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nothing in the law that could be considered as exclusionary, or as a justification for such exclusionary rules as were laid down as you have cited by the board.
The CHAIRMAN. In order to complete the records, if the members of the committee will not object, I would like to put in the record at this place this law of July 11, which speaks for itself as to the authority of the board.
Mr. TOWNER. I think that should be done. (The law referred to is as follows:)
[PUBLIC—No. 11—66TH CONGRESS.]
An Act To amend an Act entitled “An Act to provide for vocational rehabilitation and return to civil employment of disabled persons discharged from the military or naval forces of the United States, and for other purposes," approved June 27, 1918.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 2 of the Act entitled "An Act to provide for vocational rehabilitation and return to civil employment of disabled persons discharged from the military or naval forces of the United States, and for other purposes," approved June 27, 1918, be hereby amended to read as follows:
“ SEC. 2. That every person enlisted, enrolled, drafted, inducted, or appointed in the military or naval forces of the United States, including members of training camps authorized by law, who since April 7, 1917, has resigned or has been discharged or furloughed therefrom under honorable conditions, having a disability incurred, increased, or aggravated while a member of such forces, or later developing a disability traceable, in the opinion of the board, to service with such forces, and who, in the opinion of the Federal Board for Vocational Education, is in need of vocational rehabilitation to overcome the handicap of such disability, shall be furnished by the said board, where vocational rehabilitation is feasible, such course of vocational rehabilitation as the board shall prescribe and provide.
" The board shall have the power, and it shall be its duty, to furnish the persons included in this section suitable courses of vocational rehabilitation, to be prescribed and provided by the board; and every person electing to follow such a course of vocational rehabilitation shall, while following the same, be paid monthly by the said board from the appropriation hereinafter provided such sum as in the judgment of the said board is necessary for his maintenance and support and for the maintenance and support of persons depending upon him, if any: Provided, however, That in no event shall the sum so paid such person while pursuing such course be more than $80 per month for a single man without dependents, or for a man with dependents $100 per month plus the several sums prescribed as family allowances under section 204 of Article II of the War Risk Insurance Act.
“No compensation under Article III of the Act entitled 'An Act to amend an Act entitled "An Act to authorize the establishment of a Bureau of War Risk Insurance in the Treasury Department,”' approved October 6, 1917, shall be paid for the period during which any such person is being furnished by said board a course of vocational rehabilitation and support as herein authorized: Prorided, however, That in the event any person pursuing a course of vocational rehabilitation is entitled under said Article III to compensation in an amount in excess of the payments made to him by the said board for his support and the support of his dependents, if any, the Bureau of War Risk Insurance shall pay monthly to such person such additional amount as may be necessary to equal the total compensation due under said Article III of said Act.
“There is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the Treasury of the United States not otherwise appropriated, available immediately and until expended, the sum of $6,000.000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, to be used by the Federal Board for Vocational Education for the purpose of making the payments prescribed by this section and for defraying the administrative expenses incident thereto."
Approved July 11, 1919.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.
Mr. WADSWORTH. An interpretation of section C of the requirements for training by the board involves the reorganization of the units of administration in the district offices, especially with respect to the medical service. All men applying for training under the board are now classified as follows:
(1) Those having major handicaps. (2) Those having minor handicaps. (3) Those having negligible handicaps. Men having major handicaps, as interpreted by the board, which include amputations, serious organic as well as functional disabilities, are to be given preference in consideration of their cases. Men suffering from minor or negligible handicaps to be considered primarily from the point of view as training under section 3 of the act, which involves the same procedure as originally outlined. The eligibility for training being determined by the award of compensation by the War Risk Insurance Bureau. Such men, however, can not receive training pay during the period of training, but the board will pay tuition charges and for necessary books and supplies for the course.
Under the policy originally announced by the board, the agents of the board were instructed to render every assistance to men, and, not only to assist, but to encourage them to apply for training under the board. Under the new law and the new procedure, the initiative is left with the disabled soldier and the burden of proof of his eligibility for training is placed upon him. The board acts as a general courtmartial to try all cases which come to its attention.
I say that that was a serious mistake in the administration of the law, and at the time I thought that the board was acting on a very restricted policy, whereas a more liberal interpretation of the law should have been made, and it did seem to me unfortunate that we had changed our views with regard to the boys, but no instructions came to use, and, might I add here, that while I was in the service and it had anything to do with our sympathetic relations to men except the policy that placed the burden of proof upon the men, and then we naturally had to change our attitude toward them, and instead of encouragement we had to say “We want to help you all we can, but are you eligible on this, that, and the other points?” That, of course, was unfortunate, it seemed to us, who believed in the other policy.
This policy appears to be—and I wrote this in October, so this statement conflicts somewhat with that-in strict accordance with the literal interpretation of the new legislation. Then, too, the appropriation of $14,000,000 for carrying on the work does not provide sufficient funds to reeducate the large number of men who would be eligible to retraining under a more liberal interpretation of the act. The Federal board, therefore, finding itself in a difficult position, chose the lesser of two evils, and decided to hold to the more literal interpretation of the law with the men suffering from the major disabilities who would be given first consideration in the rehabilitation process and the provisions of the law as applied to men suffering from minor disabilities, at least to the extent of available funds.
I think that was one of the motives back of the work of the Federal board, that they wanted to give training to all the major disabilities under the funds, and then so far as the funds would permit to other men with minor ordinary disabilities.
The CHAIRMAN. There is no doubt, Mr. Wadsworth, that that was the practice of the board, to select the most severely disabled first, and it would still be a field of doubt as to whether there was such a fear that there was not sufficient funds to carry out the work, including both major and minor. The representative of the board before the Committee on Appropriations did not know, and he was very frank to say he did not know how much money would be required, and I do not believe the board at that stage should be severely criticized. as severely as the Committee on Appropriations criticized them. They could not state how much was needed and never asked for it: originally it was only $6,000,000, and there was a great deal of contention whether that should be granted to them, but before we got through with the legislation it had reached $14,000,000, and it had not been asked by the board, and that is the source of the severe criticism that came into the discussion of that measure on the floor of the House. The work seemed to have been so changed that the amount of money to be recovered was not fixed in the minds of the authorities. I mean the section which Judge Towner said there would be no withholding of funds. Just as soon as the Congress knows what it needs it will be forthcoming, and, to be fair with the board, I am of the opinion that this order changing the final decisien, or rather that proof shall be put on the soldier rather than on the board, is due to their fear that the funds would not be sufficient during the year.
Mr. Robsion. But, Mr. Chairman, was it not announced from the floor of the House when this legislation was being considered that if the $14,000,000 would not suffice that Congress would have inserted any amount that would be thought necessary?
The CHAIRMAN. This committee so announced, and it certainly ought to be thoroughly understood that the Congress is ready to vote any amount of money that would be required justifiably to take care of the disabled soldiers. If there be a source of criticism here, it would be in our inability to have laid before us the facts establishing the amount required.
Mr. Robsion. But Congress did appropriate more than twice the amount that was originally asked by anyone in charge of this appropriation.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; proceed. Mr. TOWNER. Mr. Chairman, in order that the record may show just what were the provisions of the act of June 27, 1918, and the section referring to the same matter in the act, the amendatory act of July 11, 1919, I would like to have the clerk insert in the record the first paragraph of section 2 in the act of June 27, and the first paragraph of section 2 of the amendatory act so that they may be placed together for consideration.
The CHAIRMAN. There will be no objections to that, and the matter will be put in the record.
(The paragraphs referred to are as follows:)
[PUBLIC-No. 178—65TH CONGRESS.)
[S. 4557.) An Act To provide for vocational rehabilitation and return to civil employment of dis
abled persons discharged from the military or naval forces of the United States, and for other purposes.
Be it enarted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act shall be known as the Vocational Rehabilitation Act. That the word “board," as hereinafter used in this Act, shall mean the “ Federal Board for Vocational Education.” That the word “bureau," as hereinafter used in this Act, shall mean the “Bureau of War Risk Insurance."
Sec. 2. That every person who is disabled under circumstances entitling him, after discharge from the military or naval forces of the United States, to compensation under Article III of the Act entitled “ An Act to amend an Act entitled ' An Act to authorize the establishment of a Bureau of War-Risk Insurance in the Treasury Department,'” approved October sixth, nineteen hundred and seventeen, hereinafter referred as as "said Act," and who, after his discharge, in the opinion of the board, is unable to carry on a gainful occupation, to resume his former occupation, or to enter upon some other Occupation, or having resumed or entered upon such occupation is unable to continue the same successfully, shall be furnished by the said board, where vocational rehabilitation is feasible, such course of vocational rehabilitation as the board shall prescribe and provide.
(PUBLIC—No. 11—66TH CONGRESS.]
[S. 1213.) An Act To amend an Act entitled “ An Act to provide for vocational rehabilitation and
return to civil employment of disabled persons discharged from the military or naval forces of the United States, and for other purposes," approved June 27, 1918.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 2 of the Act entitle “An Act to provide for vocational rehabilitation and return to civil employment of disabled persons discharged from the military or naval forces of the United States, and for other purposes," approved June 27, 1918, be hereby amended to read as follows:
“ SEC, 2. That every person enlisted, enrolled, drafted, inducted, or appointed in the military or naval forces of the United States, including members of training camps authorized by law, who, since April 7, 1917, has resigned or has been discharged or furloughed therefrom under honorable conditions, having a disability incurred, increased, or aggravated while a member of such forces, or later developing a disability traceable in the opinion of the board to service with such forces, and who, in the opinion of the Federal Board for Vocational Education, is in need of vocational rehabilitation to overcome the handicap of such disability, shall be furnished by the said board, where vocational rehabilitation is feasible, such course of vocational rehabilitation as the board shall prescribe and provide.
Mr. Wadsworth. This limitation on the service of the board will undoubtedly work great hardship upon many men who were disabled in the service, and the board will be under the necessity of denying training to men to whom training would be of great value and economic advantage to the country. Now, as to the training policies, it was my duty as supervisor of training to provide for all phases of the training of the men and when I took charge of the New York office I found that the organization of the training department had not been effected, that it was being directed as a general department rather than segregating the functions of that department so as to make a more efficient administration of the law possible. In other words, all the employees of the training department were engaged in the phases of the work of the disabled men's cases. Immediately we undertook the reorganization of that department by separating the functions and placing men in charge of distinct
foundations of the work. We had a man in the free training department and his work was wholly to take up a group of men for the consideration of training places of these men. They had met the vocational advisers when the cases came to us and our men would sit down with the man and go over the various schools in which the training recommended could be secured and then discuss with the man himself the details of the courses that he could take in that school, because the men in the training department were more familiar with the schools in the district and the courses offered than the advisers were. That is, the advisers in our department were not trained as to the training facilities of the district in all cases. They would recommend machine-shop courses but would not know where that machine-shop course would be given necessarily, and it would be the duty of the men in the training department to talk with the men as to the course of training, and then having got the decision the case was passed on to our department of organization and training arrangements and that department had the dealings with the institution. They contracted for the admission of the men. and looked after their qualifications for admission.
Mr. TOWNER. In immediate connection with that, Mr. Wadsworth, I wish you to tell the committee what, if any, work was done by the representatives of the board of New York to arrange with institutions that were in practical operation, factories, or manufacturers and commercial establishments and others, so that under which or by which the men would have an opportunity of going practically into this work and learning practically the operations. I know that when we had the matter before us in consideration there was a very strong showing made by manufacturing associations and, I think, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States and others.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Mr. TowNER. And that the manufacturing interests in the United States were greatly interested in this work and would take in and make, in some instances, a department especially set apart for the training of these men in their own establishment. I think the United States Steel Corporation did that—and some others.
The CHAIRMAN. Representatives of these companies appeared before our committee.
Mr. TOWNER. I would like to have you state as to what practical work was done in that connection.
Mr. WADSWORTII. It was my pleasure to direct the agents of the board in investigation of the facilities of that kind. It was also my pleasure to appear before chambers of commerce in different parts of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut with a view to lining up such possibilities for training men on the job. Here, while the more progressive concerns, like the Bosch Magneto of New York, the Winchester Repeating Arms Co., and concerns of that kind, had their departments where they could and did place them in positions suitable to their requirements, but a great majority of places hated to take men with disability because of the compensation law, which seemed to stand in their way in spite of the fact that we tried to convince them, so that it was difficult to get them to employ disabled men.