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General HINES. If the finding were made that the disability occurred not in the line of duty, and was due to his own misconduct or willful misconduct he would be out. Now, the type of bill you may have in mind would correct that type of cases, and I think it should. I think that those cases, unless a man is performing some act clearly out of line with reason, some misconduct of some kind that we could not countenance, or absence without leave, or attempting to desert, or something of that kind, I should think he should be included.
The CHAIRMAN. How much misconduct is there in riding a freight train back to your command?
General HINES. Well, the misconduct is brought about in that case due to the finding that this disability occurred not in the line of duty and due to his own misconduct or willful misconduct.
Mrs. ROGERS. Mr. Chairman, I think it is true, is it not, that they have several cases where the men have lost both legs?
General HINES. I have a number of other examples here, Mr. Chairman, which I can put in the record. But as you are limited for time, I want to call attention to the bill itself, so that you can know just what it will do.
Of course, the theory underlying the proposed measure is that the veterans of the World War and their dependents shall not be denied directly or presumptively service-connected benefits by reason of the veteran's wilful misconduct, providing that such misconduct did not interfere during service with the full performance of military or naval
Now, you have taken care of the dependents in your last bill (Public, No. 844, which amended Public, No. 484), where death was due to misconduct cause. But, of course, the dependents of a veteran not entitled to pension, compensation, or retired pay either directly or presumptively service connected, are not taken care of, because they are not on the rolls, at all, and are not in receipt of compensation of a certain degree, as required by the act.
The CHAIRMAN. But they are hospitalized, are they not, General? General Hines. They are hospitalized; yes.
The CHAIRMAN. Then this bill, instead of adding that many men on the rolls, would also reduce the expense of hospitalizing a great many of them, who would leave the hospitals and go back home, if this bill were passed?
General HINES. I am not sure, Mr. Chairman, whether that would be so or not. It may in some cases, of course, but in the paralysis group, as Dr. Shapiro can confirm, you find many helpless cases, and naturally they will be with us, because they require care.
Dr. SHAPIRO. They are dying quite rapidly, so the number will be constantly reduced.
General HINES. That will depend upon the skill of the Doctor's own profession. They are developing new forms of treatment, which apparently prolong life, and some of them may be with us for a long time.
Mrs. Rogers. There is a number of cases now coming into Walter Reed Hospital, so the surgeon tell me.
General HINES. I could not answer that, because I am not in possession of the facts. We hear many charges of neglect, some that are correct and some that are not correct.
Mr. BRADLEY. Is it not a fact that, in a great many big cities, where the Army and Navy had headquarters, such as in London and Paris, and so on, that they never opened up prophylactic stations until they had been there a year, and in a good many cases, 30 or 40 of those had already contracted the disease?
General Hines. I have no doubt that is so, Congressman. I doubt if the stations which you make reference to were as effective as we sometimes think they should be.
Mr.-BRADLEY. I have personal knowledge of some of them.
General HINES. The committees of Congress have felt that any change in the legislation would be against good public policy, because the War Department had an order which made it an offense for these men to expose themselves. I believe that the Congress could very well give us liberal legislation, so we could select cases, in other words, that would merit consideration, as against those where it was willful misconduct and where the disability is not meritorious.
Under the provisions of the old World War Veterans' Act, which Captain Miller referred to, when these men reached the point where they were unable to carry on, became helpless, bedridden, they went on the rolls. There was some objection to that. They felt we were making a mistake in not picking those men up sooner. We picked them up soon enough, but they did not become eligible for compensation until they reached that point. That met the situation very well at that time. However, for treatment and care, we did take them earlier than that, but they did not draw compensation until later.
Mr. CONNERY. General, that provision there, "such misconduct did not interfere during service with the full performance of military or naval duty”-take the man that jumped the freight train
General HINES. Well, I doubt if that should be held against him. He was properly away on a pass, and undoubtedly the beginning there of the misconduct was due to his attempt to ride on the freight train, when probably his officers at the camp had ordered him to keep off of such things.
Mrs. Rogers. General, has any President ever signed any bill taking in the misconduct cases?
General Hines. The President signed the widows and orphans bill. The CHAIRMAN. Public 484?
General HINES. Yes; when amended by Public No. 844, Seventyfourth Congress, but the other bills for service pensions were passed when the misconduct bar was taken out—they called it "vicious habits.” That bill was passed over the Presidential veto.
Mrs. ROGERS. Yes; I remember that.
General HINES. There were several vetoes preceding that, that were sustained. There was one, as I recall, in President Cleveland's administration, that was sustained. But the Spanish War legislation that finally took the vicious-habits clause out was passed over a Presidential veto.
Mrs. Rogers. I think the President vetoed every single one of the private bills.
General Hines. Yes. I am not sure about that, but generallyThe CHAIRMAN. Let me say in that connection that President Hoover vetoed a bill here in 1930 which had this provision in it, but my recollection is he did not mention this provision in his veto message. I may be wrong as to that.
Mr. ATKINSON. I want to ask Mr. Connery a question as to why the case cited by General Hines is not included in the provisions of this bill. I remember when I was trying to get back to my command that I jumped trucks or anything else, in order to get back, and I certainly had no willful intent in mind, but I was simply trying to get back.
Mr. CONNERY. I am in favor of that; yes.
Mr. ATKINSON. You asked the question of General Hines and I know, because I have had personal experience.
General Hines. I might say to the Congressman that even now the other type of case which I cited is being considered with the hope that by decision of the Solicitor, we can bring them in somewhere. We are in favor of those cases and we are in favor of the type of case where the misconduct comes in the picture even contributory to the disability, and we cannot take care of them. Those are the cases that are hard to decide.
Mr. CONNERY. He and I would be in the same class, when I jumped a truck to get over to Toul, to get some squash pie.
General HINES. What I mean is, and it is understood, we say that a man may be exempted from the misconduct provision when it did not interfere with his military duty.
Mr. CONNERY. Well, that man that jumped the freight and whose leg was cut off could not perform military duty for a couple of months, could he?
General Hines. That is true. We interpret the bill and say in our report that there has been an interference with military duty. Mr. CONNERY. I want to make sure that that man is taken care of.
Mr. ENGLE. Would not there be a distinction in the one case, the freight train case, where there was an order prohibiting them from taking a freight; and in the other case, there was no order prohibiting them from going back by way of a truck? I want to ask this one question: This bill does not apply, as I understand it, to a blind case, where a man is attempting to get a total nonservice-connected disability, and his having acquired the disease is all due to his own misconduct?
General Hines. The totally blind service-connected cases on the rolls March 19, 1933, are already covered by a section in the existing law, whether the blindness is due to misconduct or not. So there is no argument about the service-connected blind cases.
Mr. ENGEL. I had in mind a case where a blind man applied for a total-disability payment of $30 a month, nonservice connected.
General Hines. As to service-connected cases, they were put on the rolls prior to March 20. If he was on the rolls prior to March 20, he remained and should go back on the rolls. Now, this would cover the blind case. If the disability was incurred if he had any serviceconnected disability and misconduct comes in as contributing to his disability, he would come in. In other words, he would not be barred. As in many cases, the claim is made by the veteran that his blindness is due to something else, and the doctor finds a trace of syphilis, or a venereal disease, in the case, then they say it is due to the syphilis, rather than due to the other disability, this bill would enable us to take that man, when he does not go on now. The straight nonservice cases would still be out, as I understand it, and it is not the desire of the committee to legislate for those.
The CHAIRMAN. General, it costs us $120 a month to hospitalize a man, does it not?
General Hines. Well, that is the average, taking all types of cases.
The CHAIRMAN. If any man who is now in the hospital, who went on the rolls, under this bill, and left the hospital, instead of him being an additional expense to the Government, it would be a saving, would it not?
General Hines. Well, probably you would have a condition, Mr. Chairman-if he went away from the hospital, it would be, but we might have a combination where we add to the present hospitalization the payment of compensation. No; I think we have to estimate the additional cost, or at least the additional possible cost for the number of cases we put on the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me say to you, General, that last year, I visited several hospitals, and I found a great many of these men who were there because they could not get compensation, or be taken care of
way. General Hines. Well, undoubtedly there are some; how many, I cannot say.
The CHAIRMAN. I will not say how many, but I say I saw a great many men and they told me they were there because they could not get any governmental assistance otherwise.
General HINES. May I invite the committee's attention to the first proviso to section 200 of the World War Veterans' Act of 1924, as amended, which was repealed by section 17 of the Economy Act, that read in this way (reading]:
Provided, That no persons suffering from paralysis, paresis, or blindness, shall be denied compensation by reason of willful misconduct, nor shall any person who is helpless or bedridden as the result of any disability be denied compensation by reason of willful misconduct.
That was the law prior to the Economy Act, and which, as the chairman said in the beginning, did much to help this situation.
In other words, a veteran suffering from paralysis or paresis or blindness or who was helpless or bedridden, even though such conditions resulted from willful misconduct, was allowed disability compensation benefits, if otherwise entitled, under the World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended. However, the dependents of such veterans were not allowed death compensation benefits when the death resulted from such conditions.
Now, Public, 484, in my judgment, has to some extent corrected that, if the veteran, himself, at time of death was entitled to compensation for 30 percent permanent disability or more.
Mr. Engel. When you get through, I would like to ask you some questions.
General HINES. Under the veterans regulations issued as a part of the Economy Act, we had this regulation known as veterans' regulation no. 10, which provided:
A disability will be held to have resulted from misconduct when it is due to venereal disease, unless it is affirmatively shown that the disease, was, in fact, innocently acquired, other than through the sexual relation, or when caused by an act of commission or omission, wrong in itself; or by an act contrary to the principles of good morals; or as the result of gross negligence, gross carelessness, alcoholism, drug addiction, self infliction of wounds, etc.
Title 3 of Public, No. 141, Seventy-third Congress, March 28, 1934 which reenacted certain of the provisions of the World War Veterans
Act, 1924, as amended, and thereby restored, with limitations, certain of the benefits payable thereunder to World War veterans, did not extend to any cases coming within the purview of the first proviso of section 200 of the World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended, quoted above, except that section 26 of Public, No. 141, Seventy-third Congress, provided a protection to those veterans, who had lost the use of both eyes, by barring any reduction or discontinuance of compensation if they were in receipt of compensation on March 19, 1933, except as to reductions pertaining to hospitalized cases. This is the only group of World War veterans now entitled to compensation for misconduct disabilities.
The bill under consideration goes further than the first proviso of section 200 of the World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended, by embracing all conditions due to willful misconduct.
That may be the reason, Congressman Engel, that the man you mentioned did not come in, because he probably was not on the rolls prior to that. This is as to the World War veterans now entitled to compensation, and the bill under consideration, of course, as I have stated, goes further than the first proviso of section 200.
The veteran who had a condition incurred by willful misconduct while in the service but who avoided reporting the condition and receiving treatment therefor, as was required by the military and naval regulations, would be eligible for benefits under the bill based upon the absence of any information on the report of the service department showing hospitalization or treatment for the condition which would constitute interference during service with the full performance of military or naval duty. In such cases the fact that the veteran violated the service regulations by not reporting for treatment would redound to his advantage under the terms of the bill, whereas the veteran who did comply with the service regulations and reported for treatment, which perhaps enabled him to perform more efficient service for the remainder of his enlistment than the man who did not report, would be barred from benefits under the bill.
As the bill includes misconduct conditions service connected by statuory presumption, there would result a decided discrimination in favor of the presumptive cases, as the absence of information showing the existence of the misconduct condition during service in these cases will not result in a denial of benefits unless the evidence otherwise rebuts service connection by establishing the inception of the condition prior or subsequent to service.
It is possible that large numbers of veterans suffering from misconduct disabilities who have never been allowed service connection would be granted service connection and paid benefits under the bill at a total increased cost which cannot be estimated and, in addition, if it can be assumed that all of the 1,800 World War misconduct cases which were dropped from the rolls as the result of the operation of . Public, No. 2, Seventy-third Congress, and not restored by section 26 of Public, No. 141, Seventy-third Congress, would be restored by this bill, it is estimated that the annual cost would approximate $1,882,000 as to the 1,800 cases. There is also for consideration the increased cost of paying the dependents of deceased veterans under this bill which it is not possible to estimate. The granting of service connection to a large number of cases would operate to place a rela