B-83649, APRIL 25, 1949, 28 COMP. GEN. 616

B-83649: Apr 25, 1949

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BEFORE SUCH PAY IS REDUCED. SO THAT THE RETIRED PAY OF A VETERAN WHO WAS HOSPITALIZED FOR MORE THAN SEVEN CALENDAR MONTHS PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF HIS RETIRED PAY IS SUBJECT TO REDUCTION FROM ITS EFFECTIVE DATE WHILE THE VETERAN IS RECEIVING SUCH TREATMENT OR CARE. NOR DEPENDENT PARENT IS BEING FURNISHED HOSPITAL TREATMENT. WHICHEVER IS GREATER: PROVIDED. THAT IF SUCH VETERAN IS DISCHARGED FROM SUCH TREATMENT OR CARE UPON CERTIFICATION BY THE OFFICER-IN-CHARGE OF THE HOSPITAL. THAT MAXIMUM BENEFITS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED OR THAT RELEASE IS APPROVED. IT IS INDICATED THAT ENSIGN BUDINSCAK. WAS ADMITTED ON JUNE 23. THE OFFICER WAS AUTHORIZED TO APPEAR ON NOVEMBER 10. A COPY OF WHICH WAS ENCLOSED WITH YOUR LETTER TO THIS OFFICE.

B-83649, APRIL 25, 1949, 28 COMP. GEN. 616

MEDICAL TREATMENT- VETERANS - COMMENCEMENT OF REDUCTION IN RETIRED PAY THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 8, 1946, AUTHORIZING THE CONTINUANCE OF ANY RETIRED PAY DURING THE SIX MONTHS FOLLOWING THE MONTH OF INITIAL ADMISSION OF A VETERAN WITHOUT DEPENDENTS TO A VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL FOR TREATMENT, ETC., BEFORE SUCH PAY IS REDUCED, DO NOT REQUIRE THAT THE VETERAN BE IN RECEIPT OF A MONETARY BENEFIT UPON ADMISSION OR DURING THE FOLLOWING SIX MONTHS, SO THAT THE RETIRED PAY OF A VETERAN WHO WAS HOSPITALIZED FOR MORE THAN SEVEN CALENDAR MONTHS PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF HIS RETIRED PAY IS SUBJECT TO REDUCTION FROM ITS EFFECTIVE DATE WHILE THE VETERAN IS RECEIVING SUCH TREATMENT OR CARE.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, APRIL 25, 1949:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 9, 1949, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE APPLICATION OF SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 8, 1946, 60 STAT. 908, IN THE CASE OF ENSIGN FRANK BUDINSCAK, JR., USNR, RETIRED.

SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 8, 1946, 60 STAT. 908, INSOFAR AS HERE PERTINENT, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS.

THAT (A) (1) WHERE ANY VETERAN HAVING NEITHER WIFE, CHILD, NOR DEPENDENT PARENT IS BEING FURNISHED HOSPITAL TREATMENT, INSTITUTIONAL OR DOMICILIARY CARE BY THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, ANY PENSION, COMPENSATION, OR RETIREMENT PAY OTHERWISE PAYABLE SHALL CONTINUE WITHOUT REDUCTION UNTIL THE FIRST DAY OF THE SEVENTH CALENDAR MONTH FOLLOWING * * * THE MONTH OF ADMISSION OF SUCH VETERAN FOR TREATMENT OR CARE * * *.IF TREATMENT OR CARE EXTENDS BEYOND THAT PERIOD, THE PENSION,COMPENSATION, OR RETIREMENT PAY, IF $30 PER MONTH OR LESS, SHALL CONTINUE WITHOUT REDUCTION, BUT IF GREATER THAN $30 PER MONTH, THE PENSION, COMPENSATION, OR RETIREMENT PAY SHALL NOT EXCEED 50 PERCENTUM OF THE AMOUNT OTHERWISE PAYABLE OR $30 PER MONTH, WHICHEVER IS GREATER: PROVIDED, THAT IF SUCH VETERAN IS DISCHARGED FROM SUCH TREATMENT OR CARE UPON CERTIFICATION BY THE OFFICER-IN-CHARGE OF THE HOSPITAL, INSTITUTION, OR HOME, THAT MAXIMUM BENEFITS HAVE BEEN RECEIVED OR THAT RELEASE IS APPROVED, HE SHALL BE PAID IN A LUMP SUM SUCH ADDITIONAL AMOUNT AS WOULD EQUAL THE TOTAL SUM BY WHICH HIS PENSION, COMPENSATION, OR RETIREMENT PAY HAS BEEN REDUCED UNDER THIS SECTION: * * * ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

IT IS INDICATED THAT ENSIGN BUDINSCAK, A RESERVE OFFICER, WITHOUT DEPENDENTS, IN AN INACTIVE DUTY STATUS, WAS ADMITTED ON JUNE 23, 1947, TO THE NAVAL HOSPITAL, ST. ALBANS, NEW YORK, AS A VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION EMERGENCY PATIENT AND TRANSFERRED, ON AUGUST 26, 1947, TO THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL, SUNMOUNT, NEW YORK, WHERE HE HAS REMAINED AS A PATIENT (AT LEAST UNTIL OCTOBER 6, 1948). IT FURTHER APPEARS THAT PURSUANT TO FINDINGS OF A BOARD OF MEDICAL SURVEY, APPROVED BY THE BUREAU OF NAVAL PERSONNEL ON OCTOBER 20, 1947, THE OFFICER WAS AUTHORIZED TO APPEAR ON NOVEMBER 10, 1947, BEFORE THE NAVAL RETIRING BOARD, WASHINGTON, D.C. BY YOUR LETTER DATED MARCH 17, 1948, TO ENSIGN BUDINSCAK, A COPY OF WHICH WAS ENCLOSED WITH YOUR LETTER TO THIS OFFICE, THE OFFICER WAS ADVISED THAT THE NAVAL RETIRING BOARD FOUND HIM PERMANENTLY INCAPACITATED FOR ACTIVE SERVICE BY REASON OF PHYSICAL DISABILITY INCURRED AS A RESULT OF AN INCIDENT OF THE SERVICE WHILE ON ACTIVE DUTY. THE PROCEEDINGS AND FINDINGS OF THE NAVAL RETIRING BOARD WERE APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT AND THE OFFICER WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE RETIRED LIST, EFFECTIVE MARCH 1, 1948.

THE SPECIFIC QUESTION UPON WHICH A DECISION IS REQUESTED IS WHETHER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 1 (A) OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 8, 1946, QUOTED ABOVE ARE APPLICABLE IN THE CASE OF ENSIGN BUDINSCAK (A) FROM MARCH 1, 1948, SINCE THE OFFICER HAD THEN BEEN IN A VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL MORE THAN 7 CALENDAR MONTHS PRIOR TO MARCH 1, 1948; OR (B) FROM SEPTEMBER 1, 1948, THE FIRST DAY OF THE SEVENTH CALENDAR MONTH FOLLOWING THE MONTH IN WHICH THE RIGHT TO RETIRED PAY AT THE RATE OF $157.50 ACCRUED.

IT IS CLEAR FROM THE LANGUAGE EMPLOYED IN THE STATUTE, AS WELL AS IN THE HISTORY OF THE LEGISLATION, THAT ANY VETERAN WITHOUT DEPENDENTS, WHO IS FURNISHED HOSPITAL TREATMENT, INSTITUTIONAL OR DOMICILIARY CARE BY THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, SHALL SUFFER NO REDUCTION OF ANY PENSION, COMPENSATION, OR RETIRED PAY DURING THE SIX MONTHS FOLLOWING THE MONTH OF HIS INITIAL ADMISSION FOR TREATMENT OR CARE, OR UNTIL MARCH 1, 1947, WHICHEVER IS LATER.

THE USE OF THE PHRASEOLOGY "ANY PENSION, COMPENSATION, OR RETIREMENT PAY OTHERWISE PAYABLE SHALL CONTINUE WITHOUT REDUCTION," DOES NOT CARRY WITH IT THE CONNOTATION THAT THE VETERAN MUST BE IN RECEIPT OF A MONETARY BENEFIT UPON HIS ADMISSION TO A FACILITY OR DURING THE SIX MONTHS NEXT FOLLOWING SUCH ADMISSION, IN ORDER TO COME WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE STATUTE. THE PROVISION RELATING TO THE REDUCTION OF ANY PENSION, COMPENSATION, OR RETIREMENT PAY HAS SPECIFIC APPLICATION TO "ANY" AMOUNT SO RECEIVED AFTER THE VETERAN HAS BEEN FURNISHED HOSPITAL TREATMENT, INSTITUTIONAL OR DOMICILIARY CARE FOR SIX MONTHS.

SINCE IT APPEARS THAT ENSIGN BUDINSCAK HAS BEEN IN A VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL MORE THAN 7 CALENDAR MONTHS PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF HIS RETIRED PAY, SUCH PAY IS SUBJECT TO REDUCTION FROM ITS EFFECTIVE DATE, MARCH 1, 1948, UNDER THE QUOTED PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 8, 1946, SUPRA. YOUR QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.