A-61555, JULY 8, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 21

A-61555: Jul 8, 1935

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WHILE SHE IS IN RECEIPT OF WAR RISK DISABILITY COMPENSATION ON HER OWN ACCOUNT. 1935: THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 20. AS FOLLOWS: I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST YOUR DECISION WITH REGARD TO A QUESTION WHICH HAS ARISEN UNDER PUBLIC NO. 484. OR IF THE PERSON WAS SERVING WITH THE UNITED STATES MILITARY FORCES IN RUSSIA BEFORE APRIL 2. THAT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT SHALL NOT APPLY TO ANY PERSON DURING ANY YEAR FOLLOWING A YEAR FOR WHICH SUCH PERSON WAS NOT ENTITLED TO EXEMPTION FROM THE PAYMENT OF A FEDERAL INCOME TAX.'. HE WAS RATED FOR TEMPORARY TOTAL. EXCEPT FOR TWO OTHER PERIODS WHEN HIS DISABILITY WAS RATED AS TEMPORARY PARTIAL 75 PERCENT. WAS CAUSED BY AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT.

A-61555, JULY 8, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 21

DUAL PAYMENT OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION AND NON-SERVICE-CONNECTED COMPENSATION OR PENSION IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 33 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 28, 1934, 48 STAT. 526, PROVIDING THAT SERVICE-CONNECTED MONEY BENEFITS PAYABLE TO WORLD WAR VETERANS SHALL BE ENTITLED COMPENSATION" AND NOT "PENSION," THE PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION OR PENSION TO A WIDOW OF A WORLD WAR VETERAN ON ACCOUNT OF HIS DEATH NOT SERVICE CONNECTED, UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 28, 1934, 48 STAT. 1281, WHILE SHE IS IN RECEIPT OF WAR RISK DISABILITY COMPENSATION ON HER OWN ACCOUNT, WOULD NOT CONTRAVENE THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4715, REVISED STATUTES, PROHIBITING THE PAYMENT OF MORE THAN ONE PENSION TO THE SAME PERSON.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, JULY 8, 1935:

THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 20, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST YOUR DECISION WITH REGARD TO A QUESTION WHICH HAS ARISEN UNDER PUBLIC NO. 484, 73D CONGRESS, IN CONNECTION WITH THE CLAIM OF MRS. ALICE JOHNSON BLEWETT FOR BENEFITS UNDER THAT ACT, AS THE WIDOW OF GEORGE L. BLEWETT, XC-217,383.

PUBLIC NO. 484 AUTHORIZES THE PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION TO:

"THE SURVIVING WIDOW, CHILD, OR CHILDREN OF ANY DECEASED PERSON WHO SERVED IN THE WORLD WAR BEFORE NOVEMBER 12, 1918, OR IF THE PERSON WAS SERVING WITH THE UNITED STATES MILITARY FORCES IN RUSSIA BEFORE APRIL 2, 1920, WHO, WHILE RECEIVING OR ENTITLED TO RECEIVE COMPENSATION, PENSION, OR RETIREMENT PAY FOR 30 PERCENTUM DISABILITY OR MORE DIRECTLY INCURRED IN OR AGGRAVATED BY SERVICE IN THE WORLD WAR, DIES OR HAS DIED FROM A DISEASE OR DISABILITY NOT SERVICE CONNECTED AND NOT THE RESULT OF THE PERSON'S OWN MISCONDUCT * * * PROVIDED, THAT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT SHALL NOT APPLY TO ANY PERSON DURING ANY YEAR FOLLOWING A YEAR FOR WHICH SUCH PERSON WAS NOT ENTITLED TO EXEMPTION FROM THE PAYMENT OF A FEDERAL INCOME TAX.'

GEORGE L. BLEWETT, XC-217,383, THE DECEASED HUSBAND OF THE CLAIMANT IN THE INSTANCE CASE, HAD ACTIVE SERVICE IN THE WORLD WAR FROM JULY 10, 1917, TO DECEMBER 17, 1917, THE DATE OF HIS HONORABLE DISCHARGE ON A SURGEON'S CERTIFICATE OF DISABILITY. HE WAS RATED FOR TEMPORARY TOTAL, DIRECTLY SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABILITY FROM THE DATE OF HIS DISCHARGE TO THE DATE OF HIS DEATH, MAY 17, 1925, EXCEPT FOR TWO OTHER PERIODS WHEN HIS DISABILITY WAS RATED AS TEMPORARY PARTIAL 75 PERCENT, THESE PERIODS COVERING A TOTAL OF FOUR AND ONE-HALF MONTHS. HIS DEATH, ON MAY 17, 1925, WAS CAUSED BY AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT, NOT THE RESULT OF HIS OWN MISCONDUCT.

THE WIDOW, WHO IS HERSELF A WORLD WAR VETERAN, AND IS RECEIVING COMPENSATION FOR A DISABILITY INCURRED DURING HER SERVICE IN THE WORLD WAR, FILED A FORMAL APPLICATION FOR DEATH COMPENSATION UNDER PUBLIC NO. 484, ON AUGUST 13, 1934, AS THE UNREMARRIED WIDOW OF GEORGE L. BLEWETT, AND AS SUCH, COMPENSATION UNDER THAT ACT IS PAYABLE TO HER, PROVIDED THE RECEIPT OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION BY HER ON ACCOUNT OF HER OWN SERVICE DOES NOT BAR PAYMENT UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 28, 1934 (PUBLIC NO. 484, 73D CONGRESS).

PUBLIC NO. 484, SUPRA, UNLIKE THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, 1924, AS AMENDED, THE PRIOR PENSION LAWS, AND THE REGULATIONS ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENT UNDER THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN HIM BY PUBLIC NO. 2, 73D CONGRESS, CONTAINS NO SPECIFIC PROVISION EITHER PERMITTING OR PROHIBITING THE PAYMENT OF BENEFITS THEREUNDER TO A PERSON WHO IS RECEIVING COMPENSATION OR PENSION UNDER ANY OTHER LAW. ACCORDINGLY, THE QUESTION ARISES AS TO WHETHER THE RECEIPT OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION BY THE WIDOW ON ACCOUNT OF HER SERVICE IN THE WORLD WAR BARS PAYMENT OF BENEFITS TO HER UNDER PUBLIC NO. 484, 73D CONGRESS, BECAUSE OF THE DEATH OF HER HUSBAND, ALL OTHER REQUIREMENTS OF THE STATUTE AS TO ENTITLEMENT HAVING BEEN MET.

SECTION 4715, REVISED STATUTES (SEC. 25, TITLE 38, U.S. CODE), WHICH RELATES TO PAYMENT OF PENSION, SPECIFICALLY BARRED THE PAYMENT OF MORE THAN ONE PENSION AT THE SAME TIME TO THE SAME PERSON OR TO PERSONS ENTITLED JOINTLY. SECTION 201 (7) OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, 1924, AS AMENDED, SPECIFICALLY PERMITTED A PERSON TO RECEIVE A "GRATUITY, PENSION, OR COMPENSATION * * * ON ACCOUNT OF THE DEATH, DISABILITY, OR SERVICE OF ANY PERSON" AND "COMPENSATION ON ACCOUNT OF THE DEATH OR DISABILITY OF ANY OTHER PERSON.' PARAGRAPH XIII OF VETERANS' REGULATION NO. 10, PROMULGATED BY THE PRESIDENT UNDER THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN PUBLIC NO. 2, SUPRA, SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITS THE PAYMENT OF MORE THAN ONE PENSION TO ANY ONE INDIVIDUAL "EXCEPT THAT THE RECEIPT OF A PENSION BY A WIDOW, CHILD, OR PARENT ON ACCOUNT OF THE DEATH OF ANY PERSON SHALL NOT BAR THE PAYMENT OF A PENSION ON ACCOUNT OF THE DEATH OF ANY OTHER PERSON.'

IT WILL BE SEEN FROM THE FOREGOING, THAT UNDER THE LAWS IN EFFECT PRIOR TO THE ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC NO. 2, PERSONS ENTITLED TO BENEFITS ON ACCOUNT OF WORLD WAR SERVICE WERE SPECIFICALLY PERMITTED TO RECEIVE MORE THAN ONE GRATUITY, COMPENSATION, OR PENSION, IF SUCH BENEFITS WERE PREDICATED ON THE SERVICE OF DIFFERENT PERSONS; PERSONS ENTITLED TO PENSION UNDER THE LAWS RELATING TO OTHER THAN WORLD WAR VETERANS WERE SPECIFICALLY BARRED FROM RECEIVING MORE THAN ONE PENSION AT THE SAME TIME; AND THAT UNDER THE PUBLIC NO. 2 REGULATIONS, WHILE A BENEFICIARY IS AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID MORE THAN ONE DEATH BENEFIT ON ACCOUNT OF THE SERVICE OF DIFFERENT PERSONS, THE PAYMENT OF BOTH DEATH AND DISABILITY BENEFITS TO THE SAME PERSON ARE SPECIFICALLY PROHIBITED.

I HAVE BEEN ADVISED THAT SINCE THERE IS NO SPECIFIC PROHIBITION IN PUBLIC NO. 484, SUPRA, AGAINST THE PAYMENT OF BOTH BENEFITS IN A CASE OF THIS KIND, AND SINCE THIS LEGISLATION IS SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM THE OTHER LAWS REFERRED TO, THE PROVISIONS IN THE PENSION LAWS, THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACTS, AND THE REGULATIONS UNDER PUBLIC NO. 2, ARE INAPPLICABLE TO THIS LAW, AND THAT THE WIDOW MAY BE PAID BOTH BENEFITS, IF OTHERWISE ENTITLED THERETO.

HOWEVER, BEFORE DEFINITELY DISPOSING OF THIS AND OTHER CLAIMS WHEREIN THE SAME QUESTION MAY BE PRESENTED, I DESIRE TO SOLICIT YOUR VIEWS ON THE QUESTION.

SECTION 33 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 28, 1934, 48 STAT. 526, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

SERVICE-CONNECTED MONEY BENEFITS PAYABLE TO WORLD WAR VETERANS UNDERTHIS TITLE AND PUBLIC LAW NUMBERED 2, SEVENTY-THIRD CONGRESS, SHALL BE ENTITLED "COMPENSATION" AND NOT "PENSION.'

THE PAYMENT OF BOTH THE COMPENSATION NOW BEING RECEIVED BY THE WIDOW AND THE COMPENSATION OR PENSION CLAIMED BY HER ON ACCOUNT OF THE DEATH OF HER HUSBAND "NOT SERVICE CONNECTED," UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 28, 1934, 48 STAT. 1281, WOULD NOT CONTRAVENE THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 4715, REVISED STATUTES.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT THE WIDOW IN THE CASE PRESENTED MAY BE PAID BOTH MONEY BENEFITS, IF OTHERWISE ENTITLED THERETO.