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In addition to these conditions, there is a statutory award for arrested pulmonary tuberculosis. The bill covering this matter would provide an increase of only $6 per month for all but the arrested tuberculosis which would be $8 per month-certainly not much to request after 13 years. We believe that further consideration to the facts of this matter by your committee will lead to increases during this session of Congress.
The DAV requested the introduction of H.R. 1743, which will provide for the payment of dependency and indemnity compensation to certain survivors of deceased veterans who were rated 100-percent disabled by reason of service-connected disabilities for 20 or more years.
Existing law and pertinent regulations provide that the death of a veteran (for dependency and indemnity compensation purposes) will be considered as having been due to a service-connected disability when available evidence establishes that such disability was either, the principal, or contributory cause of death.
Generally, it is a simple matter to determine, on the basis of the available medical evidence, whether a service-connected disability is or is not the principal or primary cause of death.
Not so simple, however, are determinations to be made concerning contributory causes of death. In some cases, the medical evidence of record is so vague and uncertain that it is extremely difficult to determine whether the service-connected disability was or was not an influencing factor in the veteran's death. This occurs even in those cases where a veteran has suffered invalidism and complete incapacity for an extended period of time prior to his death.
In any event, we think it entirely reasonable that a veteran, who has suffered the distress of a service-connected total disability for 20 years should, thereafter, have statutory assurance that upon his death his widow will be provided for by payment of dependency and indemnity compensation.
Generally, the totally disabled are unable to follow a substantial gainful occupation; and the disability compensation they receive during their lifetime is barely adequate to provide themselves and their families with food, clothing, and shelter. Consequently, they are not able to share in the practice of "saving for the future.”
This is especially so in the case of the veteran whose total disablement has existed for a period of 20 years or more. He, very definitely, has no possible opportunity to accumulate money or materials for his survivors. He cannot purchase, nor could he afford, the cost of commercial life insurance; and very seldom does he have a chance to earn sufficient credits for entitlement to benefits under the social security program.
In addition to the practical reasons expressed above, we feel that there are other considerations which provide a basis for extending DIC benefits to the widow of a totally disabled veteran; for after all, it should not really matter how the totally disabled veteran died but how he lived, and if he was a 100-percent disabled war veteran then his wife played a very great part in his living which ought to be more fully recognized.
We think the Government has a responsibility, in this instance, which has so far been overlooked. We therefore respectfully urge favorable action on H.R. 1743.
H.R. 189. This bill amends title 38, United States Code, to increase the income limitations applicable to parents of deceased veterans who are eligible to receive dependency and indemnity compensation.
Under existing law, dependency and indemnity compensation is paid monthly to parents of a son who dies while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability.
In order to be eligible for monthly payments, however, the parents are required to meet an extremely strict test of financial need. If we compare the tests of need or income limits necessary for parents to qualify for compensation payments with the tests of need or income limits necessary for veterans and widows to qualify for non-serviceconnected pension, the gross inequity is readily apparent.
For example, a veteran and his wife or a widow with one child may have outside income up to $3,000 and still qualify for non-serviceconnected pension payments of $48 and $43 respectively.
On the other hand, the parents of a son killed in action must have outside income of less than $2,400 to qualify for $11 each per
month. Income in excess of $2,400 will disqualify the parents from receiv payments. Where only one parent is involved, the comparison with a single veteran or widow without dependents is equally unfavorable. We fail to see any justifiable reason for dependent parents in serviceconnected death cases to be subjected to more stringent tests of need than veterans and widows in non-service-connected pension cases.
The bill under consideration (H.R. 189) contains three tables indicating categories of annual income and monthly amounts payable in each category. The tables set forth below show the annual income limits proposed by this legislation and those now in existence.
(The tables referred to follow :)
PROPOSED BY H.R. 189
66 $1,000 to $1,250_ 50 $1,250 to $1,500_
50 $1,250 to $1,500_ 33 $1,500 to $1,750
33 $1,500 to $1,750_ 17 $1,750 to $2,000_
17 Over $1,750_ (1) Over $2,000.
(1) 2 parents (not living together) 2 parents (not living together) each :
55 $750 to $1,000__
44 $1,000 to $1,250. $1,000 to $1,250_.
$1,250 to $1,500. $1,250 to $1,500__.
$1,500 to $1,750.
() 2 parents (living together) each: 2 parents (living together) each: $1,000_
33 $1,700 to $2,05022 $2,200 to $2,550.
22 $2,050 to $2,400_.
$2,550 to $3,000
11 Over $2,400.
(1) 1 No payment.
Mr. HUBER. You will note, Mr. Chairman, the tables do not increase the monthly payments but do increase the annual income limits. The tables proposed in H.R. 189 will serve in some measures to correct the disparity presently existing between the nonservice pension program and the DIC program for dependent parents.
We respect fully urge, Mr. Chairman, that you and the members of your committee give thoughtful consideration to the equitable proposal set out in this particular bill.
The DAV has no position with respect to many of the pending proposals, for the reason that we do not have national convention mandates covering their specific subject matter. However, in keeping with DAV policy, we would offer support to those bills which propose to improve the welfare of wartime disabled veterans and their dependents.
Mr. Chairman, we appreciate the opportunity you have given us to express our views on the compensation program as it affects our wartime service-connected veterans, their widows, and dependents.
We wish to submit for the record a statement on additional proposals concerning the compensation program and request that the committee give them the same consideration as though they were read.
Mr. Chairman, from this point on is the statement I was referring to.
Mr. DoRn. Without objection it will be included in the record. (The matter referred to follows:)
H.R. 1745 proposes to amend section 523(b), chapter 15, of title 38, United States Code, to enable certain permanently and totally disabled veterans to receive the full rate of disability compensation found payable for their wartime service-connected disabilities and also a proportionate amount of disability pension under a specified formula. The formula would apply to compensable ratings ranging from 10 percent through 90 percent.
The amount payable under the formula is determined by deducting from 100 percent the compensation rating evaluation, the result representing the percentage of pension payable in the case. For example, a veteran rated 40 percent for compensation purposes would receive his full rate of payment, $77 a month, for his service-connected disability, and in addition, an amount equivalent to 60 percent of the pension ordinarily payable.
We realize that existing law contains a prohibition against duplication of benefits. However, it is our sincere opinion that the amendment proposed by H.R. 1745 offers an adjustment which is sound and reasonable.
Non-service-connected pensions are paid to veterans of World War I, World War II, and the Korean conflict who were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions after 90 or more days' service, who are permanently and totally disabled from reasons not traceable to such service. In short, pension payments represent an award given in return for performing 90 days' service during a period of war. On the other hand, disability compensation is payment for personal injury suffered, or disease contracted, in line of duty. Clearly, there is no similarity between the two benefits. They are separate, distinct, and unrelated.
For these reasons, we believe that there is sufficient basis for granting to the service-connected disabled wartime veterans (who meet the basic entitlement criteria for pension) the same consideration given to those with no serviceincurred disability and who need only have served for a period of 90 days.
We do not contend that a veteran should be given the full amounts of both compensation and pension, and we do not request such legislation; but we do earnestly urge this committee to approve the very reasonable modified adjustment proposed in H.R. 1745 as drafted on the basis of a national convention resolution unanimously adopted by the delegates representing our organization of 215,000 wartime-disabled members.
This bill amends section 312(3) of title 38, United States Code, to include the reinfection-type pulmonary tuberculosis in the provision relative to presumptive service connection for active tuberculous disease.
Existing law provides that an active tuberculous disease developing to a 10percent degree of disability within 3 years after a veteran's separation from 90 days or more wartime service shall be considered to have been incurred or aggravated by such service, notwithstanding there is no record of evidence of such disease during the period of service.
It is an established medical fact that a large percentage of the adult population, if examined, will show evidence of "healed” primary tuberculosis without ever having experienced any signs or symptoms of the disease.
The Veterans' Administration in many cases has denied service connection for the so-called reinfection-type tuberculosis occurring within the statutory presumptive period when there is no active disease process shown either prior to or during the veteran's wartime service. These denials were made despite the fact that the veteran had served on active duty for several years.
In urging approval of this bill, we feel that if a veteran has a healed tuberculosis lesion at service entrance and has had no prior treatment for active tuberculosis, he should be entitled to service connection if the disease becomes manifest within the 3-year period following 90 days or more wartime duty.
This bill would authorize an annual clothing allowance to veterans who, because of a service-connected disability, wear a prosthetic appliance or appliances which tends to wear out or tear their clothing.
The proposal expressed in this bill is a matter of special importance for veterans who suffer with limb amputations. It is a fact that the necessary prosthetic appliances hasten the wearing out process of items of clothing. Trousers and sleeves of their jackets are subject to tearing or wearing out very quickly.
We think it only fair that these veterans be compensated with an allowance; and we, therefore, urge the committee's approval of this most deserving and appealing relief measure.
H.R. 183 AND H.R. 539
These bills would amend section 312 of title 38, United States Code, by providing a 2-year presumptive period of service connection for the psychoses which develop within 2 years from the date of separation from active service.
Existing law provides that a psychosis, for compensation purposes, must become manifest within 1 year following separation from service. For purposes of hospitalization, an active psychosis that has developed within 2 years after discharge is deemed to be service incurred. The 2-year presumptive period proposed by H.R. 183 and H.R. 539 would pertain to disability and death compensation and other benefit programs administered by the Veterans' Administration.
The Veterans' Administration Rating Boards are reluctant to accept lay affidavits describing the early symptoms of a psychosis, and fix the onset as of the date the disorder was unequivocally diagnosed by a qualified psychiatrist. In most cases the individual is brought to the doctor's attention after the condition has reached a serious stage of advancement.
Authorities agree that the early clinical signs of the psychoses can only be detected by specialists in the field of mental disorders. Many early cases escape detection and pass through the general practitioner's office mistakenly diagnosed as cardiac disease, appendicitis, malingering, and especially neurosis. Additionally, the characteristic features go unrecognized because in the majority of instances the disease is of slow and insidious onset and only when it is well established are the manifestations sufficiently overt to be widely recognized.
H.R. 179 AND H.R. 180
These bills have a similar purpose in that they would amend section 314(K) of title 38, United States Code, to provide for additional compensation for veterans who have suffered, respectively, the loss of a kidney or the loss of a lung.
The Congress, by enactment of prior legislation, has determined that in cases of loss of limbs or body organs, a special award should be authorized by statute for the specific disability. At present, a statutory rate of monthly compensation is set at $47 for certain single losses.
It is the feeling of the DAV that an individual who has suffered the loss of either a kidney or a lung has a serious, special disability which deserves a special statutory award. Definitely, the infection of the remaining kidney or lung would result in extreme hazard to life.
We strongly urge early enactment of this most worthy bill.
This bill proposes to amend section 311 of title 38, United States Code, so as to provide a stronger presumption of soundness under certain conditions in wartime cases.
Section 311 currently provides that every veteran shall be taken to have been in sound condition when examined, accepted, and enrolled for service, except as to defects, infirmities, or disorders noted at time of the examination, acceptance, and enrollment, or where clear and unmistakable evidence demonstrates that the injury or disease existed before acceptance and enrollment and was not aggravated by such service.
The bill would provide that any disability diagnosed during a period of war after continuous service of 90 days shall be presumed to have been incurred in military service unless it is established by affirmative evidence that the disability existed prior to enlistment and was not aggravated beyond the normal progress of the disease.
In urging adoption of this bill, we recall that in many instances service connection has been denied or severed for disabilities diagnosed many months after the date of a veteran's service induction on the basis of questionable preservice history recorded in the service records or subsequent VA medical examination reports. H.R. 230 would serve to correct this situation. It would, of course, exclude from the presumption any obvious defects or infirmities.
This bill would amend title 38, United States Code, to provide that heart failure suffered by certain veterans who have lost one or both lower extremities shall be considered service connected.
The proposal for consideration here has been a subject of prominent interest and discussion for a considerable period of time. There are those who hold the view that amputations have a significant bearing upon rates of mortality. They maintain that limb amputations, and the subsequent wearing of prostheses, do, in time, produce effects on the body as a whole which initiates or aggravates cardiovascular disorders to a significant degree.
The DAV has no data available for measuring cardiovascular disorders and mortality rates in amputees with that of the general population. We would, therefore, and with deep respect, suggest that perhaps the committee would agree to resolve the issue by conducting a study into the matter.
STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES (1963)
Page 343, table No. 459 provides a further basis of comparison of incomes. Listed below are the mean incomes of spending units shown for 1961, the latest available year, by occupational groups. (A spending unit is all persons living in the same dwelling and belonging to the same family. Income may be pooled or a spending unit may consist of only one person.) All spending units (average) -Professional and semiprofessional..
8, 960 Managerial and self-employed--
12, 200 Managerial--
11, 720 Self-employed -
12, 680 Clerical and sales_
6, 300 Skilled and semiskilled
5, 764 Skilled
6, 430 Semiskilled Farm operator--
4, 250 This chart indicates that compensation for 100 percent disability is $3,000 a year short of the average income for all spending units.
STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES (1963)
Page 337, table No. 449 provides the following status for 1961, the latest available year, in the area of "Family personal income received by each fifth-of families and unattached individuals.”