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(No. 17]

COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS, U.S. SENATE

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

Washington, D.C., June 9, 1975.
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. 770, 94th Congress. It is identical in the dollar amount proposed with S. 1001, 93d Congress, which was pending before your committee at the close of the 93d Congress.

The bill proposes to increase to $80 the existing $52 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 monthly rate ($52) provided by section 314(k) was most recently increased by Public Law 93–295, 93d Congress, May 1, 1974. Prior to that the last increase was on August 1, 1952, under Public Law 427, 82d Congress. Between those dates the rates of disability compensation were generally increased on seven occasions (Public Law 83–695, August 28, 1954; Public Law 85–168, August 27, 1957; Public Law 87-645, September 7, 1962; Public Law 89-311, October 31, 1965; Public Law 90-493, August 19, 1968; Public Law 91-376, August, 12, 1970; and Public Law 92–328, June 30, 1972). During the circumscribed period of 22 years, the $47 rate had been maintained without change. In reporting the rate-increase bill which was ultimately enacted as Public Law 87-645 (S. Rept. No. 1806, 87th Congress), the Senate Committee on Finance explained the absence of an increase in the particular statutory 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 abovementioned Public Laws 90–493 and 91–376, the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs also pointed out that the $47 rate, not increased, was paid in addition to basic rates of compensation, which were increased. The Senate Committee on Finance did not proposed 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 compensation measure which became

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Public Law 92–328 contained a chart reflecting that the $47 rate had not been increased since 1952, notwithstanding intervening general increases in basic disability compensation rates.

The rate payable under section 314(k) does not reflect impairment in earning capacity as do the percentile evaluations under sections 314(a) through (j). Veterans who now receive the additional $52 monthly rate are, in the overwhelming majority of cases, also compensated for the same disability under sections (a) through (j) based on evaluations under provisions of the rating schedule. Schedular evaluations are granted in addition to the benefit under section 324 (k). Thus, a veteran who is paid special monthly compensation is also being separately compensated for any impairment in earning capacity. The Veterans Administration, of course, recognizes that human life has value beyond economic factors and that disablement may also be reimbursed in other terms.

The congress did increase by 10 percent the $47 rate when it passed the general compensation increase of Public Law 93-295, but in doing so your committee expressed the view:

“The 'K' award while a minor portion of the total award of compensation is nonetheless a compensatory award for anatomical loss. Thus in the light of the extraordinary inflation disabled veterans are experiencing, the committee is of the opinion that a

10 per cent increase in the 'K' awards is warranted.” No similar predicate is apparent for the proposed $28 (52 percent) increase in the statutory award.

We believe that the foregoing history indicates a consistent Congressional feeling that rates paid under general compensation increases are generally adequate for the veterans contemplated by this measure, especially in the light of the mentioned Public Law 93-295 raise. As stated in our report on S. 1597, 94th Congress, the administration favors a 5 percent increase in general compensation rates. We feel that a further increase in the 38 U.S.C. 314(k) rate is not warranted.

The estimated first-year cost of the bill, should it be enacted, would be $28.7 million. Costs would be expected to remain about the same during the ensuing four years.

In the light of the foregoing, the Veterans’ Administration opposes the legislative proposal, $. 770, to provide an unreasonable increase of $28 in the current allowance of $52 provided for certain anatomical losses, over and above the basic service-connected compensatory rates based upon average impairment of earning capacity.

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,

RICHARD L. ROUDEBUSH,

Administrator.

[No. 19]
COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS, U.S. SENATE

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

Washington, D.C., June 20, 1975.
Hon. VANCE HARTKE,
Chairman, Committee on Veterans Affairs,
U.S. Senate, Washington, D.O.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This is in response to your request of February 24, 1975 for the views of this Office on S. 770, a bill “To amend title 38, United States Code, to increase the statutory rates for anatomical loss or loss of use."

In its report to your Committee, the Veterans' Administration states its reasons for recommending against enactment of S. 770. The VA notes in particular that the administration favors a 5 percent increase in general compensation benefits and that a further increase in the statutory rate of anatomical loss or loss of use would not be warranted at this time.

We concur with the views expressed by the Veterans' Administration in its report. Accordingly, we recommend against enactment of S. 770. Sincerely,

JAMES F. C. HYDE, Jr.. Acting Assistant Director for Legislative Reference.

94TH CONGRESS

1st SESSION

S. 1432

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

APRIL 15, 1975 Mr. Hugh Scorr introduced the following bill; which was read twice and

referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs

A BILL To amend title 38 of the United States Code to provide that

certain veterans who were prisoners of war shall be deemed to have a service-connected disability of 50 per centum; to deem certain prisoners of war to be permanently and totally disabled for the purposes of receiving wartime disability compensation; to provide hospital care and medical treatment for certain non-service-connected disabilities of former prisoners of war; to provide a ten-year presumptive period of service connection for chronic diseases of certain prisoners of war, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, 3 That subchapter I of chapter 11 of title 38 of the United 4. States Code is amended by adding at the end thereof the fol5 lowing new section:

1

2

1 "8 303. Special provisions relating to prisoners of war

2 “(a) Any veteran who while serving in the active 3 military, naval, or air service during any period of war was 4 held as a prisoner of war for not less than six months by 5 an enemy government or its agents shall be deemed, for the 6 purpose of section 310 of this title, to have a service-con7 nected disability of 50 per centum rated as permanent. 8 “(b) Any veteran who is eligible for compensation 9 under this section, shall, if he is eligible (without regard 10 to this section) for a higher rate of compensation under this 11 subchapter, be entitled to such higher rate. 12 "(c) Under such regulations as the Secretary of Defense 13 shall prescribe, which shall be uniform throughout the armed 14 services, any veteran (within the meaning of section 101 (2) 15 of title 38, United States Code) who while serving in the 16 active military, naval, or air service during the period of war 17 (within the meaning of section 101 (11) of such title 38) 18 was held as a prisoner of war for not less than six months by

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an enemy government or its agents shall, if such veteran is

20 not otherwise entitled to commissary privileges, be afforded 21 commissary privileges on the same basis and to the same 22 extent as such privileges are afforded to retirees of the uni

23 formed services.”.

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SEC. 2. That section 312 of title 38, United States Code,

25 is amended by amending paragraph (1) to read as follows:

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