B-142048, MAR. 7, 1960

B-142048: Mar 7, 1960

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HAHN WAS A MENTALLY INCOMPETENT VETERAN WHO WAS HOSPITALIZED IN ILLINOIS STATE HOSPITALS FROM JANUARY 22. THE CLAIM OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FROM THESE FUNDS WAS DISALLOWED. THE OPINION WAS PREDICATED UPON 38 U.S.C. 450 (3) IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF THE VETERAN'S DEATH. LESS LEGAL EXPENSES OF ANY ADMINISTRATION NECESSARY TO DETERMINE THAT AN ESCHEAT IS IN ORDER. WHERE THERE IS IN EXISTENCE NO AGREEMENT. THE COURTS HAVE CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT A STATE IS NOT ENTITLED TO HAVE THAT PORTION OF ITS CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF A VETERAN.

B-142048, MAR. 7, 1960

TO DOCTOR OTTO L. BETTAG, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE:

YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 1, 1960, PROTESTS THE ACTION OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION OF SEPTEMBER 30, 1959, IN DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM FOR PAYMENT FROM VETERANS' PENSION FUNDS STANDING TO THE CREDIT OF ROY H. HAHN, DECEASED, FOR CARE AND MAINTENANCE FURNISHED HIM IN ILLINOIS STATE HOSPITALS FROM JANUARY 22, 1953, UNTIL AUGUST 25, 1957.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE DECEDENT, ROY H. HAHN WAS A MENTALLY INCOMPETENT VETERAN WHO WAS HOSPITALIZED IN ILLINOIS STATE HOSPITALS FROM JANUARY 22, 1953, UNTIL THE DATE OF HIS DEATH, AUGUST 25, 1957. THE STATE OF ILLINOIS MAINTAINS THAT IT RECEIVED NO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE DECEDENT'S CARE. DURING THE PERIOD OF THE DECEDENT'S HOSPITALIZATION, PENSION PAYMENTS AMOUNTING TO $1,179.91 ACCRUED TO THE DECEDENT'S CREDIT IN THE "PERSONAL FUNDS OF PATIENTS" ACCOUNT. ON THE BASIS OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION GENERAL COUNSEL'S OPINION DATED SEPTEMBER 30, 1959, THE CLAIM OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FROM THESE FUNDS WAS DISALLOWED.

THE OPINION WAS PREDICATED UPON 38 U.S.C. 450 (3) IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF THE VETERAN'S DEATH. THE PROVISIONS OF 38 U.S.C. 450 (3) PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"THAT ANY FUNDS IN THE HANDS OF A GUARDIAN, CURATOR, CONSERVATOR, OR PERSON LEGALLY VESTED WITH THE CARE OF THE BENEFICIARY OR HIS ESTATE, DERIVED FROM COMPENSATION, AUTOMATIC OR TERM INSURANCE, EMERGENCY OFFICERS' RETIREMENT PAY, OR PENSION, PAYABLE UNDER SAID ACTS, WHICH UNDER THE LAW OF THE STATE WHEREIN THE BENEFICIARY HAD HIS LAST LEGAL RESIDENCE WOULD ESCHEAT TO THE STATE, SHALL ESCHEAT TO THE UNITED STATES AND SHALL BE RETURNED BY SUCH GUARDIAN, CURATOR, CONSERVATOR, OR PERSON LEGALLY VESTED WITH THE CARE OF THE BENEFICIARY OR HIS ESTATE, OR BY THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE DECEASED BENEFICIARY, LESS LEGAL EXPENSES OF ANY ADMINISTRATION NECESSARY TO DETERMINE THAT AN ESCHEAT IS IN ORDER, TO THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, AND SHALL BE DEPOSITED TO THE CREDIT OF THE CURRENT APPROPRIATIONS PROVIDED FOR PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION, INSURANCE, OR PENSION.'

WHERE THERE IS IN EXISTENCE NO AGREEMENT, OR STATE STATUTE REQUIRING AN AGREEMENT TO PAY FOR HOSPITALIZATION, TO BE EXECUTED BY THE VETERAN OR HIS GUARDIAN, THE TERMS OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED ACT REQUIRE THAT THE FUNDS ENUMERATED THEREIN, WHICH WOULD OTHERWISE ESCHEAT TO THE STATE, BE RETURNED TO THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES.

FURTHERMORE, THE COURTS HAVE CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT A STATE IS NOT ENTITLED TO HAVE THAT PORTION OF ITS CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF A VETERAN, WHILE AN INMATE OF A STATE HOSPITAL, OCCURRING PRIOR TO THE APPOINTMENT OF A GUARDIAN FOR THE VETERAN, PAID OUT OF FUNDS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE GUARDIAN REALIZED FROM BENEFIT PAYMENTS RECEIVED BY THE VETERAN FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. SEEIN RE BEMOWSKI'S GUARDIANSHIP, 88 N.W.2D 22, AND CASES CITED THEREIN.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, WE PERCEIVE NO BASIS FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM.