The home front -- Answers to questions on wartime problems (10-4-42)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 4, 1942)

Marriage and children –
‘War babies’ not dependents, national draft ruling says

Man who married in 3-A can claim wife as dependent

Draft registrants who married while classed 3-A may claim their wives as dependents if they continue supporting their previous dependents, National Selective Service Headquarters reports.

National headquarters said:

If the registrant married while deferred because of other dependents and has continued to maintain his original status substantially unaffected by his marriage, then he is absolved of imminence.

In other words, a man who married while in 3-A – provided the marriage occurred prior to Pearl Harbor – married at a time when his selection was not imminent and he therefore is entitled to be deferred until married men without children are called up.

This latest interpretation of draft regulations was supplied by national headquarters in a letter to the home front editor of The Press.

Not after Dec. 8

Men who married before Dec. 8, 1941, while classed in 1-H, 4-F, 4-C or 4-A may also claim deferment on the basis of such marriage. This ruling has been handed down by state draft headquarters.

However, men who married while in 1-B, 2-A or 2-B cannot claim their wives as dependents, for officials have decreed that such men had ample reason to expect an early call to service.

Under no circumstances can a man claim deferment on the basis of his wife if marriage took place on or after Dec. 8, 1941.

The question of whether youths under 21 (those who registered last February and June) are entitled to claim their wives as dependents if they married before Dec. 8 has yet to be formally decided.

Ruling necessary

State draft headquarters has expressed the opinion that the selection of such men was not imminent until the day war was declared but considerable doubt still remains on this point and a presidential ruling will probably be necessary before a definite policy can be established.

In the case of a man who was unclassified at the time he was married the draft board must decide whether his selection was imminent on the basis of his order number, whether he had been sent his questionnaire, the state of the national emergency and all other factors that would lead a “reasonable man” to believe he would be called soon by the Army. In general, unclassified men and those in 1-B, 2-A and 2-B who married after May 27, 1941, when the President decreed an unlimited national emergency, find it difficult to obtain deferment on account of marriage. Those who married before that date may be deferred on the basis of individual circumstances presented to the board.

Men who married when their selection wasn’t imminent may retain their deferments, regardless of whether their wives are working, so long as they are maintaining a bona fide family relationship.


A man married in June 1940. He and his wife are to adopt a child. Will he be called along with men without children?


My husband drinks and works only from time to time as he pleases. He refuses to support the family. Can I have him drafted?

So far as we know, no. Yours is a problem for the courts, not the Army.

If I work, will it affect my husband’s classification?

Not under present regulations.

We were married six years ago and have a young child. Our board had run out of 1-A men. Will he be called soon?

He will not be called until after men without children have been reclassified.

My husband works in an office of a war plant. He is classed 3-A. Should he be shifted to 3-B?

Yes, if the plant is predominantly devoted to war production or war-supporting activity.

Can a 3-A man who believes he belongs in 3-B appeal now or must he await reclassification?

He may ask for a reopening of his case now on the basis of changed regulations. However, he will have his right to appeal at the time he is reclassified if he should feel them that the draft board’s decision has been unjustified.

A man I know was married Dec. 28, 1941. He was 21 in late July 1941, and registered last February. He was classed 3-A by his board last week. Is he entitled to such a classification?

Not on the basis of the marriage, but he may be so classified if he has proved he has a secondary dependent (mother, father, etc.) in need of his financial support.

We were married in 1939 and expect a child next March. My husband is classed 3-A. (1) Will he be called while I’m pregnant? (2) Should my condition be reported to the draft board? (3) Will he be called along with men without children or men with one child?

(1) Pregnancy doesn’t affect his case in any way. (2) Not necessarily; but report the birth of the child within 10 days even though it can’t be considered a dependent. (3) Men without children.

My husband is 46 and registered for the draft last April. We have no children. Will he be drafted?

No. Men who registered last April are not subject to military service under the present law.

I am married and classed 3-A. I receive milk from a diary and deliver it wholesale and retail with my own truck. I read that the dairy business is essential to the war effort. Am I entitled to 3-B?

No, all-inclusive list of essential industries has been issued by the Selective Service System. Draft boards still must decide for themselves which industries are “war-supporting.”

Will 3-B men without children be called immediately after 3-A men without children?

Yes. But if a 3-B man should hold a key job in a war industry, he would then be shifted to 2-B for additional deferment on the basis of occupation.

We were married February 1941, and had a child last December. My husband was 30 when he married, at which time it was known that men past 28 would not be subject for service. How could it be construed my husband’s selection was imminent then?

Men past 28 were not exempted from military service until July 1, 1941.

(1) Isn’t the wife a husband’s closest blood relative? (2) If he erred and listed his mother instead, how can he have it corrected? (3) Is the question asked because this is the person who’ll be notified in case of accident?

(1) Yes. (2) Through his commanding officer. (3) Yes.

New fathers to go when men without children are drafted

“War babies” have been ruled out as dependents by National Draft Headquarters unless conception occurred prior to Dec. 8, 1941.

The ruling means that married men who may now become fathers will not be granted extra deferment from military service on account of the birth of a child but will be drafted along with other husbands without children.

Furthermore, national headquarters explains that a child cannot be claimed as a dependent even where conception occurred before Dec. 8 if the father was married at a time when he had reason to expect an early call to the Army.

Pregnancy itself does not affect a man’s case in any way.

Dependency ceases

Incidentally, under current regulations, a child ceases to be grounds for deferment when it reaches the age of 18, and fathers whose children have attained that age will be regarded as “childless” in the eyes of the draft when reclassification begins.


I have two children by a former marriage. They haven’t been legally adopted by my present husband but we have raised them together for the past eight years. Do stepchildren qualify as dependents?

Yes, if the man assumed their support in good faith.

I am 27 and married May 15, 1941. Several months later, I was classed 1-B. We are expecting a child this month. Am I entitled to 3-A?

Not unless you prove to the satisfaction of your draft board or the appeals board that at the time you married, you had no reason to expect an early call to service.

My husband is 36 and works as an electric welder. We have six children, from 4 to 14 years old. Will he be called soon?

Not under present regulations.

How soon will married men without children be called?

Best official estimates say around December or January. But even this is only a guess.

How soon will men with one child be called?

Gen. Hershey says about October 1943. That too is only a guess.

How soon will men with two or more children be called?

No one will even guess on this one.

My husband has been supporting my son for seven years although he isn’t the boy’s father. He is classed 3-A. Will he be regarded as a man with or without children?

Since the boy is his stepchild, your husband will probably will be regarded as a man with one child. This, however, has not been made clear in the new regulations, which specify that the children must be “legally adopted” to qualify.

I have been classed 4-F because of bad kidneys. Could I get into any sort of special service?

Not unless you have had exceptional training or experience in specialized technical or professional fields and even then, it’s doubtful if you’d be accepted.

Has the branch of Air Force Administration been closed to all commission applicants or only to those applying through the VOC?

Only to VOC men.

An Army friend of mine recently turned down an offer to go to an officer-training school, through a misunderstanding. Can he try again to get to officers’ school?

Yes. Through his own commanding officer.

If I turned someone in for falsifying his questionnaire to get a 3-A deferment, would he find out who reported him?

He may if you report the case to the draft board. He won’t if you report it to Assistant U.S. Attorney George Mashank, New Federal Bldg., Pittsburgh.

(1) I am 41 and have my thumb, index finger and third finger of the left hand off. Will the Army accept me? (2) If I’m classed 1-A and have a work deferment, can I marry or would it interfere with the deferment?

(1) No. (2) Marriage has no effect on work deferments, but if you’re classed 1-A, you have no deferment.

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30-day leave per year has been revoked

The peacetime practice of awarding 30 days’ furlough per year to servicemen has been revoked by all branches of service except the WAAC.

For the most part furloughs are granted only if the men can be spared from his war training duties. They are granted at the discretion of a man’s commanding officer upon the man’s own application.

Ordinarily, the armed services permit a man to return on leave in case of family death or another serious emergency. For those overseas, however, such furloughs are out because of limited shipping facilities and possible disruption of training.

As for shipment to overseas posts, the government has the right, unless otherwise specified in the enlistment papers, to send its men anywhere at any time, regardless of the amount of training a man may have had. No one is guaranteed a furlough before leaving the country.

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Awaiting Roosevelt’s signature –
Extension of debt-relief to protect many who fear property will be taken

Protection against property seizure for non-payment of debts incurred up to Pearl Harbor will be extended, possibly this week, to older draft registrants and others who had no reason to suspect being called for service until after the outbreak of war.

Extension of such debt-relief had been authorized by both House and Senate and the bill is now on President Roosevelt’s desk, awaiting only his signature to become law.

Under the old law, draftees and enlistees were protected against repossession only on debts incurred prior to Oct. 17, 1940.

The new law extends that date to Dec. 7, 1941, in the case of a previously-unregistered man. Whether it will extend similar relief to 3-A men and others who didn’t suspect an early Army call has not yet been made clear.

Men past 28 who incurred debts between July 1, 1941, and Dec. 7, 1941, while they were exempted by law from service, will also be granted protection.

In general, the law provides that creditors can’t seize a serviceman’s property without first obtaining court permission. The court may permit such seizure only if it’s convinced the man is able to pay although in service and that no hardship will befall him if he loses the property.

Wherever debts are frozen, with or without court sanction, interest will be limited to 6% regardless of contract provisions.

The new law will also give servicemen three years after the war, instead of just one, to pay off back insurance premiums. And interest on insurance policies will be held to 4%.

It does not affect the present status of servicemen in regard to income taxes. Although men in the service don’t have to pay income tax, they must file income-tax returns if they make sufficient money.

However, men at sea or overseas (including Alaska) do not even have to file a return unless they get back into continental U.S. If they do, then they do not have to file an income-tax return until the 15th of the third month afterward. If they should leave the country in the meantime, they don’t have to worry about the tax return.

Citizenship –
Census office will provide birth records

Record of registration in World War I can help prove claims

Persons lacking birth certificates can obtain a record of their World War I draft registration to help prove their citizenship claims.

The information available includes the date and place of a man’s birth.

Photostatic copies of a man’s registration record or a letter citing the information contained therein will be supplied at a nominal fee by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Services offered

The following services are offered:

FOR $1: A search of the records and a statement of the information found. The statement will be in the form of a letter.

FOR $2: A photostatic copy of the registration card, showing the man’s signature besides the other information.

FOR $3: A photostatic copy of the card, plus a government certification by seal.

Don’t send cash

In any event, $1 will be kept for the cost of the search.

Write to the Director of the Census, Washington, DC. Do not send cash. Money orders should be made payable to the Treasurer of the United States.

Physical disabilities –
Many previously rejected now acceptable, Army says

Men with defective eyesight may be assigned to non-combatant duty or limited service

Men with defective eyesight may be assigned to non-combatant duty as well as to limited service under current Army regulations.

The difference is principally in the type of unit to which the man may be assigned. Those qualified only for limited service are attached to non-fighting branches of the Army. Those acceptable as non-combatants may be assigned to a fighting unit although they themselves will not be given combat duty.

Men with at least 20% of normal vision (20-100), correctable with glasses to 50% of normal (20-40) are taken for unlimited general service.

Those with eyesight ratings of 20-100 to 20-200 (10-20% of normal) in each eye, correctable to 20-40 (50% of normal) in each eye, are qualified for non-combatant duty.

Blind accepted

Those with ratings of at least 20-400 (5% of normal) in each eye, correctable to 20-40 in ONE eye may be taken for limited service. If the man is blind in one eye, he is still acceptable for limited service. If the man is blind in one eye, he is still acceptable for limited service if his other eye rates better than 20-200 and is correctable to 20-40.

Former 1-B men with hernias are to be shifted to 4-F. Those with heart ailments will be placed in 4-F also unless they are fit for full military duty. The Army says it will not accept a man with a heart ailment unless its medical examiners, who have sole discretion in each case, determine he’s capable of performing any type of service.

Following are a list of other 1-B men who are now acceptable for limited service:

Those with 25-50% of normal hearing (5-20 to 10-20) in one or both ears.

Those deaf in one ear provided the other retains at least 50% of normal hearing (10-20).

Men with complete plates (those with at least two molars on each side of the lower jaw are acceptable for full service).

Men who have lost a thumb in either hand.

Fingers lost

Men who have lost three fingers on either hand – providing the thumb remains.

Those with webbed fingers or toes and hammer toes.

Men who have lost a big toe.

Men with moderate arm or leg deformities which haven’t prevented them in following a useful civilian vocation.

Men with spinal curvature between two and three inches from the normal “midline.”

Those suffering from “knock ankle.”

Men with flat feet, once a leading reason for rejection, are now acceptable for full military service.

What sort of Christmas gifts could be sent to overseas servicemen?

USO survey shows the men prefer cigarettes, waterproof wrist watches, windproof cigarette lighters, stationery, pen-and-pencil sets, service wallets, regulation shirts and small portable radios.

My brother is in the Army. We have no parents and when he was drafted, the government sent me a card but my address was wrong. (1) Where could I write to correct it? (2) Does receipt of the card mean he has named me an insurance beneficiary? (3) Can he name me beneficiary?

(1) To the agency from which it came. (2) Not unless the card says so. (3) Yes.

My son, 20, received his questionnaire. He is taking a course in airplane mechanics and has seven more months left. Could he get a deferment?

That’s up to the draft board.

Where can I get a copy of the Selective Service Act with new revisions such as elimination of Class 1-B?

A copy of the act may be purchased at a nominal fee from the U.S. Government Publishing Office, Washington, DC. Selective Service regulations may also be obtained there. However, many of the more detailed interpretations are contained in mimeographed memoranda mailed only to agencies of Selective Service and these aren’t available at any particular place.

What is meant by the classifications 1-A, 1-B, 2-A, 2-B, 3-A and 3-B?

Class 1-A, those who are available for immediate service of any kind; 1-B, those with minor ailments (this class is now being closed through reclassifications into 1-A or 4-F); 2-A, key workers in war-supporting activities; 2-B, key war workers; 3-A, men with bona fide dependency status; 3-B, men with 3-A status plus jobs in war or war-supporting industry.

Is it true that only three sons in any one family are drafted?

There’s no limit on the number of members of any particular family who can be drafted.

This is the case of two sons and a widowed mother. The older son, a plant guard, was sworn into the Army recently through his job. The mother is dependent upon him. Now both sons have been classed 1-A. Isn’t there some mistake? Couldn’t one claim dependency?

The Army says plant guards were recently given some sort of oath by someone but they were not sworn into service. They are still liable for the draft. Either son can claim the mother as a dependent if he actually supports her and can prove it. Every man has a 10-day right of appeal.

Are detectives, policemen and deputy sheriffs to be drafted because the city and county will pay half of their salaries to their dependents?

They are not exempt because of their jobs and can be drafted on the same basis as any other citizen. Draft boards will consider the half-salary payments as well as other income available to the dependents whenever reclassification is undertaken.

My husband was inducted in August and left me with furniture which was paid up to that time. I’m not working and can’t keep up payments. Can my furniture be taken?

Yes, unless it was contracted for before Oct. 17, 1940.

Is it a criminal offense for a civilian to wear Army insignia as a symbol of pride for a serviceman?

The Army says it isn’t a criminal offense, but is trying to discourage wearing of such insignia by civilians.

Is a man maintaining a bona fide family relationship if, after being classified 3-A, he leaves his wife and child at home to take a job in another town but continues to support them?

We have no precedent on which to base an answer. Our readers will be promptly informed of a ruling on a case of this sort whenever it is handed down.


TLDR : being single is dangerous to life.


U.S. dependency payments –
Secondary dependents are eligible for allowances

Working wives can receive automatic payments, while parents, brothers and sisters must prove dependency; other questions answered

Wives of servicemen are eligible for government allowances even if they work and regardless of any other income which they may be receiving.

The Servicemen’s Dependency Allowance Act provides automatic monthly payments to lawful wives and unmarried children under 17 of men in the four lowest ranks of each branch of service.

These payments are mandatory and a serviceman who is covered by the act cannot refuse to contribute toward an allowance for such persons.

On the other hand, secondary dependents – parents, brothers, sisters, etc. – are not eligible for the allowances unless they can prove substantial dependency upon the serviceman. Furthermore, the man himself must agree to send the allowance home.

Wife gets $50

A wife gets $50 a month; the first child, $12, and every other child, $10. If there is no wife, the first child gets $42; the others, $10 each.

A dependent parent receives $37; a second dependent parent, $10; additional dependent brothers or sisters, $5 each. If there are no dependent parents, a dependent brother or sister may get $27 with $5 for each additional one.

Where there is both a wife and a dependent parent, the parent gets only $20. A second dependent parent gets $10 more.

A wife who has not been legally separated from her husband may receive the automatic $50 a month even though he may not have been supporting her at the time he entered service. His children would also get the regular allowances.

Divorced wife

A divorced wife cannot collect any allowances unless she holds a court order and has not remarried. In such event, she may get a maximum of $42 a month.

However, this $42 may be decreased by the government if the man himself has married again or if he has other dependents. In such cases, the government decides how much the divorce is to get – regardless of the size of her court order.

The Allowance & Allotment Branch at Washington, requests that all questions on specific cases involving divorced wives be mailed to it for a proper ruling.

Where to write

Application blanks for allowances should be filed by the serviceman of at all possible. They may, however, be filed by the civilian. Forms may be obtained at the following places upon written request:

FOR DEPENDENTS OF ARMY MEN: Allowance & Allotment Branch, Bldg. Y, 20th and B Sts., NE, Washington, DC.

FOR DEPENDENTS OF NAVY MEN: Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department, Washington, DC.

FOR DEPENDENTS OF MARINE CORPS MEN: Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington, DC.

FOR DEPENDENTS OF COAST GUARD MEN: Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, Washington, DC.

Aid in filling them out may be obtained at any Red Cross headquarters.


My son, a carpenter’s mate in the Naval Reserve, is at sea. Is it possible he may return to the U.S. and be transferred to other duties?

Yes, if the Navy should feel his services are needed more elsewhere.

What has happened to 2-A and 2-B men since we hear only that 3-As will be reclassified when 1-A and 1-B lists are exhausted?

Men in 2-A and 2-B receive maximum six-month deferments at a time and are subject to reclassification at any time. Those in 3-A hold indefinite deferments which are terminated only in case of a change in dependency status or exhaustion of otherwise “available” regulations. Men in key jobs are not regarded as “available.”

My husband was called up with the National Guard in April 1941. Will he be sent overseas or kept here until married men with dependents are called?

He’s subject to assignment anywhere at any time.

A friend of mine was recently transferred from overseas to the U.S. for hospitalization because of stomach ulcers. Will he be discharged?

He may if medical officers in charge of his case deem it necessary.

Is an incomplete hernia acceptable now by the Army?

That would be a borderline case that would have to be decided by the examiners.

I was discharged because of disability in 1932. Would I be accepted for the Army now as a volunteer?

Yes, if your condition has improved to such an extent, you could meet current requirements. Consult the recruiting station officers.

Is a man with high blood pressure acceptable for the Army?


Will any branch of service accept a man with syphilis?

The Army now will, through the draft.

I was classed 1-B because of severe acne and insufficient teeth. Am I acceptable now?

Your teeth are no bar, but you won’t be accepted unless your acne condition has improved perceptibly.

I would like to enlist. I have one perfect eye but am blind in the other. Can I get into any service branch?

You may volunteer through your draft board for limited Army service.

My husband has five or six teeth missing and says he is to be drafted. Is this true?

He can be taken if the Army doctors determine he still has sufficient good teeth left.


Draft lists not open to women seeking their husbands

Wives looking for long-lost husbands – in order to get allowances from them if they have entered service – are out of luck.

So far as the government is concerned, there is no lost-and-found agency for such persons. Furthermore, National Selective Service headquarters says its draft lists are not available, either, for such purposes.

Persons who have lost contact with relatives in the service may track them down through the nearest Red Cross chapter, provided they can supply the man’s full name and his last-known station.

Relatives of men overseas may obtain the correct mailing address from the Adjutant General. Was Department, Washington, DC, but the man’s station will not be disclosed for military reasons.

Similar service is presumably accorded by the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department, Washington, DC; Commandant, U.S. Marine Corps, Washington, DC, and Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, Washington, DC, for its own men.

Insurance –
War insurance not mandatory for soldiers

No policies are issued; beneficiaries are not revealed

Certificates acknowledging a serviceman’s insurance are mailed to his beneficiary only on the man’s own request.

The Veterans’ Administration explains that no actual policies are ever issued but that an official certificate is mailed to the serviceman or to his beneficiary, if so specified.

Because of the thousands of applications for insurance which are being received daily, however, issuance of these certificates in many cases has been delayed for long periods and the government asks that beneficiaries who haven’t received the certificates remain patient.

The Veterans Administration points out that insurance will be paid in event of death even if the beneficiary doesn’t hold a certificate.

Not disclosed

To wives and mothers who may be wrangling over who has been named beneficiary, the Veterans Administration has only one sentence of advice:

Information as to identity of a beneficiary is not disclosed to anyone without the consent of the serviceman.

In other words, don’t write to Washington to find out who has been named the beneficiary, the man himself is the only one privileged to tell you.

Incidentally, the Veterans Administration says there are no longer any automatic insurance benefits to survivors of men killed in action. A $5,000 automatic death benefit is payable only to next-of-kin of men who died in line of duty between Oct. 8, 1940, and April 19, 1942, inclusive, in cases where they had failed to take out any insurance.

The automatic death benefit is paid to the widow of the man. If she isn’t living, the victim’s children will receive the $5,000 in equal shares. If the man had no wife or children, the automatic benefit will be paid to his mother or father, but only if they can prove they were substantially dependent upon the son. Sisters or brothers cannot qualify.

A ‘gratuity given’

If the serviceman had taken out insurance in excess of $5,000 no additional benefit will be paid. If he had insurance under $5,000, the government will extend an automatic

Survivors of men killed in action since April 20 receive only six months’ pay as a “gratuity” from the government.

Other questions received on the subject of government insurance:

Is there a clause in the insurance policy of a soldier preventing his wife from being the beneficiary if she married him after induction?

No. A serviceman may change his beneficiary at any time and a lawful wife qualifies regardless of when marriage occurred.

My son told me I would get a policy of the insurance he took out. So far, I haven’t received it. Where can I inquire about this? ANL.

You may write the Veterans Administration, Washington, DC, giving the serviceman’s full name and particulars. However, the government asks that you please refrain from writing. If you have been named beneficiary, you are protected even though you have no record of the insurance.

Does a draftee have to take out insurance?

No. It’s optional.

I’m separated from my draftee-husband. If something should happen to him, would I get any insurance even though he didn’t name me beneficiary?


Whom can a man name as beneficiary?

Wife, parent, legal guardian, child, brother or sister.

I have reached 45 since registering for the draft. Am I liable for military service? Limited or general?

You’re liable for any kind of military service.

My fiancé is 20 and registered for the draft. He must support his mother and four brothers and sisters. We would like to marry but are told he couldn’t claim the others as dependents if he did so. Is this true?

No. But the board certainly may question his ability to support so many people at such a young age. Proof of dependency rests on the man’s shoulders.

I was formerly a ward of the state and was married last April. My husband, then 19, registered in June. He has been contributing to the support of his father and younger brother for three years. (1) Was his selection considered imminent when we married? (2) Which of us can he claim as dependents?

(1) Yes. (2) Father and brother – provided he can show they actually need his support.

I had my pre-marriage blood test taken Sept. 13, 1940, and married Sept. 25, 1940. Would this be proof enough that my selection wasn’t imminent at time of marriage?

There’s no set answer to a question of this sort. You must convince your draft board or the appeals board.

We have been married four years and were expecting a child for late September. Will 3-A men who were married after Sept. 16, 1940, be liable for service before those married prior to that date?

Men who married after Sept. 16, 1940, are not classed 3-A unless it is determined they were married when their selection wasn’t imminent; therefore, they will receive the same treatment as men married before the draft.

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