The Bayonet, 10 May 1918
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The Bayonet: Camp Lee, VA., Friday, May 10, 1918 three -volved: if their services are required in their military capacity, there is provision of law whereby they may be secured, but in such cases soldiers act under the immediate orders of their officers, and not under any civil officers nor on their own initiative. Section III. Financial Obligations of a Soldier Toward His Legal and Moral Dependents. By Captain C.M. Jones, A.G.D., N.A. a. Upon what a soldier's obligations depend 1 b. Dependents whom a soldier is legally bound to support 2 c. Dependents whom a soldier is morally bound to support 3-6 d. Provision whereby a soldier can adequately support such dependents 7-8 e. Three separate provisions of the act defined 9 1. --Q. What are the financial obligations and duties of a soldier? A. The financial obligations of a soldier are of numerous kinds, and, to a greater or less degree, vary with the individual soldier. The exact degree of each soldier's duties and obligations of a financial or money character depend in a large measure upon the condition or status he occupies in society, considering him both as a soldier, in the military service, and also as a citizen of the United States. 2. --Q. What is meant by the soldier's condition or status in society? A. By a soldier's condition or status in society is meant, to put it simply, whether he is married or single. Every soldier knows that when a man marries he assumes obligations. That is, he undertakes to provide for and support his wife and his children, should there be any. The obligation thus assumed by marriage is not only a moral obligation which applies with equal force upon every citizen of this country whether he be in the army or whether he is a civilian. On the other hand, when a man in unmarried, or single, in the army or out of it, he may or may not have placed upon him the responsibility for the care and support of others. 3. --Q. Can a single man or an unmarried man, be compelled or required to undertake the care and support of others than himself? A. The question or whether he can or cannot is dependent upon a great number of different circumstances, and in general it can only be stated that there are conditions under which he can be compelled to do so, and others where he ought to do so, and still others, where it is not at all obligatory to do so. The number and degree of a man's or soldier's dependent relatives usually determines just what his responsibilities properly are. Thus, if a single man has no relatives such as mother, father, brothers, sisters, grand-parents, or common law wife or children dependent upon him his financial responsibilities are just the same in the army as they were when he was in civil life, that is to say, he has only himself to take care of. 4. --Q. If a man has dependent relatives such as mother or father, or brothers and sisters, why should he be compelled to take care of them? A. In some such cases, as, for instance, in the case of a mother and father, there is a responsibility which is both legal and moral. In civil life, in the case of a brother and sister, it is a moral obligation. In the army, while it is still considered a moral obligation, if the facts and circumstance warrant it is considered to be so great a moral obligation that all possible moral pressure, short of actual compulsion will be used to influence the soldier to make proper provision for their support while he remains in the service. 5.--Q. Why is a man considered responsible for the support of his mother and father? A. Because as a matter of right and of public policy it is considered only fair and proper that a man after becoming of age and capable of supporting himself, should support, protect and care for, if necessary, those who protected and cared for him during his childhood and youth, when he was unable to do so for himself. it is just, therefore, that when by reason of the infirmities of age, or through accident or financial misfortunes his father and mother find themselves unable to support themselves, he should in turn accept the responsibility of their care and protection. Affection alone, by reason of the closeness of the relationship, would require that he aid and assist them when necessary. This the law generally considers as a moral responsibility of the strongest nature, and in order that in all cases it will be assumed, has made it a legal duty. 6.--Q. Why should a soldier who is in the army be required to support or aid in the support of his brothers or sisters? A. A soldier is not legally responsible in any degree for the support of his brothers or sisters, but just as in civil life, he is morally responsible. Every real brother, by reason for the affection he naturally bears for his brothers and sisters will want to aid them should circumstances require it. 7.--Q. How can a soldier be expected, even though he so desired, to assume and fulfill these obligations when in most instances his only financial resources is the pay he receives as a soldier, which is in almost every case considerably less than he earned before coming into the army, and very often less than the amount he was habitually accustomed to contribute towards the support of his family, or his mother and father, as the case may be? A. The government has recognized that fact and has made arrangements to assist the soldier discharge such obligations. The government has recognized that soldiers many times have responsibilities which they must take care of at all time, and may also have others which while not compelled to assume, they may still wish to undertake during their army service. The government, too, knows that the pay of a soldier is not nearly sufficient, in many cases, to cover all these contingencies and circumstances. The government, therefore, has realized that assistance must be given, and has passed a law to remedy as much as is possible the inadequacies of the soldier's pay. 8.--Q. What has the government done to relieve the situation, and assist the soldier to overcome his financial duties and obligations? A. The government has passed the allotment allowance, insurance and compensation law especially to aid the soldier in this respect, and to share with him, if he shows a disposition to manfully assume his burdens, his financial obligations to his dependents. By this law, moreover, the government has arranged not only to assist him with his present obligations, but has also provided that the soldier can protect both himself and his dependents in the event that he should be so disabled during the war as to make it impossible for him, upon discharge and return to civil life, to earn as much as he formerly did. This law, therefore, puts it entirely within the power of the soldier to ensure that neither himself, nor his family and dependents will in the future suffer from want, or be thrown upon public charity. 9.--Q. How can the soldier obtain for himself and for his family the greatest benefits to be derived from this law? A. The law is generally divided into three entirely separate and distinct divisions, which, together, enable the soldier to provide for every kind of financial responsibility which it is his legal or moral duty to regard. The law not only provides for the present necessities of the soldier's dependents but also provides for the future protection not only of the soldier, but also of his dependents. The first of these divisions of the law is that which has to do with the subject of allotments and government allowances attendant thereon. The allotment is a certain proportion of his monthly pay which the soldier authorizes to be deducted and paid to his family or dependents. The government allowance to soldier's dependents, or family allowance, as it is some times termed, is a sum paid by the government of the United States, in addition to the soldier's allotment just mentioned, to certain prescribed and permitted classes of the soldier's allotment just mentioned, to certain prescribed and permitted classes of the soldier's dependents. The purpose of both the soldier's allotment, compulsory or otherwise, and the attendant government or family allowance is the present support of a soldier's dependents. The second of these divisions is that which relates to the government insurance, the sole purpose of which is to provide for the future care and protection of the soldier, in the case of permanent and total disability, through wounds, disease or accidents; and also, in the event of the death of the soldier, to insure the future financial well-being of his dependents. The government has designated certain of the soldier's relatives and dependents to whom the benefits of this insurance must be restricted, but within the permitted classes, the soldier is permitted a wide latitude and can choose or select any one, or more as his beneficiary or beneficiaries. It is, however, not compulsory for the soldier to name as his beneficiary any person or persons within the prescribed classes. He can name himself, or he need not name any beneficiary. If the soldier does elect to name a beneficiary at any time, he must either name himself, or name one or more of his dependents within the permitted classes. The maximum benefits, as will be more fully explained later, can only be secured by the soldier by purchasing the full permitted amount of insurance, $10,000.00. The third is the compensation feature of the law, and this compensation are certain monthly payments made to such soldiers who have been discharged from the service, either during or after the war by reason of disabilities due either to wounds or sickness incurred in line of duty. This feature of the law is entirely independent of and distinct from the insurance feature. The maximum benefits under this provision are assured to every soldier disabled in the service of the military or naval forces of the United States, and, moreover, those benefits are obtained solely by the proper performance by the soldier of his military duties. They are not in any manner dependent upon any money contribution from the solider at any time. Section IV. ALLOTMENTS AND ALLOWANCES. The Present Financial Obligations of the Soldier Toward His Dependents and the Government's Assumed Obligations Toward Both. BY CAPT. C. M. JONES, A. G. D., N. A. Q. & A. 1. Two general kinds of dependents . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2. Class "A" dependents to whom allotments and allowances are compulsory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2- 4 3. Class "B" dependents to whom allotments and allowances are voluntary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5- 9 4. Allowances in general . . . . . . . . . 10-13 5. Compulsory deposit . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 6. Method of determining and making allotments and securing allowances in all cases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15-32 7. Exemption from compulsory allotment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32-35 8. Allotment and allowance application blank (Form 1-B) Entering proper data . . . . . . 36-37 Necessity of filling one such blank for every soldier . . . . . . 38-39 Fraud and penalties . . . . . . . . 40 Changes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 1.-Q. Will you explain the soldier's duties and obligations under the first division of the law-that is, the allotment and allowance part of it-and also the benefits he can derive thereunder upon property discharging those duties and obligations? A. In general the allotments required of the soldier, and the allowance granted by the government to his dependents in connection therewith, and in addition thereto, have to do with the natural divisions into which the soldier's financial duties and obligations fall, irrespective of whether he is in the military service or not, and they are, those duties and obligations which are legally binding upon him at all times, and therefore, compulsory; and those which in honor he is morally bound to regard. These two general divisions are, for convenience and the purposes of this law, grouped into two distinct classes: They are: First, Class "A" dependents, to whom allotments are compulsory; and, second, Class "B" dependents, to whom allotments are voluntary. 2.-Q. What dependents of a soldier fall within Class "A" dependents? A. Those dependents are of several kinds. The first is: The soldier's present wife and her children. By present wife is meant the woman to whom he has been legally married under the laws of his State, and with whom he is living in a state of marriage; or, the woman with whom he has been living in a state of marriage; or, the woman with whom he has been living openly in a state of marriage for at least two years prior to his entrance into the service, but to whom he has never been legally united in marriage by any ceremony legally prescribed by the laws of his State. This later is commonly known as a "common law marriage," and his wife as his "common law" wife. For all the purpose of this law, however, in the absence of any living and undivorced wife to whom he has been legally married under the ceremony or regulations prescribed by the laws of his State for the proper and legal solemnization of marriages, the soldier's common law wife is considered and treated as the soldier's "legal wife." The only regulations prescribed by the provision of this law with reference to such common law wives, or marriages, is that their relationship must have been open, notorious and continuous, and that the soldier must have recognized and acknowledged such women at all [illegible] and to all people as his wife, for a period of at least two years prior to his entrance into the service. The children of such common law wife have exactly the same status under this law as the children of a legally married wife, and are considered the soldier's legitimate children. The second is: The soldier's illegitimate children, or such children of whom he is the father, but who have been born out of lawful wedlock. Such children, however, must either have been acknowledged by the soldier in writing at or before the time he avails himself of the provisions of this law, or the soldier must have been adjudged to be their father by a court of competent jurisdiction. The third is: Children of a former wife now dead. The fourth is: Children of a former wife divorced. The fifth is: Adopted children. In respect to adopted children, the law has made this provision: Such children in order to receive government allowances must have been adopted by the soldier at least six months prior to his entry into the service. The sixth is: A wife from whom the soldier has been legally separated, but to whose support he is bound to contribute, either by order of court, or by a binding agreement so to do on the part of the soldier. This condition sometimes obtains where what is known as a "partial divorce" or a "legal separation" has taken place. The seventh is: A wife from whom the soldier has received an absolute divorce, but to whom he has been ordered by a court to pay a certain sum of money as alimony weekly or monthly towards her support. The eighth is: A wife from whom the soldier has never been legally divorced or separated, but whom he has willfully and without cause deserted. Such a wife is, of course, the soldier's present legal wife. The ninth is: A wife who has willfully deserted the soldier without just or proper cause. The tenth is: The soldier's step-children. 3.-Q. Under the law, is the soldier compelled to make allotments to his Class "A" dependents? 4.-Q. Are there any allotments other than "compulsory allotments" which the soldier can make to his Class "A" dependents? A. The soldier can make such additional allotments from his pay to his Class "A" dependents, but only after he has first made the proper compulsory allotment. 5.-Q. Are there any other dependents of the soldier, not within Class "A" to whom the soldier can make allotments and for whom he can secure the government allowance? A. Yes. This class of dependents of the soldier is grouped in Class "B." 6.-Q. Has the government provided for allowances for Class "B" dependents? A. Yes. 7.-Q. Is the soldier compelled to make allotments to his dependents in Class "B"? A. No. Any allotments made by the soldier to his Class "B" dependents are absolutely voluntary on his part. He cannot be compelled to make them under the law. 8-Q. What dependents of the soldier fall within Class "B"? A. Like Class "A" dependents, they are of several kinds. The first is. A soldier's father and mother, either or both. The second is: A soldier's brother, or brothers. The third is: A soldier's sister, or sisters. The fourth is: A soldier s half-brother, or half-brothers. The fifth is: A soldier's half-sister, or half-sisters. The sixth is: A soldier's adopted brother, or adopted brothers. The seventh is: A soldier's adopted sister, or adopted sisters. The eighth is: A soldier's grandfather and grand-