A-5758, NOVEMBER 10, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 436

A-5758: Nov 10, 1924

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1924: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 13. REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER THE APPROPRIATION FOR BURIAL EXPENSES OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU IS AVAILABLE FOR COST OF ERECTING AT THE GRAVES OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE BUREAU HEADSTONES FURNISHED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE WAR DEPARTMENT HAS DELIVERED THE HEADSTONES FREE OF COST UPON APPLICATION BUT HAS REQUIRED THAT THE COST OF ERECTING BE BORNE BY THE APPLICANT. IN THE CASE OF DECEASED PENSIONERS IT WAS HELD OCTOBER 14. A MARKER FOR A GRAVE IS AN ITEM USUALLY AND ORDINARILY INCLUDED IN THE EXPENSES OF BURIAL. WHERE A HEADSTONE IS NOT FURNISHED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT SUCH A MARKER AS IS ORDINARILY USED IS REASONABLY AN ITEM OF BURIAL EXPENSES.

A-5758, NOVEMBER 10, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 436

BURIAL EXPENSES - HEADSTONES AND MARKERS - VETERANS' BUREAU BENEFICIARIES THE COST OF ERECTING A HEADSTONE FURNISHED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT, OR THE COST OF PURCHASE AND ERECTION OF AN ORDINARY MARKER, MAY BE INCLUDED AS AN ITEM OF BURIAL EXPENSES OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, WITHIN THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF $100 ALLOWED BY SECTION 201 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 617.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, NOVEMBER 10, 1924:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 13, 1924, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER THE APPROPRIATION FOR BURIAL EXPENSES OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU IS AVAILABLE FOR COST OF ERECTING AT THE GRAVES OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE BUREAU HEADSTONES FURNISHED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT, AND FOR PURCHASE OF HEADSTONES OR MARKERS IN CASES IN WHICH THEY CAN NOT BE FURNISHED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT, IN CONNECTION WITH THE INTERMENT OF THE REMAINS OF BUREAU BENEFICIARIES.

ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR THE WAR DEPARTMENT PROVIDE AN AMOUNT FOR THE WORK OF FURNISHING HEADSTONES FOR UNMARKED GRAVES OF SOLDIERS, SAILORS, AND MARINES. FOR THE PRESENT FISCAL YEAR, SEE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 511. THIS STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR FURNISHING HEADSTONES FOR UNMARKED GRAVES OF VETERANS OF SPECIFIED WARS, NOW EXTENDED TO VETERANS OF ALL WARS, HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS, AND IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE WAR DEPARTMENT HAS DELIVERED THE HEADSTONES FREE OF COST UPON APPLICATION BUT HAS REQUIRED THAT THE COST OF ERECTING BE BORNE BY THE APPLICANT.

IN THE CASE OF DECEASED PENSIONERS IT WAS HELD OCTOBER 14, 1901, 8 COMP. DEC. 222, THAT THE COST OF ERECTING THE HEADSTONES MIGHT REASONABLY BE CONSIDERED AN ITEM OF BURIAL EXPENSES. A MARKER FOR A GRAVE IS AN ITEM USUALLY AND ORDINARILY INCLUDED IN THE EXPENSES OF BURIAL, AND WHERE A HEADSTONE IS NOT FURNISHED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT SUCH A MARKER AS IS ORDINARILY USED IS REASONABLY AN ITEM OF BURIAL EXPENSES. BUT I FIND NOTHING IN THE LAW TO INDICATE THAT THE TERM ,BURIAL EXPENSES" WAS INTENDED TO INCLUDE THE COST OF PURCHASE AND ERECTION OF A TOMBSTONE NOT OF THE ORDINARY MARKER DESCRIPTION.

ANSWERING YOUR QUESTION SPECIFICALLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE COST OF ERECTING A HEADSTONE FURNISHED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT, OR COST OF PURCHASE AND ERECTION OF AN ORDINARY MARKER TO MARK THE GRAVE OF A BENEFICIARY OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU, MAY BE INCLUDED AS AN ITEM OF BURIAL EXPENSES WITHIN THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF $100 ALLOWED BY SECTION 201 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, DATED JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 617, AS CONSTITUTING A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE BUREAU APPROPRIATION FOR ,FUNERAL AND OTHER INCIDENTAL EXPENSES (INCLUDING TRANSPORTATION OF REMAINS)," SUBJECT TO SUCH REGULATIONS AS YOU MAY PRESCRIBE NOT INCONSISTENT WITH THE STATUTE.