MAY 3, 1945
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—From a number of sources I hear that some of the men in the services are worried about the $10,000 government insurance policies which they hold. They have discovered that the present insurance will expire in November, 1945, and they do not know whether the policies will be extended.
On making inquiry, I find that a bill to extend these policies will be sponsored by the Veterans Administration, which has not the slightest doubt it will be passed. The policies apply to both enlisted men and officers, and I think that every man holding one should see to it that his policy is extended and that the deductions from his pay continue.
I have been getting a number of letters from servicemen's mothers and widows who were dependent on the men and who need their insurance. For one reason or another, in many cases there seems to be a long delay. Of course, it occasionally happens that a boy tells his family he is insured, but then neglects to take the insurance out.
I wish very much that some kind of automatic insurance could be worked out whereby every man entering the service is automatically insured for the benefit of his next of kin. It would be simpler to run it this way, and would require fewer people in the Veterans' Bureau than at present. I have wondered exactly why this automatic, universal insurance has never been favorably considered.
* * *
I was very much interested in the announcement the other day that the Congress was considering certain amendments to the GI Bill of Rights. It seems suddenly to have been discovered that the passage of legislation does not automatically mean that the servicemen get the benefits intended. I am glad that discovery of various mistakes in the legislation has been made now, before a greater number of men come home.
There are two weaknesses, not widely mentioned, which I think are most important. First, there is the educational limit which makes that portion of the GI Bill of Rights apply only to people under 25. A man over 25 may need a refresher course even more than a younger man, and he should be able to get it under the educational provisions of the bill.
Secondly, there is the two-year limit for obtaining a loan to enter a business or buy a farm. It seems to me quite evident that, as long as the war is on, it will be very difficult for any veteran to engage in a new business successfully. In many cases, it would be better for him to acquire more experience in a business which is already functioning. But if he must take his loan immediately or forfeit it, he is naturally forced to take it now.
These faults in legislation are not the only weaknesses in the bills. A tremendous organizing job, however, needs to be done to implement whatever legislation is passed. Tomorrow I should like to talk a little bit more about this.