A-34575, FEBRUARY 26, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 391

A-34575: Feb 26, 1931

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WHO IS NOT A VETERAN OF ANY WAR. WHO ACCORDINGLY IS NOT ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU UNDER SECTIONS 202 (9) OR 202 (10). ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN SAVED TO HIM BY SECTION 602 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF 1924. IS NOT ENTITLED TO PAYMENT UNDER VETERANS' BUREAU APPROPRIATIONS OF THE AMOUNT OF HIS NAVAL PENSION WHICH WAS REQUIRED BY STATUTE TO BE DEDUCTED FOR THE PERIOD HE WAS HOSPITALIZED IN A NAVAL HOSPITAL. BEING THE AMOUNT OF HIS NAVAL PENSION WHICH WAS WITHHELD FROM HIM AND PAID INTO THE TREASURY FOR THE CREDIT OF THE NAVAL HOSPITAL FUND. WHILE HE WAS A PATIENT AT THE UNITED STATES NAVAL HOSPITAL. THE CLAIM WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED FOR PAYMENT UNDER THE APPROPRIATION "MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES.

A-34575, FEBRUARY 26, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 391

MEDICAL TREATMENT - NAVAL PENSIONER IN A NAVAL HOSPITAL - REIMBURSEMENT BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU A FORMER ENLISTED MAN OF THE NAVY WHO DID NOT SERVE BETWEEN APRIL 6, 1917, AND JULY 2, 1921, AND WHO IS NOT A VETERAN OF ANY WAR, MILITARY OCCUPATION, OR MILITARY EXPEDITION SINCE 1897, AND WHO ACCORDINGLY IS NOT ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU UNDER SECTIONS 202 (9) OR 202 (10), TITLE II, OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF 1924, AS AMENDED, BUT, IF AT ALL, ONLY ON THE THEORY OF AN ACCRUED RIGHT UNDER SECTION 13 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 9, 1921, ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN SAVED TO HIM BY SECTION 602 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF 1924, IS NOT ENTITLED TO PAYMENT UNDER VETERANS' BUREAU APPROPRIATIONS OF THE AMOUNT OF HIS NAVAL PENSION WHICH WAS REQUIRED BY STATUTE TO BE DEDUCTED FOR THE PERIOD HE WAS HOSPITALIZED IN A NAVAL HOSPITAL, NOT AS A VETERANS' BUREAU PATIENT BUT AS A NAVAL PENSIONER OR A DISCHARGED ENLISTED MAN.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, FEBRUARY 26, 1931:

THERE HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION AND SETTLEMENT THE CLAIM OF ROBERT R. WOOTEN FOR $228, BEING THE AMOUNT OF HIS NAVAL PENSION WHICH WAS WITHHELD FROM HIM AND PAID INTO THE TREASURY FOR THE CREDIT OF THE NAVAL HOSPITAL FUND, FOR THE PERIOD JULY 19, 1926, TO MAY 7, 1927, WHILE HE WAS A PATIENT AT THE UNITED STATES NAVAL HOSPITAL, WASHINGTON, D.C. THE CLAIM WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED FOR PAYMENT UNDER THE APPROPRIATION "MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL SERVICES, VETERANS' BUREAU, 1931, AND PRIOR YEARS.' ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER IS AN UNSIGNED "BRIEF OF CTS," AS FOLLOWS:

THE ATTACHED VOUCHER IN AMOUNT OF $228.00, IN FAVOR OF THE ABOVE NAMED BENEFICIARY, COVERING REIMBURSEMENT OF MONEY PAID FOR HOSPITAL CARE IN THE UNITED STATES NAVAL HOSPITAL, WASHINGTON, C., DURING THE PERIOD JULY 19, 1926, TO MAY 7, 1927, IS FORWARDED FOR SETTLEMENT.

THE RECORDS SHOW THAT THIS MAN ENLISTED IN THE NAVY JUNE 23, 1922, AND WAS HONORABLY DISCHARGED DECEMBER 14, 1923. COMPENSATION HAS NEVER BEEN PAID IN THIS CASE FOR THE REASON THAT HIS PERIOD OF ENLISTMENT WAS AFTER THE PERIOD OF THE WORLD WAR. THE DISABILITY FOR WHICH TREATMENT WAS RENDERED HAS BEEN HELD AS DUE TO HIS MILITARY SERVICE AND ENTITLED HIM TO TREATMENT UNDER SECTION 13 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 9, 1921. THE RECORDS SHOW THAT MR. WOOTEN APPLIED FOR HOSPITALIZATION WITHIN THE ONE YEAR PERIOD AFTER HIS DISCHARGE FROM THE SERVICE, THAT HE WAS DISCHARGED FROM THE UNITED STATES NAVAL HOSPITAL DECEMBER 14, 1923, AND FIRST APPLIED FOR HOSPITALIZATION AUGUST 15, 1924.

THE ACT OF AUGUST 9, 1921, SECTION 13, PROVIDES FOR THE HOSPITALIZATION OF ANY PERSON WHO WAS IN THE ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES ON OR AFTER APRIL 6, 1917, PROVIDING THAT APPLICATION FOR SUCH HOSPITALIZATION SHALL BE MADE WITHIN ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE OF SEPARATION FROM SERVICE OR FROM THE DATE THIS ACT GOES INTO EFFECT, WHICHEVER IS THE LATER. SECTION 315 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 9, 1921, PROVIDED "THAT NO PERSON ADMITTED INTO THE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES AFTER SIX MONTHS FROM THE PASSAGE OF THIS AMENDATORY ACT SHALL BE ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION OR ANY OTHER BENEFITS OR PRIVILEGES PROVIDED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE III OF THE WAR RISK INSURANCE ACT AS AMENDED.' SECTION 13, HEREINBEFORE REFERRED TO, DOES NOT APPEAR UNDER ARTICLE III OF THE WAR RISK INSURANCE ACT AS AMENDED AND, THEREFORE, THE BENEFITS PROVIDED BY SECTION 13 ARE NOT AFFECTED BY THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 315 ABOVE MENTIONED. THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 13 WERE IN FORCE UNTIL THE PASSAGE OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT APPROVED JUNE 7, 1924. SINCE THE BENEFICIARY WAS DISCHARGED DECEMBER 14, 1923, AND MADE APPLICATION FOR HOSPITALIZATION AUGUST 15, 1924, AND WAS HOSPITALIZED AT WALTER REED GENERAL HOSPITAL, HE THEREFORE COMPLIED WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 13 WHICH REQUIRED THAT APPLICATIONS FOR BENEFITS THEREUNDER SHOULD BE MADE WITHIN ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE OF DISCHARGE.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DIRECTOR'S DECISION NO. 262, DATED OCTOBER 19, 1926, THIS BENEFICIARY HAD AN ACCRUED RIGHT UNDER SECTION 602 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AS AMENDED, BY VIRTUE OF THE FACT THAT HE HAD A SERVICE CONNECTED DISABILITY FOR WHICH HE WAS ENTITLED TO TREATMENT IF HE APPLIED FOR THE SAME, AS IT IS SHOWN THAT HE DID IN THE INSTANT CASE, WITHIN ONE YEAR FROM DATE OF SEPARATION FROM SERVICE. THE FILING OF THE CLAIM PRIOR TO JUNE 7, 1924, IS NOT PREREQUISITE TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN ACCRUED RIGHT.

IT THUS APPEARS THAT CLAIMANT'S ONLY SERVICE WAS AS AN ENLISTED MAN IN THE NAVY FROM JUNE 23, 1922, TO DECEMBER 14, 1923; THAT HE IS NOT A VETERAN OF ANY WAR; AND THAT THE ONLY BASIS OR THEORY UPON WHICH IT IS PROPOSED TO REGARD HIM AS ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION AS A VETERANS' BUREAU BENEFICIARY IS THAT OF AN ACCRUED RIGHT ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN SAVED TO HIM BY SECTION 602 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF 1924, 43 STAT. 630, WHICH ACT REPEALED THE ACT OF AUGUST 9, 1921, INCLUDING SECTION 13 THEREOF, 42 STAT. 152, PURSUANT TO WHICH CLAIMANT HAD BEEN HOSPITALIZED FOR A SERVICE CONNECTED DISABILITY AS HAVING SERVED AFTER APRIL 6, 1917, SAID ACT NOT HAVING LIMITED THE RIGHT OF HOSPITALIZATION TO PERSONS SERVING PRIOR TO JULY 2, 1921.

SECTION 202 (9), TITLE II, OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF 1924, 43 STAT. 620, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1925, 43 STAT. 1307, AUTHORIZES HOSPITALIZATION BY THE VETERANS' BUREAU ONLY FOR PERSONS SERVING BETWEEN APRIL 6, 1917, AND JULY 2, 1921, AND AS CLAIMANT DOES NOT FALL WITHIN SUCH CLASS AND DOES NOT CLAIM TO BE A VETERAN OF ANY WAR, MILITARY OCCUPATION, OR MILITARY EXPEDITION SINCE 1897, AND, THEREFORE, COULD NOT CLAIM THE HOSPITALIZATION AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 202 (10) OF SAID ACT, THE CLAIM HERE PRESENTED IS NOT ONE ARISING UNDER TITLE II OR ANY OF THE OTHER TITLES OF SAID ACT AS TO WHICH THE DECISIONS OF QUESTIONS OF FACT AND LAW BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU (NOW THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS), ARE MADE FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE BY SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF JULY 3, 1930, 46 STAT. 991.

ATTACHED TO THE CLAIM VOUCHER IS CLAIMANT'S AFFIDAVIT OF NOVEMBER 1, 1930, AS FOLLOWS:

THIS IS TO CERTIFY THAT ON JULY 19, 1926, I APPLIED TO THE REGIONAL OFFICE, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, FOR HOSPITALIZATION, AS I HAD BEEN HOSPITALIZED IN 1924 BY THE BUREAU IN WALTER REED HOSPITAL.

I WAS TOLD BY THE CONTRACT REPRESENTATIVE THAT I WAS NOT ENTITLED TO ANY BENEFITS IN THE WAY OF HOSPITALIZATION OR COMPENSATION FROM THE VETERANS' BUREAU, AND I WAS FURTHER ADVISED THAT I WOULD COME UNDER THE PENSION BUREAU.

INASMUCH AS I WAS SICK AND NEEDED HOSPITALIZATION, I IMMEDIATELY APPLIED TO NAVAL HOSPITAL WITH MY DISCHARGE AND THEY HOSPITALIZED ME AS A DISCHARGED VETERAN. I REMAINED IN THAT HOSPITAL UNTIL MAY 7, 1927, WHEN I WAS PICKED UP AS A BUREAU PATIENT UNDER SECTION 13 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 9, 1921.

ALL OF THE ABOVE FACTS ARE TRUE TO THE BEST OF MY MEMORY.

IT APPEARS THAT THE VETERANS' BUREAU HAS NO RECORD OF CLAIMANT'S APPLICATION FOR HOSPITALIZATION IN JULY, 1926, BUT THERE IS A SUGGESTION THAT SUCH APPLICATION MAY HAVE BEEN MADE AND REFUSED BECAUSE CLAIMANT'S SERVICE DID NOT ENTITLE HIM TO HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT. BUT, HOWEVER THAT MAY BE, IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT HE WAS HOSPITALIZED AT THE UNITED STATES NAVAL HOSPITAL, WASHINGTON, D.C., FROM JULY 9, 1926, TO MAY 7, 1927, NOT AS A VETERAN OF ANY WAR OR AS A VETERANS' BUREAU BENEFICIARY, BUT AS A DISCHARGED NAVY ENLISTED MAN OR A NAVAL PENSIONER.

SECTION 4813, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1899, 30 STAT. 1027, ROVIDES:

* * * AND WHENEVER ANY OFFICER, SEAMAN, OR MARINE ENTITLED TO A PENSION IS ADMITTED TO THE NAVAL HOME AT PHILADELPHIA, OR TO A NAVAL HOSPITAL, HIS PENSION, WHILE HE REMAINS THERE, SHALL BE DEDUCTED FROM HIS ACCOUNTS AND PAID TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE FUND FROM WHICH SUCH HOME OR HOSPITAL, RESPECTIVELY, IS MAINTAINED; * * *

PURSUANT TO THIS MANDATORY PROVISION OF LAW IT APPEARS THE CLAIMANT'S NAVAL PENSION WAS DEDUCTED FOR THE PERIOD IN QUESTION AND DEPOSITED TO THE CREDIT OF THE NAVAL HOSPITAL FUND.

SECTION 202 (10) OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF 1924, SUPRA, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 796, PROVIDES IN PART:

* * * 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: * * *

BUT THIS HAS NO APPLICATION TO THE PRESENT CASE FOR THE REASON THAT THE CLAIMANT WAS NOT ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION UNDER THE SUBDIVISION IN QUESTION. NO SUCH PROVISION IS MADE FOR THE BENEFIT OF DISCHARGED NAVY ENLISTED MEN WHO MAY BE ENTITLED TO HOSPITALIZATION ONLY BY VIRTUE OF SECTION 13 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 9, 1921, SUPRA, AS AN ACCRUED RIGHT SAVED BY SECTION 602 OF THE SAID WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT.

FOR THE PERIOD HERE IN QUESTION CLAIMANT WAS NOT A VETERANS' BUREAU PATIENT AND THERE APPEARS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR REIMBURSING HIM UNDER VETERANS' BUREAU APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE AMOUNT OF NAVAL PENSION WHICH THE STATUTE MANDATORILY REQUIRED BE DEDUCTED WHILE IN THE NAVAL HOSPITAL. ACCORDINGLY, THE CLAIM MUST BE AND IS DISALLOWED.