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Bureau of National Homes Total beds available in homes....
22, 940 | Veterans on roll by types ----------Occupied
21, 669 Civil War (to 1898). In barracks.
14, 451 Spanish-American (1898-1916) Convalescence
1,986 World War (1916 to date).-Others...
12, 465 Patients in hospitals by type.
17, 218 Civil War...
1, 213 - World War ----
Authorized by Veterans' Burea
Others (1916 to date)..
495 Civil employees.--
Members attending sick call.---
Number camp calls made.
; Veterans on rolls.
28, 970 Individuals examined for United In barracks..
States Veterans' Bureau... In hospitals.
7,259 Individuals examined for Pensi Meals only..
5,609 Employees on roll end of month
Members (extra duty with pay)..---
Civier servi (1916°
19, 469 1,137 1, 147
377 2 6, 089
236 3, 193 2,660
. 1 68, 763
Number of treatments given outside hospitals during December..
1, 148 15, 291
37 8, 181 671 182
1 Includes 98 claims suspended from pending file awaiting further information.
General Hines. If I may complete my observations on this legislation, I will then be glad to answer any questions.
Previous to this time in coming before your committee on pending legislation I have been able to offer for your consideration suggestions as to the best method, in my opinion, of meeting the need sought to be provided for by the various bills introduced in the House and before you for consideration. In this instance, however, I must confess I am unable to offer any suggested legislative solution of the problem confronting you.
Four different general plans for providing additional payments under the World War adjusted compensation act have been presented to you for consideration:
1. The payment of the face value of all adjusted service-certificates.
2. The payment of the present value of all adjusted-service certificates.
3. The payment of adjusted-service credits, plus 25 per cent, plus 4 per cent interest, to the present time.
4. Increased loans.
Undoubtedly from a financial standpoint the least costly and therefore from that standpoint the best, would be the fourth plan, namely, that to increase the loan values on the certificates. Likewise, this plan has the merit of not requiring the surrender of the
certificates in order to secure additional funds. However, it would not be actuarially sound to increase to any great extent the present loan value on these certificates and, in my opinion, a slight increase would be of little benefit and would only result in piddling away of an additional amount which would be charged against the face value of the certificate. The first three plans mentioned, while providing a real measure of cash relief, are, according to the Secretary of the Treasury and other financial experts, unsound from a financial and economic standpoint. Therefore, I find myself in the predicament of being unable to recommend one plan because of the inadequacy of the relief afforded, and the others because of their adverse effect on the finances of the country.
It is my honest belief that a great deal of misunderstanding has arisen among veterans as to just what their certificates represent. I believe many of them are of the opinion that the face value of the certificates is the value of the certificates at this time. If it could be explained to them just what the present value represents in cash, I do not believe that there would be any serious demand for this cash payment. Further, it goes without saying that the average veteran would not advocate or favor any proposal which would disrupt, or tend to disrupt, the fiscal policies of the Government, or which would adversely affect the economic situation of the country or the public welfare.
As I see it, the veterans of the country may be divided into three groups. The first group are those to whom the adjusted-service certificate is just another security in the strong box. While, undoubtedly, the number of men in this group is not large, still there are a considerable number of ex-service men in such circumstances. Certainly this group of ex-service men do not need cash or assistance from the Government at this time, and there is no reason why the Government should strain its resources to pay to-day an obligation due them in 1945..
The second group, and I believe the largest group of ex-service men, are those who, while working for a living, are employed and earning enough to support themselves and their families. It is probably true that the majority of this group of ex-service men are not able to save much, if anything, and that these certificates represent not only their sole investment or savings, but their only life insurance. Further undoubtedly many of them have borrowed on their ceröificates. However, I will venture to say in most cases they have spent the money so obtained on other than bare necessities. While a part of this group undoubtedly could use additional amounts of cash to advantage, I believe such amounts, to a great extent, would be expended for other than necessities of life. In other words, there is no emergent need for relief among this group. Therefore, the payment of any additional cash on the basis of these adjusted-service certificates, in so far as this group are concerned, can not be said to be essential, and to offer them an inducement to cash in their certificates would, in my opinion, be most unwise.
The third group of ex-service men are those, especially the ones with families, who are out of work and are now in dire need. Undoubtedly this group, which consists of a considerable number, could well use and would take any cash settlement offered to them. They have already borrowed on their certificates to the maximum and are
in need of assistance at this time. But should we force them to surrender this investment, which is without question the only investment or life insurance which they have, in order to secure aid to bridge this period of economic depression? Would it not be better to help them find jobs and assist them by creating more jobs than to make them pay their own way out of their only savings through this period of distress? They are only a component part of thousands of American citizens who are in such circumstances. If we are to provide direct relief to the other citizens, why should not these ex-service men be permitted to keep their adjusted-service certificates and likewise benefit by such direct relief measures as are provided. The American Legion and other ex-service organizations are helping these men to secure jobs. These organizations, through their welfare and other funds, are assisting in taking care of them and their families until they can secure jobs. It seems to me that this problem will be better met in this way and that the soldier will be better off by so meeting it. As I previously stated concerning this group there can be no question of need for assistance, but is there any greater need and have they any more right to look to their Government for assistance than their equally unfortunate neighbors who were too old or too young to serve.
Also while it seems to me the country owes a greater duty to the disabled ex-service men, whether disabled through disease or age, and to the widows and orphans of deceased ex-service men than which it owes to its other citizens, it also seems to me that it owes only the same duty to the able-bodied ex-service men and their families as it owes to every other citizen.
I realize it is contended that this is money due the ex-service men but, as I understand it, outside of the present and future loan values, no money is due on these certificates until 1945 unless the holders die prior to that date. Therefore, I can see no reason why the Government should advance the date of maturity at this time. I am firmly of the opinion that if these certificates are paid off at any value less than their face value the ex-service men of the country will feel that they have been forced to sacrifice the true amount which is due them and that after the amounts provided are paid and spent they will come back and demand that the difference between such amounts and the face value be paid to them.
There is one phase of this matter which I think merits particular attention and which, to my mind, if no other, would prevent my recommending any of the plans which would involve the surrendering of these certificates or the greater impairment of their value, and that is the benefit which is derived from these certificates when the exservice man dies leaving a widow and children. If the members of this committee could but see the good which is accomplished in such cases--and I might say that 75 per cent of the veterans have dependents-I am sure you would agree with me. I do not believe that I am overestimating when I say that 80 per cent of the ex-service men who die leave no other assets than the proceeds of their adjustedservice certificates. In other words, these amounts represent the only money left to help span the period between the date of death of the soldier and the date of adjustment by the widow to her new conditions in life. I should be glad if the committee would see fit to call before it those in the bureau and those in the American Legion and