A-6655, FEBRUARY 5, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 654

A-6655: Feb 5, 1925

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BURIAL EXPENSES OF WAR VETERANS - EVIDENCE OF INDIGENCY THE MERE NOTATION ON THE VOUCHER OF THE WORD "INDIGENT" IS NOT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO AUTHORIZE DIRECT SETTLEMENT OR CREDIT IN DISBURSING OFFICERS' ACCOUNTS OF CLAIMS. THERE MUST BE FURNISHED WITH THESE CLAIMS A CERTIFICATE BY THE PROPER OFFICER OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU SETTING FORTH THE FACTS ON WHICH THE FINDING OF INDIGENCY WAS PREDICATED. WHETHER THE PAYMENT OF BURIAL EXPENSES WAS THE LEGAL OBLIGATION OF ANY PERSON OR PERSONS. 1925: THERE IS BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION THE SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE AS TO INDIGENCY TO SUPPORT PAYMENTS OF BURIAL EXPENSES OF VETERANS. THE ONLY INFORMATION GIVEN IS THE WORD "INDIGENT" ON THE VOUCHERS CERTIFIED AND APPROVED BY AN OFFICER OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU.

A-6655, FEBRUARY 5, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 654

BURIAL EXPENSES OF WAR VETERANS - EVIDENCE OF INDIGENCY THE MERE NOTATION ON THE VOUCHER OF THE WORD "INDIGENT" IS NOT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO AUTHORIZE DIRECT SETTLEMENT OR CREDIT IN DISBURSING OFFICERS' ACCOUNTS OF CLAIMS, UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 617, FOR BURIAL EXPENSES OF DISCHARGED VETERAN OF ANY WAR. THERE MUST BE FURNISHED WITH THESE CLAIMS A CERTIFICATE BY THE PROPER OFFICER OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU SETTING FORTH THE FACTS ON WHICH THE FINDING OF INDIGENCY WAS PREDICATED, SUCH AS THE LEGAL DOMICILE OF THE DECEASED, THE AMOUNT OF REAL OR PERSONAL ESTATE, IF ANY, AND FROM WHAT DERIVED, THE AMOUNT OF LIFE INSURANCE, IF ANY, WHETHER THE DECEASED HELD MEMBERSHIP IN ANY ORDER, COMPANY, ASSOCIATION, OR ORGANIZATION OBLIGATED TO ASSUME OR PAY FOR BURIAL EXPENSES OF THE VETERAN, AND WHETHER THE PAYMENT OF BURIAL EXPENSES WAS THE LEGAL OBLIGATION OF ANY PERSON OR PERSONS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, FEBRUARY 5, 1925:

THERE IS BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION THE SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE AS TO INDIGENCY TO SUPPORT PAYMENTS OF BURIAL EXPENSES OF VETERANS, INVOLVING PENDING CLAIMS SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT, AND ITEMS SUSPENDED IN THE ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU.

THE ONLY INFORMATION GIVEN IS THE WORD "INDIGENT" ON THE VOUCHERS CERTIFIED AND APPROVED BY AN OFFICER OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU, SUBMITTED WITH THE CLAIM FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT, OR APPEARING IN THE ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER. THE CLAIMS FOR BURIAL EXPENSES ARE AUTHORIZED IN THE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 617, AS FOLLOWS:

(1) IF DEATH OCCUR OR SHALL HAVE OCCURRED SUBSEQUENT TO APRIL 6, 1917, AND BEFORE DISCHARGE OR RESIGNATION FROM THE SERVICE, THE UNITED STATES SHALL PAY FOR BURIAL EXPENSES AND THE RETURN OF BODY TO HIS HOME A SUM NOT TO EXCEED $100, AS MAY BE FIXED BY REGULATION. 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 U.S. 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 WHEN SUCH PERSON DIES WHILE RECEIVING FROM THE BUREAU COMPENSATION OR VOCATIONAL TRAINING, THE ABOVE BENEFITS SHALL BE PAYABLE WITHOUT REFERENCE TO THE INDIGENCY OF THE DECEASED: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT WHERE SUCH PERSON, WHILE RECEIVING FROM THE BUREAU MEDICAL, SURGICAL, OR HOSPITAL TREATMENT OR VOCATIONAL TRAINING, DIES AWAY FROM HOME AND AT THE PLACE TO WHICH HE WAS ORDERED BY THE BUREAU, OR WHILE TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS OF THE BUREAU, THE ABOVE BENEFITS SHALL BE PAYABLE WITHOUT REFERENCE TO THE INDIGENCY OF THE DECEASED AND IN ADDITION THERETO THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY COST OF THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE BODY OF THE PERSON (INCLUDING PREPARATION OF THE BODY) TO THE PLACE OF BURIAL, WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES, AND INCLUDING ALSO, IN THE DISCRETION OF THE DIRECTOR, THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF AN ATTENDANT: AND PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT NO ACCRUED PENSION OR COMPENSATION DUE AT THE TIME OF DEATH SHALL BE DEDUCTED FROM THE SUM ALLOWED.

THIS STATUTE IS AN AMENDMENT OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, 42 STAT. 1523, WHICH WAS CONSIDERED IN DECISION OF JANUARY 9, 1924, 3 COMP. GEN. 404. STATING THE QUOTED PROVISION OF LAW NOW IN FORCE CONVERSELY, THE INDIGENCY OF THE DECEASED--- AND THAT THE BURIAL EXPENSES HAD NOT OTHERWISE BEEN PROVIDED FOR--- MUST BE SHOWN IF THE DECEASED WAS AT TIME OF DEATH A DISCHARGED VETERAN OF ANY WAR NOT IN RECEIPT FROM THE BUREAU OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION OR VOCATIONAL TRAINING OR NOT IN RECEIPT OF MEDICAL, HOSPITAL, OR SURGICAL TREATMENT AWAY FROM HOME OR TRAVELING INCIDENT THERETO.

THE MERE NOTATION ON THE VOUCHER OF THE WORD "INDIGENT" IS NOT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO AUTHORIZE DIRECT SETTLEMENT OR CREDIT IN DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNTS BY THIS OFFICE. SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE MUST BE DISCLOSED IN THE FORM OF A CERTIFICATE BY THE PROPER OFFICER OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU, TO ACCOMPANY THE VOUCHERS AND RECEIPTED BILLS AS NOW REQUIRED, TO SHOW EITHER THAT THE VETERAN IS OF THE CLASS FOR WHICH THE STATUTE PROVIDES THE ALLOWANCE FOR BURIAL EXPENSES WITHOUT SHOWING OF INDIGENCY, OR TO REPORT THE FACTS UPON WHICH THE FINDING OF INDIGENCY IS PREDICATED. THE CERTIFICATE STATING THE FACTS UPON WHICH THE FINDING OF INDIGENCY IS PREDICATED, OR FOLLOWING THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE STATUTE MORE CLOSELY, TO SHOW INSUFFICIENCY OF ASSETS TO PAY FOR THE BURIAL EXPENSES, AND THAT THE BURIAL EXPENSES ARE NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR, SHOULD INCLUDE SUCH ITEMS AS THE LEGAL DOMICILE OF THE DECEASED, AMOUNT OF REAL OR PERSONAL ESTATE, IF ANY, AND FROM WHAT DERIVED, AMOUNT OF LIFE INSURANCE, IF ANY, WHETHER THE DECEASED HELD MEMBERSHIP IN ANY ORDER, COMPANY, ASSOCIATION, OR ORGANIZATION OBLIGATED TO ASSUME OR PAY FOR BURIAL EXPENSES OF THE VETERAN, AND WHETHER THE PAYMENT OF BURIAL EXPENSES WAS THE LEGAL OBLIGATION OF ANY PERSON OR PERSONS.

IN CLAIMS NOW PENDING BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT OR SUBMITTED PRIOR TO THE DATE OF THIS DECISION, AND IN ACCOUNTS OF DISBURSING OFFICERS FOR THE CURRENT QUARTER SUCH EVIDENCE AS MAY NOW BE IN THE VETERANS' BUREAU ON THE BASIS OF WHICH PRESUMABLY THERE WAS MADE A FINDING OF INDIGENCY AND THE NOTATION OF "INDIGENT" WAS PLACED UPON THE VOUCHER, SHOULD EITHER BE TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE OR EXTRACTS THEREFROM BE MADE DULY CERTIFIED AND TRANSMITTED, SO THAT ACTION MAY BE TAKEN ACCORDINGLY.

IT IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD THAT THE REQUIREMENTS HEREIN MENTIONED ARE NECESSARY, PRIMARILY THAT IT MAY APPEAR FROM FACTS UPON THE RECORD THERE WAS A CLAIM PROPER FOR CONSIDERATION UNDER THE STATUTORY PROVISIONS RELATING TO INDIGENCY PAYMENTS. A MERE NOTATION OF INDIGENCY FURNISHES NOTHING TO SHOW A LAWFUL CLAIM.