Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1951 No. 57 - May 29 1951
Attorney General Smith Troy


Relief under the Soldiers' and Sailors' Relief Act is limited to the indigent veteran, spouse and minor children.  County burials are limited to the veteran and surviving spouse.

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                                                                   May 29, 1951

Honorable Ronald R. Hull
Yakima County Prosecutor
County Courthouse
Yakima, Washington                                                                                                       Cite as:  AGO 51-53  No. 57

ATTENTION:  Mr. James V. McCabe, Deputy

Dear Sir:

            You have requested our opinion on:

            (1) Whether the soldiers' and sailors' relief act, as amended, limits relief to the indigent spouses and minor children of qualified veterans, and

            (2) Whether a county may pay the funeral expenses of the dependent mother of a qualified veteran residing with him.

            We conclude

            (1) Yes, there is such a limitation.

            (2) No, the county is not so authorized.


            Rem. Rev. Stat. § 10737 (1947 Supp.) RCW § 73.08.01 [[RCW 73.32.020]](1950 Supp.) sets out the general purpose of the act to provide for the relief of certain

            "Indigent and suffering"

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]


            "and their families or the families of those deceased."

            Rem. Rev. Stat. § 10742 (1945 Supp.) RCW § 73.02.02 [[RCW 73.08.020]]relates to taxes to be levied by the county to raise relief funds.  These funds may be used for the levied by the county to raise relief funds.  These funds may be used for the

            "relief of"

            qualified veterans and the

            "indigent wives, husbands, widows, widowers, and minor children."

            The generic term "family" has a general and broad scope.  The above statute is specific and thus defines and limits the general terms used in Rem. Rev. Stat. § 10737,supra.  Thus, the act permits relief only to the members of the veteran's family particularized above; that is, to the indigent spouses or surviving spouses and minor children of qualified veterans.

            Rem. Rev. Stat. § 10757 (1947 Supp.), (See RCW § 73.06.01 [[RCW 73.24.010]]and § 73.24.010 [[RCW 73.24.010]](1950 Supp.)), provides for the burial at county expense of certain deceased, honorably discharged veterans and their

            "wives, husbands, widows, or widowers"

            who die without means available to defray such funeral expenses.  (Note that "minor children" are not included in the original act or original RCW draft but for some reason are included in the RCW 1950 Supplemental.)  The basic statute governs any inconsistencies.  The total allowance for each such burial is $180.00.

            A dependent mother, therefore, would not be entitled to such relief, nor could her burial expenses be paid for by the county.

            We enclose for your perusal a copy of our opinion to the Spokane County prosecutor dated October 30, 1939.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General