« PreviousContinue »
Sec. 10. That in any case in which suit has been or is hereafter brought on a claim under a contract of vearly renewable term insurance or of United States Government life (converted) insurance, and a court of competent jurisdiction has entered or may hereafter enter a final judgment that the insured became or has become totally and permanently disabled for insurance purposes while such contract sued upon was in force, payments of benefits in accordance with the terms of such contract shall be made and shall continue until said contract is fully satisfied: Provided, however, That in the event that the Veterans' Administration after investigation and hearing granted to the insured, if requested by him, determines that the insured has recovered from his total and permanent disability and by a duly authorized employee or agency makes a finding to this effect, the case shall be referred by the Veterans' Administration to the Department of Justice and the Department of Justice, through the proper officers, may institute an action, either in the District Court of the United States in and for the district in which the insured resides or in the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia, to terminate such payments under such judgment, and jurisdiction is hereby conferred upon such courts to hear and determine all such controversies: Provided further, That payment of total and permanent disability benefits in such cases shall be continued until a court of competent jurisdiction has finally decreed or entered judgment that the insured has recovered from his previous condition of total and permanent disability: Provided further, That in event that such action is instituted and the court finds that the insured has not recovered from his condition of total and permanent disability and is entitled to payment of benefits under his contract of insurance, the court as a part of its judgment or decree shall determine and allow reasonable fees to the attorney or attorneys of the insured for defending such action, such fees to be paid to the attorney or attorneys by the Veterans' Administration out of the military and naval insurance appropriation and not charged against the insured: And provided further, That when an action to terminate payment of total and permanent disability benefits under a contract of yearly renewable term insurance or United States Government life (converted) insurance results in a judgment or decree in favor of the insured, no further contest shall be instituted by any agency of the United States. This section shall be deemed to be in force and effect as of October 6, 1917.
SEC. 11. That in any suit or action now pending or hereafter brought under the provisions of section 19, World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended, in which the final judgment is against the United States, the costs shall be assessed against and paid by the United States by order of the Attorney General of the United States from the appropriations for defense of insurance suits.
SEC. 12. That where service connection of any World War disability has been established, such service connection shall not be severed except in case of proven fraud, where the fraud was a deciding factor in granting such service connection, or where obvious error of pertinent fact exists.
Sec. 13. That section 304, World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended (44 Stat. 799; U. S. C., title 38, sec. 515), is hereby amended to read as follows:
“In the event that all provisions of the rules and regulations other than the requirements as to physical condition of the applicant for insurance have been complied with an application for reinstatement, in whole or in part, of lapsed or canceled yearly renewable term insurance hereafter made may be approved if made on or before June 30, 1945, or as to United States Government life insurance (converted insurance) if made within two years after the date of lapse or cancelation: Provided
That the applicant's disability is the result of an injury or disease, or of an aggravation thereof, suffered or contracted in the active military or naval service during the World War: Provided further, That the applicant during his lifetime submits proof satisfactory to the Administrator showing that he is not totally and permanently disabled. As a condition, however, to the acceptance of an application for the reinstatment of lapsed or canceled yearly renewable term insurance, where the requirements as to the physical condition of the applicant have not been complied with, or for the reinstatement of the United States Government life insurance (converted insurance), the applicant shall be required to pay all the back monthly premniums which would have become payable if such insurance had not lapsed, together with interest at the rate of 5 per centum per annum, compounded annually on each premium from the date said premium is due by the terms of the policy: Provided further, That where on or before June 30, 1945, all of the requirements for reinstatement of yearly renewable term insurance under this section are complied with, except the payment of unpaid premiums with interest, and proof satisfactory to the Administrator is furnished showing the applicant is unable to pay such premiums with interest or some part thereof, the application ma be approved,
and the amount of unpaid premiums with interest as provided in this section shall be placed as an indebtedness, without interest, against the insurance, to be deducted in any settlement thereunder: And provided further, That, except as provided in this section as amended, and section 301 of the World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended, no yearly renewable term insurance shall be reinstated after July 2, 1927, and upon approval of reinstatement as provided herein the applicant shall be required to contract for one of the forms of United States Government life insurance provided in section 301, World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended."
Sec. 14. That effective on the date of enactment of this Act loans heretofore or hereafter made by the insured under any contract of United States Government life insurance shall bear interest at a rate not in excess of 442 per centum per
Sec. 15. That that part of the first proviso of section 200, World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended (44 Stat. 793; U. S. C. 1934 edition, title 38, sec. 471), following the first sentence, pertaining to conclusive presumption of soundness, is hereby reenacted into law and shall apply to all claims of World War veterans and their dependents for compensation on account of service-connected disabilities.
Sec. 16. That any rating of World War service-connected disability which has been placed on a permanent basis and which has been in effect for a period of five years shall not be reduced: Provided, That this section shall apply to permanent ratings in effect on the date of enactment of this Act as well as permanent ratings made hereafter: Porvided further, That this section shall not be construed to affect claims for increased compensation.
Sec. 17. The Administrator of Veterans' Affairs is hereby authorized and directed to pay the following monthly hospital allowance to the wife, child, or children, and dependent parent or parents of any World War veteran hospitalized in a Veterans' Administration facility for the treatment of a disability not due to service: Provided, That claim for benefits under this section shall be filed by such person in the form prescribed by the Administrator of Veterans Affairs, before the termination of the period of such hospitalization: Provided further, That the claimant for allowance authorized under this section shall furnish proof satisfactory to the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs that he or she is in indigent circumstances: And provided further, That where claim is duly filed during a period of hospitalization the award of allowance as provided herein, if otherwise authorized, shall be effective from the date of admission of the veteran to the Veterans' Administration facility but not prior to the date of enactment of this Act, and the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs may require proof of the continuation of the indigency under regulations to be prescribed by him: Wife, $10; wife and one child, $15 (with $5 for each additional child); no wife, one child, $10 (with $5 for each additional child); dependent mother or father, either or both dependent upon the veteran for support, $10 for each parent so dependent.
The definitions and administrative and penal provisions applicable to claims under Public Law Numbered 2, Seventy-third Congress, March 20, 1933, and amendments thereto, shall be applicable to this section.
Sec. 18. In the case of any office or employment by the Veterans' Administration in connection with which quarters, subsistence, heat, light, household equipment, laundry service, or other service or commodity is furnished any civilian officer or employee in such office or employment whose basic salary is less than $2,000 per annum may clect whether or not to make use of any such service or commodity (without regard to its availability or nonavailability), and in case of election not to utilize such service or commodity such officer or employee shall not be charged for such service or commodity. This section shall be applicable whether employees are appointed or employed before or after the date of the enactment of this Act. Nothing in this section shall change or affect any existing power of administrative officers to require necessary attendance of employees at post of duty. This section shall be effective the 1st day of the month following its enactment.
Captain KIRBY. With its membership composed exclusively of men whose disabilities are attributable to the World War, the Disabled American Veterans has consistently concerned itself with the problems of the service-connected veterans and their dependents. Hence, the foundation of this program rests upon the cause of the men handicapped by war service and their immediate families.
The first point on the D. A. V. program calls for full compensation for all men hospitalized for service-connected disabilities. Today
an unmarried veteran may be ordered to a hospital for treatment of his wartime ailment but, regardless of what compensation to which he might otherwise be entitled, he is paid but $15 per month while in the institution. We submit that during the period of hospitalization these men are in fact 100 percent economically handicapped and should be so compensated while receiving treatment.
We believe there should be an extention of time so the unmarried widow of any wartime disabled should be eligible for full benefits. As it stands today, if the marriage is subsequent to 1931, the widow is denied relief. While it is true that following earlier wars and when veterans became well advanced in age they married younger women, some of whom continue even today on the pension rolls, the limitation of the marriage date to 1931 is, in our judgment, too close to the end of the World War. Statistics show that about 80 percent of the soldiers, sailors, and marines were unmarried. This was caused by the policy of the Government to make a special effort to get single men into the military and naval service in 1917. The men returning with disabilities resulting from the war, in many cases, delayed marriage because of the impossibility of enjoying the usual social relationships. Today the veteran is at an average age of about 43 but, under the law as it exists, the average veteran who did not marry before he was 35 finds that if his wife outlives him she will be ineligible for the benefits that flow to the widows of those wedded closer to the armistice. We favor extension of this period for marriage to 1935.
The CHAIRMAN. Captain Kirby, would it disturb you to be interrupted?
Captain KIRBY. Not at all.
The CHAIRMAN. That limitation does not apply to children, does it?
Captain KIRBY. No; but I am speaking of the unmarried woman.
The CHAIRMAN. But the children are taken care of, regardless of when the injury took place?
Captain KIRBY. Yes.
The CHAIRMAN. What date would you suggest moving this up to? You would prefer to have some date fixed, would you not?
Captain Kirby. We offer 1935.
Captain Kirby. Yes; I say, "we favor extension of this period for marriage to 1935.”
No more delicate subject comes before this committee than the matter of so-called misconduct. By delicate I do not mean that this condition should not be discussed with utmost frankness as we face stern reality rather than abstract theory. Thousands of men who served honorably and courageously in the time of national peril are today social outcasts, with the sins of their indiscretions being visited upon their innocent relatives. It is our opinion this issue should no longer be avoided by Congress. However, with the case properly diagnosed, we now come definitely to the question of the proper prescription to cure the ill. Our Milwaukee convention met this situation with the following proposal:
That in case of veterans who performed full military duty during the service, they shall not be denied any benefits to which they are otherwise entitled through the injection of alleged misconduct.
To state this differently, it means that the D. A. V. feels that if a man is entitled to compensation for a certain service-connected
disability the Veterans' Administration shall be prohibited from denying relief because of alleged misconduct. It is conceded that the drafting of such a measure and its proper administration presents a most difficult problem. We then come to the question of whether the law should be guardedly liberalized or whether we should go all the way and accept the disabilities growing out of misconduct as incidents of war service.
At this time the D. A. V. is collaborating with members of this committee, officials of the Veterans' Administration, and the representatives of other service groups in an endeavor to work out a solution. We hope to be able to present a reasonable remedy and, by "reasonable remedy" is meant a bill with reasonable chances of enactment, rather than going so far as to prevent cure through Executive veto.
We urge the establishment in the Veterans' Administration of a permanent medical corps. On the average, the medical officers of the Army and Navy were about a dozen years older than the enlisted men.
Mrs. ROGERS. You mean by that the nurses also?
Most properly the Veterans' Administration for years recruited its medical personnel largely from those who saw war service. Now, these physicians, surgeons, dentists, and nurses are speedily approaching the age when they cannot give the service it is desired by all that the veteran should receive. Through the establishment of a medical corps, it would not be the intention to force out of the Veterans' Administration those who are today rendering proper care. Nor, is there any threat in this proposal that would eliminate large numbers in the immediate future merely because of the enactment. Acting upon the advice of medical organizations, the Administration has commenced to infiltrate into its forces the junior class of professional personnel who will gradually rise in the ranks until properly equipped to take the places of those forced into retirement. The Army, the Navy, and the Public Health Service, each, have their respective Medical Corps which provide proper protection for tenure of office and reasonable promotion. The Veterans' Administration is being forced to commence to recruit, in considerable numbers, physicians, surgeons, dentists, and nurses, who will adopt this work as their career. In order to provide proper inducements there must be a system of protection and promotion, which would be the underlying purpose of the proposed corps. This plan has the support of not only the Administration personnel but also outstanding specialists and recognized medical associations, so we feel that Congress should explore this question in the hope that authority will be granted to obtain and retain the highest standard of medical care for the war. time disabled.
One of the most humane pieces of independent legislation that ever came out of this committee was the bill sponsored by your chairman to provide certain benefits to the widows and children, or orphans, of deceased service-connected men. The Rankin Act calls for allow. ances for dependents of compensable men who die--regardless of the immediate cause of death-if the veteran, when he passes on, is receiving a 30-percent rating. In the light of the operation of the Rankin law, we feel that the percentage requirement in this statute should be reduced. Assuming that there should be substantial objec
tion to entirely removing the percentage requirement, we feel that it should be at least dropped to 20 percent. There are considerable numbers of veterans being compensated in the range between 20 and 30 percent under the existing law, meaning that in thousands of cases their dependents are left without any protection when the concededly wartime-disabled man dies from other than his compensable disability.
The CHAIRMAN. Captain Kirby, if it would not disturb you to interrupt you at that point, would you agree to drop it to 10 percent?
Captain KIRBY. I would agree to go all the way.
If the chairman will recall, and the older members of the committee will recall, when there was active agitation for widows' and orphans' pension before this committee, the Rankin bill was really offered to get something when it appeared as though we were to get nothing in the way of a general widow and orphans pension.
This committee has already gone rather exhaustively in recent days in the matter of allowances to widows and orphans. It is desired at this time to emphasize the point that, within a very few months, thousands of beneficiaries of war-risk insurance payments, resulting because of death on the battlefield, will suddenly have their relief stopped through the fact that the full face value of the policies will have been eaten up by the 240 successive payments of $57.50 each. For the most part these are the aged parents of those who died in France; and some appreciation of the extreme seriousness is shown by the fact that, next year, more than 70,000 of the aged fathers and mothers of these men who fell facing the enemy will be stunned by an abrupt halt on the checks which they had been receiving for nearly a score of years. In our opinion, this is a situation that the present session of Congress should not and cannot avoid. We strongly urge an increase in allowances to the widows and orphans, as well as stepchildren and aged parents, of those who died from service-connected disabilities. Our bill provides that a widow of a wartime disabled man with no child shall receive $60.
Mrs. ROGERS. Mr. Chairman, may I interrupt?
The widow and one child, $75; the widow and two children, $87 (with $10 for each additional child); no widow but one child, $30; no widow but two children, $54, with $20 for each additional child, these amounts to be equally divided. Where there is a widow or child and a dependent mother or father, that dependent mother or father would receive $30; and where there is no widow or child, the dependent mother or father, $60.
The CHAIRMAN. Does that apply only to service-connection?
Captain KIRBY. Only to service-connected cases. These tables, Mr. Chairman, are centered entirely on the service-connected group.
Mrs. ROGERS. It would not interfere with any other bill?
Captain KIRBY. This would not interfere, at all, with the bills for general widows and orphans you have under discussion. This is an increased allowance to the dead service-connected group, as compared to the pension or allowance to widows and orphans, regardless of any disability of the veterans.