Summary: H.R.4088 — 103rd Congress (1993-1994)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (08/08/1994)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Cost-of-Living Adjustment in Rates of

Compensation and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation

Title II: Disabilities Resulting from Herbicide Exposure

Title III: Board of Veterans' Appeals Administration

Title IV: Adjudication Improvements

Title V: Miscellaneous

Veterans' Benefits Act of 1994 - Title I: Cost-of-Living Adjustment in Rates of Compensation and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation - Increases as of December 1, 1994, the rates of veterans' disability compensation, additional compensation for veterans' dependents, the clothing allowance for certain disabled veterans, dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) for surviving spouses and children, and supplemental DIC for disabled adult children.

Title II: Disabilities Resulting from Herbicide Exposure - Adds to the list of diseases associated with exposure to herbicide agents that will be presumed to be service-connected (and therefore compensable through veterans' disability compensation): (1) Hodgkin's disease becoming manifest to a degree (of disability) of ten percent or more; (2) porphyria cutanea becoming manifest to a degree of ten percent or more within a year after active duty; (3) respiratory cancers becoming manifest to a degree of ten percent or more within 30 years after active duty; and (4) multiple myeloma becoming manifest to a degree of ten percent or more.

Title III: Board of Veterans' Appeals Administration - Requires members of the Board of Veterans' Appeals other than the Chairman to be appointed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, with the approval of the President. Requires an evaluation of each Board member's job performance, with recertification to the Board resulting from a positive evaluation, conditional recertification, or noncertification in appropriate circumstances. Outlines provisions concerning removal of a Board member for reasons other than job performance. Requires the Board Chairman to establish Board member job performance standards within 90 days after enactment of this Act. Requires a report from the Secretary to the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committees (veterans' committees) on the Secretary's proposal for the establishment of such standards.

Title IV: Adjudication Improvements - Veterans' Adjudication Improvements Act of 1994 - Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to: (1) report to the veterans' committees on the feasibility of reorganizing the adjudication divisions within the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) of the Department of Veterans Affairs; (2) implement a recordkeeping system whereby each veteran and other individual eligible for benefits is identified by an identification number which will be available to VBA employees in every regional office or medical center; (3) report to the veterans' committees on each pilot program and major initiative being conducted that affects the adjudication of claims for benefits; (4) accept a claimant's statement as proof of the existence of marriage (or its dissolution), birth of a child, or death of a family member and to accept private physician examination reports in support of a claim for benefits; and (4) take necessary action to provide for the expeditious treatment of benefits' claims that have been remanded to the Board or to VBA regional offices.

Allows a Board appeal to be screened ahead of its docket order to determine the adequacy or development of its record for decisional purposes.

Subjects benefit claims decisions made by the Secretary or the Board to revision or reversal on the grounds of clear and unmistakable error. Allows requests for review of an alleged erroneous decision from the Secretary, the Board, or the claimant involved.

Title V: Miscellaneous - Requires veterans' disability compensation coverage for veterans who participated in tests involving the atmospheric detonation of a nuclear device whether or not the test was conducted by the United States.

Extends through 1999 (currently 1994) the authority of the Department to operate a regional office in the Republic of the Philippines.

Provides that if an application for renewal is filed within one year after renouncement of the rights to pension, compensation, or DIC from the Department, the benefit(s) will be payable as if the renouncement had not occurred.

Provides an effective date of the last day of the month in which the death occurred for the discontinuance of survivors' benefits to a spouse of a veteran who, at the time of the veterans's death, was in receipt of veterans' disability compensation based on a total disability rating with an additional amount being paid for a spouse.