The Bayonet, 10 May 1918
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SIX THE BAYONET: CAMP LEE, VA., FRIDAY, MAY 10, 1918 7. Amounts under one policy 28 8. Time limit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29; 10 9. Increase and decrease of amount . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30-31 10. Kind of insurance . . . . . . . . 32 11. Continuing insurance after the war; conversion; estimated future cost; kind of insurance, etc. . . . . . . 33-37 12. Unassignable . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 13. Cost per thousand . . . . . . . . 39-40 14. Payment of premium and lapsing because of non-payment 15. Benefit to soldiers' dependents and himself in case of death or total disability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46, 49 1-Q. Has a soldier any financial obligations or duties other than the present support of himself and his dependents? A. Yes. He is at all times chargeable with his own preper support both now and in the future, and he is moreover, morally charged with the duty of making proper future provision for his dependents. 2-Q. What is commonly considered to be the least burdensome means by which a soldier can provide against the future? A. By means of insurance, which can be bought by the solider during his lifetime, and while he is still in good health and proper physical condition. 3-Q. Why should a solider endeavor to provide against future contingencies during his lifetime? A. The future welfare of a disabled or incapacitated solider, or the future protection of his dependents is a duty with which ever man is properly chargeable during his lifetime. In general, it may be said that the greatest, and at the same time the most commonly recognized and accepted obligations placed upon every man, whether he be a solider or not, is that duty laid upon him to be and remain a self-supporting member of society, and this duty applies with even greater force to such men who have voluntarily or otherwise assumed the obligation of the support and protection of a wife or family, or other dependents. Nearly every man can, if he will, undertake and properly discharge these duties during his lifetime, but not all can so arrange their affairs as to insure that in the event of death or disablement themselves and their families and dependents will not suffer from the lack of sufficient means to continue so. It is mainly because of this that plans of insurance have been worked out and developed whereby a man in his lifetime can provide against the future. Long experience has demonstrated that insurance is practicable, and has, moreover, also demonstrated that it is in many instances the only means by which a greater majority of men can secure a competence for themselves and their families. 4-Q. Is not the cost of a sufficiently adequate amount of insurance as sold by most companies more than the solider can pay? A. In very many cases it is. Moreover, for a soldier its costs is usually so high as to be absolutely prohibitive. 5-Q. How then can a soldier who recognizes his future financial duties and obligations and desires to properly discharge them be expected to do so when the cost of the only available means is beyond him? A. The government of the Unitied States has appreciated the difficulties which beset the soldier who desires to take out insurance, and by reason of his occupation and scanty rate of pay is prevented from doing so. It has also recognized that the best means to enable the soldier to do so is to make it possible for him to buy insurance. The government, therefore, prepared and arranged a plan of insurance whereby the soldier can protect himself and his dependents in the future. It has also been practical enough to recognize that this insurance must be brought within the means of the soldier, and in order to do this the government has charged itself with defraying by far the greatest portion of the cost of such insurance. It is because of this fact that the government insurance can only be taken advantage of by soldiers and sailors and others in the military and naval forces of the United States. 6-Q. Has the government provided propery and adequate insurance for the solider at a price which will permit him to buy it even after he has made allotments of the greater portion of his pay in order to secure allowances for his dependents during the war? A. It has. 7-Q. When a man is a soldier, why should he be asked to buy insurance either for himself, in case of disablement, or for his dependents in the case of death? Why should not the government provide for the soldier and his dependents in the future without any present or future cost to the soldier? A. Many soldiers who have not given the requirement on the part of the government that they should themselves purchase insurance and provide so far as they are able for the future due consideration will argue that in as much as the government demands all of their service and all of their time, and may, perhaps, deman that they give up their lives in the performance of their military duties, should give this protection to soldiers and their dependents without cost to them. Upon first consideration, this point of view will be considered by many soldiers as right and proper. If the soldier will, however, reason a few steps further, he will understand that this government, of which he asks and demands all things, is really, in the last analysis, himself, and his bunkie and his family and his dependent; or, to put smply, the government of the United States is just a large community of soldiers and civilians. men, women and children. each contributing their little part to the whole, and all of them together, in their collective capacity, making up and forming what is called "the government of the United States." A little further though and he will understand that he himself, while he is still a soldier, is none the less a part of the government, and is really in his proper and just proportion chargeable with and entitled to carry a portion of the cost of the government insurance which he buys. 8-Q. Is this government insurance then, intended to take the place of the former method of pensioning soldiers who have been disabled in the service, or in the event of a soldier's death of providing for the support of their dependents? A. As the law now stands, the pension system is a thing of the past for the soldier of this war. The government insurance has been provided in its place. The time has now arrived when the government and people of this country have realized the true nature of their obligations with reference to those who have borne the brunt of the battle and suffered thereby. The right of those unfortunates to the gratitude and bounty of the government is still undisputed and still recognized. The intelligence of the times, however, has demanded that the means by which that right be recognized be placed upon a basis more just and equitable both to the solider and to the government than was possible under the pension system. The experience of nearly half a century demonstrated that the old pension system was unfair, unwieldy and impracticable. All sorts of abuses crept in under its provisions, and many who were deserving of pensions either asked for none at all or received inadequate or improper amounts. Others, not properly entitled to pensions, received and still do receive them. Although nearly sixty years has elapsed since the last great war, the annual sums set aside to-day for the payment of pensions exceed the enormous sum of $160,000,000 and show no present indication of diminishing. Beyond all that, the political manipulations which have always surrounded the claiming and granting of pensions and the maintenance of the system are, to say the least, undesirable and not worthy of continuance. The government, has, therefore, adopted and prepared a plan of compensation whereby all soldiers injured in the line of duty are insured of a fixed sum monthly as long as they are disabled, and a plan of insurance whereby this fixed compensation can be increased by additional sums. It should be stated here that the government has already appropriated sufficient sums to insure the payment of all future amounts due to soldiers either by way of compensation or by reason of the payments of insurance claims. The government, therefore, while doing away with the old pension system, has arranged to go far more than half-way towards assisting those soldiers who at some small present sacrifice to themselves disire to provide against the future, both for themselves and for such of their dependents as are permitted under the law to be named as beneficiaries, and has seen to it that all proper payments will promptly and surely, beyond all mischance, be paid when and as due. 9-Q. Why should the solider, purchase government insurance now? A. Every soldier of the United States is now, or may soon be, engaged in the most dangerous and hazardous of occupations. In defending his country he is at all times liable to be killed, die from disease or be so badly wounded or injured as seriously to impair his earning capacity upon his discharge and return to civil life as to seriously impair or perhaps destroy his earning capacity. It is doubly important for the soldier to make proper provision now, because under the government government insurance he needs no additional physical examination, and his insurance can be converted and carried by him after the war for as long as he lives, which is something he might be unable to do then if he was compelled to pass a physical examination upon his return from the war in order to take out insurance from the ordinary insurance companies. For himself, the question of his present support need not be considered, because he receives his clothes and equipment and food and shelter from the government. His dependents and himself, if injured, will not, however, remain in this happy situation after the war. The soldier desiring to provide for himself and his dependents in the future has rightfully looked to his government for assistance, and this assistance the government stands ready at all times to extend. The government demands, however, that every soldier shall recognize that the duty of supporting himself and his relatives now and in the future is primarily his burden, and not that of the government, and has, therefore, required that every soldier taking advantage of the additional protection of government insurance must, so far as his means permit, pay for the protection thus afforded. Fortunately, most soldiers appreciate this fact. They also realize that it is the best and the only practical policy the government could adopt, since it at once takes the pension system for soldiers out of the field of charity and graft and enables the soldier to provide for the future of their families and themselves by means of adequate term or total disability insurance during the war, and in all ordinary forms of insurance after the war, in amounts from $1,000 to $10,000, and at a cost well within the means of the lowest private. 10-Q. If the soldier wishes to buy government insurance, must he do so now, or can he do so at any time during his term of service? A. The soldier must apply for his insurance within a period of 120 days after his induction into the service. 11-Q. Through whom does the soldier apply for insurance? A. Through his company or organization commander. He may also make known his wishes to one of the insurance officers or men in his regiment, who will assist him in filling out his application blank and explain any features of the insurance which he does not clearly understand. 12-Q. What form is used by the soldier in making application of insurance? A. Form 2-A. This form is filled out in duplicate and both copies signed by the soldier. One is forwarded by his commander to the Bureau of War Risk Insurance at Washington, D. C., and the duplicate is kept by his company commander and placed with his service record. 13-Q. Are there any particular points with reference to filling out this Form 2-A which the soldier should hear in mind? A. In answering the inquiries on that form with reference to the soldier's age, it is necessary that the soldier state his age correctly. If he does not know his exact age, he should in all events in estimating it state his age as older than he really is rather than younger. The reason for this is that at upon his death the government should discover that the soldier was older than he stated, for instance, if the soldier said he was twenty-five years old when he really was thirty years of age, the government would only pay to his beneficiaries twenty-five-thirtieths approximately of the total amount of insurance the soldier applied for, because, in reality, the soldier is only entitled to the amount of insurance for which he has paid the proper premium. In the case just stated the soldier paid the proper premium for twenty-five years, not thirty. It might happen in such a case that where the soldier had applied for $10,000 insurance, his beneficiaries, because of his mistake in understating his age, would only receive the benefits of say, $8,000. It is also very necessary that the soldier should state not only the first given name, but the middle name of all beneficiaries, and to state just as correctly as possible their place of residence. This is to insure proper identification of his beneficiary in case of his death to the end that the benefits of his insurance shall only be paid to the exact person desired by the soldier. If the soldier does not take these precautions, he will have only himself to blame. The loss will be his and his dependents; not the government's. 14-Q. To whom can soldier make his insurance payable, that is, what class of dependents can he name as beneficiaries under this portion of the law? A. The soldier can make his insurance benefits payable in the event of his death to anyone or more dependants mentioned in class A and class B with reference to allotments and allowance. He can also, in the case of total disability make is payable to himself. 15-Q. Will the benefits of the government insurance be paid to any beneficiary in a single, lump sum? A. No. In no instance will benefits be paid i na single lump sum. All payments of insurance benefits, whether payable to the soldier himself, or to such of his dependents as he has named as his beneficiaries will be made in equal monthly instalments. 16-Q. In the event the soldier is permanently disabled, and his insurance is payable to himself, how long will the monthly payments be continued? A. As long as he lives and his disability continues. If his disability is of such nature as to render himself absolutely helpless and bedridden, provision is also made for the payment to him of a sum not exceeding $20 monthly, or such portion thereof as is necessary, for the payment of a nurse. 17-Q. If the soldier dies in the service, will the insurance be paid to his beneficiaries in a lump sum? A. No. They will be paid to his beneficiaries in equal monthly installments. Such installments total in all 240; that is, they will be paid monthly for a period of twenty years. 18-Q. If the soldier is discharged from the service and the insurance becomes payable to him by reason of total disability, and he lives for, say, three years, what disposition will be made of the benefits of his insurance? A. The soldier during the three years will receive the monthly installments himself. Upon his death, his beneficiaries or estate, will receive the monthly installments for the remainder of the twenty-year term; that is, for seventeen years. It is only in the case of a soldier permanently disabled that the installments will be paid for a period longer than twenty years. As stated before, they will be paid the soldier as long as he lives, whether he lives twenty-five or fifty years after becoming permanently and totally disabled. 19-Q. Must the soldier name a beneficiary If he does not, to whom will this insurance benefits be paid? A. The soldier is not required to name a beneficiary, but the better practice is to name himself, or one or more of his dependents within the permitted classes. In any event, should he have not dependents within the permitted classes he should name himself. However, if neither himself nor any other beneficiary is named, and the soldier dies in battle, the insurance benefits will be paid to no one, and the government's contract of insurance is completed by the death of [illegible] only beneficiary to whom the benefits could be paid, which, in that case, was the soldier himself. 20-Q. Specifically, just what dependents can the soldier name as beneficiaries? A. Any one or more of the following may be named: wife, husband, child, grandchild, brother, sister, adopted brother, adopted sister, stepfather, stepbrothers, stepmother, stepsisters, parents, grandparents, either of the soldier or his wife, or wife's stepfather or stepmother. 21-Q. Can the soldier name as beneficiaries any person other than those mentioned in Answer 20, as, for instance, a trustee or guardian, or the legal representative of some beneficiary in the permitted class, or can the soldier name his estate as beneficiary? A. No, only those in the permitted classes may be named. In the case of a minor, or a person mentally incompetent, payment will be made to a guardian or some other person legally vested with their care. In the case the soldier desires the benefits to go to his estate upon his death, he should name himself as beneficiary, not his estate. 22-Q. Can the soldier name as beneficiary a person who is not a citizen of the United States, or one who resides in another country? A. Yes. If such beneficiary is within the permitted class. If he is, however, a resident in an enemy territory or ctuntry, payment will be subject to the provisions of the "trading with the enemy act," which provides in substance, that payment of benefits will be held up until such time as peace is declared and amicable relations are re-established with the enemy country in which such beneficiary resides before they will be paid. When paid, however, they will be paid in equal monthly installments, just as provided for the payments of permitted