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(No. 941

COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS, U.S. SENATE

VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION,
OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS,

Washington, D.C., March 12, 1974.
Hon. VANCE HARTKE,
Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: We are pleased to respond to your request. for a report on S. 1575, 93d Congress. The proposal is similar in purpose to part of S. 2897, 91st Congress, which was pending before your committee at the close of that Congress. That earlier measure related to "loss of use of a lung or kidney."

The current bill proposes to add "loss of a kidney” to the other types of service-connected disabilities specified in 38 U.S.C. 314(k), for which an additional award of disability compensation in the amount of $47 monthly is provided for veterans. Section 314(k) of title 38, United States Code, provides as follows:

(k) if the veteran, as the result of service-connected disability, has suffered the anatomical loss or loss of use of one or more creative organs, or one foot, or one hand, or both buttocks, or blindness of one eye, having only light perception, or has suffered complete organic aphonia with constant inability to communicate by speech, or deafness of both ears, having absence of air and bone conduction; the rate of compensation therefor shall be $47 per month for each such loss or loss of use independent of any other compensation provided in subsections (a) through (j) or subsection (s) of this section but in no event to exceed $616 per month; and in the event the veteran has suffered one or more of the disabilities heretofore specified in this subsection, in addition to the requirement for any of the rates specified in subsections (1) through (n) of this section, the rate of compensation shall be increased by $47 per month for each such loss or loss of use,

but in no event to exceed $862 per month. The basic rates of compensation payable for service-connected disabilities are predicated generally on the theory that the amount of compensation payable should be proportionate to the degree of disability resulting from injury or disease. In accordance with 38 U.S.C. 355, the disability ratings are based, as far as practicable, upon the average impairments of earning capacity resulting from such injuries in civil occupations. The instrument used for determining the degree of a given veteran's loss of earning capacity is the Veterans' Administration's schedule for rating disabilities.

The schedule for rating disabilities provides a rating of 30 percent for the absence of one kidney with the other kidney functioning normally, with basic compensation payments authorized of $77 monthly. It also provides a rating of 60 percent for the removal of one kidner with mild to moderate pathology in the other and a total (100 percent) rating if there is severe pathology in the second kidney. The basic compensation payments authorized for these ratings are $179 and $495 monthly, respectively. The special statutory award of $47 would, under the terms of S. 1575, be authorized in addition to the $77, $179, and $495 rates,

In the absence of medical or other sound basis for such special awards, singling out the loss of a kidney for an additional allowance, as the bill proposes, would be discriminatory and would undoubtedly lead to requests for special consideration and additional allowances in cases of numerous serious disabilities of other categories, many of which have equal, if not greater, merit. Excluding the section 314(k) award authorized for the loss or loss of use of a creative organ, the bills, in granting the award for purely internal organ, would clearly establish a precedent for similar consideration of the loss of other internal organs, such as the spleen, pancreas, gall bladder, etc.....

We believe that the basic principle that the amount of compensation payable should be proportionate to the degree of disability is sound and proposals to make additional awards, particularly for internal organs such as a kidney, should not be favorably considered.

It is estimated that the cost of enactment of S. 1575 would api proximate $4,061,000 the first year, increasing gradually to $4,174,000 during the fifth year,

For the foregoing reasons, the Veterans' Administration opposes enactment of S. 1575.

Advice has been received from the Office of Management and Budget that there is no objection to the presentation of this report from the standpoint of the administration's program. Sincerely,

DONALD E. JOHNSON,

Administrator.

[No. 1261

COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS, U.S. SENATE

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT,
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET,

Washington, D.C., April 18, 1974.
Hon. VANCE HARTKE,
Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in response to your request of April 17, 1973, for the views of this Office on S. 1575, a bill to amend section 314(k) of title 38, United States Code, to provide for a special monthly payment to veterans who have lost a kidney as the result of a serviceconnected disability.

In its report to your committee on S. 1575 the Veterans' Administration explains its reasons for recommending against favorable action on the bill. We concur in the views expressed in the report of the Veterans' Administration and, accordingly, recommend against enactment of S. 1575. Sincerely,

WILFRED H. ROMMEL, Assistant Director for Legislative Reference.

93D CONGRESS

1st SESSION

S. 1001

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

FEBRUARY 26, 1973 Mr. INOUYE introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred

to the Committee on Veterans Affairs

A BILL

To amend title 38, United States Code, to increase the statutory

rates for anatomical loss or loss of use.

1

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa

2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

3 That subsection (k) of section 314 of title 38, United States

4 Code, is amended by striking “$47” wherever it appears in

5 such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof “$80”.

II

[No. 93]

COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS, U.S. SENATE

VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION,
OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS,

Washington, D.C., March 12, 1974:
Hon. VANCE HARTKE,
Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: We are pleased to respond to your request for a report on S. 1001, 93d Congress. It is identical with S. 1564, 92d Congress, which was pending before your committee at the close of that Congress.

The bill proposes to increase to $80 the existing $47 monthly rate of disability compensation provided in 38 U.S.C. 314(k) for certain anatomical and other losses or losses of use. This rate is payable in addition to the basic percentage and higher statutory rates of disability compensation.

The $47 rate provided by section 314(k) was last increased by Public Law 427, 82d Congress, August 1, 1952. Since then, the rates of disability compensation have been generally increased on seven occasions Public Law 695, 83d Cong., Aug. 28, 1954; Public Law 85–168, Aug. 27, 1957; Public Law 87-645, Sept. 7, 1962; Public Law 89-311, Oct. 31, 1965; Public Law 90-493, Aug. 19, 1968; Public Law 91-376, Aug. 12, 1970; and Public Law 92–328, June 30, 1972) but the $47 rate has been maintained without change. In reporting the rate increase bill which was ultimately enacted as Public Law 87-645 (S. Rept. No. 1806, 87th Cong.), the Senate Committee on Finance explained the absence of an increase of this rate as follows:

* * Inasmuch as all veterans who are entitled to receive the $47 statutory rate will be benefited by the bill by an increase in the basic rate, the committee felt fully justified

in taking the action indicated." In reporting on the measures which became the above-mentioned Public Laws 90-493 and 91-376, the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs also pointed out that the $47 rate, not increased, is paid in addition to basic rates of compensation, which were increased. The Senate Committee on Finance did not propose an increase in the $47 rate in connection with Public Laws 90–493 and 91-376.

Additionally, your committee did not recommend such an increase at the time of consideration of the proposal which became Public Law 92–328; and no recommendation for an increase in the particular rate was made by the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Each committee report relating to the last compensation measure contained a chart reflecting that the $47 rate has not been increased since 1952, notwithstanding intervening general increases in basic disability compensation rates.

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