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It is our feeling that some 90 or 95 percent of the cases, there would be a designated beneficiary, and in those cases the Department would pay them, which would result in a more prompt settlement, and also in the elimination of the various troublesome problems that we have had in the past under the present order in multiple widow cases, and illegitimacy cases, in desertion cases, where the matter becomes tied up in determining who is the proper person entitled.
It is our thought that the designated beneficiary, the man would designate the person to whom he wished this final payment to go, and thereby eliminate these many troublesome problems.
We believe, and it has been our experience under the civil bill from which this is derived, that it will facilitate the payment of these claims, and that it will also result in administrative economies in the services.
Senator JOHNSON. Are there any questions of Mr. Eckert?
Thank you, Mr. Eckert.
Lieutenant Colonel Marshall's statement will be incorporated in the record at this point.
(The prepared statement submitted by Lieutenant Colonel Marshall is as follows:)
STATEMENT BY LT. COL. JOSEPH MARSHALL, UNITED STATES ARMY, ADVISORY SERVICES DIVISION, OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF FINANCE
The proposed legislation would generally provide uniformity of procedure between military and civilian personnel as pertains to the settlement of accounts of arrears of pay due such personnel at date of death. In this respect, the proposed bill is patterned after the act of August 3, 1950 (64 Stat. 395) which pertains to settlement of accounts of civilian officers and employees of the Federal Government.
Primarily, the proposed legislation would permit a testamentary disposition by the service member of that part of his estate representing any pay and allowances or other amounts due him from the military service concerned at date of death in favor of a designated beneficiary. The service member has a right to make testamentary disposition of his estate under the general laws of the States and no reason is perceived why arrears of pay, also a part of his estate, should not be disposed of in a similar manner. This policy would greatly simplify the disposition of such accounts since designations would be generally made by military personnel, thus obviating the necessity in many cases of determining the validity of marriages, divorces, the legitimacy of children, and the like by making payment to the designated beneficiary. Under the present law (act of June 30, 1906, 10 U. S. C. 868; 35 U. S. C. 941a), in the absence of a claim from the legal representative of the estate, the amount due goes to (1) the widow or widower, or if none; (2) to the child or children; and descendants of deceased children, etc., whereas under the provisions of the proposed will, the amount due would be payable to (1) a previously designated beneficiary, or if none; (2) to the widow or widower; (3) or if no beneficiary or surviving spouse, to the child or children, and descendants of deceased children; (4) to the parents or surviving parent; and (5) to the duly appointed legal representative of the estate, or if there be none of the foregoing, to the person or persons determined to be entitled thereto under the laws of the domicile of the deceased member.
Under the procedure now in effect, all such accounts are submitted to the General Accounting Office for settlement. The Settlements Division, Finance Center, United States Army, submits each case to the General Accounting Office, with necessary recommendations, and that office completes final settlement action thereon, and notifies the Finance and Accounts Office, United States Army, Washington, D. C., to issue a check in payment of the claim. The Department of Defense is of the opinion that provisions should be made to grant the uniformed service concerned the authority to make payment of any pay and allowances or other amounts due a service member at date of death to a designated beneficiary. In the cases where a beneficiary has not been designated, it is believed that payment by the services should be made only after settlement by the General Ac
counting Office similar to civilian employee cases under the above cited act of August 3, 1950. One significant factor contained in this proposal is that settlement procedures by the General Accounting Office would be eliminated in most cases; this would permit more expeditious settlement of these accounts than is now possible, with no additional workload involved.
In addition, under the proposed legislation, the rights of persons designated vest as of the date of death, whereas under the present law these rights vest as of date of settlement. It is believed that the interests of both the Government and the beneficiaries of estates of deceased personnel of the uniformed services are best served when settlements are made based on the date of death, which is the case in the laws relating generally to the settlement of estates.
Senator BYRD. I move the bill be reported.
Senator JOHNSON. Senator Byrd moves the bill be reported. Is there a second?
Senator JACKSON. I second the motion.
Senator JOHNSON. It is moved and seconded.
Without objection, the bill will be reported to the calendar. (Whereupon, the committee proceeded to take up other matters.)
Except for the temporary buildings constructed by the Army during World War II, and which have since been torn down or have deteriorated beyond economical repair, all construction of buildings and utilities and the rehabilitation and preservation of the property since 1921 has been at the expense of the State of Louisiana.
I am informed that Louisiana has spent several millions of dollars in rehabilitation and new construction for the use of the National Guard. The State has plans to erect several more permanent buildings for the same purpose when this transfer is effected.
Jackson Barracks has played an important role in our military history and is, in reality, a historic site to us of Louisiana and particularly the inhabitants of New Orleans. This history of Jackson Barracks represents what I believe to to be one of the finest examples of cooperation between the Department of the Army and the military department of the State. This post, when it was excess to the needs of the Army, was taken over by the State military department and rehabilitated to first-class condition.
Upon the occurrence of the national emergency, which ordered the National Guard into Federal service, it proved to be a valuable asset. It is an ideal facility for the Headquarters of the Louisiana National Guard and the numerous units of the National Guard in that vicinity and will be maintained in readiness for use by the Federal Government in time of war.
I believe the bill which I have introduced will, if enacted, be beneficial to both the Federal Government and the State of Louisiana.
Maj. Gen. Raymond H. Fleming, the adjutant general of Louisiana, accompanied me to this meeting. General Fleming entered the Louisiana National Guard as a private in 1916 and has progressed through all the grades to his present rank. He has served continuously in the Louisiana National Guard since 1916 except for periods of Federal service. He has been a general officer since 1928 and has commanded a National Guard division, has served as Chief of the National Guard Bureau, and has been the adjutant general of Louisiana for many years. General Fleming has grown up with Jackson Barracks since it was leased to the State. General Fleming has a brief statement after which I am sure he can answer any questions that you may have relative to this property.
Senator JOHNSON. Without objection, the bill will be reported.
Senator LONG. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to thank the other members of the committee.
Senator JOHNSON. The last bill is Senate 933.
(S. 933 is as follows:)
[Committee Print, April 20, 1955]
[S. 933, 84th Cong., 1st sess.]
[Omit the part struck through and insert the part printed in italic]
A BILL To facilitate the settlement of the accounts of deceased members of the uniformed services, and for other purposes
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That for the purposes of this Act the term “Department" shall mean the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, the Department of the Air Force, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Commerce, or the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, as the case may be, and the terms "uniformed services," "member" and "Secretary" shall have the respective meanings given those terms in section 102 of the Career Compensation Act of 1949 (63 Stat. 804), as amended, on the date of enactment of this Act, except that "the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare" shall be substituted for "the Federal Security Administrator" in the definition of the term "Secretary".
Sec. 2. In the settlement of the account of any deceased member of the uniformed services or of the National Guard or the Air National Guard, the amount found due therein from the United States the uniformed service of which the decedent was a member shall be paid to the person or persons surviving at the date of death in the following order of precedence:
First, to the beneficiary or beneficiaries named to receive any such amount in a written designation executed by the member and received, prior to his death, in the place designated for such purpose in the regulations of the Department concerned;
Second, if there be no such beneficiary, to the widow or widower of such member; Third, if there be no beneficiary or surviving spouse, to the child or children of such member, and descendants of deceased children, by representation;
Fourth, if none of the above, to the parents of the member, or the survivor of them; and
Fifth, if there be none of the above, to the duly appointed legal representative of the estate of the deceased member, or if there be none, to the person or persons determined to be entitled thereto under the laws of the domicile of the deceased member.
SEC. 3. Amounts payable under this Act shall be paid by the Department or uniformed service concerned or upon settlement by the General Accounting Office as the Comptroller General of the United States may by regulation authorize and direct and any payment made under this Aet shall be a bar to recovery by any other person of any amount so paid.
SEC. 3. Subject to such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by the Comptroller General of the United States, amounts payable to beneficiaries designated by the member under section 2 of this Act shall be paid by the Department or uniformed service concerned. All other payments under this Act shall be paid upon settlement by the General Accounting Office. Any payment made under this Act shall be a bar to recovery by any other person of any amount so paid.
SEC. 4. Designations of beneficiary under this Act, and changes therein, shall be made under regulations promulgated by the Secretaries concerned, and such regulations shall be uniform for all services insofar as practicable: Provided, That any designation of beneficiary made for the purposes of any six months' death gratuity (including any designation of a person whose right to the gratuity would not depend upon such designation) and heretofore or hereafter received in the Department concerned before the effective date of the payment provisions of this Act shall be considered as a designation of beneficiary for the purposes of this Act, in the absence of a designation of beneficiary under this Act, unless the member making the designation shall have been missing, missing in action, in the hands of a hostile force, or interned in a foreign country during any part of the period between the date of enactment of this Act and the effective date thereof as prescribed in section 5 of this Act.
See: 5. The payment provisions of this Act shall be effective only in eases wherein the member's death occurs on or after the first day of the sixth month following the month in which this Act is enacted and the following statutory provisions shall have no application in such cases:
SEC. 5. The payment provisions of this Act shall be effective only in cases wherein the member's death occurs on or after the first day of the sixth month following the month in which this Act is enacted. The following statutory provisions are repealed as of the effective date of the payment provisions of this Act, except with respect to the deaths of members occurring prior to such effective date:
(1) The paragraph of the Act of June 30, 1906 (34 Stat. 750), which relates to the settlement of accounts of deceased officers and enlisted men of the Army, as amended by the Act of December 7, 1944 (58 Stat. 795), and section 4 of the Act of February 25, 1946 (60 Stat. 30, 10 U. S C. 868).
(2) Section 1 of the Act of February 25, 1946 (60 Stat. 30), as amended by section 18 of the Act of August 4, 1949 (63 Stat. 560, 34 U. S. C. 941a).
(3) The paragraph in section 1 of the Act of August 4, 1949 (63 Stat. 531), which relates to the settlement of accounts of deceased officers and enlisted persons of the Coast Guard (14 U. S. C. 466).
(4) Section 507 of the Public Health Service Act, approved July 1, 1944 (58 Stat. 711), as amended by section 2 of the Act of February 25, 1946 (60 Stat. 30, 42 U. S. C. 225).
SEC. 6. The Departments shall take such action as is deemed necessary to notify members of the provisions of this Aet and of their rights to designate beneficiaries hereunder.
Senator JOHNSON. The purpose of this bill is to simplify the administration and achieve certain savings in the handling of the final-pay accounts of deceased servicemen. If it achieves certain savings, I know you will be interested in that, Senator Byrd.