S.13 - Veterans Benefits and Health Care Act of 1989101st Congress (1989-1990)
|Sponsor:||Sen. Cranston, Alan [D-CA] (Introduced 01/25/1989)|
|Committees:||Senate - Veterans' Affairs|
|Committee Reports:||S.Rept 101-126|
|Latest Action:||Senate - 10/03/1989 Indefinitely postponed by Senate by Unanimous Consent. (All Actions)|
This bill has the status Introduced
Here are the steps for Status of Legislation:
Summary: S.13 — 101st Congress (1989-1990)All Information (Except Text)
Indefinitely postponed in Senate (10/03/1989)
Veterans Benefits and Health Care Act of 1989 - Title I: Compensation and Pension - Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to increase: (1) the rates of, and limitations on, Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation; and (2) rates of certain disability compensation that were increased to coincide with benefit increases under title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) of the Social Security Act. Requires monthly rates to be rounded to the next lower dollar for disabilities at 20 percent or below, and to the next higher dollar for disabilities in excess of 20 percent. Requires such rate increases to be published by the Secretary in the Federal Register.
Expands the eligibility for a veterans' clothing allowance to authorize such allowance for veterans who, because of a compensable disability, use medication for a service-connected skin condition which stains or damages such veteran's clothing.
Increases from $60 to $105 the monthly pension payable to a veteran having neither spouse nor child and being furnished domiciliary care by the Department. Extends from three to eight months the period of hospitalization permitted for a veteran having neither spouse nor child before the $105 monthly pension benefits are reduced. Authorizes the Secretary to extend such period for up to four months if the Secretary determines that the veteran is likely to be discharged from the hospital within a reasonably short period.
Increases from $1,500 to $6,000 the value of the estate allowed a hospitalized incompetent veteran without dependents before the Department suspends the veteran's compensation or benefits. Increases from $500 to $2,000 the amount to which an estate must be reduced before such benefits may be resumed.
Title II: Health Care - Part A: Mental Health - Authorizes the provision of health care and services for veterans of World War I or II, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam Era, or in any other area during a period in which hostilities occurred who have been diagnosed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder related to such service, even though such disorder has not been determined to be service-connected. Requires the Department to accomplish an evaluation of a veteran within seven days after referral of such veteran to a Department health-care facility from a Vet Center (a center for treatment of veterans with mental illness disabilities).
Expands eligibility for readjustment counseling at Vet Centers to include veterans of wars prior to Vietnam and veterans of service in any areas in which U.S. personnel were subjected to danger from armed conflict comparable to that occurring in battle with an enemy during a period of war.
Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, until September 30, 1992, to conduct a program to provide care and treatment and rehabilitative services in halfway houses, therapeutic communities, psychiatric residential treatment centers, and other community-based treatment facilities to homeless veterans suffering from chronic mental illness disabilities. Requires the Secretary, before providing such care, to approve the quality and effectiveness of the program operated by such facility. Authorizes the Secretary to provide in-kind assistance to a non-Department facility which is furnishing care and services to veterans under these provisions, with certain limitations, including reimbursement to the Department for the full cost of such assistance.
Directs the Secretary to report to the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees on the experience of the Department with regard to the provision of such care and services and continuation of the program.
Directs the Secretary to establish and operate up to five Department health-care facilities as centers of mental illness research, education, and clinical activities, taking into account appropriate geographic distribution of such facilities.
Precludes the Secretary from designating any health-care facility as such a center unless the facility has (or may reasonably be anticipated to develop): (1) an arrangement with an accredited medical school and graduate school of psychology which provides education and training in psychiatry and psychology through regular rotation through such center so as to provide training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness; (2) an arrangement under which nurses, social workers, or other allied health personnel receive education and training in mental health care through regular rotation through such facility; (3) the ability to attract the participation of scientists who are capable of ingenuity and creativity in research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of mental illness and into models for furnishing care and treatment to veterans suffering from mental illness; (4) a policymaking advisory committee to advise the directors of such facility and center on policy matters pertaining to the activities of such center; and (5) the capability to conduct effectively evaluations of the activities of such center.
Declares that activities of clinical and scientific investigation at each center shall be eligible to compete for the award of funding from funds appropriated for the Department's medical and prosthetics research account and shall receive priority insofar as funds are awarded to projects for mental illness.
Requires the Chief Medical Director to ensure that: (1) research activities carried out through such centers include an appropriate emphasis on the psychosocial dimension of mental illness and on models for furnishing care and treatment to veterans suffering from mental illness; and (2) useful information produced by the centers is disseminated throughout the Veterans Health Services and Research Administration.
Requires the Secretary to submit to the House and Senate Committees on Veterans' Affairs an annual report on activities and effectiveness of the centers.
Directs the Special Committee on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to submit to the Secretary and the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees no later than January 1, 1990, a report on the Committee's evaluation of the results of a study required under the Veteran's Health Care Amendments of 1983 relating to the diagnosis and treatment of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Directs the Secretary to comment to the veterans' committees concerning such report. Requires the Committee to update certain reports required of the Committee under the Veterans' Health Care Act of 1984 and requires the Secretary to comment to the veterans' committees concerning such updates.
Requires the National Center on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to provide for a study of the extent and effectiveness of the Department's outreach program and treatment services for Vietnam veterans who are Asian-American, American-Indian, Native-Hawaiian, and other Native-American Pacific Islanders, Alaska Natives, blacks, or Hispanic Americans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or other psychological problems. Requires the Center to report to the Secretary and the Veterans' Affairs Committees on study results, together with findings and recommendations.
Directs the Secretary, in certain papers required to be submitted to the President annually, to identify the amounts in the appropriations requests for the VA that are estimated to be obligated for payments and treatments for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and for education, training, research, and the operation of the National Center on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Part B: General Health - Includes within the definition of "medical services" for coverage under Federal veterans' benefits provisions services to achieve pregnancy in a veteran or a veteran's spouse when such services are necessary to overcome a service-connected disability impairing the veteran's procreative ability. Directs the Chief Medical Director to appoint an advisory committee to advise the CMD on the exercise of authority to furnish such services.
Authorizes use of the Special Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Activities Fund of the Department for the payment of travel and related expenses necessary for the training of employees in the administration of therapeutic and rehabilitative services.
Directs the Secretary, during FY 1990-1994, to conduct a compensated work therapy and therapeutic residence pilot program (CWTTR). Directs the Secretary to establish nonprofit corporations for the making of contracts for conducting work therapy programs under the CWTTR program at no less than ten or more than 15 Department medical centers operating such programs. Requires the Secretary to be assured from a nonprofit corporation that it will operate a therapeutic residence for eligible veterans in conjunction with an existing compensated work therapy program at a medical center. Allows for the provision of in-kind services from the Secretary to the corporation, including technical and clinical advice, supervision of activities, and minor maintenance and repairs to a therapeutic residence. Authorizes the Secretary to lend amounts to a corporation in order to assist such corporations to lease or purchase property for use as such therapeutic residential treatment centers. Provides loan limits and other administrative provisions concerning such loans. Directs the Secretary to transfer to the Veterans Health Services and Research Administration no less than ten residences acquired by the Department for use for such centers. Requires each such property to be leased to a nonprofit corporation for operation as a therapeutic residence under the pilot program. Outlines lease conditions and other administrative provisions concerning the establishment of nonprofit corporations for therapeutic residences. Requires each such corporation to submit to the Secretary annual reports providing a detailed statement of its operations, activities, and accomplishments during the preceding year. Requires the Secretary to report to the veterans' committees concerning each such corporation and its participation under the pilot program.
Requires the Secretary, under the pilot program, to operate residences as therapeutic residences for the furnishing of transitional housing solely for veterans who are furnished compensated work therapy under applicable Federal law. Authorizes the Secretary to purchase, lease, or otherwise acquire residential housing for the purpose of furnishing such transitional housing for veterans being furnished compensated work therapy. Outlines the following conditions for the operation of such transitional housing: (1) that only qualified veterans and a house manager live in such residence; (2) that each resident (other than the house manager) pay the Department rent for the period of residence in such housing; (3) that, in the establishment and operation of such housing, the Secretary must comply with all local zoning, building, and other similar requirements; and (4) that the residence meet the State and community fire and safety requirements applicable to property used for similar purposes. Authorizes the Secretary to provide for free room and subsistence for a house manager. Requires the Chief Medical Director to be responsible for the management, maintenance, and disposition of property acquired for such transitional housing. Authorizes the Secretary to dispose of such property when no longer used for such purpose. Authorizes appropriations. Requires the Secretary to report to the veterans' committees on the experience under the pilot program.
Allows the Secretary to authorize the establishment of one or more nonprofit corporations to provide a flexible funding mechanism for the conduct of Department compensated work therapy programs for veterans (including homeless veterans) in such community or communities as the Secretary may designate. Requires such corporations to be established solely for such programs. Requires funds received by such a corporation for the conduct of such programs to be transferred to the Special Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Activities Fund. Outlines administrative provisions concerning the establishment and operation of each such nonprofit corporation, including provisions concerning: (1) the board of directors and executive officers; (2) general powers; (3) applicable State law; and (4) accountability and oversight. Requires the Secretary to report to the Congress no later than February 1, 1992, on the experience under the program. Prohibits the establishment of any nonprofit corporation for such purposes after September 30, 1992.
Authorizes the use of the Special Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Activities Fund for the purchase of property to be used for transitional housing under this Act.
Directs the Secretary, during the four-year period beginning on October 1, 1989, to conduct a pilot program for the furnishing of medical, rehabilitative, and health-related services in noninstitutional settings for veterans who: (1) are eligible for nursing home care; (2) are in receipt or in need of nursing home care primarily for the treatment of a service-connected disability; and (3) have a service-connected disability rated at 50 percent or more. Directs the Secretary, under such program, to: (1) furnish appropriate health-related services solely through contracts with appropriate public and private agencies that provide such services; and (2) in the case of each veteran provided services under the program, appoint a Department health-care employee to furnish case management services. Authorizes the Secretary to provide in-kind assistance (through the services of Department employees and the sharing of other Department resources) to a facility furnishing such noninstitutional services to veterans. Outlines administrative provisions concerning the provision of such in-kind assistance. Limits the total cost of the provision of such alternative services to eligible veterans to 65 percent of the cost that would have been incurred by the Department if the Department had furnished such nursing home care to such veteran. Directs the Secretary to report to the veterans' committees the Secretary's evaluation, findings, and conclusions regarding the provision of such alternative noninstitutional care.
Extends through FY 1994 the pilot program for the furnishing of preventive health-care services for veterans by the Secretary. Directs the Secretary to implement annually at each Department facility a major preventive health-care and health-promotion initiative for any veteran receiving other care and services administered through the Secretary. Limits expenditures for such programs and initiatives through FY 1994.
Directs the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Veterans Health Services and Research Administration to designate an official in such Administration as the Director of Preventive Health-Care and Health-Promotion Programs. Requires such Director to prepare guidance regarding, to be responsible for coordinating and evaluating, and to advise the CMD on, all activities carried out under such program and initiatives.
Requires the Secretary to submit to the veterans' committees an interim and final report on experiences under the pilot program.
Extends through FY 1991 the authority of the Secretary to furnish respite care to eligible veterans. Extends to February 1, 1990, the deadline for a report from the Secretary to the veterans' committees concerning the provision of such care.
Directs the Secretary, during FY 1990 through 1993, to conduct a pilot program for providing assistive animals to aid veterans in the performance of daily living tasks which they are unable to perform due to certain disabilities or handicaps. Outlines administrative provisions and requires reports from the Secretary to the veterans' committees concerning such program. Requires the CMD of the Department, before furnishing such assistive animals to veterans under the program, to provide for the conduct of an independent evaluation of the way that assistive monkeys would be treated during training and placement under the pilot program.
Authorizes the Secretary to provide signal dogs specially trained to provide hearing assistance to veterans who have service-connected hearing impairments and are in need of such dogs. Provides for the payment of travel and other expenses incurred in becoming adjusted to the signal dogs.
Extends through FY 1992 the authorization of appropriations to assist States in the construction of State nursing home facilities.
Directs the Secretary to report to the veterans' committees concerning a backlog that has occurred in the procurement of prosthetic appliances in FY 1989, for the failure to furnish certain other prosthetic appliances, and the actions planned by the Secretary to prevent a recurrence of such problem.
Includes the provision of outpatient dental services and treatment to veterans where medically necessary in preparation for hospital admission. Increases from $500 to $1,000 the total amount that may be expended on any veteran in a 12-month period for such services and treatment.
Provides for the reimbursement by the Department of certain medical expenses of a veteran who is a participant in a vocational rehabilitation program and is medically determined to have been in need of care or treatment to make possible such veteran's entrance into such a program, to prevent interruption of such program, or to hasten his or her return to such program.
Repeals the authority of the Secretary to furnish tobacco to veterans receiving hospital or domiciliary care.
Includes health-care facilities in a provision authorizing the sharing of specialized medical resources with medical schools, hospitals, and medical research centers. Revises the authority to share specialized medical resources.
Directs the Secretary to establish a task force to recommend policies and legislation for the elimination of inconsistencies among provisions of law relating to veterans' eligibility for certain health-care benefits. Directs the Secretary to review the report submitted by the task force and either approve the recommendations for legislation contained therein or prepare alternative legislative proposals appropriate for the elimination of the inconsistencies identified by the task force. Requires a report from the Secretary to the veterans' committees concerning the recommendation of such legislative proposals.
Authorizes third-party reimbursement for the Department for certain health care and services provided to a veteran who either does not have a service-connected disability or has a service-connected disability rated at 20 percent or less. (Currently, such reimbursement is permitted only in the case of veterans having no service-connected disability.) Authorizes the Secretary, in such cases, to contract for the carrying out of recovery and collection activities to receive such reimbursement. Outlines contract conditions and requires reports from the Secretary to the veterans' committees on the implementation of such reimbursement provisions.
Redesignates the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Leavenworth, Kansas, as the Dwight D. Eisenhower Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Part C: Health-Care Personnel - Veterans Health-Care Personnel Act of 1989 - Directs the Secretary, for the pay period beginning on or after July 1, 1990, to establish the rates of basic pay for the following health-care personnel employed within the Veterans Health Services and Research Administration (HSRA) of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): registered nurses and registered nurse anesthetists, physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, nurses, physician assistants, dental assistants, certain clinical or counseling psychologists, certain therapists, practical or vocational nurses, pharmacists, and occupational therapists. Requires the director of each VA health-care facility to conduct a survey which will establish the rate of basic pay in each appropriate pay grade by a specified date. Requires the director to conduct an annual review to determine if such basic pay rates need to be adjusted, and to adjust them, if necessary. Requires the director, as part of such survey, to survey the equivalent entry-level positions for such work performed in non-Department health-care facilities in order to determine the amount of basic pay for similar work. Outlines further administrative provisions relating to the determination of a similar labor market area for purposes of making such pay-rate determinations, requiring the director of a Department facility to notify the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the labor market area identified of his or her selection of a labor market area, and requiring the CMD to approve or disapprove of such a labor market area selection within a specified time. Provides maximum amounts for such minimum rates of basic pay as established under this Act. Outlines employee exceptions to such basic pay rates. Requires the Secretary to submit an annual report to the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees regarding the exercise of authority under this Act for the preceding fiscal year and to prescribe final regulations setting forth criteria and procedures to carry out this Act. Requires the director of each Department facility to establish and adjust such basic pay rates by a specified date even if such final regulations have not been implemented. Requires each director, within a specified period, to conduct a survey and establish an interim competitive pay rate to be followed until such final regulations and pay rates are determined.
Authorizes the Secretary, upon the recommendation of the CMD, to appoint in the competitive service any individual who: (1) has been awarded a degree or certificate in a health-care profession or occupation by an accredited institution; (2) has been appointed by the Secretary to a clinical education program conducted by an educational institution affiliated with a VA health-care facility; and (3) has successfully completed such program within one year before the individual's appointment into the competitive service.
Provides a director-scale pay category for physicians or dentists serving in a director position in the central office of the Veterans Health Services and Research Administration.
Authorizes overtime pay for nurses who perform in excess of 40 hours in an administrative workweek. (Currently, overtime is authorized only for work performed in excess of eight hours a day.) Authorizes the payment of six percent additional pay per hour for nurses performing work as a head nurse.
Authorizes the payment of special pay on the same basis as that given to registered nurses to those health-care professionals who are furnishing direct care to patients or services incident to direct patient care.
Increases the limitation on the amount authorized to be paid as special pay to certain individuals in the HSRA of the VA. Requires increases in such pay of a specified amount or more to be reported by the Secretary to the veterans' committees. Reduces from 90 to 45 days the time in which the Secretary must notify the President of the Secretary's intention to approve such special rates of pay.
Provides for the waiver of a mandatory reduction of special pay under Federal law for physicians, health-care professionals involved in direct patient care, or other health-care personnel involved in the provision of services incident to direct patient care.
Authorizes a one-time lump-sum payment of special pay to each nurse who is recertified in the specialty in which the nurse is employed.
Includes coverage of HSRA personnel under Federal employees' collective bargaining rights and procedures.
Revises provisions concerning disciplinary actions and grievances within the HSRA.
Directs the Secretary to establish a voluntary transfer of leave program for the benefit of health-care professionals of the HSRA. Authorizes the Secretary to establish a voluntary leave bank program for the benefit of such individuals. Requires such programs to be consistent with current Federal voluntary leave programs. Authorizes the Secretary and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management to enter into agreements permitting health-care professionals of the HSRA to participate in the current Federal voluntary leave transfer and voluntary leave bank programs. Requires the Secretary to implement such programs no later than October 1, 1990.
Includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, or pharmacists among positions to which temporary full-time appointments shall not exceed two years. Provides that students who have a temporary appointment and are pursuing a degree in such field may be reappointed for a period not to exceed the duration of the student's academic program.
Directs the Secretary to pay a cash award to any VA employee who is a supervisor or manager employed in any of the following positions: physician, dentist, podiatrist, optometrist, nurse, physicians' assistant, or expanded-function dental auxiliary.
Directs the Secretary to establish and conduct a dependent care assistance program, which meets certain requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, for the care of dependents of employees of the HSRA. Requires such program to be implemented no later than June 1, 1990.
Requires the Secretary, in selecting applicants for the VA Scholarship Program, to ensure an equitable allocation of scholarships to persons enrolled in the second year of a program leading to an associate degree in nursing. Requires such requirement to be implemented beginning with scholarships awarded in 1990.
Requires current representatives of the field of paramedics to assist in the establishment of cooperative arrangements to provide for the training of health and paramedical personnel in order to improve the manpower utilization of such personnel. Requires such requirement to be implemented no later than February 1, 1990. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1990 through 1993 for making grants for such cooperative programs.
Requires the Secretary to pay the maximum amount of special pay authorized for Department physicians and dentists. Provides exceptions.
Directs the CMD of the VA to conduct a pilot program at no less than five VA medical facilities during FY 1990 through 1992 in order to determine the effect on employees of VA pay and personnel management practices. Requires the CMD to establish certain alternative pay and personnel management practices, such as increasing certain pay differentials for day versus evening duty, utilizing registered nurses in new ways for the furnishing of direct patient care, and establishing a collaborative practice committee involving physicians, nurses, and other direct health-care personnel. Requires various reports between the CMD, the Secretary, and the veterans' committees relating to the results of such pilot program.
Directs the Secretary to pay special incentive pay to psychologists employed within the HSRA of the Department. Requires psychologists receiving such special pay to hold diplomas in psychology from a recognized institution unless the Secretary determines that such psychologists are not needed to furnish appropriate psychological services for veterans.
Title III: Education and Employment - Veterans Education and Employment Amendments of 1989 - Authorizes rate increases or increased allowance for: (1) rehabilitation subsistence allowances for veterans with service-connected disabilities; and (2) educational assistance for veterans' survivors and dependents.
Repeals a current requirement that the Secretary make separate determinations of whether the achievement of a vocational goal is reasonably feasible for veterans under the age of 50. Provides that a pension being paid to a veteran who, while participating in a veterans' vocational training program, secures employment in an area related to the veteran's vocational training goal, shall not be terminated unless the veteran maintains that employment for 12 consecutive months.
Makes permanent the Department program for the provision of independent living services and assistance for severely handicapped veterans.
Revises provisions concerning the determination of the appropriate hourly minimum wage for the work-study allowance determination under the veteran-student and reservist-student work-study program. Authorizes the payment of a work-study allowance for veteran-students receiving educational assistance under the armed forces reserves educational assistance program for work performed at Department of Defense facilities in connection with the administration of such assistance program. Expands work-study eligibility to include veterans with service-connected disabilities rated at 30 percent or more and pursuing educational programs or training on at least a half-time basis and veterans who are pursuing rehabilitation programs on at least a half-time basis.
Authorizes the payment of a work-study allowance for veterans' survivors and dependents who are pursuing a program of full-time education in a State in return for such person's agreement to perform services.
Provides that "mitigating circumstances" authorizing the withdrawal of a student from a program of education shall include withdrawal to furnish care for the veteran's or person's child due to difficulties in making or changing child-care arrangements.
Extends through 1991 the authority for veterans' readjustment appointments within the Department. Expands eligible veterans for such program to include veterans of the post-Vietnam era who are qualified for such employment and advancement. Authorizes a veteran to be eligible for such an appointment for a four-year period beginning from their date of discharge or separation from active duty. Authorizes only one such appointment per veteran. Makes eligible for such appointments veterans with service-connected disabilities rated at 30 percent or more.
Directs the Secretary of Labor, during a three-year period beginning on October 1, 1989, to conduct a pilot program to furnish employment and training information and services to members of the armed forces within 180 days before such members are separated from service. Requires such pilot program to be conducted in no more than five geographically-dispersed areas. Requires certain personnel to furnish such information. Requires a report from the Secretary to the veterans' committees concerning the experience under the pilot program.
Eliminates the reference to a high school equivalency certificate (as a requirement for eligibility for educational benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill), instead requiring that an individual have certain alternate school credentials accepted by the armed forces, pursuant to regulations promulgated by the Secretary of Defense, which are equivalent to a secondary school diploma.
Prohibits an individual serving in the Selected Reserve from receiving educational assistance entitlement credit under both the Vietnam Veterans' Educational Assistance program and armed forces educational assistance as provided under the Montgomery GI Bill, instead requiring a choice between the two.
Revises conditions under which a veteran will be permitted to reenter a program of educational assistance after having already failed an educational program due to unsatisfactory conduct or progress, allowing such renewal if the school involved certifies to the Department that such veteran has been readmitted into such institution for such educational purposes. Provides identical reentry conditions for the survivors' and dependents' educational assistance program.
Requires certain attendance performance to be taken into consideration in the approval (or disapproval) of accredited courses having no attendance standards. Revises the standards under which an educational or subsistence allowance need not be paid to include those periods when a person's attendance, conduct, or progress is unsatisfactory or such person is not pursuing the course in accordance with the standards as prescribed by the Secretary.
Revises provisions concerning the permissible uses of funding provided from the Secretary to State approving agencies for training curriculum development, disallowing use of such funds for the payment of administrative overhead expenses.
Authorizes the Secretary to withhold the payment of educational assistance benefits until the required proof is received that the person is satisfactorily pursuing the program of education.
Includes veterans pursuing a program of rehabilitative training due to service-connected disabilities as among those on whose behalf the Department pays participating schools a fee to defray certain costs incurred by the school in participiating in such training program.
Revises current Federal provisions which provide for the measurement of certain unit courses or subjects pursued by veterans toward a standard college degree to measure such course enrollment by converting the credit hours being pursued to equivalent clock hours, and combining this number with the actual number of clock hours concurrently being pursued, if any, to determine appropriate training time to be credited to such veterans.
Authorizes the Secretary to approve the enrollment of an eligible member of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve under contracts with the Department of Defense for a program of education.
Repeals a limitation on the number of changes of programs of education allowed for veterans and other eligible persons, instead allowing any number of such changes as long as each change is approved by the Secretary. Authorizes the Secretary to approve a program change necessitated by circumstances beyond the control of the eligible veteran or person. Limits the circumstances under which the Secretary may approve a second or subsequent change of a program of education.
Provides for a determination of the effective date of an educational benefits adjustment in education programs which require monthly self-certification.
Amends a provision of the Post-Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational Assistance Program to provide for a proportionate reduction in the educational assistance entitlement in accordance with the reduction in the monthly educational assistance allowance paid when a veteran pursuing an apprenticeship or other on-the-job training program fails to complete 120 hours of such training in a month.
Amends Federal armed forces educational assistance provisions under the Montgomery GI Bill for both the active duty and the Selected Reserve members to authorize the Secretary to approve the pursuit of flight training by an individual entitled to basic educational assistance under either program if: (1) such training is generally accepted as necessary for the attainment of a recognizable objective in the field of aviation; (2) the individual possesses a valid private pilot's license and meets the medical requirements necessary for a commercial pilot's license; and (3) the flight school courses meet FAA standards and are approved by the FAA and the State approving agency. Terminates the approval of such flight training courses which commence after October 1, 1994. Provides the monthly amount of such assistance. Requires proof from the individual and the institution of the training received and the cost of such training before such educational assistance allowance will be paid by the Secretary. Charges an individual's general entitlement to basic educational assistance an appropriate amount for each month of flight training assistance provided under this provision.
Directs the Secretary to conduct an evaluation, and report to the veterans' committees, of paying education assistance for flight training under both the armed forces educational assistance provisions and the veterans' educational assistance provisions.
Title IV: Home Loan - Veterans Home Loan Guaranty Restructuring and Solvency Act of 1989- Establishes the Home Loan Guaranty Fund. Provides that the Fund shall be available to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for all operations with respect to: (1) guaranteed or insured Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) housing loans for which fees are collected and which are made after FY 1989; and (2) loans for property which has been disposed of by a veteran to a purchaser who will assume liability for such loan. Provides that the following shall be credited to the Fund: (1) all fees collected for housing loans made after FY 1989; (2) .25 percent of the original amount for all loans guaranteed or insured by the VA after FY 1989 for the first three fiscal years beginning with the fiscal year in which such fee is collected; (3) all collections of principal and interest and the proceeds from property held or disposed of with respect to such loans; and (4) all income from investments of the Fund that are required to be made by the Secretary of the Treasury in obligations of the United States.
Requires the Department to include in its annual budget submission to the Congress certain information about the current and projected operations and financial status of both the Loan Guaranty Revolving Fund (LGRF) and the Home Loan Guaranty Fund (HLGF) created under this title.
Increases the fee for a VA housing loan to 1.25 percent of the total loan amount. Provides that the following fees shall be collected: (1) one percent of the total loan amount with respect to housing loans obtained which are in default; (2) .75 percent of the total loan amount with respect to loans for purchase or construction for which a down payment of at least five percent of the total purchase price or construction costs have been made; and (3) .25 percent of the total loan amount with respect to such loans for which a down payment of at least ten percent has been made. Provides for the waiver of such fees for veterans who are receiving veterans' disability compensation or for the surviving spouse of a veteran who died from a service-connected disability. Requires the Secretary, in the case of such a waiver, to deposit into the HLGF the amount that the veteran or surviving spouse would have been required to pay without the waiver provision. Allows the Secretary to increase any of such loan fees if the Secretary determines that the HLGF would be unable to pay the valid claims of holders of defaulted loans during the first 24 months that such increase would take effect. Limits the amount of any such loan fee increase. Requires the Secretary to notify the veterans' committees before any such fee increase. Requires the Director of the Congressional Budget Office to submit views to such committees regarding the proposed fee increases. Provides that any veteran who pays a fee for such loans, other than loans which are in default or loans for property which has been disposed of, shall have no liability to the Secretary with respect to such loan for any loss resulting from a default of the veteran, except: (1) in the case of fraud, misrepresentation, or bad faith in obtaining loan approval or loan assumption; and (2) in the case of any default or liquidation resulting from circumstances not beyond the individual's control.
Extends until October 1, 1990, the authority of the Secretary to sell notes evidencing such loans with or without recourse.
Authorizes the maximum amount of guaranty entitlement available to a veteran for the purchase or construction of a home to be increased by not more than $5,000 in connection with any single loan. Requires the collection of a loan fee for such additional loan amount. Limits the total amount of guaranty entitlement available to any single veteran. Waives such limitation whenever the Secretary determines that the housing is being purchased or constructed in a housing market in which certain conditions exist which make it unlikely for a veteran to obtain such a loan for the purchase or construction of housing.
Provides that when a default of a loan made, guaranteed, or insured by the Department occurs, the holder of the obligation shall notify the Secretary upon refusing an offer by the veteran of a significant partial payment.
Revises the definition of the term "net value" for purposes of the determination of such amount upon default of a loan made, guaranteed, or insured by the Department. Extends through September 30, 1991, the current procedures to be followed by the Department upon the default of such loans.
Repeals current Federal law limiting the maximum amount of loan guarantee for the refinancing of existing mortgage loans or other liens which are secured by a dwelling or farm residence owned or occupied by a veteran. Prescribes maximum loan amounts to be guaranteed to veterans in the case of a loan made to refinance a construction loan, an installment land sales contract, or a loan obtained by a previous owner of property which was assumed by the veteran as the lesser of the reasonable value of the dwelling or farm residence or the sum of the outstanding balance of the refinanced loan plus closing costs. Limits the maximum amount of the loan to be guaranteed in all other cases to no more than 90 percent of the reasonable value of the dwelling or farm residence.
Limits the time during which a veteran may apply for waiver of a home-loan debt to the one-year period following the date on which the Department notified the debtor of the indebtedness. Requires that debt notices for home-loan and non-home-loan debts inform the recipient of his or her right to apply for a waiver and the procedure for such application.
Makes all former active-duty veterans eligible for basic entitlement to Department-guaranteed housing loans whether or not such a veteran has ever been discharged or released from active duty.
Amends the Housing Act of 1949 to extend the authorized period for reciprocity between Federal agencies for administrative approval of housing subdivisions to 180 days after a report is submitted to the Congress on housing subdivision approval policies and practices. Extends to November 6, 1989, the due date for such report.
Title V: Memorial Affairs - Authorizes the Secretary to reimburse a veteran for the cost of a prepurchased headstone or marker (in lieu of furnishing such a headstone or marker at burial).
Directs the Secretary of the Army to set aside an appropriate area within Arlington National Cemetery for the unmarked burial of cremated remains of persons entitled to burial in such cemetery.
Authorizes the Secretary, in connection with the administration of the Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery, to employ without regard to civil service laws certain persons employed by the State of Arizona in such capacity when such cemetery was transferred to the Department under prior Federal law. Requires the Secretary to submit to the veterans' committees an operating budget plan for such Cemetery for each of fiscal years 1989 through 1991.
Title VI: Minority Affairs - Amends the Department of Veterans Affairs Act to assign as one of the functions of the Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs the review and assessment of the effects of policies, programs and activities of the Department on minority veterans and the monitoring of access of such veterans to services and benefits under laws administered by the Department. Defines "minority veterans" as veterans who are black, Native-American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American, Pacific Islander-Americans, or women.
Reestablishes, as of October 1, 1989, the Advisory Committee on Native Americans. Requires reports from such Committee concerning the plight of Native Americans and their access to services and benefits of the Department. Terminates such Committee 90 days after their second report is transferred to the veterans' committees. Requires the Secretary to conduct a study to determine whether Native Americans living on trust lands or communally-owned lands experience difficulty in obtaining Department home-loan benefits, and, if so, administrative or legislative changes to correct such problems. Defines "Native Americans" as Indians, Native Hawaiians, Alaska Natives, or Pacific Islanders.
Title VII: Miscellaneous - Prohibits the Secretary from delegating the functional and technical supervision of the performance of security and law enforcement functions within the Department to any official outside the Office of the Secretary. Requires the Secretary to report to the veterans' committees concerning security and law enforcement matters within the Department.
Expands the Department's multiyear procurement authority to include the purchase of non-health-care supplies and services.
Requires the Secretary to provide procedural rights and other information to persons claiming Department benefits with regard to claim disallowances and the options available to pursue those claims further.
Amends the Internal Revenue Code to permit disclosure to the Department of income-related tax return information for the purpose of determining eligibility for specified veterans' pension and benefit programs.
Amends Federal law to prohibit the Secretary from using this tax return information to terminate, deny, suspend, or reduce a person's benefits or services without first: (1) taking appropriate steps to verify independently the amount and accessibility of the income in question; and (2) providing the affected individual with notice and an opportunity to respond to the findings. Restricts the Secretary's right to verify or act upon information relating to disability compensation. Requires the Secretary to initially notify and periodically renotify benefit recipients and applicants that income reported to the Department will be subject to verification against such individual's tax return information. Provides for the payment of administrative costs associated with such income verification procedures.
Provides that the jurisdiction of the Court of Veterans Appeals to review exclusively decisions of the Board of Veterans' Appeals shall not apply with respect to certain Department insurance or loan guarantee matters when a timely notice of disagreement is filed.
Includes the United States Court of Veterans Appeals within the list of courts covered by laws requiring certain financial disclosure by judicial personnel. Requires judges and other judicial personnel of such Court, within 30 days after enactment of this Act, to file a report containing the financial disclosure information required under the Ethics in Government Act of 1978. Grants judges of such Court the authority to administer oaths and to compel action of the Secretary unreasonably delayed.
Amends the Department of Veterans Affairs Act to increase the number of people authorized to be appointed by the Secretary to a commission formed for the purpose of selecting individuals for the position of the Chief Medical Director of the Veterans Health Services and Research Administration whenever a vacancy in such position occurs.
Title VIII: Veteran's Agent Orange Exposure and Vietnam Service Benefits - Veterans' Agent Orange Exposure and Vietnam Service Benefits Act of 1989 - Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to pay a monthly disability or death benefit to a veteran or his or her survivors for any disability or death of a veteran who served in the active forces in Vietnam during the Vietnam era and who suffered from non-Hodgkins lymphoma or a soft-tissue sarcoma. Provides an exception to the payment of such benefits when there is affirmative evidence that such disease was not incurred during such service in Vietnam or that there was an intervening disease since such service. Provides the rates for the payment of such disability or death benefit. Prohibits such payments when other disability compensation is being paid for such disability. Provides that such disabilities or deaths shall be treated as service-connected for the purposes of all laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (Department). Terminates such payments as of April 15, 1992, unless extended by a joint resolution of the Congress. Outlines congressional procedures for the consideration of such joint resolution. Requires the Secretary to take all reasonable actions necessary to notify eligible veterans and their survivors of the availability of such payments. Requires the Secretary to inform such recipients of the temporary nature of such payments.
Provides that the disease of chloracne in Vietnam veterans shall be considered to have been service-connected if such disease became manifest to a ten percent degree of disability or more within one year after the last date on which the veteran performed such service in Vietnam.
Provides a presumption of service-connection in the case of a Vietnam veteran suffering from a disease associated with effects of exposure to certain dioxins or other herbicide agents during such service in Vietnam. Directs the Secretary to prescribe regulations listing a positive association between any disease and the biological effects of exposure to an herbicide agent in Vietnam. Requires the Secretary to update such list continually. Requires the Secretary, in prescribing and revising such list, to obtain by contract the determinations and estimates of a contract scientific organization. Requires such organization to: (1) determine which diseases have any degree of association with the biological effects of exposure to an herbicide agent; and (2) estimate the extent of association between each such disease and each such biological effect. Requires the organization to determine such association specifically with respect to non-Hodgkins lymphoma, each soft-tissue sarcoma, lung cancer, and each other cancer. Outlines contract provisions required in such agreements between the Secretary and the scientific organization, including surveys, evaluations, and periodic determinations. Requires such scientific organizations to provide reports to the Secretary and the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees regarding its determinations and evaluations. Requires such organization to determine, in the event of a positive association, whether there is a reasonable basis for concluding that a Vietnam veteran with the highest level of exposure to that herbicide agent in Vietnam was exposed to such agent under the circumstances necessary for such biological effects. Requires a report from the organization to the Secretary and the veterans' committees when there is no such reasonable basis found. Requires the Secretary to make certain determinations and follow-up reports after receiving such reports from the contract scientific organization, including the issuance of a report to the veterans' committees and the promulgation of positive association regulations, if necessary. Requires benefits to be continued even though a disease is removed from the regulations listing diseases having positive associations. Terminates such contracting authority ten years after the first day of the fiscal year in which a scientific organization transmits its first report to the Secretary. Provides interim regulations and special effective dates.
Directs the Secretary to compile and analyze all clinical data that: (1) are obtained by the Department in connection with examinations and treatment of veterans for disabilities related to exposure to certain herbicides or to service in Vietnam; and (2) are likely to be scientifically useful in determining the association, if any, between the disabilities of such veterans and their exposure to such herbicides and other toxic substances. Requires the Secretary to submit an annual report to the veterans' committees concerning such analysis and its results. Directs the Secretary to consult with the Director of the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) before compiling and analyzing such information. Requires the Director of OTA to review each annual report submitted by the Secretary and transmit to the Secretary an evaluation of the contents of each report.
Directs the Secretary to establish and maintain a system for the collection and storage of voluntarily contributed samples of blood and tissue of veterans who performed active service in Vietnam during the Vietnam era. Outlines provisions concerning the security and authorized uses of such specimens, as well as limitations on the acceptance of such samples. Requires the Secretary to consult with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to the extent that an agreement has been reached with the NAS serving as the contract scientific organization for the Secretary. Requires the Secretary to consult with the Director of OTA in the event of no agreement with NAS.
Directs the Secretary to establish a program to provide for the conduct of studies of the feasibility of conducting additional scientific research on health hazards resulting from: (1) exposure to dioxin; (2) exposure to other toxic agents in herbicides used in support of U.S. and allied military operations in Vietnam during the Vietnam era; and (3) active military, naval, or air service there. Requires the Secretary to report to the veterans' committees on the results of such studies. Requires the Secretary to consult with the NAS before undertaking such studies and requires the NAS to review such studies and report recommendations to the Secretary and the veterans' committees, to the extent provided under any agreement between the Secretary and NAS.
Amends the Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 1988 to require the Secretary to annually furnish updated information to individuals listed in the Department of Veterans Affairs Agent Orange Registry on health risks resulting from exposure to dioxin or other toxic agents in herbicides as a result of service in Vietnam during the Vietnam era.
Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to report to the veterans' committees on the research being conducted to develop treatments for psychological absorption of dioxin and other toxic agents used in herbicides by the United States in Vietnam, including research relating to exposure to dioxin and other toxic agents outside Vietnam.
Extends through December 31, 1993, the eligibility for hospital and nursing home care for veterans exposed to toxic substances in Vietnam.
Amends the Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 1988 to authorize direct consultation between the Ranch Hand Advisory Committee and Department of the Air Force scientists conducting the Ranch Hand Study (a study of the long-term health effects of exposure to phenoxy herbicides and contaminants). Requires the preparation and submission of annual reports and a final report in connection with such study.