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last October 1 to the effective date of H.R. 1862, or any other legislation.

Mr. WYLIE. Well, you answered my second question. What date do we use, then, to determine what the cost-of-living increase should be?

Mr. PECKARSKY. Presuming the effective date of H.R. 1862, it would be October 1, 1977, because that is the effective date provided by that bill. It is also the effective date provided in the administration's

bill. Mr. WYLIE. But we have to act in advance of October 1, 1977, of course, and so we have to make some fairly accurate estimate projections, I suppose, and based on what we have seen so far, the cost-ofliving increase would exceed 12 percent, if continued throughout this year from October 1 last year to October í this year.

So what would you think of a 6-percent increase as a fair compromise between what we knew back in January and what we know today!

Mr. PECKARSKY. Your arguments sound extremely logical Mr. Wylie.

Mr. WYLIE. You wouldn't throw yourself off of the nearest building in opposition, if we came up with a bill with a 6-percent increase.

Mr. PECKARSKY. Far from it, sir.

Mr. WYLIE. All right. The Congressional Budget Office says that the rate of inflation will be at least 5 percent, and possibly over 6 percent. How do you account for the difference between the administration projection and the Congressional Budget Office projection?

Mr. PECKARSKY. I think it's the point in time at which they were made.

Mr. WYLIE. Yes. I think you really have answered that one.

Now, to 1864 for just a moment. You state that the automobile allowance is a rehabilitative program to enhance employability. Could you expand as to how that line of thought evolved!

The tone of your statement infers that World War I veterans are not employable because of their age, and you also state that providing this allowance would be inconsistent with the current policy.

Today we have over 500,000 veterans of World War II who are over 65, and they are eligible to qualify for a pension, as are World War I veterans. Yet World War I veterans do not qualify for the automobile assistance allowance, and with that in mind how can you justify your position on consistency, which is referred to so often in your statement?

Mr. PECKARSKY. Well, I have to assume that in the development of the program Congress fully intended what it enacted, and initially the automobile allowance was enacted purely as a rehabilitation device,

It replaced a lost function. It provided adaptive equipment to perform that function. And it was limited to restorable types of disabilities.

It is true that the World War II veteran has now reached age 57, as an average, and that many of them exceed age 65. However, it is also true that as a one-time allowance, most World War II veterans who were qualified for an automobile received them long ago, usually in close proximity to their separation from service.

Separation from service for the World War I veteran is some 60 years ago, which is a considerable period of time to speak either of restorative or of rehabilitative measures.

Mr. WYLIE. So-well, I understand what you are saying. Again, though, you are in opposition to 1864

Mr. PECKARSKY. Yes sir.

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Mr. WYLIE [continuing]. In its present form.

In referring to your statement with reference to 1864 again, on extending the allowance of those rated at 30 percent disabled, you state that this would weaken the thrust of the law. I'd like for you to elaborate on that, if you would, just a little bit. Could you just go into a little more depth as to the complications that you state might arise.

Mr. PECKARSKY. All right, sir. The basic principle of compensation, which is the fcundation principle of the Veteran's Administration, is to restore to the veteran what he lost because of disability incurred or aggravated by his military service.

We also have a non-service-connected program pension, which will be the subject of later hearing, as the Chairman has announced. Any diminution of the compensation program to extend its payments to non-service-connected disabilities weakens the basic program, and confuses it with the non-service-connected program. This, we believe, should be carefully avoided.

Now, with regard to the veteran who is thirty percent disabled, his impairments could range from fairly substantial to a fairly minor involvement of one or both arms or legs.

In no event is it easy for us to contemplate the type of restorative device that would be helpful to him, outside of-for example-power steering, power brakes, and perhaps an automatic transmission, since his disability has not progressed to loss or loss of use level.

But it occurs to us that these are standard items of equipment on most automobiles today. In effect what this would be doing would be supplementing a current level of disability with an extra payment because of the nature of the disability.

It would not extend to 30 percent disabilities that did not involve an arm or a leg, and you would get equal clamor for this. In effect, it would just be a bonus for a specific type of disability without any specific rehabilitative or restorative purpose.

Mr. WYLIE. Thank you. I understand your position.

Now, to 1866 for a moment. You state that loss of eyesight or renal function and hearing is irreplaceable, and of course it is. However, won't you agree that even though prosthetic applicances will assist in limb loss, that the need for more assistance is necessary, even thougheven after a prosthetic appliance is allowed and is in use?

Do we have a responsibility in assisting the service-connected disabled who have through some unfortunate mishap suffered the loss of a paired extremity through a non-service-connected accident? Do we have some responsibility to assist them over and beyond what would ordinarily be the case ?

If you get the point I make here, just replacing a lost limb with a prosthetic device doesn't replace the lost limb, per se, and I understand that the detrimental effect is not as great as if a person lost both eyes, as to where he loses both limbs.

Mr. PECKARSKY. There is a significant difference, however, Mr, Wylie. Let's take for example hearing. Total loss of hearing in one ear is evaluated as a 10 percent disability. But total loss of hearing in both ears is an 80 percent disability, usually elevated to 100 percent on individual unemployability.

As such, if you lose hearing in one ear, service-connected, and the other one non-service-connected, which is the 10 percent ear and which is the ear that's totally disabling?

It makes sense to say, “Don't subtract the 10 percent. Pay him the total disability for the combined ears."

Similarly, with an eye. Loss of vision in one eye is 30 percent, but loss of vision in both eyes is one of the subparagraphs above the 100-percent level. Similarly, the principle of subtraction doesn't apply.

But legs are each evaluated independently and are restorable independently.

There are other non-service-connected disabilities that can occur to a man after service, which can have a profound effect on his ability to function or earn a livelihood. While they would not be affecting paired extremities, they could have an equally devastating effect on his ability to function, but we pay nonetheless only for the serviceconnected disability, because that is a basic principle of compensation.

Once you open the bars and say that we're going to extend the principle of service connection beyond what it was intended for, it is extremely difficult, Mr. Wylie, to draw a line and say we're not going any

further than this. Mr. WYLIE. I understand what you are saying, and I think what you are saying is a matter of degree to some extent.

Being the devil's advocate for just a moment, though, if a person has lost both limbs, and even though he is able to be equipped with prosthetic devices, still, there may be some assistance required beyond the loss of the two limbs.

In the other cases we cited, no such function is any longer possible. with the loss of both limbs than he would be with the loss of one limb twice, if you understand what I'm saying.

Mr. PECKARSKY. Yes indeed, I do.
Mr. WYLIE. The same thing with the loss of both eyes.

Mr. PECKARSKY. But the point that I was trying to make was that despite the loss of both limbs, ambulation, which is the purpose of the two legs, is still possible with prosthetic devices.

In the other cases we cited, no such function is any longer possible. Hearing is no longer possible in the paired ears. Vision is no longer possible in the paired eyes. And that is the distinction, Mr. Wylie, that we see, and that is the reason we oppose this extension.

Mr. WYLIE. I understand your position. I have one more question, Mr. Chairman, on H.R. 1866.

With reference to the study that you mentioned concerning abuses in the automobile allowance program, could you tell me when that report is due, and also whether you plan to send copies of it to this committee

Mr. PECKARSKY. The committee initiated the study. It was in a letter from the chairman of the committee that actually was the occasion for us to order the study.

The study has just been ordered, and will be completed with due haste, and certainly the committee will get the report as soon as it is available, sir.

Mr. WYLIE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. MONTGOMERY. Thank you, Mr. Wylie. Mr. Guyer, also a member of this subcommittee.

Mr. GUYER. ! don't have any questions, as I have been trying to catch up with the presentation. I noticed that the administration has opposed all three bills. Is that correct?

Mr. PECKARSKY. No, sir. We're firmly in favor of a cost of living increase in compensation and DIC for surviving spouses and children, and opposed to the other two.

Mr. GUYER. Well, let me see, I have it now. I think Mr. Wylie has probably covered the field, and I appreciate your position and your testimony. Thank you.

Mr. MONTGOMERY. Thank you for being here this morning, Mr. Guyer.

Let me maybe ask a couple of questions here. How many-just for the record, how many do we have on the service-connected compensation rolls, both veterans and their dependents or widows?

Mr. PECKARSKY. As of the end of March our total disability cases are 3,248,925, that's total disability, pension and compensation.

Service-connected cases, is 2.24 million disability and the serviceconnected death cases are 365,984.

Mr. MONTGOMERY. Well, that is the total, then, under the compensation service-connected program of how many!

Mr. PECKARSKY. 2.24 million compensation cases, live, and 366,000 death cases, DIC, and death compensation.

Mr. MONTGOMERY. Well, do you have the figures for the pension-
Mr. PECKARSKY. Yes, sir.
Mr. MONTGOMERY [continuing]. For the nonservice connected ?

Mr. PECKARSKY. Řight. Nonservice-connected veterans' cases, is 1,007,586. And death cases is 1.27 million,

Mr. MONTGOMERY. One point what?
Mr. PECKARSKY. 1,272,063.
Mr. MONTGOMERY. We actually have more widows,
Mr. PECKARSKY. Yes, sir.

Mr. MONTGOMERY [continuing]. And dependent children, I assume, under the pension program than we actually have live veterans. Is that correct?

Mr. PECKARSKY. That's right, sir. About 3 years ago we had more veterans up until then, than we had widows, and now we have more death cases than living cases,

Mr. MONTGOMERY. Why does the figure drop off so much into the compensation in the DIC

Mr. PECKARSKY. Well

Mr. MONTGOMERY. You have over 2,200,000 live veterans, and then you drop it off to less than 600,000? Is that what

Mr. PECKARSKY. 366,000 service-connected death cases, yes, sir. One of the reasons is that many of the living veterans who were receiving compensation are very young. They have wives, but they have not yet approached the age in which there will be anybody eligible for death benefits.

Also, many of them will die without survivors in a permitted class. Also, many of them with very minor disabilities—10 or 20 percentare not going to die of a service-connected condition. They're going to have a 10-percent gunshot wound that we pay them compensation for, but they are going to die of heart disease or any of the other disabilities of advanced age.

And all of these factors tend to make the service-connected death rolls smaller than the living veteran compensation rolls.

Pension, however, being a needs program, the need of the veteran is very often transferred to his survivors, and they continue to be pension recipients because they meet the needs test.

Mr. MONTGOMERY. Thank you, sir. What would be the cost of H.R. 1864?

Mr. PECKARSKY. H.R. 1864, the World War I segment would cost $1.6 million. The total benefit cost for the 30-percent or more would be $50.7 million.

The cumulative cost for the 30-percent provision is $91.8 million.

Mr. MONTGOMERY. Well, the big discrepancy there, as I understand it, in the 5-year program would be $96.3 million! Mr. PECKARSKY. That's right.

Mr. MONTGOMERY. And then if you cut out the adaptive equipment it would drop down to one point

Mr. PECKARSKY. Seven.
Mr. MONTGOMERY. $1.7 million for World War I veterans.

Mr. PECKARSKY. That's right. All of the costs for the World War I veterans virtually would be in the first year; $1.6 million. The additional costs for the next 5 years would be for adaptive equipment, and it's only 0.1, or $100,000.00.

Mr. MONTGOMERY. What is the cost of-the estimated cost of H.R. 1866 ?

Mr. PECKARSKY. We are unable to cost that bill. We do not consider it to be significant, which means it would be less than a million dollars, probably right around $1 million.

Mr. MONTGOMERY. Per year.
Mr. PECKARSKY. Yes, sir.

Mr. MONTGOMERY. We might have some other questions to submit to you at a later date, so if there be no objections I'd like to keep the record open in that we would submit these

Mr. PECKARSKY. Yes sir. Mr. MONTGOMERY [continuing]. Questions to you. The Blinded Veterans Association is scheduled to appear before the committee on July 28 to present its legislative programs. The national legislative director of the organization expressed a desire to file a statement in connection with this hearing, and if there is no objection, without objections, we will make it a part of the record.

BLINDED VETERANS ASSOCIATION,

Washington, D.C., April 28, 1977. Representative G. V. (SONNY) MONTGOMERY, Chairman, Subcommittee on Compensation, Pension and Insurance, Committee on

Veterans' Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN : The purpose of this letter is to express the support of the Blinded Veterans Association for the passage of : legislation which would increase the amounts of disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation (H.R. 1862) and legislation which would increase the compensation to certain veterans suffering the loss of paired extremities (H.R. 1866).

Enclosed is a statement which I request be inserted into the record. Included in my statement is the position of the BVA on other aspects of legislation concerning DIC and multiple disabilities of blinded veterans. Sincerely,

JERRY R. MONROE, National President and Chairman of the Board.

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