Text: S.2152 — 104th Congress (1995-1996)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (09/27/1996)

 
[Congressional Bills 104th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. 2152 Introduced in Senate (IS)]







104th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 2152

To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide benefits for certain 
  children of Vietnam veterans who are born with spina bifida and for 
                            other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           September 27, 1996

Mr. Simpson (by request) introduced the following bill; which was read 
        twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide benefits for certain 
  children of Vietnam veterans who are born with spina bifida and for 
                            other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. REFERENCES TO TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE.

    Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an 
amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal 
of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to 
be made to a section or other provision of title 38, United States 
Code.

SEC. 2. BENEFITS FOR THE CHILDREN OF VIETNAM VETERANS WHO ARE BORN WITH 
              SPINA BIFIDA.

    (a) Short Title.--This section may be cited as the ``Agent Orange 
Benefits Act of 1996''.
    (b) Establishment of New Chapter 18.--Part II is amended by 
inserting after chapter 17 the following new chapter:

  ``CHAPTER 18--BENEFITS FOR THE CHILDREN OF VIETNAM VETERANS WHO ARE 
                         BORN WITH SPINA BIFIDA

``Sec.
``1801. Purpose.
``1802. Definitions.
``1803. Health care.
``1804. Vocational training.
``1805. Monetary allowance.
``Sec. 1801. Purpose
    ``The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the special needs 
of certain children of Vietnam veterans who were born with the birth 
defect spina bifida, possibly as the result of the exposure of one or 
both parents to herbicides during active service in the Republic of 
Vietnam during the Vietnam era, through the provision of health care, 
vocational training, and monetary benefits.
``Sec. 1802. Definitions
    ``For the purposes of this chapter:
            ``(1) The term `child' means a natural child of a Vietnam 
        veteran, regardless of age or marital status, who was conceived 
        after the date on which the veteran first entered the Republic 
        of Vietnam during the Vietnam era.
            ``(2) The term `Vietnam veteran' means a veteran who, 
        during active military, naval, or air service, served in the 
        Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam era.
            ``(3) the term `spina bifida' means all forms of spina 
        bifida other than spina bifida occulta.
``Sec. 1803. Health care
    ``(a) In accordance with regulations the Secretary shall prescribe, 
the Secretary shall provide such health care under this chapter as the 
Secretary determines is needed to a child of a Vietnam veteran who is 
suffering from spina bifida, for any disability associated with such 
condition.
    ``(b) The Secretary may provide health care under this section 
directly or by contract or other arrangement with a health care 
provider.
    ``(c) For the purposes of this section:
            ``(1) The term `health care' means home care, hospital 
        care, nursing home care, outpatient care, preventive care, 
        habilitative and rehabilitative care, case management, and 
        respite care, and includes the training of appropriate members 
        of a child's family or household in the care of the child and 
        provision of such pharmaceuticals, supplies, equipment, 
        devices, appliances, assistive technology, direct 
        transportation costs to and from approved sources of health 
        care authorized under this section, and other materials as the 
        Secretary determines to be necessary.
            ``(2) The term `health care provider' includes, but is not 
        limited to, specialized spina bifida clinics, healthcare plans, 
        insurers, organizations, institutions, or any other entity or 
        individual who furnishes health care services that the 
        Secretary determines are covered under this section.
            ``(3) The term `home care' means outpatient care, 
        habilitative and rehabilitative care, preventive health 
        services, and health-related services furnished to an 
        individual in the individual's home or other place of 
        residence.
            ``(4) The term `hospital care' means care and treatment for 
        a disability furnished to an individual who has been admitted 
        to a hospital as a patient.
            ``(5) The term `nursing home care' means care and treatment 
        for a disability furnished to an individual who has been 
        admitted to a nursing home as a resident.
            ``(6) The term `outpatient care' means care and treatment 
        of a disability, and preventive health services, furnished to 
        an individual other than hospital care or nursing home care.
            ``(7) The term `preventive care' means care and treatment 
        furnished to prevent disability or illness, including periodic 
        examinations, immunizations, patient health education, and such 
        other services as the Secretary determines are necessary to 
        provide effective and economical preventive health care.
            ``(8) The term `habilitative and rehabilitative care' means 
        such professional, counseling, and guidance services and 
        treatment programs (other than vocational training under 
        section 1804 of this title) as are necessary to develop, 
        maintain, or restore, to the maximum extent, the functioning of 
        a disabled person.
            ``(9) The term `respite care' means care furnished on an 
        intermittent basis in a Department facility for a limited 
        period to an individual who resides primarily in a private 
        residence when such care will help the individual to continue 
        residing in such private residence.
``Sec. 1804. Vocational training
    ``(a) Pursuant to such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, 
the Secretary may provide vocational training under this section to a 
child of a Vietnam veteran who is suffering from spina bifida if the 
Secretary determines that the achievement of a vocational goal by such 
child is reasonably feasible.
    ``(b)(1) If a child elects to pursue a program of vocational 
training under this section, the program shall be designed in 
consultation with the child in order to meet the child's individual 
needs and shall be set forth in an individualized written plan of 
vocational rehabilitation.
    ``(2)(A) Subject to subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, a 
vocational training program under this subsection shall consist of such 
vocationally oriented services and assistance, including such placement 
and post-placement services and personal and work adjustment training, 
as the Secretary determines are necessary to enable the child to 
prepare for and participate in vocational training or employment.
    ``(B) A vocational training program under this subsection--
            ``(i) may not exceed 24 months unless, based on a 
        determination by the Secretary that an extension is necessary 
        in order for the child to achieve a vocational goal identified 
        (before the end of the first 24 months of such program) in the 
        written plan formulated for the child, the Secretary grants an 
        extension for a period not to exceed 24 months;
            ``(ii) may not include the provision of any loan or 
        subsistence allowance or any automobile adaptive equipment; and
            ``(iii) may include a program of education at an 
        institution of higher learning only in a case in which the 
        Secretary determines that the program involved is predominantly 
        vocational in content.
    ``(c)(1) A child who is pursuing a program of vocational training 
under this section who is also eligible for assistance under a program 
under chapter 35 of this title may not receive assistance under both of 
such programs concurrently but shall elect (in such form and manner as 
the Secretary may prescribe) under which program to receive assistance.
    ``(2) The aggregate period for which a child may receive assistance 
under this section and chapter 35 of this title may not exceed 48 
months (or the part-time equivalent thereof).
``Sec. 1805. Monetary allowance
    ``(a) The Secretary shall pay a monthly allowance under this 
chapter to any child of a Vietnam veteran for disability resulting from 
spina bifida suffered by such child.
    ``(b) The amount of the allowance paid under this section shall be 
based on the degree of disability suffered by a child as determined in 
accordance with such schedule for rating disabilities resulting from 
spina bifida as the Secretary may prescribe. The Secretary shall, in 
prescribing the rating schedule for the purposes of this section, 
establish three levels of disability upon which the amount of the 
allowance provided by this section shall be based. The allowance shall 
be ($200) per month for the lowest level of disability prescribed, 
($700) per month for the intermediate level of disability prescribed, 
and ($1,200) per month for the highest level of disability prescribed.
    ``(c)(1) Whenever there is an increase in benefit amounts payable 
under title II of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 401 et seq.) as a 
result of a determination under section 215(i) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 
415(i)), the Secretary shall, effective on the date of such increase in 
benefit amounts, increase each rate of allowance under this section, as 
such rates were in effect immediately prior to the date of such 
increase in benefits payable under title II of the Social Security Act, 
by the same percentage as the percentage by which such benefit amounts 
are increased.
    ``(2) Whenever there is an increase in the rates of the allowance 
payable under this section, the Secretary shall publish such rates in 
the Federal Register.
    ``(3) Whenever such rates are so increased, the Secretary may round 
such rates in such manner as the Secretary considers equitable and 
appropriate for ease of administration.
    ``(d) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, receipt by a 
child of an allowance under this section shall not impair, infringe, or 
otherwise affect the right of such child to receive any other benefit 
to which the child may otherwise be entitled under any law administered 
by the Secretary, nor shall such receipt impair, infringe, or otherwise 
affect the right of any individual to receive any benefit to which he 
or she is entitled under any law administered by the Secretary that is 
based on the child's relationship to such individual.
    ``(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the allowance 
paid to a child under this section shall not be considered income or 
resources in determining eligibility for or the amount of benefits 
under any Federal or federally assisted program.''.
    (b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section shall 
become effective on October 1, 1996.
    (c) Clerical Amendment.--The tables of chapters before part I and 
at the beginning of part II are each amended by inserting after the 
item referring to chapter 17 the following new item:

``18. Benefits for children of Vietnam veterans who are born    1801''.
                            with spina bifida.

SEC. 3. CLARIFICATION OF ENTITLEMENT FOR BENEFITS FOR DISABILITY 
              RESULTING FROM TREATMENT OF VOCATIONAL SERVICES PROVIDED 
              BY DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

    (a) Section 1151 is amended--
            (1) by striking out the first sentence and inserting in 
        lieu thereof the following:
    ``(a) Compensation under this chapter and dependency and indemnity 
compensation under chapter 13 of this title shall be awarded for 
qualifying additional disability to or death of a veteran in the same 
manner as if such additional disability or death were service-
connected. For purposes of this section, additional disability or death 
is qualifying only if it was not the result of the veteran's willful 
misconduct and--
            ``(1) it was caused by hospital care, medical or surgical 
        treatment, or examination furnished the veteran under any law 
        administered by the Secretary, either by a Department employee 
        or in a Department facility as defined in section 1701(3)(A) of 
        this title, where the additional disability or death 
        proximately resulted--
                    ``(A) from carelessness, negligence, lack of proper 
                skill, error in judgment, or similar instance of fault 
                on the part of the Department in furnishing the 
                hospital care, medical or surgical treatment, or
                    ``(B) from an event not reasonably foreseeable; or
            ``(2) it was incurred as a proximate result of the 
        provision of training and rehabilitation services by the 
        Secretary (including by a service-provider used by the 
        Secretary for such purpose under section 3115 of this title) as 
        part of an approved rehabilitation program under chapter 31 of 
        this title.''; and
            (2) in the second sentence--
                    (A) by redesignating that sentence as subsection 
                (b);
                    (B) by striking out ``, aggravation,'' both places 
                it appears; and
                    (C) by striking out ``sentence'' and substituting 
                in lieu thereof ``subsection''.
    (b) The amendments made by subsection (a) shall govern all 
administrative and judicial determinations of eligibility for benefits 
under section 1151 of title 38, United States Code, made with respect 
to claims filed on or after the date of enactment of this Act, 
including those based on original applications and applications seeking 
to reopen, revise, reconsider, or otherwise readjudicate on any basis 
claims for benefits under section 1151 of that title or predecessor 
provisions of law.
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