A-50550, JULY 23, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 61

A-50550: Jul 23, 1935

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ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL - DISPOSITION OF PENSION MONEYS TO THE CREDIT OF DECEASED INMATES WHERE AN INMATE IS COMMITTED TO ST. ANY PENSION MONEY TO THE CREDIT OF THE INMATE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH AT SAID HOSPITAL IS FOR DISPOSITION UNDER SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3. IF DEMAND THEREFOR IS MADE WITHIN THREE YEARS. AN INMATE IS COMMITTED TO ST. ANY PENSION MONEY TO THE CREDIT OF THE INMATE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH AT SAID HOSPITAL IS FOR DISPOSITION UNDER SECTION 4839. AS FOLLOWS: THE FOLLOWING PATIENTS HAVE RECENTLY DIED AT ST. - 152.00 IN EACH CASE THESE FUNDS WERE RECEIVED FROM THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION AND ARE KNOWN AS "V.A. 6 FUNDS.'. THIS CLASS OF MONEY WAS FORMERLY PENSION MONEY AND WAS CARED FOR AND DISBURSED AT THE HOSPITAL UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 2.

A-50550, JULY 23, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 61

ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL - DISPOSITION OF PENSION MONEYS TO THE CREDIT OF DECEASED INMATES WHERE AN INMATE IS COMMITTED TO ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE UNITED STATES SOLDIERS' HOME PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF JULY 7, 1884, 23 STAT. 213, ANY PENSION MONEY TO THE CREDIT OF THE INMATE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH AT SAID HOSPITAL IS FOR DISPOSITION UNDER SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1883, 22 STAT. 564, PROVIDING FOR PAYMENT OF SUCH MONEYS TO THE INMATE'S LEGAL HEIRS, IF DEMAND THEREFOR IS MADE WITHIN THREE YEARS; OTHERWISE, FOR ESCHEATING TO THE HOME. WHERE, PURSUANT TO EXISTING LAW, AN INMATE IS COMMITTED TO ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL BY THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ANY PENSION MONEY TO THE CREDIT OF THE INMATE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH AT SAID HOSPITAL IS FOR DISPOSITION UNDER SECTION 4839, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1909, 35 STAT. 592, PROVIDING FOR PAYMENT IN THE CASE OF A FEMALE PENSIONER TO HER MINOR CHILDREN, AND IN THE CASE OF A MALE PENSIONER, TO HIS WIDOW, IF LIVING, AND IF NO WIDOW SURVIVES HIM, THEN TO HIS MINOR CHILDREN; OTHERWISE, FOR APPLYING TO THE GENERAL USES OF THE HOSPITAL.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, JULY 23, 1935:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 12, 1935, REQUESTING A DECISION ON THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED TO YOU BY THE ASSISTANT TO THE SUPERINTENDENT, ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, IN HIS LETTER OF JUNE 4, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

THE FOLLOWING PATIENTS HAVE RECENTLY DIED AT ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, LEAVING FUNDS TO THEIR CREDIT AT THE DATE OF DEATH AS NOTED:

CHART

NAME DIED FUNDS TO

CREDIT EMMA E. SCOTT --------------- APRIL 5, 1934 ----------------- $189.36 CATHERINE STEINER ----------- SEPTEMBER 26, 1934 ------------ 198.70 MARTIN L. CLARK ------------- DECEMBER 20, 1934 ------------- 68.76 BATTIE BEASLEY -------------- FEBRUARY 21, 1935 ------------- 152.00

IN EACH CASE THESE FUNDS WERE RECEIVED FROM THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION AND ARE KNOWN AS "V.A. 6 FUNDS.' THIS CLASS OF MONEY WAS FORMERLY PENSION MONEY AND WAS CARED FOR AND DISBURSED AT THE HOSPITAL UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1909 (35 STAT. 592), AND PRECEDING ACTS, REGARDING WHICH CERTAIN RULES AND REGULATIONS HAVE BEEN PRESCRIBED BY YOU.

THIS WHOLE MATTER WAS REFERRED TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL UNDER DATE OF AUGUST 14, 1933, AND THE COMPTROLLER GAVE A DECISION UNDER DATE OF OCTOBER 21, 1933, A-50550, AS TO THE PROPER METHOD IN WHICH RECORDS MUST BE KEPT OF THIS CLASS OF FUNDS AND THE DISPOSITION OF THEM UPON SEPARATION OF THE PATIENTS FROM THE HOSPITAL. HOWEVER, NO STATEMENT WAS MADE AS TO WHAT DISPOSITION SHOULD BE MADE OF ANY BALANCES AT THE TIME OF DEATH OF PATIENT, WHERE THERE ARE NO CLAIMANTS FOR SUCH BALANCE. IN THE CASES NOTED HEREIN THERE ARE NO CLAIMANTS FOR BALANCES, AND THE HOSPITAL IS SOMEWHAT IN DOUBT AS TO WHAT DISPOSITION SHOULD BE MADE OF THIS MONEY. SHOULD IT BE TURNED BACK TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, OF THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, UPON REQUEST, OR SHOULD IT LAPSE INTO THE MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS OF THE TREASURY AT THE END OF FIVE YEARS?

I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST THAT YOU TRANSMIT THIS LETTER TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES AND HE BE ASKED TO ADVISE THE HOSPITAL AS TO THE PROPER ACTION TO BE TAKEN.

IN RESPONSE TO THE REQUEST MADE IN LETTER OF THIS OFFICE DATED JUNE 25, 1935, FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION RELATIVE TO THE COMMITMENT STATUS, ETC., OF THE NAMED INDIVIDUALS, THE FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION WAS SUBMITTED BY LETTER DATED JULY 5, 1935, FROM THE ASSISTANT TO THE SUPERINTENDENT, ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL: THAT EMMA E. SCOTT, CATHERINE STEINER, AND BATTIE BEASLEY WERE COMMITTED TO ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL BY THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ON SEPTEMBER 16, 1929, FEBRUARY 17, 1932, AND JULY 20, 1934, RESPECTIVELY; THAT MARTIN L. CLARK WAS COMMITTED TO ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL ON NOVEMBER 12, 1931, BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE UNITED STATES SOLDIERS' HOME, WASHINGTON, D.C.; THAT THE FUNDS TO THE CREDIT OF THE NAMED INDIVIDUALS CONSIST OF PENSION MONEY COVERED BY PENSION CHECKS DRAWN BY THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION TO THE ORDER OF THE SUPERINTENDENT, ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL; AND THAT THE TERM "V.A. 6 FUNDS," REFERRED TO IN THE LETTER, SUPRA, IS A TERM "USED IN THE FINANCIAL OFFICE OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL TO DISTINGUISH THE CLASS OF FUNDS RECEIVED FROM THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION BY CHECK, PAYABLE TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, FOR THE BENEFIT OF PENSIONERS, TO WHICH REFERENCE IS MADE IN DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF OCTOBER 21, 1933 (A-50550), THE SIX REFERRING TO THE VETERANS' REGULATION UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER OF MARCH 31, 1933.'

NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE FUNDS HERE WERE CREDITED TO THE INMATES' PERSONAL ACCOUNT PURSUANT TO MY DECISION TO YOU OF OCTOBER 21, 1933, A 50550, IT IS CLEAR THAT SUCH FUNDS HAVE NOT LOST THEIR IDENTITY AS PENSION MONEY. SUCH BEING THE CASE, THE FUNDS TO THE CREDIT OF THE NAMED INDIVIDUALS ARE NOT FOR DISPOSITION PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1906, 34 STAT. 730, OR FOR RETURNING TO THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, 27 COMP. DEC. 240, BUT ON THE CONTRARY, ARE FOR DISPOSITION UNDER OTHER APPLICABLE STATUTES AS HEREINAFTER INDICATED.

IN THE CASE OF MARTIN L. CLARK IT APPEARS THAT AT THE TIME OF HIS COMMITMENT HE WAS AN INMATE OF THE UNITED STATES SOLDIERS' HOME, WASHINGTON, D.C., AND THAT HE WAS COMMITTED TO ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF JULY 7, 1884, 23 STAT. 213, PROVIDING IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

* * * ANY INMATE OF THE SOLDIERS' HOME WHO IS NOW OR MAY HEREAFTER BECOME INSANE SHALL, UPON AN ORDER OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE SOLDIERS' HOME, BE ADMITTED TO SAID HOSPITAL (SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL) AND TREATED THEREIN; AND THE EXPENSES OF MAINTAINING ANY SUCH PERSON SHALL BE PAID FROM THE SOLDIERS' HOME FUND.

WITH RESPECT TO THE DISPOSITION OF PENSION MONIES BELONGING TO DECEASED INMATES OF UNITED STATES SOLDIERS' HOME, WASHINGTON, D.C., SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1883, 22 STAT. 564, PROVIDES:

* * * IN CASE OF THE DEATH OF ANY PENSIONER, ANY PENSION MONEY DUE HIM AND REMAINING IN THE HANDS OF THE TREASURER SHALL BE PAID TO HIS LEGAL HEIRS, IF DEMAND IS MADE WITHIN THREE YEARS; OTHERWISE THE SAME SHALL ESCHEAT TO THE HOME.

IN VIEW OF THESE STATUTORY PROVISIONS--- PARTICULARLY HAVING IN VIEW THE FACT THAT CLARK WAS, STRICTLY, A BENEFICIARY OR MEMBER OF THE UNITED STATES SOLDIERS' HOME AT THE TIME OF HIS COMMITMENT TO SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL AND THAT HIS EXPENSES OF MAINTENANCE AT THE HOSPITAL WERE REQUIRED TO BE PAID FROM THE SOLDIERS' HOME FUND--- THE AMOUNT OF MONEY REPORTED TO BE STANDING TO HIS CREDIT AT THE HOSPITAL AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH, NAMELY, $68.76, IS FOR PAYMENT TO THE UNITED STATES SOLDIERS' HOME, WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR DISPOSITION BY SAID HOME IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE LATTER STATUTE ABOVE QUOTED.

IN THE CASES OF EMMA E. SCOTT, CATHERINE STEINER, AND BATTIE BEASLEY, WHO ARE REPORTED TO HAVE BEEN COMMITTED BY THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, THERE APPEARS TO BE NO LAW RELATING TO THE DISPOSITION OF PENSION FUNDS TO THE CREDIT OF THESE DECEASED INMATES OF SAINT ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, OTHER THAN SECTION 4839, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1909, 35 STAT. 592, PROVIDING IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

* * * DURING THE TIME THAT ANY PENSIONER SHALL BE AN INMATE OF THE GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE, ALL MONEY DUE OR BECOMING DUE UPON HIS OR HER PENSION SHALL BE PAID BY THE PENSION AGENT TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OR DISBURSING AGENT OF THE HOSPITAL, UPON A CERTIFICATE BY SUCH SUPERINTENDENT THAT THE PENSIONER IS AN INMATE OF THE HOSPITAL AND IS LIVING, AND SUCH PENSION MONEY SHALL BE BY SAID SUPERINTENDENT OR DISBURSING AGENT DISBURSED AND USED, UNDER REGULATIONS TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PENSIONER, AND, IN CASE OF A MALE PENSIONER, HIS WIFE, MINOR CHILDREN, AND DEPENDENT PARENTS, OR, IF A FEMALE PENSIONER, HER MINOR CHILDREN, IF ANY, IN THE ORDER NAMED, AND TO PAY HIS OR HER BOARD AND MAINTENANCE IN THE HOSPITAL, THE REMAINDER OF SUCH PENSION MONEY, IF ANY, TO BE PLACED TO THE CREDIT OF THE PENSIONER AND TO BE PAID TO THE PENSIONER OR THE GUARDIAN OF THE PENSIONER IN THE EVENT OF HIS OR HER DISCHARGE FROM THE HOSPITAL; OR, IN THE EVENT OF THE DEATH OF SAID PENSIONER WHILE AN INMATE OF SAID HOSPITAL, SHALL, IF A FEMALE PENSIONER, BE PAID TO HER MINOR CHILDREN, AND, IN THE CASE OF A MALE PENSIONER, BE PAID TO HIS WIFE, IF LIVING; IF NO WIFE SURVIVES HIM, THEN TO HIS MINOR CHILDREN; AND IN CASE THERE IS NO WIFE NOR MINOR CHILDREN, THEN THE SAID UNEXPENDED BALANCE TO HIS OR HER CREDIT SHALL BE APPLIED TO THE GENERAL USES OF SAID HOSPITAL. * * *

HENCE, THE FUNDS TO THE CREDIT OF THE INDIVIDUALS IN THE LATTER CASES BEING PENSION, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM DISABILITY COMPENSATION, ARE NOT FOR RETURNING TO THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, 27 COMP. DEC. 240; NEITHER ARE SUCH FUNDS FOR REVERTING TO MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS AT THE END OF 5 YEARS UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1906, 34 STAT. 730, AS SAID ACT IS FOR APPLICATION TO PRIVATE MONEYS OF INMATES AS DISTINGUISHED FROM PENSION MONEYS PAYABLE BY THE GOVERNMENT.

SPECIFICALLY, THEREFORE, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE FUNDS TO THE CREDIT OF THE INDIVIDUALS IN THE LATTER CASES ARE FOR DISPOSITION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ITALICIZED PORTION OF THE 1909 ACT ABOVE QUOTED.