Page images
PDF
EPUB

“(b) If and while the disability is rated 20 per centum the monthly compensation shall be $38.

"(c) If and while the disability is rated 30 per centum the monthly compensation shall be $57.

“(d) If and while the disability is rated 40 per centum the monthly compensation shall be $76.

"(e) If and while the disability is rated 50 per centum the monthly compensation shall be $95.

"(f) If and while the disability is rated 60 per centum the monthly compensation shall be $114.

“(g) If and while the disability is rated 70 per centum the monthly compensation shall be $133.

"(h) If and while the disability is rated 80 per centum the monthly compensation shall be $152.

“(i) If and while the disability is rated 90 per centum the monthly compensation shall be $171.

"(j) If and while the disability is rated as total the monthly compensation shall be $190."

SEC. 2. (a) Subparagraph (k), paragraph II, part I, Veterans Regulation Numbered 1 (a), as amended, is amended by deleting “$47" wherever it appears and inserting in lieu thereof “$50”, and the subparagraph is further amended by increasing the maximum rate of compensation set forth therein to $440 per month.

(b) The rate of compensation payable under subparagraph (1), paragraph II, part I, Veterans Regulation Numbered 1 (a), as amended, is hereby increased to $293.

(c) The rate of compensation payable under subparagraph (m), paragraph II, part I, Veterans Regulation Numbered 1 (a), as amended, is hereby increased to $344.

(d) The rate of compensation payable under subparagraph (n), paragraph II, part I, Veterans Regulation Numbered 1 (a), as amended, is hereby increased to $388.

(e) The rates of compensation payable under subparagraphs (o) and (p), paragraph II, part I, Veterans Regulation Numbered 1 (a), as amended, are hereby increased to $440.

(f) The minimum rate of compensation payable under subparagraph (q), paragraph II, part I, Veterans Regulation Numbered 1 (a), as amended, for an arrested tuberculous disease, is hereby increased to $70.

SEC. 3. The basic rate of compensation provided by section 202 of the World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended, for any disability rated as total is hereby increased to $190 per month. If and while the disability is rated as partial, the monthly compensation shall be a percentage of the compensation herein authorized for total disability, equal to the degree of the reduction in earning capacity resulting from the disability, but no compensation shall be payable for a reduction in earning capacity rated at less than 10 per centum.

SEC. 4. The rate of compensation payable under section 202 (3) of the World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended, for the loss of the use of both eyes is hereby increased to $243; the rate payable under that section for the loss of use of both eyes and one or more limbs is hereby increased to $315; the rate payable under that section for double total permanent disability is hereby increased to $315; and the additional compensation payable under that section for the loss of the use of a creative organ or one or more feet or hands is hereby increased to $50.

Sec. 5. The additional sum payable under section 202 (5) of the World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended, for a disabled person in need of a nurse or attendant, is hereby increased to $74.

SEC. 6. The minimum rate of compensation payable under section 202 (7) of the World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended, for an arrested tuberculous disease, is hereby increased $70.

Sec. 7. The increased rates of compensation provided by this Act shall be effective on the first day of the second calendar month following the date of its enactment.

(H. R. 709, 84th Cong., 1st sess.) A BILL To amend the Veterans Regulations to provide that psychoses or multiple sclerosis developing a

10 per centum or more degree of disability within three years after separation from active service shall be presumed to be service-connected

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the second last proviso of subparagraph (c) of paragraph I, part I, Veterans Regulation Numbered 1 (a), as amended, is hereby amended to read as follows: "Provided further, That active tuberculosis, psychoses, or multiple sclerosis developing a 10 per centum degree of disability or more within three years from the date of separation from active service, shall, in the absence of affirmative evidence to the contrary, be deemed to have been incurred in or aggravated by active service:”.

SEC. 2. The third last proviso of subparagraph (c) of paragraph I, part I, Veterans Regulation Numbered 1 (a), as amended, is hereby amended by deleting therefrom the words “tuberculosis, active (other than pulmonary);".

(H. R. 716, 84th Cong., 1st sess.? A BILL To amend the Act of July 2, 1948 (Public Law 877, Eightieth Congress), as amended, to include persons whose service-connected disability is rated not less than 40

per centum

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the compensation now payable under the the Act of July 2, 1948 (Public Law Numbered 877, Eightieth Congress), as amended, for certain veterans with service-connected disabilities who have dependents, be amended to include persons whose service-connected disability is rated not less than 40 per centum.

This Act shall take effect on the first day of the second calendar month next succeeding its enactment.

[H. R. 717, 84th Cong., 1st sess.) A BILL To amend the veterans regulations to provide that malignant tumors developing a 10 per centum

or more degree of disability within two years after separation from active service shall be presumed to be service-connected

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That subparagraph (c) of paragraph I, part I, Veterans Regulation Numbered 1 (a), as amended, is hereby amended by adding before the last proviso and following the words “multiple sclerosis”, the words “tumors, malignant”.

(H. R. 720, 84th Cong., 1st sess.) A BILL To amend subparagraph (c), paragraph I, part I, of Veterans Regulation Numbered 1 (a), as

amended, to establish a presumption of service-connection for chronic and tropical diseases becoming manifest within three years from separation from service

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That so much of subparagraph (c), paragraph I, part I, of Veterans Regulation Numbered 1 (a), as amended, as precedes the first proviso is hereby amended to read as follows:

"(c) That for the purposes of paragraph I (a) hereof a chronic disease becoming manifest to a degree of 10 per centum or more within three years from the date of separation from active service as set forth therein shall be considered to have been incurred in or aggravated by service as specified therein notwithstanding there is no record of evidence of such disease during the period of active service;".

(H. R. 736, 84th Cong., 1st sess.)

A BILL To provide the compensation of veterans for service-connected disability, rated 20 per centum or

less disabling, shall be paid quarterly rather than monthly Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, beginning not later than the quarter commencing October 1, 1953, compensation payable to veterans for service-connected disability, rated 20 per centum or less disabling under any law administered by the Veterans' Administration, shall be accumulated at the prescribed monthly rates and paid quarterly on the last day of each quarter annual period: Provided, That this. Act shall not be applicable to the payment of compensation in the case of any veteran during such period as he is in training under Public Law_16, Seventy-eighth Congress, approved March 24, 1943, as amended, or Public Law 894, Eighty-first Congress, approved December 28, 1950, as amended.

SEC. 2. All laws or parts of laws inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby modified accordingly.

(H. R. 774, 84th Cong., 1st sess.) A BILL To provide uniformity in the rates of disability compensation payable to certain veterans

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the rates of compensation payable under laws administered by the Veterans' Administration for disability rated from 10 per centum to 49 per centum shall be in amounts bearing the same ratio to $181 as the degree of disability bears to total disability.

Sec. 2. The increased rates authorized by this Act shall be effective from the first day of the second calendar month following the date of approval of this Act.

(H. R. 1618, 84th Cong., 1st sess.) A BILL To revise the basis for establishing wartime service connection for multiple sclerosis and the

chronic functional psychoses Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the second last proviso of subparagraph (c) of paragraph (I), part (I), Veterans Regulation Numbered 1 (a), as amended, is hereby further amended to read as follows: "Provided further, That active pulmonary tuberculosis or all other types of active tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis, or any of the chronic functional psychoses developing a 10 per centum degree of disability or more within three years from the date of separation from active service, shall, in the absence of affirmative evidence to the contrary, be deemed to have been incurred in or aggravated by active service:”.

(H. R. 1624, 84th Cong., 1st sess.) A BILL To revise the requirement for award of additional disability compensation to veterans who have

dependents, and for other purposes Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the compensation now payable under the Act of July 2, 1948 (Public Law Numbered 877, Eightieth Congress), as amended by section 4 of the Act of October 10, 1949 (Public Law Numbered 339, Eightyfirst Congress), for certain veterans with service-connected disabilities who have dependents, be granted to persons whose service-connected disability is rated not less than 10 per centum.

SEC. 2. Section 4 of the Act of July 2, 1948, (Public Law Numbered 877, Eightieth Congress), is hereby amended to read as follows:

“Sec. 4. The administrative, definitive, and penal provisions of Public Law Numbered 2, Seventy-third Congress, and Veterans Regulations thereunder, as amended, shall be for application under this Act: Provided, That on or after the date of approval of this amendatory Act the effective date of an increased rate of compensation based upon a dependent will be the date the service-connected disability of a veteran is so evaluated by rating action that he becomes eligible to the additional disability compensation for dependents where evidence of relationship and dependency is furnished within one year from the date of request by the Veterans' Administration therefor.”

(H. R. 1819, 84th Cong., 1st sess.)

A BILL To provide uniformity in the rates of disability compensation payable to certain veterans

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the rates of compensation payable under laws administered by the Veterans' Administration for disability rated from 10 per centum to 49 per centum, shall be in amounts bearing the same ratio to $181 as the degree of disability bears to total disability.

Sec. 2. The increased rates authorized by this Act shall be effective from the first day of the second calendar month following the date of approval of this Act.

VETERANS ADMINISTRATION,
OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS,

Washington 25, D. C., March 4, 1955.
Hon. OLIN E. TEAGUE,
Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs,

House of Representatives, Washington 25, D. C. DEAR MR. TEAGUE: This is in reply to your request for a report by the Veterans' Administration on H. R. 1861, 84th Congress, a bill to provide for determination through judicial proceedings of claims for compensation on account of disability or death resulting from disease or injury incurred or aggravated in line of duty while serving in the active military or naval service, and for other purposes.

The purpose of the bill is to authorize suits against the United States on claims for compensation on account of service-connected disability or death under laws administered by the Veterans' Administration in the event of a disagreement with respect to such claim. Such suits could be brought either in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia or in the United States district court for the district in which the claimant or any one of several claimants resides. The procedure in such actions would be the same as in actions brought on Government insurance contracts under section 19 of the World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended (38 U. S. C. 445).

Section 6 of the bill would confer jurisdiction on the Federal courts to review findings of death made by the Administrator of Veterans Affairs under the act of June 5, 1942 (38 U. S. C. 32a) (not 38 U. S. C. 445 as cited in the bill), which findings, except as to insurance claims, are presently final and conclusive.

Section 7 of the bill would repeal section 5 of the act of March 20, 1933, as amended (38 U. S. C. 705); part of section 5 of the World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended (38 U. S. C. 426) (not 38 U. S. C. 428 as cited in the bill); and section 11 of the act of October 17, 1940 (38 U. S. C. 11a-2); all of which relate to finality and conclusiveness of decisions by the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs on all questions of law and fact concerning claims for benefits under laws administered by the Veterans' Administration. However, under section 1 of the bill the decisions of the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs would be final and conclusive except as provided in the bill; section 19 of the World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended; section 617 of the National Service Life Insurance Act of 1940, as amended; and subsection (a) of section 261 of the Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1952.

Section 8 of the bill would require the court to determine and allow reasonable fees for the attorneys of the successful claimant or claimants and apportion same, if proper, such fees to be paid by the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs out of the payments to be made under the judgment or decree. The bill does not contain any limitation on the amount or size of the fee which the court might allow. Under existing law and regulations the maximum fee for recognized attorneys and agents engaged in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims under statutes administered by the Veterans' Administration is $10 in an original claim for monetary benefits and $2 in a claim for increase of such benefits. In certain excepted cases no fee whatsoever may be paid to or charged by an attorney or agent. The liberal provisions of the bill with respect to attorneys' fees in cases judicially reviewed would probably serve to stimulate litigation and, in certain cases, might encourage less diligence in the prosecution of the claim before the Veterans Administration.

The United States is a sovereign and cannot be siled without its consent. The Tucker Act, approved March 3, 1887 (28 U. S. C. 1346), conferred upon the United States district courts concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of Clain s to hear and determine claims not in excess of $10,000 under contracts to which the United States was a party, but that act specifically exempted claims for pension from the jurisdiction of the Court of Claims and the district courts of the United States in cases in which they were given concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of Claims against the United States. Subsequent legislation enlarging the jurisdiction of the Court of Claims has not modified this provision. The proposed legislation, if enacted, would therefore be a departure from the long-standing policy of the Government not to authorize suit to enforce payment of pension or

ܙܙ

compensation awarded on the basis of active service with the Armed Forces. The term “pension” as used in this act has been construed to include benefits paid for service-incurred disability, as well as other gratuities provided for veterans. While the act of July 9, 1946 (38 U. S. C. 700) provides that under laws administered by the Veterans' Administration monetary benefits other than retirement pay for service-connected disability shall be designated "compensation” and not "pension,” it has not been construed as limiting the meaning of the word "pension” as used in the Tucker Act. Even if it were, it still would be a gratuity as to which the Supreme Court has said:

"Pensions are the bounties of the Government, which Congress has the right to give, withhold, distribute, or recall, at its discretion. (U. S. ex rel. Burnett v. Teller, 107 U. S. 64 (1883).) [Italic supplied.)

“The benefits conferred by gratuities may be * * * withdrawn at any time in the discretion of Congress (Lynch v. U. S., 292 U. S. 571 (1934))."

Section 5 of Public No. 2, 73d Congress, approved March 20, 1933, which is similar to section 5, World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended, provides:

“All decisions rendered by the Administrator of Veterans Affairs under the provisions of this title, or the regulations issued pursuant thereto, shall be final and conclusive on all questions of law and fact, and no other official or court of the United States shall have jurisdiction to review by mandamus or otherwise any such decision."

Section 11 of Public No. 866, 76th Congress, approved October 17, 1940, provides:

“Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, except as provided in section 19 of the World War Veterans' Act, 1924, as amended, and in section 817 [617] of the National Service Life Insurance Act of 1940, the decisions of the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs on any question of law or fact concerning a claim for benefits or payments under this or any other Act administered by the Veterans' Administration shall be final and conclusive and no other official or any court of the United States shall have power or jurisdiction to review any such decisions."

These statutes, like the Tucker Act, also recognize the policy of the Government not to authorize suits for pension and compensation payable under laws administered by the Veterans' Administration. In short, the right to governmental bounty is not, in general, a justiciable one unless made so by statute. The legislative history of the Administrative Procedure Act (Public Law 404, 79th Cong.) discloses that this question was extensively explored in connection with the several bills studied by the Congress prior to its enactment, and it was deemed advisable to retain the traditional policy.

Further reason for making the decisions of the Veterans' Administration, in matters relating to pensions and compensation, final and conclusive and not subject to judicial review is well stated in the case of Armstrong v. United States (16 Fed. (20) 387), decided November 22, 1926. In referring to the adjudications by the then Veterans' Bureau under the World War Veterans' Act, 1924, the court said:

“The entire act contemplates that the rating shall be made and the compensation allowed and established by the Bureau through the machinery provided for that purpose. The consideration of these matters involves, not only technical knowledge, but exacting investigation and computation. The application of schedules and the determination of the compensation due cannot well be made except through the elaborate organization provided by law within the Bureau itself. It is on this account the exclusive control over matters of compensation are lodged in the Bureau.”

In the adjudication of compensation claims a wide variety of medical, legal, and other technical questions constantly arise which require the study of expert examiners of considerable training and experience and which are not readily susceptible of judicial standardization. Among other questions to be determined in the adjudication of such claims are those involving length and character of service, origin of disabilities, complex rating schedules, a multiplicity of medical and physical phenomena for consideration intercurrently with such schedules, and the application of established norms to the peculiarities of the particular case. These matters have not been considered by the Congress or the courts appropriate for judicial determination but have been regarded as apt subjects for the purely administrative procedure. Due to the nature and complexity of the determinations to be made, it is inevitable that the decisions of the courts in such matters would lack uniformity. It cannot be expected that the decisions of the many courts would be based on the uniform application of principles as is now done by the Veterans' Administration through its system of coordination by the central office and by its centralized Board of Veterans' Appeals.

« PreviousContinue »