6 June 1866 c. 106 14 Stat. 56

CHAP. CVI. – An Act supplementary to the several Acts relating to Pensions.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section five of an act entitled “An act supplementary to an act entitled ‘An act to grant pensions,’ approved July fourteenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-two,”. approved July fourth, eighteen hundred and sixty-four, and section three of an act entitled “An act supplementary to the several acts relating to pensions,” approved March third, eighteen hundred and sixty-five, be, and the same are hereby, repealed, and the following shall stand in lieu thereof: That, from and after the passage of this act, all persons by law entitled to a less pension than hereinafter specified, who, while in the military or naval service and in line of duty, shall have lost the sight of both eyes, or who shall have lost both hands, or been permanently and totally disabled in the same, or otherwise so permanently and totally disabled as to render them utterly helpless, or so nearly so as to require the constant personal aid and attendance of another person, shall be entitled to a pension of twenty-five dollars per month; and all persons who, under like circumstances, shall have lost both feet, or one hand and one foot, or been totally and permanently disabled in the same, or otherwise so disabled as to be incapacitated for performing any manual labor, but not so much so as to require constant personal aid and attention, shall be entitled to a pension of twenty dollars per month; and all persons who, under like circumstances, shall have lost one hand or one foot, or been totally and permanently disabled in the same, or otherwise so disabled as to render their inability to perform manual labor equivalent to the loss of a hand or a foot, shall be entitled to a pension of fifteen dollars per month.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That any pledge, mortgage, sale, assignment, or transfer of any right, claim, or interest in any pension which has been, or may hereafter be, granted, shall be void and of no effect; and any person acting as attorney to receive and receipt for money for and in behalf of any person entitled to a pension shall, before receiving said money, take and subscribe an oath, to be filed with the pension agent, and by him to be transmitted, with the vouchers now required by law, to the proper accounting officer of the Treasury, that he has no interest in said money by any pledge, mortgage, sale, assignment, or transfer, and that he does not know or believe that the same has been so disposed of to any person: and any person who shall falsely take the said oath shall be guilty of perjury, and, on conviction, shall be liable to the pains and penalties of perjury.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That any person who shall present or cause to be presented at any pension agency any power of attorney, or other paper required as a voucher in drawing a pension, which paper shall bear a date subsequently to that on which it was actually signed or executed, such person so offending shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and shall, on conviction thereof, be punished by a fine not exceeding five hundred dollars, or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or by both, at the discretion of the court before whom such conviction shall be had, and no sum of money due, or to become due, to any pension under the laws aforesaid, shall be liable to attachment, levy or seizure by or under any legal or equitable process whatever, whether the same remains with the Pension Office or any officer or agent thereof, or is in course of transmission to the pensioner entitled thereto; but shall inure wholly to the benefit of such pensioner.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That no claim agent or other person shall hereafter charge or receive more than twenty-five cents for preparing the papers necessary to enable a pensioner to receive a semi-annual payment of his pension, nor shall any pension agent charge or receive more than fifteen cents for administering an oath to a pensioner, or his attorney in fact, under a penalty of five dollars in each case.

SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That section one of an act entitled “An act supplementary to the several acts relating to pensions,” approved March three, eighteen hundred and sixty-five, is hereby repealed.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That if any person entitled to an invalid pension has died since March four, eighteen hundred and sixty-one, or shall hereafter die while an application for such pension is pending, and after the proof has been completed, leaving no widow and no minor child under sixteen years of age, his heirs or legal representatives shall be entitled to receive the accrued pension to which the applicant would have been entitled had the certificate been issued before his death.

SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That in all cases when a commission shall have been regularly issued to any person in the military or naval service who shall have died or been disabled while in the line of duty, after the date of such commission, and before being mustered, such officer or other person entitled to a pension for such death or disability by existing laws shall receive a pension corresponding to his rank, as determined by such commission, the same as if he had been mustered: Provided, That this section shall not apply to any officer who shall have wilfully neglected or refused to be so mustered.

SEC. 8. And be it further enacted, That officers absent on sick leave, and enlisted men absent on sick furlough, shall be regarded in the administration of the pension laws in the same manner as if they were in the field or hospital.

SEC. 9. And be it further enacted, That the period of service of all persons entitled to the benefits of the pension laws, or on account of whose death any person may become entitled to a pension, shall be construed to extend to the time of disbanding the organization to which such persons belonged, or until their actual discharge for other cause than the expiration of the service of such organization.

SEC. 10. And be it further enacted, That enlisted men employed as teamsters, wagoners, artificers, hospital stewards, farriers, saddlers, and all other enlisted men, however employed in the service of the army or navy, not specifically mentioned in the first section of an act entitled “An act to grant pensions,” approved July fourteen, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, shall be regarded, in the administration of the pension laws, as non-commissioned officers or privates.

SEC. 11. And be it further enacted, That if any officer, soldier, or seaman shall have died of wounds received or of disease contracted in the line of duty in the military or naval service of the United States, leaving a widow and a child or children under the age of sixteen years, and it shall be duly certified under seal, by any court having probate jurisdiction, that satisfactory evidence has been produced before such court that the widow aforesaid has abandoned the care of such child or children, or is an unsuitable person, by reason of immoral conduct, to have the custody of the same, then no pension shall be allowed to such widow until said minor child or children shall have become sixteen years of age, any previous enactment to the contrary notwithstanding; and the minor child or children aforesaid shall be pensioned in the same manner as if no widow had survived the said officer, soldier, or seaman, and such pension may be paid to the regularly authorized guardian of such minor or minors.

SEC. 12. And be it further enacted, That section four of an act entitled “An act to grant pensions,” approved July fourteen, eighteen hundred and sixty-two, is hereby so amended that the provisions thereof shall apply to and include the orphan brother or brothers, as well as sister or sisters, under sixteen years of age, and the father as well as mother of a deceased officer or other person named in section one of the above entitled act, who were dependent upon him for support in whole or in part, subject to the same limitations and restrictions.

SEC. 13. And be it further enacted, That nothing in this or any other act shall be so construed as to repeal or modify the sixth section of an act entitled “An act supplementary to ‘An act to grant pensions,’ approved July fourteenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-two,” approved July fourth, eighteen hundred and sixty-four, or to entitle a person to receive more than one pension at the same time, and in every case in which a claim for pension shall not have been filed within three years after the discharge or decease of the party on whose account the claim is made, the pension, if allowed, shall commence from the date of filing the last paper in said case by the party prosecuting the same.

SEC. 14. And be it further enacted, That the fourteenth section of an act entitled “An act supplementary to an act entitled ‘An act to grant pensions,’ approved July fourteenth, eighteen hundred and sixty-two,” approved July fourth, eighteen hundred and sixty-four, be, and the same is hereby, repealed, and that the widows and children of colored soldiers and sailors who have been or may be hereafter killed, or who have died Dr may hereafter die of wounds received or of disease contracted in the military or naval service of the United States, and in the line of duty, shall be entitled to receive the pensions, bounty, and back pay provided by law, without other evidence of marriage than proof, satisfactory to the Commissioner of Pensions, that the parties had habitually recognized each other as man and wife, and lived together as such; and the children born of any marriage so proved shall be deemed and taken to be the children of the soldier or sailor party thereto.

APPROVED, June 6, 1866.

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