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United States, the personal representative of the decedent may maintain a suit for damages in the district courts of the United States, in admiralty, for the exclusive benefit of the decedent's wife, husband. parent, child, or dependent relative against the vessel, person, or corporation which would have been liable if death had not ensued. Scc. 1, act of March 30, 1920 (41 Stat. 537).
That such suit shall be begun within two years from the date of such wrongful act, neglect, or default, unless during that period there has not been reasonable opportunity for securing jurisdiction of the vessel, person, or corporation sought to be charged; but after the expiration of such period of two years the right of action hereby given shall not be deemed to have lapsed until ninety days after a reasonable opportunity to secure jurisdiction has offered. Sec. 3, art of March 30, 1920 (41 Stat. 537).
That if a person die as the result of such wrongful act, neglect, or default as is mentioned in section 1 during the pendency in a court of admiralty of the United States of a suit to recover damages for personal injuries in respect of such act, neglect, or default, the personal representative of the decedent may be substituted as a party and the suit may proceed as a suit under this Act for the recovery of the compensation provided in section 2. Sec. 5, act of March 30, 1920 (41 'Stat. 537).
That the provisions of any State statute giving or regulating rights of action or remedies for death shall not be affected by this Act. Nor shall this Act apply to the Great Lakes or to any waters within the territorial limits of any State, or to any navigable waters in the Panama Canal Zone. Scc. 7, act of March 30, 1920 (41 Stat. 538).
That this Act shall not affect any pending suits, action, or proceeding. Seo. 8, act of March 30, 1920 (41 Stat. 538).
1838. Recovery of damages by estates of persons killed at sea.--That the l'ecovery in such suit shall be a fair and just compensation for the pecuniary loss sustained by the persons for whose benefit the suit is brought and shall he apportioned among them by the court in proportion to the loss they may severally have suffered by reason of the death of the person by whose representative the suit is brought. Sec. 2, act of March 30, 1920 (41 Stat. 537).
That whenever a right of action is granted by the law of any foreign State on account of death by wrongful act, neglect, or default occurring upon the high seas, such right may be maintained in an appropriate action in admiralty in the courts of the United States without abatement in respect to the amount for which recovery is authorized, any statute of the United States to the contrary notwithstanding. Sec. 4, act of March 30, 1920 (41 Stat. 537).
That in suits under this Act the fact that the decedent has been guilty of contributory negligence shall not bar recovery, but the court shall take into consideration the degree of negligence attributable to the decedent and recluce the recovery accordingly. Sec. 6, act of March 30, 1920 (41 Stat. 537-538).
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PENSIONS AND COMPENSATION FOR DISABILITIES
In military service, 1841.
National Guardsmen, 1842.
Disabled Volunteer Soldiers,
Apportioned to wife or child, 1850.
Presumption of death, 1852.
Proof of marriage, 1853.
Philippine and Boxer
paigns, 1855. Attachment, levy, etc., 1856.
Pledge or transfer, 1857.
Persons in military service, 1858.
Military forces defined, 1867.
l'artial and temporary disability, 1868.
Schedule of earning capacities, 1873.
Compensation for disability--Continued.
Refusal of, 1877.
tirement pay, 1878.
discharge, 1880. Date of death or disability restricted.
Death before enrollment, 1882.
ceased person, 1883. Apportionment among family, 1884. Compensation for death:
Barred by death sentence, 1885.
Age limit, 1894.
Death of but one chud, 1897.
Parent defined, 1898.
Time of filing, 1901.
Fraudulent acceptance, 1907.
Assignment to United States, 1908.
This chapter is not intended to give a full statement of the pension laws, but only so much thereof as will show the general policy of the Government in regard to pen. sions and furnish the information necessary to enable officers to answer the questions likely to arise in the service. For a full statement of the law on the subject, reference is made to the publication of the Pension Bureau, “ Laws of the United States governing the granting of Army and Navy pensions and bounty lands," etc.
l'ensions for disability incurred in the service were granted by R. S. 4692.
Pensions to soldiers and sailors who served ninety days or more in the War of the Rebellion and who are incapacitated for the performance of manual labor, and to their widows and children and dependent parents, were granted by the Invalid Pension act of June 27, 1890, as amended by act of May 9, 1900 (26 Stat, 182 ; 31 Stat. 170).
l'ensions to soldiers of the Indian Wars and to their widows were granted by act of July 27, 1892, act of June 27, 1902, and act of May 30, 1908 (27 Stat. 281, 282; 32 Stat. 399 ; 35 Stat. 553).
Pensions to soldiers and sailors of the Mexican War and to their widows were granted by R. S. 4730, 4731, and by act of Jan. 29, 1887 (24 Stat. 371, 372), act of Jan. 5, 1893 (27 Stat. 413), act of April 23, 1900 (31 Stat, 137), and act of Mar. 3, 1903 (32 Stat. 1228).
Pensions to army nurses were granted by act of Aug. 5, 1892 (27 Stat. 348).
Pensions to any person who served 90 days or more in military or naval service of the United States during the Civil War, or 60 days or more in the war with Mexico, were granted by the service pension act, act of May 11, 1912 (37 Stat. 112, 113, 1019).
No pension was to be allowed or paid to any officer or enlisted man in the RevenueCutter Service by a provision of act of May 27, 1908 (35 Stat. 322).
Pensiops to all persons who served 90 days or more in military or naval service of the United States during the War with Spain, the Philippine insurrection, and the China relief expedition were granted by act of June 5, 1920 (41 Stat. 982-983).
No person duly appointed or commissioned to be an officer of the volunteer service during the War of the Rebellion, and who was subject to the mustering regulations at the time, was to be held to have been mustered into the service and the grade named in his appointment or commission from the date from which he was to take rank under its terms, whether it was actually received by him or not and was entitled to pay, etc., and pension as if actually mustered at that date, by act of Feb. 24, 1897 (29 Stat. 593), which is no longer operative. See 1707, ante.
Oficers of the Officers' Reserve Corps were entitled to pensions only for disability incurred in the line of duty and while in active service, by a provision of sec. 38, act of June 3, 1916 (39 Stat, 190), which was stricken out by sec. 31, act of June 4, 1920 (41 Stat. 775).
Members of the Regular Army Reserve were entitled to pensions only through disability inoured while on active duty in the service of the United States by a provision of sec. 32, act of June 3, 1916 (39 Stat, 188), which was stricked out by sec. 31, act of June 4, 1920 (41 Stat. 775).
For pensions to widows and children, see 1851, post, and notes thereto.
1839. Pensions for disabilities. Every person specified in the several classes enumerated in the following section, who has been, since the fourth day of March, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, or who is hereafter disabled under the conditions therein stated, shall, upon making due proof of the fact, according to such forms and regulations as are or may be provided in pursuance of law, be placed on the list of invalid pensioners of the United States, and be entitled to receive, for a total disability, or a permanent specific disa. bility, such pension as is hereinafter provided in such cases; and for an inferior disability, except in cases of permanent specific disability, for which the rate of pension is expressly provided, an amount proportionate to that provided for total disability; and such pension shall commence as hereinafter provided, and continue during the existence of the disability. R. S. 4692.
The laws providing for gratuities or payments in the event of death in the service and existing pension laws shall not be applicable after the
enactment of this amendment to any person in the active military or naval service on the sixth day of October, nineteen hundred and seventeen, or who thereafter entered the active military or naval service, or to their widows, children, or their dependents, except in so far as rights under any such law have heretofore accrued.
Sec. 312, added to the act of sept. 2, 1914, by sec. 2, act of Oct. 6, 1917 (40 Stat. 408), as amended by scc. 17, act of June 25, 1918 (10 Stat. 613).
Section 4693 is set out post, 1841.
The above change of policy is based on institution of compensation for disability and war-risk insurance.
Notes of Decisions.
Disability.-The disability mentioned in act of Apr. 23, 1800, in order to warrant an application to be admitted on the roll, is that degree of personal disability which renders the individual less abls to provide for his subsistence. The word “ disabled " means any degree of personal disability which renders the individual less able to provide for his subsistence. (1832) 2 Op. Atty. Gen. 542.
The granting of a pension for " permanent specific disability" does not necessarily imply an adjudication that the disability is one wbich can not terminate. A disability may properly be said to be permanent when it appears to be chronic or of indefinite future duration. (1896) 21 Op. Atty. Gen. 287.
Characteristics of pension and nature of pension system.-While there is no vested right in a pension which can not be devested by the mere exercise of the legislative will, if the beneficiaries thereof have any rights, they are vested ones so long only as the statute creating the pension remains in force and unchanged, subject to be devested at any time that the legis. lature may desire. While such a statute, therefore, is in full force, and the right of the beneficiary under it has accrued and is permitted to exist, the rules for the interpretation of contracts may be applied in determining the right of the parties. Rudolph v. U. S. (1911), 36 App. D. C. 379.
A pension is a periodical allowance of money to a person, in the nature partly of a gratuity and partly of payment for past benefits conferred; payment because it is supposed to be in consideration of previous services rendered to the Government or the public, for which the compensation be. fore made, if any, was inadequate in proportion to the benefits received and the ability of the Nation in its prosperity to
pay; a gratuity because it is not ordinarily founded on contract, and in such case can not be demanded as a legal right until the Government has acknowledged its moral obligation and made the grant, As it is purely voluntary, its payment must be made and accepted in exact conformity with the terms of the grant, and must be subject to the limitations, conditions, and exceptions therein contained. Donnelly v. U. S. (1881), 17 Ct. Cl. 105, 108.
A pension is a gratuity involving no claim of right, por agreement of parties, nor rights of third persons.
Harrison v. U. S. (1885), 20 Ct. Cl. 122.
The whole system of pensions is part of the Military Establishment of the Govern. ment(1855) 7 Op. Atty. Gen. 594.
Power of Congress over pensions.--Pen. sions are the bounties of the Government, which Congress has the right to give, with. hold, distribute, or recall, at its discretion. No pensioner has any vested right to his pension.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), 4 Wheat. (17 U. S.) 316; IC. S. p. 97991.
Disease contracted in transitu.--See (1882) 17 Op. Atty. Gen. 437; note under 1841, post. Accrued pensions.-A sergeant in
the Marine Corps who, prior to the enact ruent of the war-risk insurance act of Oct. 6. 1917, had served in the corps for more than 21 years and who had become “ disabled from sea service" by a wound received in action in June, 1916, but who, though en. titled to honorable discharge from the seryice upon Oct. 6, 1917, did not actually receive his discharge until Nov. 5, 1917, is entitled both to the benefits of R. S. 4750 and also to wbatever allowance he may bo otherwise entitled to under the provisions of the war-risk insurance act. 31 Op, Atty. Gen. 296.
1840. Pensions based on injuries in line of duty.- No person shall be entitled to a pension by reason of wounds or injury received or disease contracted in the service of the United States subsequent to the twenty-seventh day of July,