A-9968, JULY 27, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 59

A-9968: Jul 27, 1925

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VETERANS' BUREAU - LOSS OF WAGES - ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS WHETHER THERE HAS BEEN A LAWFUL CLAIM ASSERTED AGAINST THE UNITED STATES FOR "LOSS OF WAGES" BY A BENEFICIARY OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU INCIDENT TO MEDICAL OR HOSPITAL TREATMENT IS A MATTER NECESSARY FOR THE INDEPENDENT DETERMINATION IN THE AUDIT OF ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU. THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS NOT RELIEVED OF THAT DUTY BY SECTION 5 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF JUNE 7. THE DUTY OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES TO NEGATIVE UNLAWFUL EXPENDITURES MADE BY DISBURSING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS IS SO FUNDAMENTAL AND ESSENTIAL TO THE ORDERLY. WHAT EVIDENCE A DISBURSING OFFICER MAY DEEM SUFFICIENT TO SHOW THE LEGALITY OF PROPOSED PAYMENTS FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS AND WHICH WILL SATISFY THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE AUDIT IS FOR HIS DETERMINATION UNDER HIS BONDED RESPONSIBILITY.

A-9968, JULY 27, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 59

VETERANS' BUREAU - LOSS OF WAGES - ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS WHETHER THERE HAS BEEN A LAWFUL CLAIM ASSERTED AGAINST THE UNITED STATES FOR "LOSS OF WAGES" BY A BENEFICIARY OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU INCIDENT TO MEDICAL OR HOSPITAL TREATMENT IS A MATTER NECESSARY FOR THE INDEPENDENT DETERMINATION IN THE AUDIT OF ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU, AND THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS NOT RELIEVED OF THAT DUTY BY SECTION 5 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 608, PROVIDING THAT QUESTIONS OF FACT DETERMINED BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU SHALL BE CONCLUSIVE. THE DUTY OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES TO NEGATIVE UNLAWFUL EXPENDITURES MADE BY DISBURSING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS IS SO FUNDAMENTAL AND ESSENTIAL TO THE ORDERLY, BUSINESSLIKE, AND LAWFUL CONDUCT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S BUSINESS THAT IT MAY BE AVOIDED ONLY BY AN ENACTMENT IN SPECIFIC LANGUAGE RELIEVING THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FROM ALL RESPONSIBILITY WITH RESPECT THERETO. WHAT EVIDENCE A DISBURSING OFFICER MAY DEEM SUFFICIENT TO SHOW THE LEGALITY OF PROPOSED PAYMENTS FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS AND WHICH WILL SATISFY THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE AUDIT IS FOR HIS DETERMINATION UNDER HIS BONDED RESPONSIBILITY, WHICH MAY NOT BE AVOIDED BY AN ORDER OR REGULATION OF THE HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT UNDER WHICH THE DISBURSING OFFICER MAY BE EMPLOYED. ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS UNDER WHICH A CERTAIN ACTION IS DIRECTED BY AN OFFICER OF THE GOVERNMENT, WHICH WILL ULTIMATELY OBLIGATE THE GOVERNMENT TO PAY OUT APPROPRIATED FUNDS, MUST PROVIDE THAT THE NAME AND TITLE OF THE GOVERNMENT OFFICER DIRECTING THE ACTION BE DISCLOSED IN THE EVIDENCE FURNISHED WITH THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNTS FOR AUDIT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES VETERANS' BUREAU, JULY 27, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 3, 1925, REQUESTING DECISION "AS TO THE RIGHT OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE BUREAU TO MAKE PAYMENTS UNDER THE PROCEDURE PROPOSED TO BE ESTABLISHED" BY THE FOLLOWING GENERAL ORDER:

U.S. VETERANS' BUREAU,

MAY --, 1925.

GENERAL ORDER NO. --- SUBJECT: LOSS OF WAGES.

THE FOLLOWING GENERAL ORDER IS HEREBY PROMULGATED FOR OBSERVANCE BY ALL OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE U.S. VETERANS' BUREAU:

1. THE CLAIMS AND RATING BOARD, HAVING JURISDICTION AS PROVIDED IN REGULATIONS NO. 74 (SECTION 7154 OF REGULATIONS, U.S. VETERANS' BUREAU, 1923) OVER CLAIMS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF LOSS OF WAGES INCURRED BY ANY PERSON APPLYING FOR OR IN RECEIPT OF COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITY UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF TITLE 2, OR ANY PERSON APPLYING FOR TREATMENT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION 9 OR 10 OF SECTION 202 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, IN SUBMITTING HIMSELF TO EXAMINATION OR NECESSARY HOSPITALIZATION FOR OBSERVATION AND DIAGNOSIS UPON REQUEST OF A DULY AUTHORIZED MEDICAL EXAMINER OF THE BUREAU, SHALL ADJUDICATE SUCH CLAIMS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF REGULATIONS 78 AND FIND THE FACTS PERTINENT TO THE ALLOWANCE OR DISALLOWANCE OF SUCH CLAIMS. CLAIMS FOR LOSS OF WAGES INCURRED PRIOR TO OCTOBER 13, 1924, SHALL BE ADJUDICATED ACCORDING TO REGULATION 41.

2. THE EVIDENCE REQUISITE FOR THE CLAIMS AND RATING BOARD TO FIND THE FACTS FOR ADJUDICATING LOSS OF WAGES CLAIMS SHALL BE OF THE SAME CLASS OR NATURE AS EVIDENCE IN OTHER CAUSES. AFFIDAVITS OF EMPLOYER MAY BE ADMINISTERED BY PERSONS DESIGNATED BY THE DIRECTOR UNDER SECTION 8 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT TO ADMINISTER OATHS.

3. CLAIMS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOSS OF WAGES SHALL BE STATED ON VOUCHER FORM 3239 BEARING THE CERTIFICATION OF THE CLAIMANT OR BENEFICIARY.

4. THE FINDING OF FACTS BY THE CLAIMS AND RATING BOARD UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS GENERAL ORDER SHALL BE ACCORDING TO THE FOLLOWING FORM AND SHALL BE REVIEWABLE ONLY FOR ERRORS APPEARING UPON ITS FACE, EXCEPT THAT AN ADVERSE FINDING MAY BE APPEALED THE SAME AS APPEALS FROM ANY OTHER ADJUDICATION MADE BY SUCH BOARDS: CLAIM OF ------ ------, C NO. ------, FOR LOSS OF WAGES INCURRED DURING THE PERIOD ------ TO --- ----, INCLUSIVE.

--------- (DATE).

BASED UPON THE EVIDENCE ADDUCED IN THIS MATTER THE FOLLOWING FACTS ARE FOUND AFFECTING THE RIGHT OF THE CLAIMANT NAMED ABOVE TO THE BENEFITS OF TITLE II, SECTION 203, WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF 1924.

(A) THE CLAIMANT IS A PERSON APPLYING FOR OR IN RECEIPT OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION, OR TREATMENT UNDER SECTION 202 OF SAID ACT.

(B) HE WAS REQUIRED TO SUBMIT HIMSELF TO EXAMINATION (OR) TO UNDERGO HOSPITALIZATION FOR OBSERVATION AND DIAGNOSIS ON ------- DATE, (OR) DURING THE PERIOD ------ TO ------, INCLUSIVE.

(C) WHEN SUCH EXAMINATION OR HOSPITALIZATION FOR OBSERVATION WAS ORDERED, CLAIMANT WAS A REGULAR EMPLOYEE OF AN EMPLOYER AT A FIXED DAILY OR WEEKLY WAGE OF ------ DOLLARS, PER --------.

(D) THAT BY REASON OF SUBMITTING TO SUCH REQUIRED EXAMINATION OR HOSPITALIZATION FOR OBSERVATION AND EXCLUSIVE OF OTHER CAUSES THE CLAIMANT INCURRED LOSS OF WAGES AT THE RATE ABOVE MENTIONED FOR THE PERIOD ------ TO ------, INCLUSIVE, AGGREGATING ------ DOLLARS, AND THE AMOUNT OF ------ - DOLLARS IS HEREBY AWARDED TO HIM.

5. THE FINDING OF FACTS BY THE CLAIMS AND RATING BOARD HEREIN PROVIDED FOR SHOULD BE ATTACHED WITHOUT OTHER PAPERS TO VOUCHERS STATING REIMBURSEMENT CLAIMS FOR LOSS OF WAGES. VOUCHERS PREPARED UPON ADJUDICATIONS MADE IN ACCORDANCE HEREWITH SHALL BE PAID AT THE REGIONAL OFFICE.

6. ADJUDICATION OF LOSS OF WAGES CLAIMS IN CASES HELD IN CENTRAL OFFICE SHALL BE BY THE CLAIMS REIMBURSEMENT SECTION, CLAIMS DIVISION, CENTRAL OFFICE, IN CONFORMITY WITH THE ABOVE PROVISIONS AND PAID IN CENTRAL OFFICE.

THE PROCEDURE, IN SO FAR AS ACCOUNTING REQUIREMENTS OF THIS OFFICE ARE CONCERNED HERETOFORE, HAS BEEN TO FILE THE SWORN STATEMENT OF THE EMPLOYER AND OTHER SUPPORTING EVIDENCE TO SHOW LOSS OF WAGES WITH THE ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE DATED FEBRUARY 26, 1924, 3 COMP. GEN. 549, 550, AND UPON RECONSIDERATION OCTOBER 17, 1924.

YOU CITE THE PROVISION IN SECTION 5 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 608, THAT---

THE DIRECTOR * * * SHALL DECIDE ALL QUESTIONS ARISING UNDER THIS ACT AND ALL DECISIONS OF QUESTIONS OF FACT AFFECTING ANY CLAIMANT TO THE BENEFITS OF TITLES II, III, OR IV OF THIS ACT, SHALL BE CONCLUSIVE EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED HEREIN * * *.

AND STATE AS FOLLOWS:

THE PROVISIONS OF THIS GENERAL ORDER ARE BASED ON THE THEORY THAT THERE IS IN THE DIRECTOR, UNDER AUTHORITY OF SECTION 5 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT, FULL AUTHORITY TO MAKE FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE FACTS NECESSARY TO ESTABLISH THE RIGHTS OF THE CLAIMANT, AND TO MAKE PAYMENT UNDER SUCH DETERMINATION.

THE ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY OVER APPROPRIATED FUNDS IS NO MORE THAN TO USE SUCH FUNDS AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW, I.E., FOR THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE OR PURPOSES FOR WHICH APPROPRIATED, AND IT IS THE DUTY OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES TO NEGATIVE EXPENDITURES NOT SHOWN TO BE WITHIN THE LAW. SUCH IS THE FUNDAMENTAL LAW OF OUR COUNTRY AND IT HAS GROWN TO BE REGARDED AS SO ESSENTIAL TO AN ORDERLY, BUSINESSLIKE, AND LAWFUL CONDUCT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S BUSINESS THAT IT MAY BE AVOIDED ONLY BY AN ENACTMENT SO SPECIFIC AS TO INTENT AS TO LEAVE NO ROOM FOR DOUBT. THE INSTANT MATTER, IF THE CONGRESS HAD INTENDED TO MAKE THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IN PAYING FROM PUBLIC FUNDS SO CONCLUSIVE UPON ALL THAT THERE WOULD BE NO CHECK BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE TO ASCERTAIN THAT ONLY LAWFUL EXPENDITURES HAD BEEN MADE, THERE WOULD HAVE APPEARED IN THE ENACTMENT SPECIFIC LANGUAGE RELIEVING THIS OFFICE FROM ALL RESPONSIBILITY WITH RESPECT THERETO. IN THIS CONNECTION, IT SEEMS PROPER TO RECALL WHAT WAS SAID IN DECISION TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR DATED FEBRUARY 26, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 713, AS FOLLOWS:

THE DUTIES OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE RELATE SPECIFICALLY TO THE SETTLEMENT OF ALL CLAIMS AND DEMANDS BY OR AGAINST THE UNITED STATES AND THE ADJUSTMENT OF ACCOUNTS IN WHICH THE UNITED STATES APPEARS AS DEBTOR OR CREDITOR. THESE DUTIES NECESSARILY INVOLVE THE USES AND AVAILABILITY OF APPROPRIATIONS; AND WHILE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THESE DUTIES, PARTICULARLY IN VIEW OF THE PRESENT SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT DISBURSEMENTS, THE ACTION TAKEN IS NOT INITIALLY BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE BUT BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE CONCERNED, YET ACTION IN THE MATTER EVENTUALLY AND FINALLY MUST BE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. THE DUTIES OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ARE PURSUANT TO PERMANENT SUBSTANTIVE LAW APPLICABLE GENERALLY, SO THAT APPROPRIATION AUTHORITY OR OTHER LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY DOES NOT REQUIRE THE EXPRESS REENACTMENT OF OR SPECIFIC SUBJECTION TO SUCH ACCOUNTING DUTIES; BUT, ON THE CONTRARY, IT WOULD BE NECESSARY FOR EXPRESS AND SPECIFIC STATUTORY PROVISION TO APPEAR TO REMOVE FROM THE JURISDICTION ATTENDANT UPON THE PERFORMANCE OF SUCH ACCOUNTING DUTIES. THE AUTHORITY GIVEN BY THE APPROPRIATION PROVISION WAS PRIMARILY ADMINISTRATIVE, THE SAME AS ANY OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY. THE PURPOSE WAS TO GIVE AN ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY, AND THERE WAS NEITHER PURPOSE NOR NEED TO EXCLUDE THE ACCOUNTING DUTIES; AND THE PERMANENT SUBSTANTIVE LAW RELATING TO ACCOUNTING FOR PUBLIC FUNDS MUST ATTACH TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY GIVEN BY THE APPROPRIATION PROVISION. THE ONE NEED NOT, MUST NOT, TAKE FROM THE OTHER.

THE REAL AND PRACTICAL QUESTION APPARENTLY INVOLVED CONCERNS THE PERFORMANCE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY SO AS TO MEET ACCOUNTING REQUIREMENTS. THE BASIC ADMINISTRATIVE COURSE IS LIMITED TO MATTERS WITHIN THE LAW OF THE APPROPRIATION. THE BASIC ACCOUNTING REQUIREMENT IS THE EXAMINATION OF THE MATTERS TO DETERMINE THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURSE WAS WITHIN THE LAW OF THE APPROPRIATION. HENCE, IN A CLAIM FOR DAMAGES COMPROMISED UNDER THE APPROPRIATION AUTHORITY THERE MUST APPEAR FACTS SHOWING THAT IT WAS "BY REASON OF THE OPERATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, ITS OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES, IN THE SURVEY, CONSTRUCTION, OPERATION, OR MAINTENANCE OF IRRIGATION WORKS.' THE BASIC CONDITION MUST ALWAYS APPEAR THAT THERE WAS A CLAIM OF THE CHARACTER SPECIFIED BY THE LAW; AND PROBABLY THEREIN LIES THE MOST OF ADMINISTRATIVE DIFFICULTY. IF THERE BE DOUBT OF THE CLAIM BEING WITHIN THE LAW, THE MATTER MAY BE SUBMITTED TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL FOR DECISION IN ADVANCE OF PAYMENT AS AUTHORIZED BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL FOR DECISION ADVANCE OF PAYMENT AS AUTHORIZED BY LAW. ACT OF JULY 31, 1894, 28 STAT. 208. LIKEWISE, THE FACTS MUST SUPPORT THE AMOUNT CLAIMED AND THUS ALSO SUPPORT THE AMOUNT AGREED UPON IN COMPROMISE.

SEE ALSO 4 COMP. GEN. 876; ID. 967.

WHETHER THERE HAS BEEN A PROPER CLAIM ASSERTED AGAINST THE UNITED STATES FOR "LOSS OF WAGES" UNDER THE TERMS OF SECTION 202 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT OF JUNE 7, 924, 43 STAT. 622, INVOLVES THE DETERMINATION OF THE LEGALITY OF A CLASS OF CLAIMS PERMITTED BY THE STATUTE. THE LEGALITY OF PAYMENT THEREOF IS NECESSARY FOR DETERMINATION IN THE AUDIT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE VETERANS' BUREAU, AND THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS NOT RELIEVED OF THAT DUTY BY THE QUOTED PROVISION OF SECTION 5 OF THE WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACT. EVIDENCE THAT MAY BE ADMINISTRATIVELY FURNISHED MUST BE AT LEAST SUFFICIENT TO SHOW THE FACT OF THE CLAIM FOR "LOSS OF WAGES," AND AS SUCH MAY BE PRIMA FACIE SUFFICIENT, BUT CAN IN NO CASE LIMIT OR CONCLUDE THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FROM ITS EXAMINATION OR REQUIRING FURTHER EVIDENCE IN PARTICULAR CASES THAT A LEGAL CLAIM HAS OR HAS NOT BEEN ASSERTED AGAINST THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE CONTROLLING STATUTE. THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE CAN IN NO CASE PRESCRIBE, IN THE SENSE OF LIMITING THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, WHAT EVIDENCE WILL BE REQUIRED IN THE AUDIT OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNTS.

WHAT EVIDENCE THE DISBURSING OFFICER MAY REQUIRE IN ADVANCE OF PAYMENT TO SATISFY HIMSELF AS TO THE LEGALITY OF THE PROPOSED PAYMENT FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS, AND WHICH WILL SATISFY THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE AUDIT, IS FOR HIS DETERMINATION UNDER HIS BONDED RESPONSIBILITY, WHICH MAY NOT BE AVOIDED BY AN ORDER OR REGULATION OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT UNDER WHICH THE DISBURSING OFFICER MAY BE EMPLOYED.

IN SECTION 4, THIRD LINE, OF THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS THE WORD "ADMINISTRATIVELY" SHOULD BE INSERTED AFTER THE WORD "REVIEWABLE.' IN THE SAME SECTION, TENTH LINE, THE WORDS "OF RECORD" SHOULD BE INSERTED AFTER THE WORD "EVIDENCE.'

IN PARAGRAPH (B) OF SECTION 4, THERE MUST APPEAR THE NAME AND TITLE OF THE PERSON UNDER WHOSE ORDER THE CLAIMANT WAS REQUIRED TO SUBMIT HIMSELF TO EXAMINATION OR HOSPITALIZATION AS FOLLOWS:

(B) HE WAS REQUIRED TO SUBMIT HIMSELF TO EXAMINATION (OR) TO UNDERGO HOSPITALIZATION FOR OBSERVATION AND DIAGNOSIS ON -------- DATE, OR DURING THE PERIOD ------ TO ------, INCLUSIVE, UNDER ORDER OF ------ -------- (NAME OF PERSON), HOLDING THE POSITION OF -------- (TITLE OF POSITION).

IT MIGHT BE SAID IN CONNECTION WITH ALL ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS UNDER WHICH A CERTAIN ACTION IS DIRECTED BY AN OFFICER OF THE GOVERNMENT WHICH WILL ULTIMATELY OBLIGATE THE GOVERNMENT TO PAY OUT APPROPRIATED FUNDS, THAT THE REGULATIONS MUST PROVIDE THAT THE NAME AND TITLE OF THE GOVERNMENT OFFICER DIRECTING THE ACTION BE DISCLOSED IN THE EVIDENCE FURNISHED WITH THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNTS.

SUFFICIENT FACTS WILL NOT BE DISCLOSED UNDER PARAGRAPH (C) OF SECTION 4 TO ENABLE THIS OFFICE TO PROPERLY AUDIT THE ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER. IT SHOULD BE AMENDED TO READ AS OLLOWS:

(C) WHEN SUCH EXAMINATION OR HOSPITALIZATION FOR OBSERVATION WAS ORDERED, CLAIMANT WAS REGULARLY EMPLOYED AS -------- (NATURE OF EMPLOYMENT), BY --- ----- -------- (NAME OF EMPLOYER), AT A FIXED DAILY, WEEKLY, OR MONTHLY WAGE OF -------- DOLLARS PER --------, TO WHICH FACTS THE EMPLOYER HAS SWORN. (IF THE EMPLOYER HAS NOT SWORN, A STATEMENT OF OTHER EVIDENCE MUST BE GIVEN ON WHICH THE FINDING OF LOSS OF WAGES HAS BEEN MADE.)