A-5031, OCTOBER 16, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 382

A-5031: Oct 16, 1924

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WHEN THE BODY ARRIVED IN CINCINNATI IT WAS FOUND THAT. THE BODY WAS IN SUCH A STATE AS TO REQUIRE FURTHER PREPARATION FOR BURIAL. THE NECESSARY SERVICES WERE PERFORMED BY UNDERTAKERS IN CINCINNATI. WHO WERE PAID BY TRAINEE'S WIDOW. SHE IN TURN WAS REIMBURSED TO THE AMOUNT OF $100 BY A DISBURSING CLERK OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU. THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED ON THE GROUND THAT THE WIDOW HAVING BEEN PAID THE FULL AMOUNT AUTHORIZED BY LAW FOR BURIAL EXPENSES. SUCH EXPENSES ARE NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR. WHERE DEATH OCCURS WHILE SUCH PERSON IS RECEIVING GOVERNMENTAL MEDICAL. THE REGULATION APPLICABLE IS SECTION 8103. A SUM NOT EXCEEDING $100 WILL BE ALLOWED FOR ACTUAL BURIAL EXPENSES. THE CLAIM IS FOR THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY COST FOR PREPARING THE BODY OF THE DECEASED FOR TRANSPORTATION TO THE PLACE OF BURIAL.

A-5031, OCTOBER 16, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 382

BURIAL EXPENSES - VETERANS' BUREAU TRAINEES UNDER SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, 42 STAT. 1523, THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY COST OF PREPARATION OF THE BODY OF A DECEASED TRAINEE OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU FOR TRANSPORTATION TO THE PLACE OF BURIAL MAY BE ALLOWED, NOTWITHSTANDING THE WIDOW OF THE DECEASED TRAINEE HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN REIMBURSED FOR THE ACTUAL COST OF BURIAL EXPENSES OF NOT IN EXCESS OF $100 AFTER ARRIVAL OF THE BODY.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, OCTOBER 16, 1924:

SETTLEMENT 037630, DATED JUNE 6, 1924, DISALLOWED THE CLAIM OF STINCHFIELD AND FEHRMAN CO., VALPARAISO, IND., FOR $100, FOR SERVICES RENDERED AND SUPPLIES FURNISHED IN PREPARING FOR SHIPMENT THE BODY OF CARL REICHERT, A TRAINEE OF THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU AT VALPARAISO, IND., WHO DIED PRESUMABLY ON APRIL 24, 1923, HIS BODY NOT BEING FOUND UNTIL APRIL 26, 1923. UNDER DIRECTION OF A MEDICAL OFFICER OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU, THE CLAIMANT PREPARED THE BODY FOR SHIPMENT TO RELATIVES IN CINCINNATI, OHIO. WHEN THE BODY ARRIVED IN CINCINNATI IT WAS FOUND THAT, OWING TO THE TIME THAT LAPSED BETWEEN DEATH AND THE FINDING OF THE BODY AND THE DELAY IN SHIPMENT BY THE EXPRESS COMPANY, THE BODY WAS IN SUCH A STATE AS TO REQUIRE FURTHER PREPARATION FOR BURIAL. THE NECESSARY SERVICES WERE PERFORMED BY UNDERTAKERS IN CINCINNATI, WHO WERE PAID BY TRAINEE'S WIDOW, AND SHE IN TURN WAS REIMBURSED TO THE AMOUNT OF $100 BY A DISBURSING CLERK OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU, THERE BEING NO SHOWING THAT ANY BURIAL EXPENSES HAD BEEN INCURRED PRIOR TO THE DATE OF THOSE RENDERED IN CINCINNATI ON THE ORDER OF THE WIDOW. THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED ON THE GROUND THAT THE WIDOW HAVING BEEN PAID THE FULL AMOUNT AUTHORIZED BY LAW FOR BURIAL EXPENSES, NO FURTHER PAYMENT COULD BE MADE ON THAT ACCOUNT.

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, 42 STAT., 1523, PROVIDES:

* * * WHERE A VETERAN OF ANY WAR DIES AFTER DISCHARGE OR RESIGNATION FROM THE SERVICE AND DOES NOT LEAVE SUFFICIENT ASSETS TO MEET THE EXPENSES OF HIS BURIAL AND THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS BODY, AND SUCH EXPENSES ARE NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR, THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU SHALL PAY THE FOLLOWING SUMS: FOR A FLAG TO DRAPE THE CASKET, AND AFTER BURIAL TO BE GIVEN TO THE NEXT OF KIN OF THE DECEASED, A SUM NOT EXCEEDING $5; ALSO FOR BURIAL EXPENSES, A SUM NOT EXCEEDING $100, TO SUCH PERSON OR PERSONS AS MAY BE FIXED BY REGULATIONS: PROVIDED, THAT SUBJECT TO REGULATIONS, WHERE DEATH OCCURS WHILE SUCH PERSON IS RECEIVING GOVERNMENTAL MEDICAL, SURGICAL OR HOSPITAL TREATMENT OR VOCATIONAL TRAINING, THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU SHALL PAY, IN ADDITION TO BURIAL EXPENSES, THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY COST OF THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE BODY OF SUCH PERSON (INCLUDING PREPARATION OF THE BODY) TO THE PLACE OF BURIAL WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES.

THE REGULATION APPLICABLE IS SECTION 8103, AS SET FORTH IN SUPPLEMENT NO. 3 OF THE REGULATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU AS FOLLOWS:

WHERE A VETERAN DIES UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH RENDER THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU ADMINISTRATIVELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DISPOSITION OF THE BODY, A SUM NOT EXCEEDING $100 WILL BE ALLOWED FOR ACTUAL BURIAL EXPENSES, AND IN ADDITION NOT TO EXCEED $5 FOR FURNISHING A FLAG TO DRAPE THE CASKET; ALSO THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY COST OF PREPARING AND TRANSPORTING THE BODY OF THE DECEASED TO THE PLACE OF BURIAL WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES * * *.

THE CLAIM IS FOR THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY COST FOR PREPARING THE BODY OF THE DECEASED FOR TRANSPORTATION TO THE PLACE OF BURIAL, AND THE DECEASED WAS RECEIVING VOCATIONAL TRAINING, WHICH BROUGHT HIM WITHIN THE CLASS FOR WHICH THE STATUTE PROVIDES AN ALLOWANCE FOR PREPARING AND TRANSPORTING THE BODY TO THE PLACE OF BURIAL IN ADDITION TO THE EXPENSE OF BURIAL. THEREFORE, THE CLAIM IS PROPER FOR ALLOWANCE. THE PAYMENT TO THE WIDOW WAS FOR BURIAL EXPENSES INCURRED AFTER ARRIVAL OF THE BODY AT CINCINNATI AND WAS WITHIN THE STATUTORY LIMITATIONS WITH REFERENCE TO SUCH PAYMENTS.