Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Veto of Bill for the Relief of Mrs. Ann Elizabeth Caulk.

June 07, 1954

To the House of Representatives:

I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 4532, 83d Congress, "An Act For the relief of Mrs. Ann Elizabeth Caulk."

The bill would authorize and direct the Secretary of the Treasury to pay to Mrs. Ann Elizabeth Caulk the sum of $1,682.80 in full settlement of all her claims against the United States for non-service-connected death pension she would have received if the claim she filed on March 29, 1948, had been considered as having been filed on April 1, 1944.

David H. Caulk, a veteran of honorable service in the Spanish-American War, married the claimant on November 7, 1931, and died of a non-service-connected cause twelve days later. Mrs. Caulk's claim for death pension filed December 31, 1931, was denied for the reason that she had not married the veteran prior to the then applicable marriage delimiting date, September 1, 1922. Effective April 1, 1944, the delimiting date was extended by law to January 1, 1938, rendering Mrs. Caulk potentially eligible for death pension benefits to which she was previously not entitled. However, she did not file a new claim for death pension until March 29, 1948, and under the law pension benefits were paid prospectively from that date.

It appears that favorable action by the Committees which considered H.R. 4532 was based on the theory that the delay in filing claim was due to ignorance of the law on the part of Mrs. Caulk. This reason applied with equal force to many other claimants. Her case certainly arouses one's sympathy, but to prefer it for special treatment to the exclusion of other similar cases would be unwarranted and discriminatory. Further, approval of the bill might serve as a precedent for similar legislation in other cases.

I am opposed to setting aside the principles and rules of administration prescribed in the public laws governing veterans' benefit programs. Uniformity and equality of treatment to all who are similarly situated must be the steadfast rule if the Federal programs for veterans and their dependents are to be operated successfully. Approval of H.R. 4532 would not be in keeping with these principles.


Dwight D. Eisenhower, Veto of Bill for the Relief of Mrs. Ann Elizabeth Caulk. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232121

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