« PreviousContinue »
World Wars I and II veterans' widows and children as the periods of war are defined by law.
Mr. MATHEWS. Yes; 1 understand that; but you are including now, as you describe, for instance, a man who got killed in a fight.
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir.
Mr. MATHEWS. A personal fight. Now, if that happened the day before the official time of the war expired, his widow would be covered here, but if it happened the day after, she would not; is that right?
Mr. STEVENS. That is right. It looks as though there is an amendment needed to bring it in line with what dependent widows and children would get if the person who served had 90 days' wartimé service and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.
Mr. MATH'ws. It seems to me that is what this section does. It would draw a line at the official end of the war, and a man who was killed under conditions which ordinarily would not be held to be seryice- nected the day before the war was over would receive those benefits; rather, his widow would receive them; whereas the same thing, if it happened the day after, would not be included.
Mr. STEVENS. That is correct.
Mr. STEVENS. Yes. That is right. The attempt here is to provide for the widows and children of the men who served in World Wars I and II but who died before they were discharged. The mere fact of their separation from service under other than dishonorable conditions would have permitted the widows and children to receive benefits under Public, 484, Seventy-third Congress, as amended.
Mr. MATHEWS. After they got out?
Mr. MATHEWS. Well, the point is, it is meant to be a deserving situation, but whether or not it is, I do not know.
Mr. STEVENS. May we say, sir, that we would like to submit an amendment to this section to take care of the cases you have mentioned.
Mr. MATHEWS. We have a little more time, and then we will adjourn until a date next week.
Mr. STEVENS. I would like to mention that section 2 is in line with a Chicago national convention mandate of 1945. Resolution No. 632 requests allowance of non-service-connected death pension when death in service is denied service connection.
Now, as to section 3, there are several provisions included concerning the income limitations as to widows and children who might be entitled to benefits under Public Law 484, as amended.
Resolution No. 76
Mr. MATHEWS. We are not so concerned about the particular numbers of the resolutions of the American Legion. What we are concerned with are the merits of the provisions of the act. Now, the section 3 of the act of the bill under consideration raises the income limitation,
Mr. STEVENS. From $1,000 to $1,800 for a widow, or for each child when there is no widow or when the widow is barred.
Mr. MATHEWS. To $1,800, and a widow with children whose annual income exceeds $3,000; is that right?
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir. From $2,500 to $3,000, and then, as well as life-insurance payments made by the Government, it would exclude life-insurance payments from any source, and would also exclude the payments of expenses of last illness and burial of the veteran.
Mr. MATHEWS. Now, I just want to ask you one question: How did you arrive at those figures?
Mr. STEVENS. This was carefully considered at the San Francisco convention by men who are engaged in service work throughout the country for the American Legion, and they felt that the living cost had risen to such an extent that the limitation of $1,000 and $2,500, established in the depression year of 1933, did not do full justice, and that it would be really intended by the Congress to provide this death pension to certain widows and children who could not benefit now because they have an income in excess of the present limitation, which income in 1947 has a greatly reduced purchasing power than a lesser income in 1933.
Mr. MATHEWS. That would be true in any event; wherever you draw the particular line you would have that situation?
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir. I do want to say-
Mr. Mathews. You do want to increase the limitation at present to somewhere near what you think is justifiable because of the increased cost of living?
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir; we do.
Mr. MATHEWS. Now, that same thing applies to section 4 as regards parents; is that right?
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir. Now, I might say as regards parents, Mr. Mathews, that is set by regulation. It is regulation of the Veterans' Administration R. and P. R. 1057, which sets forth the conditions which determine dependency. Now, parents presently must prove dependency before they can establish entitlement to compensation in a service-connected death. They do not receive the death pension. This is for death compensation purposes, and, if the committee and the chairman desire, I would present for the record the Regulations and Procedure Regulatory 1057, which shows the restrictive requirements, or what we think are restrictive requirements of the Veterans' dministration today.
Mr. MATHEWS. If there is no objection, that portion may be inserted in the record at this point.
Mr. STEVENS. Thank you.
(Veterans' Administration regulations and procedure regulatory is as follows:)
1057. Conditions which determine dependency.-(A) Dependency will be held to exist if the father or mother of the veteran does not have an income sufficient to provide reasonable maintenance for such father or mother and members of his or her family under legal age, and for dependent adult members of the family if the dependency of such adult member results from mental or physical incapacity. “Reasonable maintenance” includes not only housing, food, clothing, and medical care sufficient to sustain life, but such items beyond the bare necessities, and as well as other requirements reasonably necessary to provide those conveniences and comforts of living suitable to and consistent with the parents' reasonable mode of life. “Members of the family” will be considered to mean those persons whom the father or mother is under moral or legal obligation to support.
(B) (1) In determining the amount of income, consideration will be given to (a) net income from property owned, or business operated, by the mother or father; (b) earnings of the mother or father and other members of their family under legal age; (c) actual contributions of any character to the family expenses by the adult members; (d) so-called social security benefits, i. e., old-age assistance and the old-age and survivors insurance; (e) family allowances received pursuant to Public, No. 625, Seventy-seventh Congress (June 23, 1942), amended by Public, No. 174, Seventy-eighth Congress (Oct. 26, 1943).
(2) In determining whether other members of the family under legal age are factors in necessary expenses of the mother or father, consideration will be given to any income from business or property (including trusts) actually available, directly or indirectly, to the mother or father, for the support of the minor, but not to the corpus of the estate or the income of the minor which is not so available.
(3) In determining dependency, amounts received from the following-named sources, by the father or mother, or other member of the family, will be disregarded, viz: (a) as designated beneficiary or otherwise of any insurance under the War Risk Insurance Act, the World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended, or the National Service Life Insurance Act or any amendments to either; (b) any pension or compensation under laws administered by the Veterans' Administration; (c) benefits under the World War Adjusted Compensation Act or the Adjusted Compensation Payment Act, or any amendments to either; (d) the 6 monjhs' pay made to the designated beneficiary thereof pursuant to 10 U. S. C. 903, 903 (a), and 456; 34 U. S. C. 943, 944 and 855C-2: (e) payments pursuant to Mustering-Out Payment Act, 1944, Public, No. 225, Seventy-eighth Congress ; (f) donations or assistance from charitable sources.
(4) In addition to considering income of a father or mother, consideration will be given to the corpus of such claimant's estate if under all the circumstances it is reasonable that the same or some part thereof be sold and the proceeds consumed for the claimant's maintenance.
(C) The fact that the veteran has made habitual contributions to his father or mother, or both, is not conclusive evidence that dependency existed, but shall be considered in connection with all other evidence.
(D) The remarriage of a mother or father does not, per se, bar entitlement, but is prima facie evidence that dependency has ceased.
(E) (1) In the absence of evidence indicating the contrary, dependency will be held to exist when the monthly income from sources proper to consider does not exceed :
(1) $60 for a mother or father (not living together);
(c) The amounts stated in (a) or (b) plus $25 for each additional member of the family whose support is to be considered under the criteria indicated
in paragraphs (A) and (B) of R. and P. R. 1057. It must be definitely understood that the amounts stated are not controlling in any case but are to be used only as prima facie evidence. Each claim is subject to adjudication upon the facts thereof in the light of the governing legal principles summarized in R. and P. R. 1057 (Aug. 1, 1944).
Mr. STEVENS. The Congress felt that $1,000 and $2.500 was a proper limitation up until the present time, at least, but the Veterans' Administration as concerns parents took other factors into consideration, but said as to the parent, in the absence of evidence indicating the contrary, dependency will be held to exist when the monthly income from sources proper to consider does not exceed :
(a) $60 for a mother or a father not living together; (b) $100 for a mother and father living together.
That would mean $720 for one parent, or $1,200 for both, as opposed to what the Congress had established in the non-service-connected cases, and these are in service-connected cases, and the $1,800 and $3,000 figure was thought to be in line with the one with section 3 for the death-pension cases affecting widows and children.
Then, as to section 5, that pertains to the non-service-connected disability pension case of the veteran himself, it was felt that it should be $1,800 instead of $1,000, and it should be $3,000 instead of $2,500, and in addition to the income exclueded by section 403, Public Law 844, Seventy-fourth Congress, of certain benefits, and the exclusion by section 12, Public Law 49, Seventy-eighth Congress, and section 608, Public Law 100, Seventy-ninth Congress, of certain additional benefits, that the retirement annuities and social benefits based upon age should be excluded.
There is one other thing I might mention here, Mr. Chairman: That, considering carefully, as the committee will, the amendment of these laws which determine income limitations, a permanently and totally non-service-connected disabled veteran has presently an income limitation of $1,000 if he is unmarried, or the income limitation is $2,500 if he is married or a person with minor children.
However, there is no provision made where there is a dependent parent or parents, and though we have no mandate on it, we have overlooked a circumstance which does not do full justice to the veteran himself in the permanently and totally disabled pension group.
Mr. MATHEWS. Do you want to suggest additional charges by letter?
Mr. STEVENS. If we may, sir.
Just this one question : Since this all is a dependency matter, if we fixed by legislation a specific income limitation—they are already fixed now by regulation—and the cost of living goes down, what do you think we ought to do?
Mr. STEVENS. Well, sir, the Congress would take care of it at that time, I believe.
Mr. MATHEWS. Have you ever seen the Congress depreciate-
Mr. MATHEWS. You have got me there. You have me there, sir. I agree with you thoroughly. Touché!
We only have about three more minutes.
Mr. STEVENS. Yes, sir. I did want to bring out the fact, Mr. Chairman, that the $1,800 and $3,000 places the income limitation on a par for the three stated groups.
Mr. MATHEWS. Then you have this other amendment.
Now, I would like to fix a date for the continuation of these hearings next week. Do you know anything about it?
Mr. STANDISH. Yes, sir; there is a meeting on Tuesday, so it cannot be then, but any other day, say, a week from today.
Mr. MATHEWS. Wednesday?
Mr. STANDISH. Wednesday is a regular meeting day. Why not make it a week from today?
Mr. MATHEWS. A week from today the hearing on these particular bills will be continued, and if we feel inclined we may add other bills of a similar character on the same subject matter as these, on which hearings will also be had.
Mr. STEVENS. Thank you.
Mr. MATHEWS. I have a statement by William M. Floyd, national commander, Regular Veterans Association. Without objection it will be included in the record at this point.
If there is nothing further, the subcommittee stands adjourned. (Thereupon, at 12 noon, the hearing was adjourned.)
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM M. FLOYD, NATIONAL COMMANDER, REGULAR VETERANS
ASSOCIATION, JUNE 5, 1947, TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS, IN CONNECTION WITH THE BILLS H. R. 295, 460, 1200, 1235, 1352, 1453, 2566, AND 3650
Honorable chairman and gentlemen of this committee, I am the national commander of and represent the Regular Veterans Association, a recognized organization of service men and women and ex-service men and women. All are veterans of either peacetime or wartime service, or both, in the armed forces of our country.
As I understand it, a number of bills proposing legislation for veterans and their dependents are to be considered today by the committee. I appreciate the opportunity afforded me to set forth the policies and recommendations of the Regular Veterans Association regarding the bills under consideration as determined by national convention and
national council of administration.
The bills H. R. 295, 460, 1352, 1453, and 2566, have to do with the amending of existing legislation specifying the income limitations which govern the granting of pensions to World War veterans and death-pension benefits to widows and children of World War veterans.
While each of these bills has individual merit in that it appears to be recognized that income limitations presently are set too low, H. R. 460 represents more closely the mandates of our national convention. It provides that the payment of compensation shall not be made to any widow without child, or a child, whose annual income exceeds $2,000 or to a widow with a child or children whose annual income exceeds $3,000. Present laws fix the income limitation to $1,000 for a widow without a child or to any child, and $2,500 for a widow and a child.
It is our considered opinion that the income limitations set by present laws are too low and, in effect, discriminate against many worthy and needy widows because of the high cost of necessities for existence. The higher income limitation provided by H. R. 460 will give more equity to a greater number of deserving widows and children without permitting those with an abundance of income to take an unfair advantage of the intent of the law.
We recommened strongly that this committee report favorably on H. R. 460.
H. R. 1200 will provide an award of not less than $50 per month for arrested tuberculosis cases of World War II veterans. While we approve of this bill so far as it goes, it is not in our opinion inclusive enough.
This organization does not believe that legislation of this nature should be confined to one class of veterans. The World War II veteran with arrested tuberculosis is no more disabled with arrested tuberculosis than the peacetime veteran, or any other veteran who has service-connected tuberculosis which has been arrested. All have served their country when needed. The peacetime veteran, for instance, has to pay as much for the necessities of life as the World War II veteran, and his service to his country certainly has not been less valuable.
The Veterans' Administration probably will not agree with this opinion. But the Veterans' Administration is well known to veterans' organizations generally for its unintelligent thinking on several veterans' problems.
We very earnestly recommend to this committee that H. R. 1200 will be amended to include all veterans in its provisions.
It is our opinion that H. R. 1235 provides justice that has been too long delayed for a considerable number of veterans with presumptive disabilities. We recommend that this bill be reported favorably.
This organization believes in the principles of and approves H. R. 3650, amending Veterans' Regulation 1 (a), part I as amended, to establish a conclusive presumption of service incurrence of tropical diseases. However, we believe that the provisions of Veterans Regulation 1 (a), part I, as amended, should be extended to all veterans who have had active service in the tropics in the past, to those who are now on active service in the tropics, and to those who may serve in the future, both in peacetime and in wartime. We believe that peacetime soldiers and wartime soldiers all look alike to tropical disease germs and that they at least make no discrimination between such servicemen.
Thank you, gentlemen.