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REPORT

OF

THE COMMISSIONER OF PENSIONS:

The SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR:

SIR: There were added to the pension-rolls during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1888, 60,252 original pensions. Increases were granted in 45,716 cases.

LOSS TO PENSION ROLLS.

There were dropped from the rolls of the several agencies during the fiscal year for various causes 15,730 names of pensioners. The total number remaining upon the rolls at its close was 452,557.

The amount of money expended in payment of pensions was $78,775,861.92; the cost attending such disbursement being, for the pay of the officers, employés, etc., of the Bureau of Pensions, its agents, surgeons, special examiners, etc., $3,262,524.67, the cost of disbursement being a fraction less than 4 per cent. of the total expenditures of the Bureau of Pensions. The total amount expended for all purposes by the Bureau of Pensions was $82,038,386.59, being 211 per cent. of $380,000,000, which was the total (estimated) gross income of the United States for the period aforesaid. The total expenditures of the Government for the fiscal year 1888 were $267,924,801.13; so it. will be seen that the amount expended for and on account of pensions was nearly 31 per cent. of the entire outlay of the Government.*

The highest rate of pension issued during the year was $2,000 per annum; the lowest now being granted is $24. The table of rates pub. lished hereafter will give full information as to the rates paid to late war pensioners on the roll June 30, 1888. (See Table No. 7.)

PAYMENTS AT AGENCIES-DELAYS.

No defalcations or financial irregularities involving the Government are to be reported. The rapidity of payments at the quarterly periods provided by law has been considerably accelerated. The following

* Treasury estimates furnisheil August 16. 1888.

1

INT 88-VOL III-l

statement exhibits the number and modes of payment at each agency at the June, 1888, quarter:

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An investigation recently conducted with the view to ascertain and correct any wrong which might exist in the payments as conducted, has led to the conclusion that in almost every instance where complaint has been made of delay in payment, such delay is traceable either to the fault of the pensioner in executing his voucher before the day pointed out by law, hence rendering it worthless and requiring its re-execution (and the delay of correspondence in relation thereto), or to his fault in executing it before an improper party, or to failure to execute it in some vital particular, either by the pensioner or the officer, or lastly, to miscarriage in the mails, which, however, is of exceedingly rare occurrence. I think it is safe to say that the first, second, and third causes above indicated embrace 99 per cent. of all the complaints of delay in payments made during the fiscal year. These causes of delay will always exist and can not be remedied.

AVERAGE AGE OF PENSIONERS. In order to determine the average age of the pensioners now upon the roll, I directed the chief of cach Adjudicating Division to draw, at random, from the files of his division 100 cases filed 15 years ago, 100 filed ten years ago, and 100 cases filed the last fiscal year, and to give me the general average of such pensioners in such cases. The average age determined by this hap-hazard count of the 1,500 cases was fifty years, within a few days.

It should be stated that this average is somewhat diminished by the fact that it included cases from the Old War and Navy Division, where men are included who have recently left the regular service on account of disabilities.

AVERAGE DEATH AGE OF PENSIONERS.

I directed that a count be made and a report rendered of every per. son upon the pension rolls whose death should be reported to the agencies from the 18th day of May to the 17th day of June, 1888. The eighteen agencies reported an aggregate of 839 pensioners whose deaths were reported during that period. The average age of invalid pensioners of the war of 1861–65 at date of death was fifty-six years; widows of the late war, sixty-one years; fathers of the late war, sev.

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