMINING THE TOTAL OR NET AMOUNT TO BE PAID UNDER THE VETERANS' BUREAU APPROPRIATION.

THEREFORE, THE ACTION TAKEN BY THE AUDIT DIVISION IN THE PREAUDIT OF THE VOUCHERS IN QUESTION APPEARS TO BE CORRECT, AND FUTURE CLAIMS OF THIS CHARACTER ARE TO BE SETTLED ON THE BASIS HEREIN INDICATED.