A-28399, SEPTEMBER 5, 1929, 9 COMP. GEN. 106

A-28399: Sep 5, 1929

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ONLY WHERE THERE IS NO LOCAL LAW. 1929: THERE IS BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION THE CLAIM OF THE TOWN OF BARNES. THE VETERANS' BUREAU HAS CERTIFIED AS FOLLOWS: THIS IS TO CERTIFY THE RECORDS IN THIS CASE DISCLOSE THAT THE VETERAN WAS DROWNED NOVEMBER 2. FUNERAL SERVICES WERE RENDERED BY A. TRANSPORTATION WAS FURNISHED BY IRON RIVER GARAGE IN TRANSFERRING THE REMAINS FROM THE TOWN OF BARNES. WISCONSIN (PLACE OF BURIAL) FOR WHICH A CHARGE OF $6.00 WAS MADE. IN ORDER TO DISPOSE OF THE REMAINS THE TOWN OF BARNES HAD TO GUARANTEE THE CHARGES AND WHEN THEY WERE NOT PAID BY THE VETERAN'S RELATIVES. THE TOWN OF BARNES WAS REQUIRED TO PAY SAID EXPENSES AND DID SO.THE FUNDS USED IN PAYMENT WERE DERIVED FROM THE "GENERAL FUND OF THE TOWN OF BARNES.'.

A-28399, SEPTEMBER 5, 1929, 9 COMP. GEN. 106

BURIAL EXPENSES - VETERANS - PAID BY A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE UNITED STATES, SUCH AS TOWN, MAY BE REIMBURSED UNDER THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT FOR THE BURIAL OF A VETERAN OF ANY WAR, WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE CONTROLLING STATUTE AND REGULATIONS IF CALLED UPON TO BEAR SUCH EXPENSE IN AN EMERGENCY FROM THE GENERAL FUNDS OF THE POLITICAL SUBDIVISION, ONLY WHERE THERE IS NO LOCAL LAW, ORDINANCE OR REGULATION MAKING EXPRESS PROVISION FOR SUCH EXPENSE. 4 COMP. GEN. 969 972, DISTINGUISHED.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, SEPTEMBER 5, 1929:

THERE IS BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION THE CLAIM OF THE TOWN OF BARNES, WISCONSIN, FOR $107 TO REIMBURSE IT FOR THE COST OF BURIAL OF JAMES MAXWELL, A WORLD WAR VETERAN.

THE VETERANS' BUREAU HAS CERTIFIED AS FOLLOWS:

THIS IS TO CERTIFY THE RECORDS IN THIS CASE DISCLOSE THAT THE VETERAN WAS DROWNED NOVEMBER 2, 1928, NEAR THE TOWN OF BARNES, WISCONSIN.

FUNERAL SERVICES WERE RENDERED BY A. J. KIEFER, UNDERTAKER, IN THE AMOUNT OF $105.00, AND TRANSPORTATION WAS FURNISHED BY IRON RIVER GARAGE IN TRANSFERRING THE REMAINS FROM THE TOWN OF BARNES, WISCONSIN, TO IRON RIVER, WISCONSIN (PLACE OF BURIAL) FOR WHICH A CHARGE OF $6.00 WAS MADE.

IN ORDER TO DISPOSE OF THE REMAINS THE TOWN OF BARNES HAD TO GUARANTEE THE CHARGES AND WHEN THEY WERE NOT PAID BY THE VETERAN'S RELATIVES, THE TOWN OF BARNES WAS REQUIRED TO PAY SAID EXPENSES AND DID SO.THE FUNDS USED IN PAYMENT WERE DERIVED FROM THE "GENERAL FUND OF THE TOWN OF BARNES.'

RECEIPTED UNDERTAKER'S BILL HAS BEEN FILED IN THE AMOUNT OF $105 FOR CASKET, EMBALMING AND SHROUD, AND THERE WAS ALSO FILED A RECEIPTED GARAGE COMPANY'S BILL FOR $6 FOR TRANSPORTATION OF THE BODY FROM THE TOWN OF BARNES TO IRON RIVER FOR BURIAL. THE CLAIM HAS BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED FOR $107 AND IT IS CERTIFIED THAT THE DECEASED WAS A WORLD WAR VETERAN WHOSE ASSETS "DID NOT EXCEED $1000 AND THAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THE CASE ARE SUCH THAT IN MY JUDGMENT THE DECEASED HAVE THE COST OF HIS BURIAL, FUNERAL, AND TRANSPORTATION BORNE BY THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE AMOUNT ALLOWED BY LAW.'

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE DECEASED WAS NOT BURIED AS A PAUPER BUT AS A SANITARY MEASURE IN AN EMERGENCY TO DISPOSE OF THE BODY IN THE ABSENCE OF ACTION BY RELATIVES OR FRIENDS.

THE QUESTION IN THE CASE IS WHETHER A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF A STATE, IN THIS CASE A TOWN, MAY BE REIMBURSED UNDER THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT FOR THE BURIAL OF A VETERAN OF ANY WAR, WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE CONTROLLING STATUTE AND REGULATIONS, WHICH WERE ASSUMED BY THE POLITICAL SUBDIVISION IN AN EMERGENCY FOR SANITARY REASONS.

IN DECISION OF MAY 21, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 969, 972, IT WAS HELD:

* * * IF THE BURIAL HAS BEEN TAKEN CARE OF FREE OF CHARGE BY A STATE OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE UNITED STATES, OR BY A NATIONAL MILITARY HOME, NO CLAIM MAY BE ASSERTED AGAINST THE UNITED STATES BY THE RELATIVES OR PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVES OF THE DECEASED, EXCEPT FOR ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES OVER AND ABOVE THE AMOUNTS ALLOWED BY THE STATE, OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION, OR HOME, AND THE AMOUNT OF ASSETS LEFT BY THE DECEASED. * * *

SECTION 8107 (2) OF REGULATIONS 201 ISSUED OCTOBER 4, 1928, BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

(2) NOTHING IN THIS REGULATION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO CAUSE THE DISALLOWANCE OF A CLAIM BY THE BUREAU BECAUSE OF ANY PAYMENT MADE ON BURIAL (INCLUDING FUNERAL) BY A STATE, COUNTY, OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION, LODGE, UNION, FRATERNAL ORGANIZATION, SOCIETY OR BENEFICIAL ORGANIZATION, INSURANCE COMPANY, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION COMMISSION, STATE INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT BOARD, OR EMPLOYER UNLESS THE AMOUNT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IS ABSORBED BY THE AMOUNT ACTUALLY PAID FOR BURIAL (INCLUDING FUNERAL) PURPOSES BY SUCH AGENCIES OR ORGANIZATIONS NAMED: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT NO CLAIM SHALL BE REDUCED MORE THAN THE DIFFERENCE NOT TO EXCEED $107, BETWEEN THE ENTIRE AMOUNT OF EXPENSES INCURRED AND THE AMOUNT PAID BY ANY OR ALL THE FOREGOING AGENCIES OR ORGANIZATIONS.

UNDER THE PRINCIPLE ANNOUNCED IN SAID DECISION AND THE PROVISIONS OF THE REGULATION, A RELATIVE OF THE DECEASED WOULD HAVE BEEN PRECLUDED FROM CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT FOR ANY EXPENSE BORNE BY THE TOWN FREE OF CHARGE, BUT THE TOWN ITSELF IS NOT PRECLUDED FROM CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE STATUTE FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN AN EMERGENCY WHICH WERE PAID FROM THE GENERAL FUNDS OF THE TOWN NOT MAINTAINED PARTICULARLY FOR THAT PURPOSE; THAT IS TO SAY, A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION WOULD NOT BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS FOR BURIAL EXPENSES BORNE BY IT FROM FUNDS MAINTAINED FOR THAT PURPOSE UNDER EXPRESS PROVISION OF LOCAL LAW, ORDINANCE, OR REGULATION. SEE GENERALLY, DECISION OF JULY 2, 1929, A-27410. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE EVIDENT PURPOSE OF THE STATUTE IN PREVENTING VETERANS OF ANY WAR FROM BEING BURIED AS PAUPERS, IT MAY BE CONCLUDED THAT A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THE UNITED STATES WOULD BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE STATUTE IF CALLED UPON TO BEAR SUCH EXPENSES IN AN EMERGENCY, AS IN THIS CASE, FROM THE GENERAL FUNDS OF THE POLITICAL SUBDIVISION WHERE THERE WAS NO LOCAL LAW, ORDINANCE, OR REGULATION MAKING EXPRESS PROVISION FOR SUCH EXPENDITURE.

IN VIEW OF THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES DISCLOSED, THE CLAIM MAY BE ALLOWED AND THE VOUCHER CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.