B-144987, APRIL 19, 1961, 40 COMP. GEN. 584

B-144987: Apr 19, 1961

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STATE SOLDIERS' HOME - FEDERAL AID ELIGIBILITY HOSPITAL FACILITIES IN A STATE SOLDIERS' HOME WHICH ARE FURNISHED FOR SHORT PERIODS OF TIME TO WIVES AND WIDOWS OF VETERANS RESIDING IN A VETERANS' HOUSING COLONY OPERATED BY THE HOME NEED NOT BE REGARDED AS BRINGING SUCH INDIVIDUALS WITHIN THE PHRASE "MAINTAINED BY THE STATE HOME" IN 38 U.S.C. 641 (B) (2) TO REQUIRE REDUCTION OF THE FEDERAL AID PAYMENT TO THE HOME. THEY ARE "ADMITTED AND MAINTAINED IN SUCH STATE HOME. THE MEMBER IS REQUESTED TO "CONTRIBUTE" THE EXCESS TO THE AMUSEMENT AND EQUIPMENT FUND. HE FURTHER ADVISES THAT THIS FUND IS MADE UP OF DONATIONS AND GIFTS FROM INDIVIDUALS AND VARIOUS VETERANS' ORGANIZATIONS. WE ARE INFORMED THAT THE FUND IS USED TO PROVIDE RECREATION AND ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE MEMBERS.

B-144987, APRIL 19, 1961, 40 COMP. GEN. 584

STATE SOLDIERS' HOME - FEDERAL AID ELIGIBILITY HOSPITAL FACILITIES IN A STATE SOLDIERS' HOME WHICH ARE FURNISHED FOR SHORT PERIODS OF TIME TO WIVES AND WIDOWS OF VETERANS RESIDING IN A VETERANS' HOUSING COLONY OPERATED BY THE HOME NEED NOT BE REGARDED AS BRINGING SUCH INDIVIDUALS WITHIN THE PHRASE "MAINTAINED BY THE STATE HOME" IN 38 U.S.C. 641 (B) (2) TO REQUIRE REDUCTION OF THE FEDERAL AID PAYMENT TO THE HOME.

TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, APRIL 19, 1961:

BY LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 2, 1961, THE DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR REQUESTS OUR VIEWS AS TO WHETHER BY REASON OF HOSPITALIZATION FURNISHED WIDOWS AND WIVES IN THE STATE SOLDIERS' HOME AT ORTING, WASHINGTON, THEY ARE "ADMITTED AND MAINTAINED IN SUCH STATE HOME," AS CONTEMPLATED BY 38 U.S.C. 641 (B) (2).

THE DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR ADVISES THAT THE RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE WASHINGTON STATE HOME AT ORTING PROVIDE THAT THE MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE INCOME OF MEMBERS SHALL NOT BE IN EXCESS OF $140 PER MONTH; THAT IN CASES WHERE THE INCOME OF A MEMBER EXCEEDS $140 PER MONTH, THE MEMBER IS REQUESTED TO "CONTRIBUTE" THE EXCESS TO THE AMUSEMENT AND EQUIPMENT FUND. HE FURTHER ADVISES THAT THIS FUND IS MADE UP OF DONATIONS AND GIFTS FROM INDIVIDUALS AND VARIOUS VETERANS' ORGANIZATIONS; THE RECEIPTS FROM VENDING MACHINES; INTEREST FROM SAVINGS ACCOUNTS OF THE MEMBERS; DIVIDENDS FROM THE POST EXCHANGE; AND COLLECTIONS FROM MEALS SOLD TO GUESTS. WE ARE INFORMED THAT THE FUND IS USED TO PROVIDE RECREATION AND ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE MEMBERS, TO PURCHASE FURNITURE FOR THE HOSPITAL NOT PROVIDED FOR BY APPROPRIATED FUNDS, AND TO TRANSMIT TO THE STATE TREASURER COLLECTIONS MADE FROM THE SALE OF MEALS.

SECTION 641 (B), TITLE 38, U.S.C. PROVIDES FOR A REDUCTION IN THE AMOUNT OF FEDERAL AID PAID BY ONE-HALF OF ANY AMOUNTS RETAINED BY A STATE HOME FROM ANY PAYMENT OF PENSION OR COMPENSATION TO A MEMBER, AND "BY ANY OTHER AMOUNTS COLLECTED IN ANY MANNER FROM SUCH VETERAN TO BE USED FOR THE SUPPORT OF SUCH STATE HOME," UNLESS (IN THE LATTER CASE) THE "WIDOWS OR WIVES OF VETERANS OF ANY WAR ARE ADMITTED AND MAINTAINED IN SUCH STATE HOME.'

THE DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR STATES THAT ON JUNE 14, 1960, YOUR ADMINISTRATION DETERMINED THAT THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 641 (B) (1), TITLE 38, U.S.C. ARE NOT FOR APPLICATION UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OBTAINING IN THE HOME, BUT THAT SECTION 641 (B) (2) OF TITLE 38 WAS APPLICABLE BECAUSE THE HOME WAS SAID NOT TO ADMIT AND MAINTAIN WIDOWS OR WIVES OF VETERANS. HE FURTHER STATES THAT SINCE THAT TIME THE QUESTION HAS BEEN RAISED AS TO WHETHER THE STATE SOLDIERS' HOME AT ORTING IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER SET FORTH ADMITS AND MAINTAINS WIDOWS OR WIVES OF VETERANS.

WE ARE ADVISED THAT IN ADDITION TO THE STATE SOLDIER'S HOME AT ORTING, THERE IS ALSO OPERATED BY THE HOME WHAT IS KNOWN AS THE "1COLONY.' APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP IN THE "1COLONY" IS MADE TO THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE HOME AT ORTING. TO BE A MEMBER OF THE "1COLONY" A VETERAN MUST MEET THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMISSION TO THE HOME. HE THEN MAY PURCHASE OR RENT A PRIVATE DWELLING OR APARTMENT WITHIN THE PRECINCT OF THE CITY OF ORTING. A MEMBER OF THE "1COLONY" IN ADDITION TO PURCHASING OR RENTING HIS OWN RESIDENCE PAYS FOR HIS OWN UTILITIES AND FOR THE TAXES, UPKEEP, AND MAINTENANCE OF HIS DWELLING. WIDOWS AND WIDOWERS ALSO MAY BE MEMBERS OF THE "1COLONY.' AT THE TIME OF A VISIT BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, THE "1COLONY" HAD PRESENT 30 VETERANS, 30 WIVES, 2 WIDOWS AND 20 WIDOWERS. THE REGULATIONS OF THE HOME ARE APPLICABLE TO MEMBERS OF THE "1COLONY.' THE HOME GIVES TO EACH MEMBER OF THE "1COLONY" RATIONS TO A VALUE OF $15 PER MONTH, AND A CLOTHING ALLOWANCE TO THE VETERAN AND HIS WIFE OF $25 PER YEAR EACH. THE "1COLONY" COSTS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE COMPUTATION OF THE PER CAPITA COST OF THE HOME AT ORTING FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE PAYMENT OF FEDERAL AID TO THE STATE OF WASHINGTON FOR MEMBERS OF THE HOME. WIDOWS AND WIVES ENJOY FULL STATUS AS MEMBERS OF THE "1COLONY" TO THE SAME DEGREE AS MALE MEMBERS OF THE "1COLONY.' THE RATIONS PROVIDED TO MEMBERS OF THE "1COLONY" ARE MAINTAINED IN A COMMISSARY AT THE HOME AND ARE PACKAGED AT THE HOME FOR DELIVERY TO MEMBERS OF THE "1COLONY.' BOTH MALE AND FEMALE MEMBERS OF THE "1COLONY" HAVE FULL PRIVILEGES OF THE RECREATION AND AMUSEMENT ACTIVITIES OF THE HOME. FEMALE MEMBERS OF THE "1COLONY" ARE BURIED IN THE CEMETERY OF THE HOME ON THE SAME BASIS AS MALE MEMBERS OF THE HOME.

WE ARE FURTHER ADVISED THAT THE STATE SOLDIERS' HOME AT ORTING PROVIDES MEDICAL CARE FOR MEMBERS OF THE "1COLONY" ON AN INPATIENT AND ON AN OUTPATIENT BASIS. THE WIDOWS AND WIVES OF THE MEMBERS OF THE "1COLONY" ARE ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITAL OF THE HOME AND MAY REMAIN AS LONG AS THEY REQUIRE MEDICAL TREATMENT. ON THE DATE OF THE VISIT OF A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION TO THE HOME AT ORTING, THREE WIDOWS OR WIVES WERE PATIENTS IN THE HOME. WIDOWS AND WIVES ARE ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITAL AT THE HOME UNDER THE SAME CONDITIONS APPLICABLE TO MEMBERS OF THE HOME AND ARE PERMITTED TO STAY IN THE HOSPITAL UNTIL MAXIMUM HOSPITAL BENEFITS HAVE BEEN REACHED. FIVE FEMALE MEMBERS OF THE "1COLONY" WERE ADMITTED TO THE HOSPITAL DURING THE PAST SIX MONTHS. DURING THIS PERIOD THE AVERAGE STAY OF THESE WOMEN IN THE HOSPITAL WAS 11 DAYS. THE LONGEST PERIOD OF TIME IN THE HOSPITAL WAS ONE MONTH AND EIGHT DAYS. A WIDOW OR WIFE IS NOT REQUIRED TO PAY BOARD WHILE SHE IS HOSPITALIZED, AND NO DEDUCTION IS MADE FROM THE $15 MONTHLY RATION ALLOWANCE UNLESS THE WIDOW OR WIFE IS HOSPITALIZED FOR A PERIOD OF 30 DAYS, AND IS ABSENT FROM THE "1COLONY" RESIDENCE DURING THE TIME OF RATION DELIVERY.

THE LETTER CONTINUES:

WE HAVE DETERMINED THAT THE "1COLONY" IS NOT AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE WASHINGTON SOLDIERS' HOME AT ORTING; HOWEVER, THE QUESTION IS WHETHER WIDOWS AND WIVES RESIDING IN THE "1COLONY" BY REASON OF THE HOSPITALIZATION FURNISHED THEN IN THE HOME "ARE ADMITTED AND MAINTAINED IN SUCH STATE E," AS CONTEMPLATED BY SECTION 641 (B) (2), TITLE 38, U.S.C. WE WILL APPRECIATE YOUR VIEWS IN THIS CONNECTION.

WE HAVE SERIOUS DOUBTS THAT BY THE REASON OF THE VERY SHORT PERIODS OF HOSPITALIZATION FURNISHED BY THE HOME AT ORTING TO THE WIDOWS AND WIVES WHO RESIDE IN THE "1COLONY," SUCH WIDOWS AND WIVES MAY BE SAID TO BE "MAINTAINED" IN THE HOME WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT WORD AS USED IN 38 U.S.C. 641 (B) (2). IT IS OUR VIEW THAT IN ORDER FOR IT TO BE SAID THAT WIDOWS AND WIVES ARE "ADMITTED AND MAINTAINED IN SUCH STATE HOME" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE CODE PROVISION IN QUESTION THE HOME MUST ADMIT WIDOWS AND WIVES FOR DOMICILIARY CARE AS WELL AS HOSPITAL CARE.

THE QUESTION OF ELIGIBILITY FOR FEDERAL-AID PAYMENTS UNDER 38 U.S.C. 101 (19), 641, 642 AND 643 IS A MATTER PRIMARILY FOR DETERMINATION BY THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS AFFAIRS. IN THE LIGHT OF WHAT IS STATED ABOVE, WE WILL INTERPOSE NO OBJECTION IF YOU DETERMINE THAT WIDOWS AND WIVES RESIDING IN THE "1COLONY" ARE NOT, BY REASON OF THE HOSPITALIZATION FURNISHED THEM IN THE HOME AT ORTING,"ADMITTED AND MAINTAINED IN SUCH STATE HOME" AS CONTEMPLATED BY 38 U.S.C. 641 (B) (2), SO AS TO REDUCE THE FEDERAL-AID PAYMENT ON ACCOUNT OF THAT HOME BY "ANY OTHER AMOUNTS COLLECTED IN ANY MANNER FROM SUCH VETERANS TO BE USED FOR THE SUPPORT OF SUCH STATE HOME.'