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But if we could devise some way of assisting these disabled veterans in getting up their cases, in presenting them properly under the rules, I think we would have gone a long way toward accomplishing or reaching the objective that we are striving to reach. How that ought to be done I do not know. I hesitate to invite any more of the veterans in my district to send their cases to me, because I have lots to do and I know that the service organizations have lots to do.
As far as the appeals board is concerned, my experience has not been so bad down there. I discovered that, if I go down with a good case, frequently I get an adverse decision reversed.
Captain KIRBY. You will get a lot more business, whether you invite it or not, if that is your record.
Mr. HALLECK. If we were back home practicing law for a living, it would be lovely.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Halleck, if a man took the time to go down and argue every case that comes into his office, he would not have time to do anything else.
Mr. HALLECK. That is the trouble. But what are we going to do? I am willing to be the contact man for the veterans of my district, but at the same time I recognize that the work may soon get to be unbearable
upon those who have not the time to do it. Mrs. ROGERS. You feel that the contact people inside of the board were not doing as much to assist the veterans?
Mr. HalLECK. Now, suppose we set up some governmental organization designed to assist these veterans in presenting their cases, they may have to be partisan; that is, they would have to take the lawyer's attitude on the prosecution side to present the cases.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me say to the members of the committee
Mr. HALLECK. Of course, I agree with you, Mr. Chairman, that we could be eaten up with experts in a little while. But on the other hand, if we so surround the veteran with restrictions that he cannot get competent advice in presenting his case, we, in a measure, have made it impossible for the board or the determining agency to really get him a fair deal.
The CHAIRMAN. Let me say to the new members, that all three of these veterans' organizations have men here who will present these cases before the appeals board, if he will call on them. If I went down and argued every case that came to my desk, I would not even have time to read my mail.
Mr. HALLECK. I have gone down several times, and it takes a lot of time, because you may sit around an hour waiting for them to get
The CHAIRMAN. Captain Kirby, you may proceed.
Captain Kirby. We have this situation today on the administration question. There are contact units of men who are supposed to act as the representatives of the men, and for all of the service organizations-one of the heaviest items on their annual budgets have been paid full time staff employees to help these veterans who may have the sincere belief that they have meritorious cases. Take the case of a man who is going to bring his case in to Washington, and when he is determined to bring it in here, the case should be developed to the last degree by, as Mr. Halleck said, somebody representing the Government. If for no other reason, it would reduce the flow coming into Washington, that is so costly.. Obviously that is a problem for
the Administration to try to stop. I would suggest that it might be very properly asked of General Hines, when he appears.
Mr. HALLECK. There is just one other observation I would like to make, however, as to the Captain's statement a moment ago: It is the hardest job in the world for me to say to a veteran, “You had better not bring that case in here, because you may lose what you have already got." That is quite an assignment for somebody who is supposed to be representing them down here in Washington, and 9 times out of 10, they will become angry, and endeavor to come down and present their own case.
Captain Kirby. To protect ourselves against the same situation that arises with you, if, after one of our men in the field has explored the whole case and is of the opinion that there is nothing to be gained, with the possibility of loss, he not only notifies the veteran, but he notifies him in writing. So that when the veteran comes down here and breaks his service connection, or reduces it, he is told that we told him what he was going into. Our experience is exactly like yours. If you try to tell these men, who are sincere, that they do not have a good case, you are liable to offend many of them, even though you are attempting to conserve their interests.
The CHAIRMAN. Suppose we let Captain Kirby continue with his statement. We want to get through by 12 o'clock, if we can.
Captain KIRBY. On this point, we feel it will be of interest to this committee to know that the D. A. V. is pioneering along an entirely new course, looking toward a solution of this broad problem. We have established a national employment department, with nearly 50 paid employees throughout the country under instructions to assist in the placement in jobs of qualified disabled veterans. The average monthly compensation of the wartime disabled group-aside from those in hospitals and the permanent total class—is $22.50. Statistics recently printed show that the average American family is 4.1, meaning that the average veteran has not only himself but å wife and two children to support. If you divide that $22.50 by 30 days you get about 75 cents, and if you divide that 75 cents by four persons, you will find that the compensation amounts to about 18 cents per day per person. It is perfectly manifest that no human could keep alive on such a pittance, so the D. A. V. has taken the position definitely that, at best, compensation is merely supplemental to employment.
It is for that reason that our organization is now systematically endeavoring to place in employment the wartime disabled who are qualified to work. We are appealing, personally and directly, to many of the larger employers in the country and today we are in negotiation with the Federal Government and the governments of the several States, looking to more equitable preferences having as their objective the absorption of qualified disabled men in public and private positions.
Mr. CONNERY. What cooperation are you getting from the United States Employment Service?
Captain Kirby. They are going along with us very closely at this time. Some of those employment services are good, and some are not so hot.
Mrs. ROGERS. Like the boards?
Mr. CONNERY. Mr. Kirby, there is another thing that is not generally known. You are speaking about the employment service of the D. A. V. The American Legion, a few years ago, and the American Federation of Labor, started out on an employment proposition of that sort. That is not generally known, at all. And the 5-day week, 6-hour day, was first recommended to the Congress, to everybody in Congress, by this committee of the American Legion and the American Federation of Labor as the solution to the unemployment situation.
Captain KIRBY. Of course, this committee knows that we do use the employment service. We have a subdivision of that employment service known as the veterans' service; and I am glad to take this opportunity to say that it was the gentleman from Massachusetts who insisted that it be continued at the time there was a definite move to stop it.
Mr. CONNERY. When we voted out the bill in the Committee on Labor, we put on an amendment that the veterans' offices were to be continued; that is, that the veteran was to be taken care of by himself, so that is why I asked you what cooperation you are getting.
Captain Kirby. We are cooperating very closely.
Captain KIRBY. We have a system now which is relatively new, in which we compel them to give us a calendar of these things and give us a report on every man from time to time. That leads up to the point I am going to develop, then I will be through, Mr. Chairman.
You will note that the expression "qualified” is repeatedly used, as we do not feel that either the private employer or the public employer should be compelled to absorb workers palpably unfitted for the job.
This leads to another definite position of the D. A. V. that is now the subject of negotiations with the Veterans' Administration. Among the disabled men outside of the hospitals, our study has led us to the inescapable conclusion that some considerable, but uncertain, number of these veterans are unemployable because of their service-connected disabilities. We have proposed that when a veteran, with the assistance of the service organizations, can prove from statements of private employers, rejections by the civil service and statements by the United States Employment Service that the man, in fact, is unemployable from his wartime disability that man then and there should be rated total for compensation purposes and continue in that compensation status during the period of unemployability.
In order to exercise the authority resting with the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs to care for those unemployable because of wartime disabilities, the D. A. V. offers the following as the basis of an instruction which we feel should be promulgated by the Veterans' Administration.
When unemployability is claimed or suspected under paragraph 6, regulation 3-A, instruction no. 3, the procedure will be as follows:
Such cases shall be forwarded to the central office, attention director, veterans' claims service. The veteran, with the assistance of the regular contact unit, shall present letters from employers indicating that failure to accept the veteran for employment is based upon his wartime disability. If the veteran has been rejected by the State or the United States Civil Service Commission for physical reasons, the folder should contain the original or certified copies of the statement from the Commission or commissions giving the specific reasons for rejection.
The folder should contain definite evidence concerning the age of the veteran.
No case should be referred to central office until the veteran has registered with the United States Employment Service and there is contained in the folder, a letter from that service indicating that it is because of his wartime disability that the veteran cannot be placed.
In the cases where the veteran has engaged in any profession, or in farming or in a business of his own, there should be presented signed statements from his former associates pointing out that his failure to continue to earn his own living is traceable to his wartime disability.
Upon the development of the cases as indicated and before such cases leave the regional office, they shall contain a brief statement signed by all members of the rating board, and countersigned by the chief adjudication officer, giving reasons why it is felt that a special rating based upon unemployability should or should not be granted. Of course, the service-connected disability should be given full consideration in reaching this decision, as well as other factors concerning his employment.
Attention is invited to the fact that there is vested in the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs, authority to rate individual cases without being bound by the limitations of the rating table but this authority is not extended to any other agency or individual within the Veterans' Administration.
That closes our suggestion for a regulation. Of course, we understand the the Veterans Administration may be compelled to make changes from this draft. Still, we feel that any instructions along this line will go far toward equitable assistance to those unable to hold jobs because of their war handicaps.
Candidly, there is really no necessity for action by Congress so far as authority is concerned, as there is almost unlimited discretion resting in the Veterans' Administration in connection with scaling compensation ratings. Nevertheless, we submit that this Congress may well afford to those unemployable because of service-connected disabilities, regardless of what a rating table may indicate. It is desired to differentiate sharply between the man today out of a job because of economic conditions and the man who is, in fact, actually unemployable because of his disability traceable to his military service.
Mrs. Rogers. Do you not think that a good many of them should be changed in the rating schedules, Captain Kirby?
Captain Kirby. I think there should be a periodic review of the whole thing. I will say, in fairness to the Administration that, if you conting the system, it does, from time to time, change those ratings.
Mrs. Rogers. Mr. Chairman, do you not think it would be a good idea to ask the people in charge of the rating schedules to appear?
The CHAIRMAN. We can talk that over with General Hines, when he gets here.
Captain Kirby. It is our understanding that the subcommittee of this committee, headed by the gentleman from Indiana, will consider all suggestions for changes in the insurance sections of the World War Veterans' Act, so, at this time, it is not deemed necessary to place before the full committee a number of detailed recommendations that the D. A. V. has on insurance matters. In brief, we feel that all costs of insurance suits for both the plaintiff and the defendant should be met by the Government; there should be extended to 1945 the period for reinstatement of insurance; that no interest should be charged on any lien against the policy for reinstatement and that the interest rates on loans on insurance should be reduced. It is assumed that an opportunity will be given to present these matters in more detail before the insurance subcommittee.
There was formerly in the law a conclusive presumption of soundness upon entrance into service except for defects noted on examination. The elimination through the Economy Act, of this provision has led to unending controversy between veterans, their representatives and the Government. It seems fair to say that a considerable number of men who have meritorious cases are today being denied
benefits because of the refusal of the Government to conclusively presume that those passed for military service were sound, except for defects noted. It is our recommendation that the section formerly in the law be reenacted.
Many cases of injustices to employees of the Veterans' Administration have come to the attention of the D. A. V. because of the deduction from salaries for quarters, subsistence, and laundry in Government facilities, Many of these men are veterans. Some of them compelled to meet the expense of two households due to the necessity for maintaining aged parents, wives, or motherless children outside the reservation. The D. A. V. is most emphatically opposed to any system that would strip a hospital of professional or nonprofessional personnel, so that a sudden emergency could not be met at any hour of the day or night. Nevertheless, we feel that the deductions for quarters, subsistence, and laundry should be optional with the employee, provided that through no arrangement should the institution be without the necessary personnel for the proper care and safety of the patients when an emergency should arise. The Administrator of Veterans' Affairs now has broad authority on these matters and in a number of cases that have been brought to his attention he has made an adjustment satisfactory to both the hospital authorities and the employees. However, the hospitalized men themselves feel that injustice is being done in many cases, and believe these deductions should be optional with the employee, provided those exempted from the deductions shall not be so large a number as to leave the institution without proper protection.
Mrs. ROGERS. Do you not think, Captain Kirby, that a great hardship is being worked upon nurses and orderlies and attendants, because they have so much overtime? I found, in San Francisco, that they were doing many hours overtime work, that there was a great shortage of nurses and doctors. The Bureau agreed with me in that, because they later increased the number of nurses, but they are still doing more hours than they should.
Captain KIRBY. I think that is an adjustment of personnel. We have found that in a number of cases and it seems to prevail, for some reason, among the doctors. You will run into a shortage of doctors in a hospital
The CHAIRMAN. That is not due to legislation?
Captain KIRBY. I think it would be quickly cured by bringing those individual cases to the attention of General Hines. That is the way we have been handling them.
Mrs. ROGERS. And there is much to be done on the overtime work, also.
Captain KIRBY. When non-service-connected disabled men are compelled, through no choice of their own, to accept hospitalization, there are presented many instances of cruel suffering, through their dependents being deprived of the earnings of the veteran. While the D. A. V. man has consistently endeavored to limit its advocacy for modifications of the law to those veterans whose disabilities arose out of service, nevertheless, we feel sure that there should be some system adopted to care for the dependents of the nonservice-connected men who lie bed by bed next to the service connected, realizing