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As you know so well, Mr. Chairman, the costs of veterans programs are but a continuation of the cost of war—of our fight to preserve our freedoms.
Again, the American Legion says thanks for your attention to the needs of our service-disabled veterans.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I would like to include with your permission, as a part of the testimony this morning, copies of our Resolution 146 of the 1967 convention, 202 of the 1966 convention, and 459 of the same convention.
Mr. ROBERTS. Without objection, they will be made part of the record.
I first want to say I notice that neither Mr. Golembieski, Mr. Nolan nor Mr. Mattingly were taken as consultants from the American Legion for the U.S. Veterans Advisory Commission. Mr. Golembieski, it seems to me, if they didn't put you on in that capacity, they certainly should have put you on as one of the advisers of the Polish Legion of American Veterans.
Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. Thank you.
May I say briefly I think the reason for the American Legion having such a large panel of consultants is when the Veterans Advisory Commission was being formulated or established and the organization was being planned we were anticipating being consulted on several aspects of veterans benefits, that is aside from the recommendations that we should receive from our people in the regional meetings.
Consequently, we did staff ourselves as you know from that listing with some very talented people and we were prepared to provide consulting service.
Mr. SAYLOR. Well, I looked over the list of technical consultants of the Legion and as near as I can remember, if my memory serves me correctly, with your official staff, there are only two who were paid consultants at that time, I think Dr. Brick and John Corcoran.
Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. There is another. Sam Borsalari, who is legal consultant on a part-time basis, and Austin Kerby, director of our National Economics Commission.
Mr. SAYLOR. Of course, the Veterans Administration has stolen at least one of them.
Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. Yes, sir; to our request.
Mr. SAYLOR. Let me direct this question to you, sir. In your statement you say that you recommend an increase to $400 and that thereafter thereafter those with 90 percent or less be given the proportionate share of that figure.
Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. Yes, sir.
Mr. SAYLOR. This is a return to the system which was in effect before 1952 ?
Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. Yes, sir.
Mr. SAYLOR. Now, back in January, last year, Mr. Teague, at the request of your organization, introduced a bill, H.R. 3583, in which you recommended that the 100 percent disabled receive $330.
Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. Our subsequent bill, based on the 1967 convention, is H.R. 14666, which calls for $400, and at 90 percent it would be $360, and so on. I have a copy of the bill, if you wish it.
Mr. SAYLOR. I was not familiar with the second bill that had been introduced as a result of your most recent convention. I just wanted to ascertain whether you stand on this statement today or the bill which Mr. Teague originally introduced at the request of the Legion?
Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. We stand on the $400 bill.
percent down to 10 percent?
Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. That is right.
Mr. SAYLOR. Now, this seem to be in line then with recommendation No. 3 which the Commission reported, in which they endorse the principle of equalization of compensation payable for disabilities rated less than 100 percent. This is as you understand what the Commission intended at that time?
Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. Yes, sir. That on equalization, but I think they tie it more or less to the validation of the rating schedule if I am not mistaken.
That is the study now being made by the Veterans' Administration wherein they mailed approximately 500,000 questionnaires inquiring into various aspects of income and disabilities, and so on, with the thought of capturing the material from the surveys to validate their schedule.
I presume that once the validation has been done, they will then come to Congress for the authority to establish a new schedule.
Mr. SAYLOR. Well, as you have pointed out, and as this committee has been told since 1952, the reason we can't go back to the proportionate system that we had before, is the initial cost in the first year. If we were not able to get that at one time, do you think your organization would support the proposition to return to that formula for those with a 50-percent disability and above?
Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. Well, one of the recommendations we have in the statement, is if you cannot accomplish it in its entirety, you do it according to the degrees of disability starting with the most severe, 90, 80, and 70 percent, and then on down, according to the ability of the budget to bear the cost.
Mr. SAYLOR. Of course, I am one that believes that the cost of service-connected veterans compensation is a direct cost of war and I am not impressed at all with the Bureau of the Budget, who want to tie a service-connected veteran down with a cost-of-living increases.
What about the widow of a man who has lost his life in the service?
Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. We are not at all in agreement, sir, with the present provisions of dependency and indemnity compensation as it pertains to widows. As you will recall from the statement of the national commander here on March 5, one of the recommendations he made then pertained to widows. We would pay the basic rate plus $25 for each child.
Now, under the present system where you have a widow we will say with more than five or six children, she finds it to her advatange to receive death pension instead, because for many widows this is a greater amount.
But in doing so, she must subject herself to a needs test which is something that this country has never done before, relating to service-connected disability or death.
Mr. SAYLOR. I, for one do not believe that a widow of a serviceconnected veteran should be tied to any “means” test. For example, I just pick out something that happened to me on Friday of this past week. I was privileged
to be at Walter Reed Hospital when a career enlisted man in the U.S. Army was awarded his second Silver Star medal. He received the first one for action in Santo Domingo where he had been wounded and the second as a result of the conflict in Vietnam.
Now, his wife was there with their six children and as fine a looking family as you could find anywhere in these United States. This soldier, according to doctors, is only alive because of his will to live. It seems to me, that this country owes to that wife and to those children everything that we can possibẫy give them, because it is only because of men like that, that we are permitted to sit here in this room today, and that we in this country haven't had the bombs fall here. It seems, as far as I personally am concerned, that the Bureau of the Budget and the economists down there just are not cognizant of this situation.
(Discussion off the record.)
Nr. SAYLOR. I want to commend you also for the position you have taken with regard to the tuberculosis statutory award and the increase that accompanies it. There are so many times that the Veterans' Administration seems to hang its hat on anything to get away from giving a veteran the benefit of the doubt which Congress intended. I certainly believe that, based upon the medical information furnished to me, your position is well founded, that tuberculosis, even if arrested, is entitled to a statutory award because it may break out again ad anyone who has had it, for the rest of their lives will suffer a continuing disability.
Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. We agree with you, sir. There is one disparity, I believe, in the statutory award for tuberculosis that does not exist in the other statutory awards and that is the language says, "in lieu of compensation”.
You can have a veteran who has a lobectomy because of tuberculosis for which he is evaluated at 30 percent, it comes to $60, but he doesn't get the $60, he takes the $67 instead and he does not, as under the $47 statutory award,
receive the compensation plus the statutory. Mr. ROBERTS. Would the Legion recommend that that disparity in the law be corrected at this time?
Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. We think it is in accord with our position of adequately compensating the service disabled.
Mr. ROBERTS. Thank you very much, sir. Again, you support our positions of seeing that the widow of a serviceman killed should certainly get not less than a woman on welfare in the same situation?
Mr. GOLEMBIESKI. That has been our premise down through the
Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. Scott.
Mr. ROBERTS. The resolutions which you have submitted will be inserted at this point in the record, without objection.
(The resolutions referred to follow :)
49TH ANNUAL NATIONAL CONVENTION OF THE AMERICAN LEGION, BOSTON, Mass.,
AUGUST 29, 30, 31, 1967 Resolution: No. 146 (Nebraska). Committee: Rehabilitation. Subject: Sponsor and support legislation to increase the monthly rates of
disability compensation and to equalize the rates payable for less than 100 percent disability so that they are proportionate to the percentage of
disability. Whereas, disability compensation payments are based on a schedule of ratings of reductions in earning capacity from specific injuries or combinations of injuries adopted by the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs in accordance with 38 USC 355 ; and
Whereas, 38 USC 355 also provides that this schedule shall be constructed so as to provide 10 grades of disability, namely, at 10 percent from 10 to 100 percent; and
Whereas, since the 82nd Congress, the monthly rates of compensation no longer bear the same ratio to that payable for 100 perecnt disability as the percentage of disability bears to 100 percent; and
Whereas, the compensation payable monthly for 100 percent disability no longer bears a reasonable relationship to the average wage payable in the economy of the United States: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by The American Legion in National Convention assembled in Boston, Massachusetts, August 29, 30, 31, 1967, That The American Legion shall sponsor and support legislation to increase the disability compensation payable each month for 100 percent disability to $100 and to provide that the compensation payable for disability or disabilities rated less than 100 percent shall bear the same ratio to that payable for 100 percent disability as the percentage of disability bears to 100 percent.
48TH ANNUAL NATIONAL CONVENTION OF THE AMERICAN LEGION, WASHINGTON,
D.C., AUGUST 30, 31 AND SEPTEMBER 1, 1966 Resolution : No 202 (Washington State). Committee: Rehabilitation. Subject: Seek legislation to increase the statutory awards of compensation
payable under 38 USC 314 (k) and (q). Whereas, 38 USC 314(k) provides, in addition to other disability compensation payable, for payment of $47 monthly to a veteran who, as the result of service-connected disability, has suffered the anatomical loss or loss of use of a creative organ, one foot, or one hand, or both buttocks, or blindness of one eye, or has suffered complete organic aphonia or deafness of both ears; and
Whereas, 38 USC 314(q) provides for payment of $67 monthly to a veteran who is shown to have had a service-connected disability resulting from an active tuberculous disease, and which disease in the judgment of the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs has reached to condition of complete arrest; and
Whereas, these statutory awards of compensation have not been increased since the enactment of Public Law 427—82nd Congress, approved June 30, 1952; and
Whereas, other monthly disability and statutory awards of compensation under 38 USC 314 have been increased at periodic intervals to reflect the increased cost of living: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by The American Legion in National Convention assembled in Washington, D.C. August 30, 31-September 1, 1966. That The American Legion sponsor and support legislation to amend 38 USC 314 to provide that the statutory awards under subsection (k) be increased to $60 monthly and under subsection (q) to $80 monthly.
48TH ANNUAL NATIONAL CONVENTION OF THE AMERICAN LEGION,
WASHINGTON, D.C., AUGUST 30, 31, AND SEPTEMBER 1, 1966
Resolution : No. 459 (Virginia).
veterans, rated less than 50 percent for disability compensation, who have
dependents. Whereas, 38 USC 315 provides additional monthly compensation payments for those veterans rated 50 percent or higher who have dependents; and
Whereas, those veterans whose service-connected disability is rated less than 50 percent are not entitled to this additional monthly compensation; and
Whereas, to The American Legion it is unfair to arbitrarily discriminate between those with dependents on the basis of percentage of disability; and
Whereas, those veterans rated less than 50 percent and who have dependents have economic adjustment problems proportionate to the degree of their disability and hence have a proportionate difficulty in meeting financial obligations arising from their dependents: Now, therefore be it
Resolved by The American Legion in National Convention assembled in Washington D.C., August 30, 31-September 1, 1966, That The American Legion sponsor and support legislation to amend 38 USC 315 to provide that those veterans rated less than 50 percent for compensation purposes be entitled to additional compensation for dependents.
STATEMENT OF W. ED HUDSON, NATIONAL QUARTERMASTER,
VETERANS OF WORLD WAR I OF THE USA
Mr. ROBERTS. We have three more witnesses here and next is Mr. W. Ed Hudson, national quartermaster of the Veterans of World War I.
Mr. Hudson, come forward and bring anyone with you that you might wish.
Mr. Hudson. My name is W. Ed Hudson, national quartermaster, representing our National Commander, Philip F. O'Brien, who is on an extended trip and our national legislative director we regret is hospitalized with a serious condition. So we ask, Mr. Chairman, and distinguished members of this committee to read the statement of our national commander.
Gentlemen of this committee, it is very hard to assess the compensation for any veteran who has become permanently and totally disabled in the line of duty in defense of this country. We should not think solely in terms of money for these returning veterans.
There is no way to determine what the potential would be for these veterans in civilian life; however, we feel that at least we should strike an average of what these veterans could be earnings in civilian life in the course of their productive years. The Veterans of World War I feel that we should consider this criteria as a means of awarding service-connected compensation to the veterans.
According to our information, the average wage in private industry would be at least $7,000 per year. We definitely feel that the compensation for the service-connected totally disabled veteran should be raised to $550 per month, nothwithstanding the fact that the Veterans Advisory Commission has recommended $100.
We certainly believe that this recommendation is not too high for a veteran who has given practically his all in defense of his country.
1. The Veterans of World War I believe that a realistic increase in