A-41372, MARCH 24, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 363

A-41372: Mar 24, 1932

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EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION - MEDICAL TREATMENT THE COST OF MEDICAL TREATMENT FURNISHED BY THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION TO AN INJURED EMPLOYEE IS "COMPENSATION" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 27 OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7. WHICH IS REQUIRED TO BE REIMBURSED THE COMMISSION OUT OF AMOUNTS RECOVERED FROM PRIVATE SOURCES FOR THE SAME INJURY. THE FACTS ARE STATED IN LETTER TO THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION FROM THE CHAIRMAN. DUE TO A COLLISION OF THE POSTAL CAR IN WHICH HE WAS WORKING AND A SWITCH ENGINE. HE WAS TREATED BY DR. WE ARE INFORMED THAT MR. KERR HAS RETIRED FROM THE SERVICE AND IS RECEIVING ANNUITY BENEFITS UNDER THE RETIREMENT ACT. KERR WAS REQUESTED TO REFUND THE SUM OF $14.00 TO THIS COMMISSION.

A-41372, MARCH 24, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 363

EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION - MEDICAL TREATMENT THE COST OF MEDICAL TREATMENT FURNISHED BY THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION TO AN INJURED EMPLOYEE IS "COMPENSATION" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 27 OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7, 1916, 39 STAT. 747, WHICH IS REQUIRED TO BE REIMBURSED THE COMMISSION OUT OF AMOUNTS RECOVERED FROM PRIVATE SOURCES FOR THE SAME INJURY, WHETHER THE RECOVERY BE THE RESULT OF A SUIT BROUGHT BY THE COMMISSION OR OF A SETTLEMENT MADE DIRECTLY BY THE BENEFICIARY, AND IF THE BENEFICIARY FAILS OR REFUSES TO REIMBURSE THE COMMISSION, THE AMOUNT INVOLVED CONSTITUTES AN INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES WHICH MAY BE OFFSET AGAINST THE ANNUITY PAYMENT TO THE BENEFICIARY MADE UNDER THE CIVIL RETIREMENT ACT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCARL TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, MARCH 24, 1932:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED LETTER DATED MARCH 12, 1932, FROM THE DIRECTOR OF FINANCE, VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER THERE MAY BE WITHHELD FROM MONTHLY PAYMENTS OF $100, CIVIL RETIREMENT ANNUITY, OF WALTER KERR, FORMER RAILWAY POSTAL EMPLOYEE, AN AMOUNT OF $14, REPRESENTING A CLAIM ASSERTED BY THE UNITED STATES EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION TO COVER BILL FOR MEDICAL SERVICES RENDERED THE ANNUITANT BY A PHYSICIAN DESIGNATED BY THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION, FROM MARCH 24 TO MAY 20, 1931.

THE FACTS ARE STATED IN LETTER TO THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION FROM THE CHAIRMAN, UNITED STATES EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION, DATED JANUARY 11, 1932, AS FOLLOWS:

ON MARCH 21, 1931, WALTER KERR, A RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK, SUSTAINED INJURIES AT CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, DUE TO A COLLISION OF THE POSTAL CAR IN WHICH HE WAS WORKING AND A SWITCH ENGINE. AS THE RESULT OF THE INJURIES SUSTAINED BY MR. KERR, HE WAS TREATED BY DR. J. M. JACKSON, A DESIGNATED PHYSICIAN OF THIS COMMISSION, FROM MARCH 24, 1931, TO MAY 20, 1931. THE COMMISSION HAS PAID THE BILL FOR MEDICAL SERVICES RENDERED BY DR. JACKSON IN THE SUM OF $14.00.

WE ARE INFORMED THAT MR. KERR HAS RETIRED FROM THE SERVICE AND IS RECEIVING ANNUITY BENEFITS UNDER THE RETIREMENT ACT.

UNDER DATE OF MAY 27, 1931, MR. KERR ADVISED THE COMMISSION THAT HE HAD RECOVERED DAMAGES FROM THE ILLINOIS CENTRAL RAILROAD FOR HIS INJURIES IN THE SUM OF $2,000.00. UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE UNITED STATES EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT, MR. KERR WAS REQUESTED TO REFUND THE SUM OF $14.00 TO THIS COMMISSION. MR. KERR HAS REFUSED TO REIMBURSE THIS COMMISSION AS PROVIDED IN THE COMPENSATION ACT, AND IT IS REQUESTED THAT FROM ANY MONIES DUE MR. KERR FROM YOUR BUREAU THE SUM OF $14.00 BE DEDUCTED AND REMITTED TO THIS COMMISSION.

THE ANNUITANT IS PROTESTING THE CLAIM OF THE COMMISSION ON THE GROUNDS (1) THAT SECTION 9 OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES FOR THE PAYMENT OF MEDICAL TREATMENT TO INJURED EMPLOYEES INDEPENDENT OF THE PAYMENT OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION, AND (2) THAT HE REJECTED THE OFFER OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION TO PROSECUTE A SUIT AGAINST THE RAILROAD COMPANY AND MADE A PRIVATE SETTLEMENT, RESULTING IN THE RECOVERY OF $2,000.

SECTION 27 OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7, 1916, 39 STAT. 747, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

THAT IF AN INJURY OR DEATH FOR WHICH COMPENSATION IS PAYABLE UNDER THIS ACT IS CAUSED UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES CREATING A LEGAL LIABILITY IN SOME PERSON OTHER THAN THE UNITED STATES TO PAY DAMAGES THEREFOR, AND A BENEFICIARY ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION FROM THE UNITED STATES FOR SUCH INJURY OR DEATH RECEIVES, AS A RESULT OF A SUIT BROUGHT BY HIM OR ON HIS BEHALF, OR AS A RESULT OF A SETTLEMENT MADE BY HIM OR ON HIS BEHALF, ANY MONEY OR OTHER PROPERTY IN SATISFACTION OF THE LIABILITY OF SUCH OTHER PERSON, SUCH BENEFICIARY SHALL, AFTER DEDUCTING THE COSTS OF SUIT AND A REASONABLE ATTORNEY'S FEE, APPLY THE MONEY OR OTHER PROPERTY SO RECEIVED IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER:

(A) IF HIS COMPENSATION HAS BEEN PAID IN WHOLE OR IN PART, HE SHALL REFUND TO THE UNITED STATES THE AMOUNT OF COMPENSATION WHICH HAS BEEN PAID BY THE UNITED STATES AND CREDIT ANY SURPLUS UPON FUTURE PAYMENTS OF COMPENSATION PAYABLE TO HIM ON ACCOUNT OF THE SAME INJURY. ANY AMOUNT SO REFUNDED TO THE UNITED STATES SHALL BE PLACED TO THE CREDIT OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION FUND.

(B) IF NO COMPENSATION HAS BEEN PAID TO HIM BY THE UNITED STATES, HE SHALL CREDIT THE MONEY OR OTHER PROPERTY SO RECEIVED UPON ANY COMPENSATION PAYABLE TO HIM BY THE UNITED STATES ON ACCOUNT OF THE SAME INJURY.

SECTION 40 OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1924, 43 STAT. 389, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

THE TERM "COMPENSATION" INCLUDES THE MONEY ALLOWANCE PAYABLE TO AN EMPLOYEE OR HIS DEPENDENTS AND ANY OTHER BENEFITS PAID FOR OUT OF THE COMPENSATION FUND: * * *.

IT IS CLEAR, THEREFORE, THAT THE COST OF MEDICAL TREATMENT PAID BY THE COMMISSION OUT OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION FUND IS INCLUDED WITHIN THE TERM "COMPENSATION" APPEARING IN SECTION 27 OF THE STATUTE, WHICH A BENEFICIARY IS REQUIRED TO REIMBURSE THE COMMISSION OUT OF AMOUNTS RECOVERED FROM OTHER SOURCES ON ACCOUNT OF THE SAME INJURY. THERE SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THE OBLIGATION OF THE BENEFICIARY TO REIMBURSE THE COMMISSION IS THE SAME WHETHER THE AMOUNT WAS RECOVERED THROUGH SUIT BROUGHT BY THE COMMISSION OR "AS A RESULT OF A SETTLEMENT MADE BY HIM OR ON HIS BEHALF.' BOTH OF THE CONTENTIONS OF THE ANNUITANT ARE MET BY THE PLAIN PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE ITSELF.

IN DECISION OF MAY 7, 1930, 9 COMP. GEN. 465, IT WAS HELD THAT THE ANNUITY OF A RETIRED EMPLOYEE MIGHT BE WITHHELD AND APPLIED TOWARD THE INDEBTEDNESS OF THE ANNUITANT TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE COST OF MEDICAL TREATMENT PAID ON BEHALF OF THE ANNUITANT BY THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION. THE ANNUITANT IN THE INSTANT CASE IS ATTEMPTING TO DISTINGUISH HIS CASE FROM THAT OF THE ANNUITANT CONSIDERED IN THE CITED DECISION ON THE GROUND THAT HE HAS BEEN RETIRED FOR AGE, WHILE THE OTHER EMPLOYEE CONSIDERED IN THE CITED DECISION WAS RETIRED FOR DISABILITY. THE PRINCIPLE IS THE SAME IRRESPECTIVE OF THE BASIS ON WHICH RETIRED, TO WIT, THAT AN AMOUNT DUE THE UNITED STATES MAY BE SET OFF AGAINST AN AMOUNT OTHERWISE DUE CLAIMANT FROM THE UNITED STATES. 1 COMP. GEN. 605, AND DECISIONS THEREIN CITED.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO INSTRUCT THE PROPER DISBURSING CLERK OF THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION TO DEDUCT FROM THE NEXT ANNUITY PAYMENT DUE WALTER KERR THE AMOUNT OF $14 AND TO REMIT THE SAME BY DISBURSING OFFICER'S CHECK TO THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION FOR DEPOSIT TO THE CREDIT OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION FUND.