A-9862, JUNE 25, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 1062

A-9862: Jun 25, 1925

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THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO INVEST SUCH PERSONAL FUNDS ON DEPOSIT TO THE CREDIT OF THE PATIENT IN GOVERNMENT INTEREST-BEARING SECURITIES. 1925: I HAVE YOUR REQUEST OF MAY 23. SHALL HAVE THE CUSTODY OF AND PAY OUT ALL MONEYS APPROPRIATED BY CONGRESS FOR THE GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE. THE SAID DISBURSING AGENT IS AUTHORIZED TO DRAW THEREFROM. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL FOR TREATMENT OF INSANITY ARE PRESUMABLY MENTALLY INCOMPETENT TO HANDLE THEIR FINANCIAL AFFAIRS. THERE IS MUCH TO PERSUADE THAT SUCH A PROCEDURE SHOULD BE PERMITTED. IT MUST BE BORNE IN MIND THAT WHILE GOVERNMENT SECURITIES ARE THE IDEAL INVESTMENT YET THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS PURCHASABLE AT PAR BUT USUALLY ABOVE PAR. THE SPECIFIC DIRECTION OF THE STATUTE IS THAT THE MONEYS BE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY.

A-9862, JUNE 25, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 1062

ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL - INVESTMENT OF PERSONAL FUNDS OF PATIENTS A PATIENT OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, FOR WHOM NO GUARDIAN OR COMMITTEE HAS BEEN APPOINTED, MAY NOT BE PERMITTED TO WITHDRAW HIS PERSONAL FUNDS ON DEPOSIT IN THE TREASURY TO HIS CREDIT FOR THE PURPOSE OF PRIVATE INVESTMENT, AND THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO INVEST SUCH PERSONAL FUNDS ON DEPOSIT TO THE CREDIT OF THE PATIENT IN GOVERNMENT INTEREST-BEARING SECURITIES, OR OTHERWISE, SO AS TO EARN INTEREST FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PATIENT WHILE HE REMAINS IN THE INSTITUTION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, JUNE 25, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR REQUEST OF MAY 23, 1925, FOR DECISION WHETHER SERGT. POWELL PATTERSON, A PATIENT OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, MAY BE PERMITTED, AS REQUESTED BY HIM IN LETTER DATED MAY 9, 1925, TO WITHDRAW FOR PRIVATE INVESTMENT PERSONAL FUNDS DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY TO HIS CREDIT THROUGH THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE INSTITUTION, NO COMMITTEE OR GUARDIAN HAVING BEEN APPOINTED FOR THE PATIENT, OR IF THAT BE NOT AUTHORIZED, WHETHER THE AMOUNT OF PERSONAL FUNDS ON DEPOSIT TO THE CREDIT OF SAID PATIENT MAY BE INVESTED IN GOVERNMENT INTEREST-BEARING SECURITIES OR OTHERWISE SO AS TO EARN INTEREST FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PATIENT WHILE HE REMAINS IN THE INSTITUTION.

SECTION 4829, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1909, 35 STAT. 592, AFTER AUTHORIZING THE APPOINTMENT OF A DISBURSING AGENT OF ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

* * * THE SAID DISBURSING AGENT, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SUPERINTENDENT, SHALL HAVE THE CUSTODY OF AND PAY OUT ALL MONEYS APPROPRIATED BY CONGRESS FOR THE GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE, OR OTHERWISE RECEIVED FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE HOSPITAL, AND ALL MONEYS RECEIVED BY THE SUPERINTENDENT IN BEHALF OF THE HOSPITAL OR ITS PATIENTS, AND KEEP AN ACCURATE ACCOUNT OR ACCOUNTS THEREOF. THE SAID DISBURSING AGENT SHALL DEPOSIT IN THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SUPERINTENDENT, ALL FUNDS NOW IN THE HANDS OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OR WHICH MAY HEREAFTER BE INTRUSTED TO HIM BY OR FOR THE USE OF PATIENTS, WHICH SHALL BE KEPT IN A SEPARATE ACCOUNT; AND THE SAID DISBURSING AGENT IS AUTHORIZED TO DRAW THEREFROM, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SAID SUPERINTENDENT, FROM TIME TO TIME, UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR MAY PRESCRIBE, FOR THE USE OF SUCH PATIENTS, BUT NOT TO EXCEED FOR ANY ONE PATIENT THE AMOUNT INTRUSTED TO THE SUPERINTENDENT ON ACCOUNT OF SUCH PATIENT. * * *.

PERSONS CONFINED IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL FOR TREATMENT OF INSANITY ARE PRESUMABLY MENTALLY INCOMPETENT TO HANDLE THEIR FINANCIAL AFFAIRS. NOTWITHSTANDING SUCH PERSONS MAY BE ONLY TEMPORARILY CONFINED OR THEIR CONDITION SUCH AS TO JUSTIFY ONLY PARTIAL RESTRICTION, THEY MAY NOT BE PERMITTED WHILE REMAINING PATIENTS OF THE INSTITUTION TO WITHDRAW THEIR PERSONAL FUNDS DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY THROUGH THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE INSTITUTION.

ACCORDINGLY, THE REQUEST OF SERGEANT PATTERSON MAY NOT BE COMPLIED WITH.

AS TO THE FURTHER QUESTION WHETHER THE FUNDS OF THE PATIENT MAY BE INVESTED IN GOVERNMENT INTEREST-BEARING SECURITIES OR OTHERWISE SO AS TO EARN INTEREST, THERE IS MUCH TO PERSUADE THAT SUCH A PROCEDURE SHOULD BE PERMITTED, BUT IT MUST BE BORNE IN MIND THAT WHILE GOVERNMENT SECURITIES ARE THE IDEAL INVESTMENT YET THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS PURCHASABLE AT PAR BUT USUALLY ABOVE PAR, AND THUS MAY AFFECT THE INTEREST RETURN. BUT HOWEVER THAT MAY BE, THE SPECIFIC DIRECTION OF THE STATUTE IS THAT THE MONEYS BE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY, AND THERE BEING NO PROVISION THEREIN EITHER FOR INVESTMENT OR THAT THE FUNDS SHALL BEAR INTEREST WHILE SO DEPOSITED, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO PLACE THEM AT INTEREST. IT SEEMS THAT IN EXCEPTIONAL CASES MINOR AMOUNTS ARE LIKELY TO BE INVOLVED, SO THAT THE QUESTION OF INTEREST IS NOT PECUNIARILY MATERIAL. IF, HOWEVER, IT IS THOUGHT ADMINISTRATIVELY THERE SHOULD BE AN INTEREST RETURN, THE QUESTION IS ONE FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF CONGRESS.