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you want to give to the mothers, whose sons did not think enough of them to take out insurance, all of the benefits and privileges and prerogatives—you want this Congress to do that—of those persons whose sons did make some effort to take care of them?
Mr. RICE. No; you misunderstand me, Mr. Congressman. Mr. GRISWOLD. I am trying to get your position. Mr. Rice. No; that is not the point. We want to keep the two relationships separate and apart. The insurance contract is one thing; and the obligation of the Government to provide pensions to the widows and orphans and dependents of those who were killed in action or who died by reason of service-connected disabilities is another thing. We propose that the pension group should receive a horizontal increase on the basis of the actual need for that increase, without any regard to this insurance situation. At the same time, I am also thinking of those whose insurance payments are terminating, and, therefore, causing even a greater pressing need for this group who are receiving pension payments. There is not any lack of sympathy for those who are receiving insurance payments, but we believe that both groups should be treated the same, as far as the pension is concerned. Do I make myself clear?
The CHAIRMAN. You do to me.
Mr. Griswold. I think you do, but you do not make yourself clear as to my idea.
Mr. SAUTHOFF. It seems to me, that, if you pursue that policy, you are seriously jeopardizing the chances of those who are going to be in dire need in a year or two, as the chairman has suggested. I cannot agree with the attitude that you have expressed here about the difference between the contractual relationship and the other relationship, because to me it is of no particular importance. The question that is important to me is: How great is the need?
Mr. Rice. We agree with you.
Mr. SAUTHOFF. And I would a whole lot rather, as far as my personal view is concerned, give more generous contributions to those who have the greater need, than to just make a general, sweeping, horizontal raise to everybody, irrespective of what their situation
Mr. Rice. In other words, Congressman, am I to understand that you might favor legislation which would, in fact, provide for a horizontal increase to all of this particular class, except those who continue to receive benefits from their insurance policies?
Mr. SAUTHOFF. Yes; sure. I could therefore be more generous in what I give the others, because I know, like the chairman does, that we are not going to pass anything and everything.
Mr. Rice. What I wanted to emphasize particularly was, that we should give the same pension treatment to those who have not had any insurance payments. The way we have just stated it now is somewhat different; that is, to provide an increase in pensions to all in this particular class, except as to those who continue to receive insurance payments.
Mr. SAUTHOFF. Well, my approach is different. I approach it from necessity.
Mr. Rice. Would provide needs clauses all the way through?
Mr. SAUTHOFF. Well, I am inclined to think that, if it were left to me, I would approach the amount that I paid on the basis of need.
I would be a little more generous, because I would have more money to give.
Mr. RICE. Of course you would.
Mr. GRISWOLD. That is the very thing I am trying to get at, what the chairman is talking about. It seems to me, on your proposition if I understood you—and maybe I do not
Mr. Rice. I certainly hope I make myself clear.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Under your plan, you are working discrimination here, in a way, no matter what kind of gain you are going to make. Whether it is life or legislation, you have got to play by the rules.
There is a certain rule in this thing that we follow, where the fellow took out war-risk insurance, who thought enough of them to protect them.
Mr. Rice. That is right.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Now, you have the other case of the fellow that never protected them, had no intention of protecting them, and if he were living today he probably would not support them; and as I take it, under your plan, you want to give the same rights and benefits to the others as you want to give to this fellow that had enough integrity and love for his parents to make provisions for them when he had the opportunity.
Mr. Rice. It is very easy to misunderstand that, I can see, because if you approach it from one way, you would discriminate against those who had taken out policies, because you would make it impossible for their dependents to receive as much pension as those who did not have the thoughtfulness to take out insurance policies.
Mr. GRISWOLD. I am thinking of this man who had the thoughtfulness to do it; and if we did not have the rule, I would say it was a different proposition, if it was all gratuitous to everybody.
Mr. Rice. Then we must take into consideration the fundamental question of need, and those who have not had the benefit of the insurance payments all of this time are very likely in greater need.
Mr. GRISWOLD. There was a contractual relation, of which this man availed himself of that was in the Army, as every man could avail himself of the opportunity to take care of his own.
Mr. RICE. Most certainly. However, some of them did not have the opportunity. Some were too ignorant to do so.
Mr. GRISWOLD. Just to state the proposition, the way I think about it, just in the way of human nature, that any man that did not take care of them when he was in the Army and had the opportunity to do so, would not be very likely to take care of them now.
Mr. Rice. They are certainly in need of being taken care of, Mr. Congressman.
Mrs. Rogers. Will the gentleman yield?
Mrs. ROGERS. And is it not true that, at that time, some of the men did not take out insurance because their families did not need it? Mr. Rice. Yes;
that is true. Mrs. ROGERS. They were prosperous, and then later on they lost everything they had?
Mr. RICE. That is true.
The CHAIRMAN. There is another element that seems to be overlooked, that is the fact that a great many of these men dropped their insurance after the war closed.
Mr. RicE. Yes; some men that could not afford to pay for the insurance and, therefore, their families suffer.
The CHAIRMAN. Some of them could not pay for it, and some yielded to the arguments of insurance agents and others that it was best to go somewhere else for their insurance.
Mr. GRISWOLD. I did the same thing and the company I went into went broke, but I am not holding the Government to blame for it, and I do not think the other fellow ought to.
The CHAIRMAN. We must admit this: That the mothers and fathers are not responsible for that condition.
Mr. RICE. That is the very point I am trying to make, Mr. Chairman, that there are dependent mothers and fathers whose sons did not have the thoughtfulness to take out the insurance policies for them, possibly because they did not need to do so and did not anticipate the future. There might have been a thousand-and-one reasons, and we do not believe they should be penalized because of that fact. On the other hand, we do not want to penalize those who are receiving insurance payments; and, therefore, the only way we can get out of that sort of dilemma is to provide the same rates of pensions for both groups.
Now, if the committee should decide that it wants to provide the increase to all of those who are dependent, except those who are continuing to receive insurance payment, I would have to give more reflection as to whether we might be for it, or not. But it would seem to discriminate against those whose sons had been thoughtful about their parents.
The CHAIRMAN. A man in the Army who was receiving $30 a month and, as the boys expressed it, deducting $29 for all the various charges, if his parents were in fairly good circumstances, he did not have to make an allowance to them, and he was in better position to take out insurance than the man who had to send home a part of his monthly salary, to take care or help take care of his parents. I appreciate that fact.
Now, as Grover Cleveland once said, "This is a condition and not a theory," that confronts us; and I presume there are none on this committee who would go farther for these disabled veterans or their parents than I would go, but it is a question of how far we can go, and if we cannot go the whole way, I want to know what you suggest and where you suggest the line should be drawn.
Mr. BRADLEY. Mr. Chairman, in view of the fact, as the chairman suggests, that it is not because he would not like to see this legislation, but because possibly it might not be able to be passed-would not your organization be in favor of a law that would state that, as and when the benefits terminated, they could be eligible for pensions?
Mr. Rice. You mean provide that as to those who did not have any such insurance?
Mr. BRADLEY. Well, include them, too, and include the cases where the insurance is terminating, so as to be able to take care of them as their insurance terminates, rather than forego the benefits for everybody?
Mr. Rice. That is a poser, I will admit that.
Mrs. ROGERS. Mr. Rice, do you not feel that the rate of compensation is too small for the widows?
Mr. Rice. That is the very thing I have tried to emphasize, that the basic rate should be increased.
Mrs. Rogers. I agree with you so thoroughly there.
Mr. Rice. For example, a dependent parent, if there is one single parent, he or she only gets $20 a month; if they are two, they receive $30. If there was an insurance policy, the mother would get $57.50. Now, those mothers whose sons did not take out insurance policies, if it is the mother only, she gets $20 a month. She is in need of an increase. I am speaking on behalf of those mothers whose sons failed to do so, because they are fundamentally in need of an increased amount.
Mr. Rice. Mr. Chairman, may I interpose at this point that we had hoped that the estimates to be made by the Veterans Administration as to the probable costs of that section of each bill that was to come up for consideration by this committee might have been made available prior to the time of our testimony,
The CHAIRMAN. You had hoped what?
Mr. Rice. That the estimates of the probable cost as to each section of each bill that we have up for consideration before this committee might have been made available here before we had been called on for our testimony, so that those facts could be weighed properly, but, unfortunately, they have not yet been made available. We have requested the Veterans' Administration to prepare a comparative chart from its present chart, showing the various rates and inequalities of rates in the amounts now paid to widows and orphans and dependent mothers and fathers of deceased service-connected disabled veterans, and those not service-connected, but it has not yet been completed. We would like very much to have that chart, when completed, made a part of the record here; if not submitted by General Hines, then as a part of my testimony, because it is very important to know what the basic amounts are paid to the various classifications of widows and orphans and dependent parents
The CHAIRMAN. When we finish with the representatives of the veterans' organizations, we are going to have General Hines, or some representative of the Veterans' Administration-I presume it will be General Hines---give us those estimates and put them in the record. I cannot give you the estimates because I have to depend on some statistician in the Veterans' Administration to get up these estimates
I do not have all of the facts, you understand, and even if I did, I am not statistician enough to work them out.
Mr. Rice. The same situation holds true with us. In response to the statement the chairman made to the effect that he had not received any pressure or letters in any substantial number from widows now receiving benefits, requesting an increase in such amounts, may I call your attention to the fact that they have been receiving such amounts for many years, and they have been advised by their respective veterans' organizations that is all the law makes possible. They have had to accomodate themselves regardless of how deficient the money might be, they have had to have their income supplemented either by labor, which they were not in position to perform, or through supplemental appropriations from the veterans' organizations, charitable organizations, and the State and county relief agencies. Therefore, there has been no particular reason for the sending of a lot of letters. If you want them, we can perhaps arrange it.
The CHAIRMAN. I know a barrage can be laid down at any time. Everywhere I go they seem to find out I am at least connected with the Veterans' Committee, and people of all classes come to me about
taking care of widows and orphans and always request-I will say practically always, and I do not remember offhand any instance to the contrary-it is always in the interest of someone who is not drawing anything. They are not asking for an increase for these widows or these orphans, but they want to know why this widow over here, whose husband was just as good a soldier as that woman's, why she and her children are living out there in a hovel, without anything.
Mr. Rice. And our organization is very interested in that class.
The CHAIRMAN. That is the reason I say that the pressure that has come to me has not been so much-very little of it has been for an increase in the compensation now paid—but the overwhelming majority of it has been for taking care of the ones who are not drawing compensation, or to look out for the dependent parents and others who are likely to suffer as the result of the termination of these insurance payments.
Mr. Rice. True, and I am about to bring that out in the third classification in this one bill, because we certainly are in favor of such class of widows and orphans being taken care of. I did want, however, to call attention to the fact that it is a serious factor that those who are now receiving something are confronted with, but they know that is what the law provides, and they are not going to continue to write letters about it, when it will not do them any good.
Nevertheless, the veterans' organizations do have to supplement those amounts, or see to it that they are supplemented some way or other, and have become aware of need of a horizontal increase for such widows and orphans and mothers and fathers.
The second class that we are more concerned about is the widows and orphans of those veterans who, prior to death, were suffering with a permanent 30-percent degree of disability or more, but who died by reason of some other disability. The widow of that class of veteran, after death, received $22 per month, and if she has one child, $30 per month, and so on up in accordance with the number of dependents and the increased age of the widow.
The CHAIRMAN. That is under Public, 484?
Mr. Rice. Yes. We would, in effect, provide that the amounts payable to this particular group should be also increased by substantially 50 percent over and above what they are now receiving. In other words, we would increase the $22 rate for the single widow, with no children, from $22 per month to $34; and the widow with one child, from $30 up to $45; substantially a 50-percent increase for the entire group as to the various classifications and
The CHAIRMAN. Would you think that would be better than to lower that 30 percent or wipe out the percent, and just leave it “service connected” and take care of the widows and orphans that I have been talking about, who are drawing nothing?
Mr. RICE. Will you please restate that?
The CHAIRMAN. Here is a man out here who had a 10-percent rating, who is rated 10-percent service-connected disabled. He died in an automobile wreck, or had typhoid fever, something not connected with his service. Now, would it be better to increase the compensation to the class you are talking about, or to lower that percentage and take care of these mothers and these widows and orphans who are drawing nothing?
Mr. Rice. We are in favor of both of those things.