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the death of the pensioner on or after the last day of the period covered by such check, and it shall not be canceled, but shall become an asset of the estate of the deceased pensioner.
Sec. 6. No claims agent or agency, attorney, or other persons shall contract for, demand, receive, or retain a fee of more than $10 for service in preparation, presenting, or prosecuting original claims for the pension provided in this act: Provided, No fee shall be charged, retained, or paid for any service in connection with claim for increase of pension under this act, which suin shall be paid only on order of the Commissioner of Pensions and under such rules and regulations as he may deem proper to make and any person who shall directly or indirectly otherwise contract for, demand, receive, or retain a fee in excess of $10 for service in preparing, presenting, or prosecuting any original claim under this act, or shall demand, retain, or receive any fee for services for increase of pension under this act, or who wrongfully withholds from the pensioner or claimant the whole or any part of the pension allowed or due to such pensioner or claimant under this act, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall, for eachi and every offense, be fined not exceeding $500 or be imprisoned not exceeding one year, or both, in the discretion of the court.
Sec. 7. Nothing contained in this act shall be held to affect or diminish the additional pension to those on the roll designated as the "Army and Navy medal of honor roll” as provided by the act of April 27, 1916, but any pension or increase of pension herein provided for shall be in addition thereto, and no pension or compensation heretofore granted under any act, public or private, shall be reduced by anything contained in this act.
SEC. 8. That all acts and parts of acts in conflict with or inconsistent with the provisions of this act are hereby modified and amended only so far and as to the extent as herein specifically provided and stated.
Mr. BETTELHEIM. The idea is to give to the men who are not able to definitely prove service connection of their disability a moderate pension, or a moderate compensation award ranging from $10 to $50 a month, according to the nature of their disability, $50 being the inaximum. It is felt that that is a fair amount. It is something similar to the awards made to the men of the Spanish-American War, and veterans of previous wars.
The CHAIRMAN. What disability do you have in mind for $10 a month?
Mr. BETTELHEIM. That would be 10 per cent disability. I think the rates under the pension bill are 10 per cent, 25 per cent, a half, three-quarters, and total. I may be a little off on these figures, but there are about five different rates.
The Chairman. Then, your proposition does not apply to anybody with a disability less than 10 per cent?
Mr. BETTELHEIM. No, sir. As I say, it is a moderate rate. It will take care of the men. It will at least pay their rent. It will at least help them to get along in some moderate way. The men that I represent are men who served overseas during our wars.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. Which wars?
Senator SHORTRIDGE. Necessarily this would apply to the World War.
Mr. BETTEIHEIM. The men now being taken care of are those men who served overseas during the World War.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. Then you go back to the Spanish-American War.
Mr. BETTELHEIM. Yes, sir. We take in any men who served overseas, or on the high seas during any of our wars, campaigns, or expeditions, even such as the Nicaraguan campaign. But this measure applies only to the veterans of the World War.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. I wanted you to state for the record, explain what men were included in your statement.
Mr. BETTELHEIM. I refer now only to those men who served overseas during the World War, and, of course, all other veterans of the World War.
But when I speak of those men who served overseas, we know that those men were busy prosecuting the war. We know that they did not have any opportunity to form wonderful hospital records for themselves. The men of the National Guard Divisions, men of National Army Divisions and Regulars--men who had a pride in their regiments and in their companies. Before they went overseas they had their pictures taken, and there were rolls of honor and company rosters listing the officers and the men of the different companies. These sent home to parents and friends, showing that these men had a pride in their own oufit. While the war was being prosecuted they were ashamed to be called quitters. They did not want to leave their outfits. They knew that if they went back to a dressing station and finally got back to the hospital, they would be sent to a regulating station and be sent up to some other division or some other regiment. They stuck because they did not want to go into another outfit, and also because they did not want their own comrades to call them quitters.
For a long time the matter of giving a wound chevron to men who were gassed was not recognized. It was not until the war was practically over that a wound chevron was given for being gassed. They called men quitters who tried to go back, because they said they were gassed. I have in mind a man in my outfit who, even after the war was over, kicked a little beg in the ground and let go a supply of mustard gas and burned the whole side of his right leg. That man never got any more than a local dressing.
There are a lot of men who were discharged under circumstances similar to those described by Congressman Rankin. I was one of them. The men in my organization were anxious to get out. They did not know what they were coming to. They did not know that they were going to find an unemployment situation. They were in a hurry to get out and get home. Before they went over, the men were chafing in camp, and were in a hurry to get over. When we got over there, and when the war was over, they were chafing to get out and get home. When they could, they got out of the Army just as quickly as they could. A lot of these men to-day, gentlemen, are suffering from disabilities that they can not prove were of service origin.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars do not lay the blame on the Veterans' Bureau, or the Congress, or anyone else. It is just a situation. Probably it was partly the fault of the men themselves. There are a lot of men who had that same stick-to-itiveness even after the war. I had to go before the bureau the other day and make an appeal in the case of a man who went for eight years without applying for compensation. He thought he could get along. He was an interior decorator in Philadelphia. He knew that if he left that position there were 10 other men waiting to take his job, and he was afraid to go to the hospital. It was not until eight years afterwards that his family physician forced him into the League Island Hospital, and then a few months later he filed his claim for compensation. It is on behalf of those men that I am appealing to you. There may be a few men among them whose diseases might have cropped up after the service, and might not have anything to do with the service, but there are a great many others who are in a different situation, as you gentlemen know, among your constituents.
Here is Willie Jones, who was a truck driver before the war. He drove the ice cart. He was a husky farmer, or he was something else. He was a hale and hearty man. Yet to-day he is a broken down wreck, walking around the town. People criticize the Government. They criticize the veterans organizations; they criticize the Veterans' Bureau, and they criticize everything. Why? Just because this poor devil can not prove that his present condition is the result of his
service, and yet everybody in that community verily believe that his present condition is due to the war and they write to you, and you go before the bureau and attempt to appeal his case, feeling in your heart, as we feel, that this man's disability or condition to-day is due to his service.
w, y not meet that situation with a moderate compensation award? Let us do away with the necessity of proving service connection for those men who can not do it, and come down to the proposition that Senator Smoot enunciated. As I mentioned some time back, that it is getting close to the time when we ought to take the bull by the horns and say we will give those men a pension-a disability pension.
If you do, it will cost something. It will take in a lot men, admittedly. General Hines has given you the figures, I believe, on the first day of the hearing, so there is no necessity for me going over it. But it will also save a vast amount of administrative costs. You and I and every man who has anything to do with the service men knows that some of the cases reach enormous proportions, and involve a great deal of administrative work. Why is it? It is on account of the necessity of going out and getting affidavits to prove service connection; getting in touch with the family physician; writing to comrades, or the captain, or the first sergeant, and sending those papers to the bureau. Perhaps they do not meet the specifications, or the qualifications. Then the man appeals. The man appeals to the local board. From there he goes to the area board of appeals. He does not get satisfaction there. He appeals to the central office in Washington. There is a long appeal here, and there is a lot of testimony taken, and then he is denied. He can not meet the requirements. What does he do? He writes to you. He writes to us, and asks us to intercede. And so the procession goes on for years and years. All who handle his appeal believe his disability is due to the war, but it is difficult to prove. Let us save administrative cost and grant him a moderate, livable pension.
Mr. Chairman, I believe that I have given you our ideas on that particular phase. There is one further thought that I would like to give to you, and that is this: This proposal that I have set before you also includes the widow, and it takes care of the widow. At the present time, if a veteran is drawing, say, 90 per cent or 80 per cent disability for heart trouble or tuberculosis, and dies of some other disease or disability, both he and his family are cut off under the present law, because it can not be proved that he died of the disability for which he was drawing compensation. He might have been drawing 100 per cent for himself, and an allowance for his wife and children, but, as the law stands to-day, his widow will get nothing If this proposal that I have suggested is given consideration, it will grant to the widow of any man who served honorably during the World War, and who has died, or in the future dies, à widow's pension or a widow's compensation award of $30 a month.
The CHAIRMAN. It is a widow's pension. It is not compensation.
Mr. BETTELHEIM. Yes, sir. It is a widow's pension. That is just what it is. But it will grant to her a gratuity similar to that granted to the man who might have been drawing 20 per cent for a disability, and who dies of that disability. His widow would get the $30.
The Chairman. That has never been in any pension law. The widow's pension has never been as much as the soldier's pension.
Mr. BETTELHEIM. No, sir. I think you misunderstood me. The widow's pension is $30, and the widow's death compensation is $30. What I mean to bring out
The Chairman. Suppose the soldier was drawing $100, as you stated. I understood you to say that at his death the widow would draw $100.
Mr. BETTELHEIM. No. She would draw her death compensation. If the veteran was drawing compensation and he died of the disability for which he was drawing compensation, the widow would draw death compensation.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. How much?
Senator SHORTRIDGE. And not the amount that her husband was drawing?
Mr. BETTELHEIM. No; not the amount that he drew.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. But upon his death she would draw, as you say, $30?
Mr. BETTELHEIM. $30.
Mr. BETTELHEIM. No; not unless he died of a service-connected disability. As the present law is, he must die of the disability for which he is actually drawing compensation.
Senator REED. Exactly. And, under the present law, if he dies of a service-connected disability the widow gets compensation?
Mr. BETTELHEIM. Yes.
Senator REED. You would change that, and provide that any widow of a service man, no matter what he died of, or whether he was getting compensation before he died, or whether he was not, would receive a pension.
Mr. BETTELHEIM. That is right.
Mr. BETTELHEIM. But it would also take care of the widow whose husband had been drawing compensation, but who did not die of the disability for which he was drawing compensation.
Senator REED. It would take care of every widow.
Mr. BETTELHEIM. I believe it is the intention of Congress to take care of widows of these veterans.
Senator REED. Would you draw any line as to the veteran's service? If a man spent a week in the Judge Advocate General's Department in Washington, would you pension his widow for life?
Mr. BETTELHEIM. The way the amendment is suggested to you, it would pension the widow of any veteran who served at least 90 days during the World War, or who served overseas.
Senator REED. The one almost necessarily includes the other.
Mr. BETTELHEIM. Except for those few men, as you know, who went overseas in the September automatic replacement draft, who were injured and sent back as casuals, and then might have died of another disability. That is the reason I say “overseas."
There is another point that I trust your committee will take into consideration, and that is the allowance paid to dependents of men receiving hospitalization. I cited the case of a man named Casey. I can mention his last name because there are a lot of Caseys. He was the interior decorator. That man refrained from going to the hospital because he was afraid there would be no money coming in to take care of his family; his wife and three youngsters. If you granted dependency compensation to the dependents of men going into hospitals, you would encourage these men to go to the hospital and get the necessary care and treatment to probably correct their disability, and put them in good health.
Senator REED. That is true of every civilian, too, is it not?
Mr. BETTELHEIM. Yes, but we do not suggest, in this particular instance, giving dependency compensation to the man to keep him in the hospital, or to make him want to stay there himself, while he is getting the allowance for himself, but to encourage him to go to the hospital when he knows that his family will be taken care of. That is the thought in mind for suggesting the allowance for dependents only; not for the man himself when he is in the hospital.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. If he recovers, of course, the compensation ceases?
Mr. BETTELHEIM. Yes, sir. That will not encourage him to stay there, because he will not get anything for himself. He will just be getting $20 a month, or so much for his wife and children. It will go to her and not to him. I think that is fairly good economics.
The CHAIRMAN. Have you made any estimate as to what your suggestions would cost the Government?
Mr. BETTELHEIM. It is in this bill, Senator, and I believe the director has given you an estimate under that provision.
The CHAIRMAN. Ibout $400,000,000.
Senator SHORTRIDGE. There is quite a difference between $4,000,000 and $400,000,000.
The CHAIRMAN. I am speaking of all of them.
Mr. BETTELHEIM. Of course, if these dependents come under the provisions of the Rankin amendment, or come under the provisions of our amendment, they, of course, would not be included. "It would only take care of those who are not drawing compensation, so, of course, you can deduct from that those men who are receiving compensation, or would receive compensation under any of these amendments, the Rankin bill, the Connery bill, or the others.
Senator REED. Captain, just see the train we have followed here. We extended hospitalization privileges in 1924, provided there was