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shall be applied to the general uses of said hospital: Provided further, That in the case of pensioners transferred to the hospital from the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, any pension money to his credit at said Home at the time of his said transfer shall be transferred with him to said hospital and placed to his credit therein, to be expended as hereinbefore provided; and in case of his return from said hospital to the Home, any balance to his credit at said hospital shall, in like manner, be transferred to said Home, to be expended in accordance with the rules established in regard thereto. This provision shall also be applicable to all unexpended pension money heretofore paid to the officers of the said hospital on account of pensioners who were but are not now inmates thereof.""
In your letter you ask two questions which will be considered in the order stated.
The first question is
"As to whether the final sentence in this act, which in terms is as follows:
"This provision shall also be applicable to all unexpended pension money heretofore paid to the officers of said hospital on account of pensioners who were, but are not now, inmates thereof '
"makes the unclaimed balance standing to the account of the superintendent of the hospital as agent available for the general purposes of the hospital until expended."
You say that at the present time the superintendent as agent has standing to his credit moneys aggregating approximately $50,000, which has been paid into the Treasury by the superintendent of the hospital as agent as moneys belonging to patients, a portion of which was doubtless pension money and the balance was received by the inmates from other sources.
The last proviso of the act of 1905 relates solely to pension money which may hereafter come into the hands of the superintendent of the hospital by transfer of the same from the National Home, and also to the disposition of any unexpended balance belonging to a particular pensioner in case he should be returned to a volunteer home. I understand by this proviso that any of said money, when it comes into the hands of the superintendent, is subject to the same uses as pension money mentioned in the first proviso.
The last clause in the act seems to relate wholly to any unexpended money which has, before the passage of the act of 1905, come into the hands of the superintendent of the
hospital, and makes said money, if any there be, subject to the same conditions and uses which would be applied to money's coming into the hands of the superintendent of the hospital after the passage of this act.
In relation to the $50,000 now standing to the credit of the superintendent as agent, you say—
"No portion of such pension money so covered into the Treasury was ever paid to the superintendent officially."
By this I understand that the money referred to was never paid to the superintendent of the hospital by a pension agent or other official, but was paid by said pension agent directly to the pensioner, and once it came into his hands it ceased to be pension money, losing that character, and was essentially his own, as any other money rightfully received by him from any other source, and no more subject to the control of the Government than any other part of his assets.
If this understanding is correct, then it would seem that no part of the $50,000 heretofore referred to is pension money, but has the same character as any other portion of said $50,000 received from other inmates. From this it would seem that the last clause of the act referred to by you has nothing to operate upon, but if the facts should show otherwise then I will say that said clause applies to the entire act.
Your second question is-
"Whether arrears of pension paid to the superintendent may be charged for the board and maintenance of the pensioner, to cover a period prior to the passage of the act of February 20, 1905.
In explanation, you also say→
"In cases in which pensioners are receiving $72 per month, or more than sufficient to pay the current expenses of the hospital for board and maintenance, aggregating $20 per month, can any part of the current pension money be used to reimburse the hospital for board and maintenance of the patient, covering any period prior to the date of the passage of the act of February 20, 1905?”
An appropriation is annually made for the care and maintenance in the Government Hospital for the Insane of the insane of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Revenue-Cutter Service, etc. The inmates who are thus provided for do not by reason of the maintenance and care received by them in the hospital incur any indebtedness to the Government or
said institution for the payment of which any moneys subsequently becoming due to them from the Government may be withheld. In the case of Bastin, cited in connection with the second question, who was first admitted to the hospital September 22, 1888, discharged June 30, 1893, and readmitted September 1, 1903. There appears no provision of law making him a debtor to the institution at the time of his discharge in 1893. For similar reasons no indebtedness appears to have been incurred by him on account of his support and treatment from the date of his readmission to the date of the act under immediate consideration. A statute must be presumed to be prospective and not retrospective in its operation unless the language or manifest purpose of the act either explicitly or by necessary implication makes it retrospective. (Black on Interpretation of Laws, p. 250, and cases cited.) There is nothing in the act of February 20, 1905, supra, explicitly providing or necessarily implying that future payments of pension money to the superintendent, under the provision of the act, supra, apply to pay for the support and treatment. furnished to a pensioner prior to the passage of the act in any case where the pensioner was entitled by law to receive such support and treatment without incurring therefor a legal indebtedness to the institution.
Therefore, in answer to your second question, I have to advise you that in my opinion arrears of pension paid to the superintendent under the provisions of the act of 1905, or pensions so paid in excess of the cost of the pensioner's current maintenance, can not legally be charged with the cost of his maintenance for a period prior to the passage of the act.
RETIREMENT OF OFFICER OF THE REVENUE-CUTTER SERVICE FROM ACTIVE DUTY.
The provision in the act of April 12, 1902, that "when any officer in the Revenue-Cutter Service has reached the age of 64 years he shall be retired by the President from active service," applies to officers of that Service who have been placed upon the "retired waiting orders list."
(Comptroller Tracewell to the Secretary of the Treasury, April 8, 1905.)
In your communication of April 4, 1905, you request my opinion of a question which you therein present as follows:
"1. You are informed that section 4 of the act of April 12, 1902, entitled 'An act to promote the efficiency of the Revenue-Cutter Service,' provides as follows:
"That when any officer in the Revenue-Cutter Service has reached the age of sixty-four years he shall be retired by the President from active service; and when any officer has become incapable of performing the duties of his office he shall be either placed upon the retired waiting-orders list or dropped from the service by the President, as hereinafter provided.'
"2. Section 6 of the same act also provides:
"That when a board finds that an officer is incapacitated for active service, and that his incapacity is the result of an incident of service, or is due to the infirmities of age, or physical or mental disability, and not his own vicious habits, and such decision is approved by the President, he shall be retired from active service and placed upon a retired waitingorders list. Officers thus retired may be assigned to such duties as they may be able to perform, in the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury.'
"3. Your opinion is desired as to whether an officer who has, under the provisions of section 6, been placed upon the 'retired waiting-orders list,' shall be wholly retired under the provisions of section 4 when he shall have reached the age of sixty-four years."
As section 4 of said act, quoted by you supra, provides for the retirement "from active service" of an officer who has reached the age of 64 years, by your question whether an officer who has been placed upon the "retired waiting-orders list," shall be "wholly retired" under the provisions of section 4 when he shall have reached the age of 64 years, I understand you to mean by "wholly retired," retired "from active service by the President."
The act provides for three kinds of action:
1. For the retirement of an officer "from active service." 2. For placing an officer upon " the retired waiting-orders. list."
3. For dropping an officer "from the service."
The act also provides that officers placed on "the retired waiting-orders list" may be assigned to such duties as they may be able to perform, in the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury. As similar provision is not made for officers retired from active service," it is to be inferred that it is not the intention of the act to authorize their assignment to any duty. I therefore think that the placing of an officer on "the
retired waiting-orders list" must be regarded as an intermediary step between service on the active list and retirement "from active service." I therefore see no incompatibility in the positive requirement of the statute that when an officer has reached the age of 64 years "he shall be retired by the President from active service," as applied to an officer who has previously been placed on the "retired waiting orders list," and the provision that when any officer has become incapable of performing his duties he shall be placed on "the retired waiting-orders list."
I have the honor therefore to reply to your question in the affirmative.
A special employee of the Internal-Revenue Service with compensation of $4 per day "when actually employed" and actual and necessary traveling expenses "when absent from his legal residence on duty," who was transferred from Chicago, his legal residence, to St. Louis, Mo., for the same kind of duty, was on duty and absent from his legal residence while performing.said travel, and is entitled, therefore, to his per diem compensation and traveling expenses.
(Decision by Comptroller Tracewell, April 11, 1905.)
The Auditor for the Treasury Department, by settlement dated March 2, 1905, of the account of J. W. McGinnis, internal-revenue agent and special disbursing agent, for disbursements made by him from the appropriation for punishment for violation of internal-revenue laws for January, 1905, disallowed the following items:
1. Amount paid to Hugh D. Cameron, special employee, for traveling expenses on July 1, 1904, from Chicago, Ill., to St. Louis, Mo..
2. Amount paid to him for per diem compensation, July 1, 1904.. 3. Amount paid to him for traveling expenses on December 31, 1904, from St. Louis, Mo., to Chicago, Ill
Said Cameron was a special employee of the Internal-Revenue Service at Chicago, which was his legal residence, and was transferred to St. Louis to perform the same kind of duty. The authority for his employment provided that he