Page images

H.R. 230

This bill proposes to amend section 311 of title 38, United States Code, so as to provide a stronger presumption of soundness under certain conditions in wartime cases.

Section 311 currently provides that every veteran shall be taken to have been in sound condition when examined, accepted, and enrolled for service, except as to defects, infirmities, or disorders noted at time of the examination, acceptance, and enrollment, or where clear and unmistakable evidence demonstrates that the injury or disease existed before acceptance and enrollment and was not aggravated by such service.

The bill would provide that any disability diagnosed during a period of war after continuous service of 90 days shall be presumed to have been incurred in military service unless it is established by affirmative evidence that the disability existed prior to enlistment and was not aggravated beyond the normal progress of the disease.

In urging adoption of this bill, we recall that in many instances service connection has been denied or severed for disabilities diagnosed many months after the date of a veteran's service induction on the basis of questionable preservice history recorded in the service records or subsequent VA medical examination reports. H.R. 230 would serve to correct this situation. It would, of course, exclude from the presumption any obvious defects or infirmities.

H.R. 185

This bill would amend title 38, United States Code, to provide that heart failure suffered by certain veterans who have lost one or both lower extremities shall be considered service connected.

The proposal for consideration here has been a subject of prominent interest and discussion for a considerable period of time. There are those who hold the view that amputations have a significant bearing upon rates of mortality. They maintain that limb amputations, and the subsequent wearing of prostheses, do, in time, produce effects on the body as a whole which initiates or aggravates cardiovascular disorders to a significant degree.

The DAV has no data available for measuring cardiovascular disorders and mortality rates in amputees with that of the general population. We would, therefore, and with deep respect, suggest that perhaps the committee would agree to resolve the issue by conducting a study into the matter.


STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES (1963) Page 343, table No. 459 provides a further basis of comparison of incomes. Listed below are the mean incomes of spending units shown for 1961, the latest available year, by occupational groups. (A spending unit is all persons living in the same dwelling and belonging to the same family. Income may be pooled or a spending unit may consist of only one person.) All spending units (average).

$6, 050 Professional and semiprofessional.

8, 960 Managerial and self-employed.-

12, 200 Managerial..

11, 720 Self-employed.

12, 680 Clerical and sales_

6, 300 Skilled and semiskilled.

5, 764 Skilled...

6, 430 Semiskilled.-

5, 200 Farm operator.--

4, 250 This chart indicates that compensation for 100 percent disability is $3,000 a year short of the average income for all spending units.


STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES (1963) Page 337, table No. 449 provides the following status for 1961, the latest available year, in the area of “Family personal income received by each fifth-of families and unattached individuals."

[blocks in formation]

as I

Weighing the amount paid as disability compensation for total disability, even including any additional amount for dependents, against the above figures, re veals that the totally disabled veterans place in the second lowest grouping and the bottom 11 percent of the Nation.

Attention is especially directed to the fact that the figures above represent 1961 income. In view of the continued increase in the cost of living since 1961, the disparity is even greater.

Mr. DORN. Any questions?

Mr. TEAGUE of California. Mr. Huber, I understand your situation so I don't expect you to comment on this but I would like to express my own view, though, that I have considerable sympathy with your concern and recommendations for those with disabilities of 40 percent or more.

I think that, however, in some cases we ought to draw the line and recognize a “10” disabled veteran is not very disabled. I have a law partner 10-percent disabled and it doesn't interfere 10 percent or 1 percent to his disability in practicing law and this is the exception but,

say, I understand your position but I did want to place my own views on this matter in the record.

Mr. Dorn. Thank you, Mr. Teague. Mr. Saylor.

Mr. SAYLOR. Mr. Huber, I want to commend you on a very fine statement but I would like to comment a little more on page 3, you have this statement:

In view of the many demands upon the committee, as well as the objections to benefits invariably raised by the Bureau of the Budget, we realize that priorities must be established.

What, Mr. Huber, do you believe should be the first priority if it is not to take care of a service-connected veteran?

Mr. HUBER. I believe it deserves the very top priority and I believe the committee recognizes this fact.

Mr. SAYLOR. I sincerely hope so because that is the basic purpose of this committee. Mr. HUBER. I certainly agree.

Mr. SAYLOR. The other benefits which veterans get, I think, are completely incidental and the main purpose of this committee being in existence is to take care of the service-connected veteran and widow and orphans.

Then, further on here, another statement, I am delighted to see over on page 7 you have taken the position that if the veteran has had a service-connected disability for a period of years—and here it is specified as 20—that his disability should be presumed to be service connected.

I think it behooves all veterans organizations to take a good look at this provision that you have just suggested, and I will tell you why: Many a time a veteran who is or has a 100-percent service-connected

disability goes to a hospital because of his disability and he dies, according to the death certificate, from some other cause and invariably the Veterans' Administration will turn around and say that his death was not due to his service-connected disability.

Now, I have had a number of cases that fall in this category and one comes to my mind of a man who was completely paralyzed as a result of injuries received in combat in World War II. During one of those periods when the Veterans' Administration decided they wanted to examine all of the veterans, they sent word to him that he was to report to a veterans hospital,

Now, he had no telephone; the income that he got from his 100-percent service-connected disability was not sufficient to permit him to provide a telephone for his family. So he sat down and wrote a letter to the Veterans Administration to the nearest hospital he was supposed to report and said that he couldn't report, that he was a bed patient. He was cut off.

I am happy to report that the local veterans saw to it he was transported in to the hospital; died in the hospital from bed pneumonia, and this is what the death certificate gave as the cause of deathpneumonia.

Now, the pneumonia was induced because the man, or the people in the hospital could not move the poor man. His widow had to fight to determine that she could get some benefits for herself and her children.

Now, I certainly hope that this committee, all of our organizations that come forward and support a term of years, and the fact of the matter is, I believe that 20 years is too long. I believe with our modern medical approach that if a man has 100-percent service-connected disability the medical profession is in a position he had it for 10 years, whether or not this is permanent, and if he gets it for a period of 10 years, that thereafter it should be considered service connected and the widow and veteran should automatically receive benefit. I hope your organization will take that position at the next convention and not only yours but all the other organizations take the same position.

Now, I was interested in your hewing the line, Mr. Huber, on not taking the position on bills with which you have not had a mandate from an actual convention. The thought went through my mind what if the Veterans' Committee decided to take a bill, or to consider a bill which reduced benefits, you didn't have any mandate from your convention, I certainly would hope you would not refrain from coming forward and voicing your opposition if you didn't have a mandate.

Mr. HUBER. I want to say our bylaws provide for that; I am under a continuing mandate, as are all our national officers in that event.

Mr. SAYLOR. I want to commend you and the DAV for a fine statement.

Mr. HUBER. Thank you.

Mr. Dorn. We want to thank you for an excellent statement and one with which I agree. Thank you very much.

Dr. HUBER. Thank you very much.



Mr. DORN. Now, the next witness will be Mr. Francis W. Stover, national legislative director, National Legislative Service, Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Mr. Stover, it is nice to have you as always.

Mr. STOVER. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for this opportunity to present the views of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States with respect to this most important legislation.

For the record, my name is Francis W. Stover and my title is national legislative director.

Since the founding of this Republic, compensation has been paid to those citizens who participated in our wars who were disabled as the result of their service in the Armed Forces. For many years what we now call compensation payments were referred to as pension payments. Only since 1917 has compensation been distinguished from pension payments. Compensation is payable for disabilities incurred as the result of service in the Armed Forces while pension payments are for total and non-service-connected conditions incurred after war service.

The delegates to the most recent national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, held in Cleveland, Ohio, August 20–26, 1964, adopted several resolutions pertaining to the compensation program. It would be appreciated if these resolutions be made a part of my remarks at this point.

Mr. DORN. It is so ordered.
(The data referred to follow :)

RESOLUTION No. 2. VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION COMPENSATION PROGRAM (Adopted at the 65th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of

the United States held at Cleveland, Ohio, August 21 through August 28, 1964)

Be it resolved by the 65th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, That we seek approval of the following recommendations by administrative changes of legislation, as applicable:

1. Substantial death compensation rate increases.
2. Substantial regular aid and attendance allowance increase.

3. Substantial increase in income guidelines and limitations for dependency of parents for death compensation and DIC purposes under sections 102 and 415, respectively, title 38, United States Code.

4. Classifications of campaigns and expeditions involving hostilities as wartime service.

5. Presumption of service connection of psychosis if manifested within 3 years following wartime service.

6. Elimination of the prohibition against payment of dependency and indemnity compensation in any case because Government life insurance was in force at time of death by waiver of premiums under section 724, title 38, United States Code (formerly sec. 622, National Service Life Insurance Act).

7. Extension of presumptive service connection accorded to chronic diseases to peacetime veterans on the same basis as wartime service.

8. Review all cases in which benefits were forfeited for fraud prior to September 1, 1959, in order to restore VA benefits.


SPECIAL MONTHLY COMPENSATION (Adopted at the 65th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of

the United States held at Cleveland, Ohio, August 21 through August 28, 1964)

Whereas it is felt that those veterans who ffered any loss or anatomical loss of use of an eye with combination with loss of use of an arm or leg are not considered under the special monthly compensation; and

Whereas it is believed that these veterans are due additional consideration toward statutory benefits : Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the 65th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, That we go on record supporting legislation to amend section 314, title 38, United States Code, to pay special monthly compensation to those veterans who have loss of or loss of use of one eye in combination with loss or loss of use of one arm or one leg.

RESOLUTION 63, AMENDMENT TO SECTION 314K, TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE (Adoped at the 65th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of

the United States held at Cleveland, Ohio, August 21 through August 28, 1964)

Whereas statutory awards for loss or loss of use of one foot, one hand, or blindness of one eye having light preception have been granted special monthly compensation of $47 a month; and

Whereas this amount has not been increased in many years; and

Whereas the physical limitation due to these anatomical injuries causes undue hardship: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, by the 65th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, That we go on record to increase the statutory award under section 314K to a minimum of $60 monthly for each loss or loss of use of.

RESOLUTION 64, AMENDMENT TO 1957 RATING SCHEDULE (Adopted at the 65th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of

the United States held at Cleveland, Ohio, August 21 through August 28, 1964) Whereas below-the-knee amputations provide a 40 percent rating; and

Whereas minimum upper extremity amputations provide a minimum 50 percent rating; and

Whereas it is recognized that a leg amputee has more physical limitation due to his lower extremity amputation than an upper extremity amputee; and

Whereas it is felt that amputations should have increased minimum ratings: Now, therefore be it

Resolved, by the 65th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, That we go on record recommending an amendment to the 1957 looseleaf edition of the schedule for rating disabilities by the Veterans' Administration to provide for a minimum schedular rating of 50 percent for a veteran who has suffered the loss or loss of use of any extremity.



(Adopted at the 65th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States held at Cleveland, Ohio, August 21 through August 28, 1964)

Whereas the State of New Mexico had the greatest number of those survivors of the Bataan death march and those survivors were assigned to the 200th Coast Artillery; and

Whereas these veterans suffered untold privations, beatings, and shortened lifespan; and

« PreviousContinue »