Page images
PDF
EPUB

Whereas, under the provisions of 38 USC 411 the dependency and indemnity compensation payable to a widow with one child is the same as if she had no child ; and

Whereas, a widow with two or more children who is entitled to dependency and indemnity compensation would receive a greater award of death compensation but for 38 USC 417(b) which precludes an election of such benefits; and

Whereas, Public Law 87–268 amended 38 USC 412(b) to permit a widow with five or more children to receive dependency and indemnity compensation in an amount equal to the amount of pension she would receive had the veteran's death occurred under circumstances establishing her entitlement to death pension; and

Whereas, a widow with five or more children who elects to receive the greater benefit provided by PL 87–268 must meet the death pension income and corpus of estate provisions of 38 USC 541 and 543; and

Whereas, The American Legion is opposed to this provision of law which establishes an equality, under certain conditions of need, between benefits flowing from a death not due to military service with a death after service resulting from a disease or injury incurred in military service: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, by the American Legion in National Convention assembled in New Orleans, Louisiana, September 10, 11, 12, 1968, That The American Legion seek a return to the historically based concept of the Federal Government's responsibility of caring for a widow with a child or children by sponsoring and supporting legislation to amend 38 USC 411 to provide that the monthly rate of dependency and indemnity compensation payable to a widow shall be increased by $30 for each child. Resolution : No. 275. Committee : Rehabilitation. Subject : Sponsor and support legislation to amend 38 USC, Chapter 13, to provide

that any widow entitled to dependency and indemnity compensation and who is in need of the regular aid and attendance of another person shall have her

monthly rate of DIC increased by $75. Whereas, 38 USC 544 provides that widows of war veterans entitled to death pension under subchapter III of this title who are in need of regular aid and attendance shall have their monthly rate of pension increased by $50; and

Whereas, there is no such provision for widows entitled to dependency and indemnity compensation based on the service-connected death of the veteran spouse; and

Whereas, in view of the Nation's obligation to those who die as a result of service in its uniformed services, The American Legion believes that it is just and equitable that a similar benefit be made available to those widows entitled to dependency and indemnity compensation who are in need of regular aid and attendance : Now, therefore, be it

New Orleans, Louisiana, September 10, 11, 12, 1968, That The American Legion shall sponsor and support legislation to amend 38 USC, Chapter 13 to provide that any widow entitled to dependency and indemnity compensation under this chapter and who is in need of the regular aid and attendance of another person shall have her monthly rate of DIC increased by $75. B DDD DE TIPS Resolution : No. 124 (Georgia). Committee: Rehabilitation. Subject: Sponsor and support legislation to repeal the restrictions on payment

of dependency and indemnity compensation to suryivors of veterans who died after April 30, 1957 and had in effect an in-service waiver of insurance

premiums under USGLI or NSLI, Whereas, 38 USC 417 provides, “no dependency and indemnity compensation shall be paid to the widow, ehildren, or parents of any veteran dying after April 30, 1957, having in effect at the time of death a policy of United States Government life insurance or National Service life insurance under waiver of premiums under section 724 of this title, unless waiver of premiums on such policy was granted pursuant to the first proviso of section 622(a) of the National Service Life Insurance Act of 1942, and the death occurs before the veteran's return to military jurisdiction or within one hundred and twenty days thereafter. Where dependency and indemnity compensation is not payable by reason of the preceding sentence, death, compensation may be paid under section 321 or 341 of this title as applicable;" and

34-108-69

[graphic]

---14

Whereas, death compensation paid to a widow under section 321 of title 38, USC, is $87 per month, as compared to $120 monthly, plus 12 per centum of the basic pay of her deceased husband under section 411 of this title; and

Whereas, The American Legion believes that the existing provisions of 38 USC 417 work a hardship on the surviving widows, orphans and dependent parents of those deceased members of the Armed Forces who choose to exercise this right of premium waiver under section 724 of title 38, USC: Now, therefore, be it

Résolved, by The American Legion in National Convention assembled in New Orleans, Louisiana, September 10, 11, 12, 1968, That the American Legion sponsor and support legislation to amend title 38, United States Code, to repeal the restrictions on the payment of dependency and indemnity compensation to the surviving widows, orphans, and dependent parents of those veterans who, at time of death after April 30, 1957, had in effect a policy of United States Government life insurance or National Service life insurance under waiver of premiums under 38 USC 724. Resolution : No. 272. Committee : Rehabilitation. Subject: Sponsor and support legislation to amend 38 USC to provide that in

come derived from inheritance or savings and checking accounts shall not constitute income for annual income determination in claims for pension

and dependency and indemnity compensation. Whereas, 38 USC provides that in determinations of annual income for pensions, all payments of any kind from any source shall be included except that specifically exempted; and

Whereas, this section provides that profit from the disposition of real and personal property, other than in the course of business, shall not be considered income; and

Whereas, Veterans Administration regulations provide that income derived from inheritance of savings and checking accounts constitutes income in the year of death in determinations of income for the surviving spouse and children for death and disability pension and for parents' dependency and indemnity compensation; and

Whereas, this treatment by the Veterans Administration of bank accounts, whether jointly or separately owned, as income to the survivor, works an undeserved hardship on the survivor when it denies entitlement to pension or dependency and indemnity compensation in the year of death, a period for many survivors in which immediate financial assistance is needed; and

Whereas, The American Legion believes that no distinction should be made between income from bank accounts and income from the sale of real and personal property; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by The American Legion in National Convention assembled in New Orleans, Louisiana, September 10, 11, 12, 1968, That The American Legion shall sponsor and support legislation to amend Title 38, United States Code, to provide that income derived from the inheritance of savings and checking accounts shall not constitute income for annual income determinations in claims for pension and dependency and indemnity compensation. RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING OF THE

AMERICAN LEGION, MAY 8-9, 1969 Resolution No. 27. Commission : Rehabilitation. Subject: Sponsor and support legislation to amend 38 U.S.C., chapter 13, so as to

increase the dependency and indemnity compensation payable to widows and

children to a rate commensurate with the current cost of living. Whereas, the Servicemen's and Veterans' Survivor Benefits Act, approved August 1, 1956, authorized payment of dependency and indemnity compensation to widows, children, and dependent parents of veterans who die of serviceconnected causes; and

Whereas, the monthly rates of dependency and indemnity compensation payable to widows and children were last increased in 1963; and

Whereas, the cost of living has increased by about 27 percent since 1963: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, by the National Executive Committee of The American Legion, assembled in St. Louis, Missouri, May 8–9, 1969, That the American Legion

sponsor and support legislation to amend 38 U.S.C., chapter 13, so as to increase the dependency and indemnity compensation payable to widows and children to a rate commensurate with the current cost of living. Resolution No. 29. Commission : Rehabilitation. Subject: Sponsor and support legislation to amend title 38, U.S.C. 321, to pro

vide a statutory presumption of service-connected death of any veteran who has been rated totally disabled by reason of service-connected disability for

20 or more years. Whereas, dependency and indemnity compensation is payable to the surviving widow, children, and dependent parents of any veteran who dies from a serviceconnected or compensable disability; and

Whereas, Veterans Administration regulations do provide that service connection may be granted where it is established that a nonservice-connected condition was the principal cause of death but that a service-connected condition contributed substantially or materially; and

Whereas, no consideration in these determinations is given to the fact that severe chronic disabilities materially shorten the life expectancy of these veterans; and

Whereas, the dependents of these veterans, because of this reduction in life expectancy, are denied the economic support of the veteran by reason of reduced earning capacity and economic security: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, by the National Executive Committee of The American Legion in regular meeting assembled in St. Louis, Missouri, May 8–9, 1969, That The American Legion sponsor and support legislation to amend 38 USC, chapter 13, so as to provide that the widow, children and dependent parents of any person who died after a service-connected disability had been rated total and permanent for 20 years shall be entitled to dependency and indemnity compensation.

Mr. Dorn. Thank you for a fine statement, Mr. Golembieski. Any questions, Mr. Roberts? Mr. ROBERTS. I want to express my appreciation also for your

statement.

This bank balance bill is a little new to me and I would like a sentence or two as to why this

may be necessary. Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. I will make that a part of the record, sir.

(The material requested was not received prior to printing of the record.)

Mr. DORN. Mr. Montgomery!

Mr. MONTGOMERY. I also would like to join you, Mr. Chairman, and my colleague, Mr. Roberts, in saying that it is a very good statement. I have only two questions and I will be brief. I don't get to ask many questions so you will have to excuse me when I get an opportunity.

What would be the cost if we enacted the bill H.R. 4617 for the first year and the second and third years!

Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. We have not done any cost projections. As I understand from the testimony of the Veterans' Administration yesterday, the cost factor relating to improvement of widows' DIC benefits would be about $50 million depending on which formula was selected to accomplish the purpose.

Mr. MONTGOMERY. $50 million did you say?
Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. I thought I heard that

remark.
Mr. MONTGOMERY. $30 million to $50 million, I think it was.

If a cost factor estimate could be included in the testimony it certainly would help the members of this subcommittee when we bring the bill up before the full committee and when we bring the bill up on the floor, because one of the first questions asked is the cost factor.

Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. That is a difficult thing to estimate without having the services of a computer to print this information out under a variety of rates and different ranks and years of service. It would be difficult, with the facilities I have, to do a cost estimate on this.

Mr. MONTGOMERY. I can understand the situation you would be in. Still, it would help the individual members of the subcommittee if they had a cost estimate included in the testimony, I would think.

One other question is, it would seem to me that possibly a recommendation on changing part of the veterans' insurance law that you have included in one bill-would that have to go jointly, Mr. Chairman, to the Subcommittee on Insurance and this subcommittee, or could this subcommittee take action on it!

Mr. Dorn. It is my understanding that we could. I don't think we would run into any jurisdictional problem.

Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. The restriction lies in the DIC provision of law and not in the insurance provision.

I noticed in yesterday's testimony of the Veterans of Foreign Wars they considered a wide range of bills we had not included in our statement. I understood we were to confine ourselves mostly to the DIC area. I noted one of their recommendations had to do with the discontinuance of the annual income reporting requirement at age 72. We have such a resolution under consideration and the convention did give thought to this but we felt we should explore it from the standpoint it should not necessarily be restricted to that age group. We would hate to single out one age group where there is identical entitlement. So we are going to explore going into it with a different approach.

Mr. Dorn. Thank you very much. Is there anything further?

Mr. MONTGOMERY. Mr. Chairman, I would like to say something pertaining to the hurricane damage done to the Veterans Administration hospital on the Mississippi gulf coast. We actually have two facilities that are classified as one hospital. A part of the facilities are right on the Mississippi gulf coast. The facilities that belong to the Government on Back Bay were not seriously damaged but one building was completely destroyed on the gulf coast. This was a building used as a recreation building and it had a small cafeteria. It was completely destroyed. In one building which was classified as a ward, a two-story building, the water reached to the second floor. There was more water damage than anything else.

My point in mentioning this, I inspected the hospital facilities on the Mississippi gulf coast and it may be they could put the facilities back in operation and they requested that the patients be returned there. I think you commented, Mr. Chairman, that some patients had even been brought to your State. I was there last Wednesday and they told me that from Wednesday to Monday week that hospital could be opened and the patients brought back. I certainly hope the VA will do this and will not consider closing those facilities. There are several hundred people employed with the Veterans' Administration and if you close those facilities those people will have to find other jobs in the VA, plus the fact half of these people have lost all their personal belongings in their homes. They should not have to go out at this time and look for another job. I certainly hope the Veterans Administration

will not consider closing those facilities and that they will reopen them as soon as possible.

I wanted to bring this to the attention of the subcommittee.

Mr. DoRN. We appreciate that, Mr. Montgomery. I saw on our inspection trip for the Public Works Committee that this facility was damaged to such an extent they had to send the patients elsewhere. I will ask Mr. Meadows, I am sure with Mr. Teague's support, to get us a report from the Veterans Administration and some recommendations as to what they want to do about this. I am sure something can be done down there for those people. I am glad you brought it up before the subcommittee and Mr. Meadows will find out about that and report to you and to the full committee.

Without objection we will insert in the record at this point the testimony of Congressman John M. Zwach in favor of H.R. 7629.

(The statement follows:)

STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE JOHN M. ZWACH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS

FROM THE STATE OF MINNESOTA

TESTIMONY FOR H.R. 7629

Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, I thank you for the opportunity to enter my views on H.R. 7629.

Under present law, a veteran of the armed services must file an annual income questionnaire as one of the determinations of his pension entitlement.

Even though these veterans are retired from their employment and their income status rarely changes, they are charged with this annual chore.

There are currently some 1.6 million veterans of World War I and some 6,000 veterans of the Spanish American war, most of whom must fill out these reports. There are 14 million veterans of World War II and over 4.5 million veterans of Korea, not to mention the Viet Nam veterans who will some day be in this pension category.

It has been estimated that it costs the Federal government a minimum of $5.00 to handle a single document such as this.

H.R. 7629 provides that veterans 70 years old or older, who have been on pension rolls for at least two years before attaining that age, be released from the obligation of filling out this annual questionnaire.

As many as 35,000 veterans and their widows can temporarily lose their pension benefits through incomplete or incorrect filing of their forms.

The average age of the World War I veterans is 74 plus, thus most of them would fall in the category covered by H.R. 7629. At the $5.00 per document government processing cost, it is easy to see that well over $5,000,000 annually could be saved if these questionnaires were eliminated.

Because the income status of these veterans very rarely changes, filing out the income questionnaire is not only a useless nuisance imposed on the veterans, but it also taxes the Veterans' Facility with unnecessary paper work. Adoption of this legislation would in no way change the basic eligibility criteria for the pensions.

We can save over $5,000,000 for our government and much time and trouble for many of our elderly citizens by taking favorable action on H.R. 7629.

I thank you for your consideration.

Mr. Dorn. We will now hear our good friend and colleague in the full committee, the distinguished chairman of the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service, Mr. Dulski. Mr. Chairman, you may proceed.

STATEMENT BY HON. T. J. DULSKI, A REPRESENTATIVE IN

CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK

Mr. DULSKI. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I commend you for arranging these hearings on bills dealing with dependency and indemnity compensation.

« PreviousContinue »