A-9629, MAY 25, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 995

A-9629: May 25, 1925

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

IS NOT A "VETERAN OF ANY WAR" WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT. IT IS DISCLOSED THAT JACK JONES ENLISTED IN THE NAVY DECEMBER 17. WAS DISCHARGED APRIL 2. THAT HE WAS ADMITTED TO THE VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL JUNE 4. THE BURIAL WAS PERFORMED BY CLAIMANT AT THE REQUEST OF THE AUTHORITIES OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU UNDER CONTRACT ENTERED INTO WITH THE BUREAU EFFECTIVE FROM OCTOBER 1. WASH AT THE RATES SPECIFIED AFTER EACH ITEM WHEN THE SPECIFIED SERVICE IS ORDERED AND FURNISHED. MENTIONED IN THE CONTRACT AND PURSUANT TO WHICH SAME WAS EXECUTED. THAT IS. HE WAS NOT IN THE MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE WHEN HE DIED AND HE WAS NOT A "VETERAN OF ANY WAR.'. THAT PHRASE IS DEFINED IN SECTION 8102.

A-9629, MAY 25, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 995

BURIAL EXPENSE - ENLISTED MEN OF NAVY AFTER DISCHARGE AN ENLISTED MAN OF THE NAVY WHO ENTERED THE SERVICE FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE JULY 2, 1921, IS NOT A "VETERAN OF ANY WAR" WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, AND HIS ADMISSION AFTER DISCHARGE TO A VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL DOES NOT OBLIGATE THE GOVERNMENT TO PAY HIS BURIAL EXPENSES.

DECISION BY ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL GINN, MAY 25, 1925:

THE UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU HAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT APPROVED VOUCHER FOR $100 IN FAVOR OF MACMARTIN AND CHAMBERLAIN, REPRESENTING REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE BURIAL OF JACK JONES, WHO DIED JUNE 8, 1924, WHILE IN A VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL RECEIVING TREATMENT UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU.

IT IS DISCLOSED THAT JACK JONES ENLISTED IN THE NAVY DECEMBER 17, 1923, AND WAS DISCHARGED APRIL 2, 1924; THAT HE WAS ADMITTED TO THE VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL JUNE 4, 1924; AND THAT HE HAD NO OTHER MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE PRIOR TO HIS ENLISTMENT OF DECEMBER 17, 1923.

THE BURIAL WAS PERFORMED BY CLAIMANT AT THE REQUEST OF THE AUTHORITIES OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU UNDER CONTRACT ENTERED INTO WITH THE BUREAU EFFECTIVE FROM OCTOBER 1, 1923, TO JUNE 30, 1924, PROVIDING IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

(A) TO PROVIDE A RESPECTABLE BURIAL OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE U.S. VETERANS' BUREAU ENTITLED TO BURIAL AND OTHER EXPENSES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 2 OF SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, (42 STAT. 1523), DYING IN U.S. VETERANS' HOSP NO 85 WALLA WALLA, WASH AT THE RATES SPECIFIED AFTER EACH ITEM WHEN THE SPECIFIED SERVICE IS ORDERED AND FURNISHED.

THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, MENTIONED IN THE CONTRACT AND PURSUANT TO WHICH SAME WAS EXECUTED, AS REENACTED AND AMENDED BY THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT DATED JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 617, IN FORCE WHEN THIS MAN DIED, PROVIDES FOR BURIAL EXPENSES PAYABLE BY THE GOVERNMENT ONLY OF PERSONS DYING WHILE IN THE MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE AND OF PERSONS HAVING THE STATUS OF "VETERAN OF ANY WAR" WHO DIE AFTER DISCHARGE OR RESIGNATION FROM THE SERVICE. SEE ALSO ACT OF MARCH 4, 1925, 43 STAT. 1305. THE DECEASED IN THIS CASE DOES NOT FALL WITHIN EITHER OF THESE CLASSES; THAT IS, HE WAS NOT IN THE MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE WHEN HE DIED AND HE WAS NOT A "VETERAN OF ANY WAR.' THAT PHRASE IS DEFINED IN SECTION 8102, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU REGULATIONS, EFFECTIVE AUGUST 15, 1923, AS FOLLOWS:

FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REGULATION (SECTIONS 8102 TO 8113, INCLUSIVE) THE TERM "VETERAN OF ANY WAR" SHALL MEAN ANY PERSON WHO DIES AFTER DISCHARGE OR RESIGNATION FROM THE SERVICE AND WHO SERVED (A) IN THE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES DURING ANY PERIOD OF THE MEXICAN WAR, THE CIVIL WAR, THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, OR THE WORLD WAR; OR (B) WITH FORCES WHICH WERE MOBILIZED FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE INDIAN WARS, THE PHILIPPINE INSURRECTION, BOXER EXPEDITION, CUBAN PACIFICATION, NICARAGUAN CAMPAIGN, VERA CRUZ EXPEDITION, OR THE PUNITIVE EXPEDITION INTO MEXICO.

SEE SUPPLEMENT NO. 3, DATED MARCH 31, 1924. THIS DEFINITION WAS BASED ON 2 COMP. GEN. 791.

THE WORLD WAR ENDED JULY 2, 1921, IN SO FAR AS THE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF THE WAR RISK INSURANCE ACT AND THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT ARE CONCERNED. SEE SECTION 212 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 623. MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE ENTERED INTO SUBSEQUENT TO THAT DATE MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS SERVICE DURING ANY WAR. THE DECEASED WAS NOT THEREFORE A ,VETERAN OF ANY WAR.' WHATEVER AUTHORITY THERE MAY HAVE BEEN FOR THE HOSPITALIZATION OF THE DECEASED, THE FACT THAT HE WAS IN A VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITAL WHEN HE DIED DOES NOT OBLIGATE THE GOVERNMENT TO PAY FOR HIS BURIAL EXCEPT POSSIBLY AS A SANITARY MEASURE, WHICH IS NOT ALLEGED OR SHOWN IN THIS CASE.

THERE IS ALSO INVOLVED THE ACTION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU IN AUTHORIZING CLAIMANT TO PERFORM THE BURIAL OF THE DECEASED. THIS OFFICE HAS IN A FEW INSTANCES AUTHORIZED PAYMENT OF CLAIMS FOR MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL TREATMENT IN CONTRACT HOSPITALS OF PERSONS NOT LAWFULLY ENTITLED THERETO WHEN THE TREATMENT WAS ERRONEOUSLY ORDERED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU AND THERE WAS NO NOTICE ON THE PART OF THE HOSPITAL PERFORMING THE SERVICE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE IRREGULARITY. IN DECISION OF APRIL 21, 1924, A-8834, IT WAS HELD, HOWEVER, THAT THERE EXISTED NO GENERAL AUTHORITY FOR SUCH A PROCEDURE, BUT THAT EACH CASE MUST BE FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT ON THE PARTICULAR FACTS INVOLVED.

THE REASONS WHICH HAVE PROMPTED THE OCCASIONAL ACTION OF THIS OFFICE IN AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF CLAIMS FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT AS INDICATED ABOVE ARE NOT APPLICABLE TO THE PRESENT CASE. THE PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE RELATIVE TO BURIAL EXPENSES SO DEFINITELY FIXED THE PERSONS COMING WITHIN THEIR TERMS THAT ADMINISTRATIVE IRREGULARITY AND LACK OF ACTUAL NOTICE THEREOF BY CLAIMANTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED IN ANY CASE AS A BASIS FOR PAYMENT OF BURIAL EXPENSES BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR BURIAL OF PERSONS NOT ENTITLED THERETO. IT IS BELIEVED THAT PRELIMINARY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION SHOULD BE SUCH AS TO AVOID DIRECTING THE BURIAL OF PERSONS NOT COMING WITHIN THE TERMS OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU ACT. DISPOSITION OF REMAINS OF PERSONS NOT COMING WITHIN THE TERMS OF THE CONTROLLING STATUTE UNCLAIMED BY RELATIVES OR FRIENDS IS A MATTER GENERALLY BETWEEN THE LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND THE HOSPITAL.