Text: S.2486 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 108-454 (12/10/2004)

 
[108th Congress Public Law 454]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]


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[DOCID: f:publ454.108]


[[Page 3597]]

                VETERANS BENEFITS IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2004

[[Page 118 STAT. 3598]]

Public Law 108-454
108th Congress

                                 An Act


 
 To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve and extend housing, 
    education, and other benefits under the laws administered by the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes. <<NOTE: Dec. 10, 
                          2004 -  [S. 2486]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Veterans 
Benefits Improvement Act of 2004.>> 

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) <<NOTE: 38 USC 101 note.>> Short Title.--This Act may be cited 
as the ``Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2004''.

    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Reference to title 38, United States Code.

                  TITLE I--VETERANS EARN AND LEARN ACT

Sec. 101. Short title.
Sec. 102. Modification of benefit entitlement charges for certain on-job 
           training programs.
Sec. 103. Increase in benefit for individuals pursuing apprenticeship or 
           on-job training.
Sec. 104. Authority for competency-based apprenticeship programs.
Sec. 105. Ten-year extension of delimiting period for survivors' and 
           dependents' educational assistance for spouses of members who 
           die on active duty.
Sec. 106. Availability of education benefits for payment for national 
           admissions exams and national exams for credit at 
           institutions of higher education.
Sec. 107. Requirement for coordination of data among the Departments of 
           Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Labor with respect to on-job 
           training.
Sec. 108. Pilot program to provide on-job benefits to train Department 
           of Veterans Affairs' claims adjudicators.
Sec. 109. Collection of payment for educational assistance under 
           Montgomery GI Bill from members of the Selected Reserve 
           called to active duty.
Sec. 110. Technical and conforming amendments.

                      TITLE II--EMPLOYMENT MATTERS

             Subtitle A--Employment and Reemployment Rights

Sec. 201. Two-year period of continuation of employer-sponsored health 
           care coverage.
Sec. 202. Reinstatement of reporting requirements.
Sec. 203. Requirement for employers to provide notice of rights and 
           duties under USERRA.
Sec. 204. Demonstration project for referral of USERRA claims against 
           Federal agencies to the Office of Special Counsel.

                        Subtitle B--Other Matters

Sec. 211. Report of employment placement, retention, and advancement of 
           recently separated servicemembers.

                       TITLE III--BENEFITS MATTERS

Sec. 301. Additional dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving 
           spouses with dependent children.

[[Page 118 STAT. 3599]]

Sec. 302. Offset of veterans' disability compensation and dependency and 
           indemnity compensation from awards under radiation exposure 
           compensation program.
Sec. 303. Exclusion of life insurance proceeds from consideration as 
           income for veterans' pension purposes.
Sec. 304. Certain service-connected disability benefits authorized for 
           persons disabled by treatment or vocational rehabilitation 
           provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 305. Effective date of death pension.
Sec. 306. Codification of administrative actions relating to 
           presumptions of service connection for veterans exposed to 
           ionizing radiation.
Sec. 307. Codification of cost-of-living adjustment provided in Public 
           Law 
           108-47.
Sec. 308. Cross-reference amendments relating to concurrent payment of 
           retired pay and veterans' disability compensation.

                        TITLE IV--HOUSING MATTERS

Sec. 401. Authority to provide specially adapted housing to certain 
           disabled veterans.
Sec. 402. Transitional housing amendments.
Sec. 403. Increase in maximum amount of home loan guaranty for 
           construction and purchase of homes and annual indexing of 
           amount.
Sec. 404. Extension of authority for guarantee of adjustable rate 
           mortgages.
Sec. 405. Extension and improvement of authority for guarantee of hybrid 
           adjustable rate mortgages.
Sec. 406. Termination of collection of loan fees from veterans rated 
           eligible for compensation at pre-discharge rating 
           examinations.
Sec. 407. Three-year extension of Native American veteran housing loan 
           pilot program.

                TITLE V--MATTERS RELATING TO FIDUCIARIES

Sec. 501. Definition of fiduciary.
Sec. 502. Inquiry, investigations, and qualification of fiduciaries.
Sec. 503. Misuse of benefits by fiduciaries.
Sec. 504. Additional protections for beneficiaries with fiduciaries.
Sec. 505. Annual report.
Sec. 506. Annual adjustment in benefits thresholds.
Sec. 507. Effective dates.

                   TITLE VI--MEMORIAL AFFAIRS MATTERS

Sec. 601. Designation of Prisoner of War/Missing in Action National 
           Memorial, Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside, California.
Sec. 602. Lease of certain National Cemetery Administration property.
Sec. 603. Exchanges of real property for national cemeteries.

       TITLE VII--IMPROVEMENTS TO SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT

Sec. 701. Clarification of meaning of ``judgment'' as used in the Act.
Sec. 702. Requirements relating to waiver of rights under the Act.
Sec. 703. Right of servicemember plaintiffs to request stay of civil 
           proceedings.
Sec. 704. Termination of leases.

                        TITLE VIII--OTHER MATTERS

Sec. 801. Principal office of United States Court of Appeals for 
           Veterans Claims.
Sec. 802. Technical amendments relating to the United States Court of 
           Appeals for Veterans Claims.
Sec. 803. Extension of biennial report of Advisory Committee on Former 
           Prisoners of War.
Sec. 804. Availability of administrative and judicial redress for 
           certain veterans denied opportunity to compete for Federal 
           employment.
Sec. 805. Report on servicemembers' and veterans' awareness of benefits 
           and services available under laws administered by Secretary 
           of Veterans Affairs.

SEC. 2. REFERENCE 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.

[[Page 118 STAT. 3600]]

 TITLE <<NOTE: Veterans Earn and Learn Act of 2004.>> I--VETERANS EARN 
AND LEARN ACT

SEC. 101. SHORT TITLE. <<NOTE: 38 USC 101 note.>> 

    This title may be cited as the ``Veterans Earn and Learn Act of 
2004''.
SEC. 102. MODIFICATION OF BENEFIT ENTITLEMENT CHARGES FOR CERTAIN 
                        ON-JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS.

    (a) In General.--Section 3687 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new subsection:
    ``(e)(1) For each month that an individual (as defined in paragraph 
(3)) is paid a training assistance allowance under subsection (a), the 
entitlement of the individual shall be charged at a percentage rate 
(rounded to the nearest percent) that is equal to the ratio of--
            ``(A) the training assistance allowance for the month 
        involved, to
            ``(B) the monthly educational assistance allowance otherwise 
        payable for full-time enrollment in an educational 
        institution.''.

    ``(2) For any month in which an individual fails to complete 120 
hours of training, the entitlement otherwise chargeable under paragraph 
(1) shall be reduced in the same proportion as the monthly training 
assistance allowance payable is reduced under subsection (b)(3).
    ``(3) In this section, the term `individual' means--
            ``(A) an eligible veteran who is entitled to monthly 
        educational assistance allowances payable under section 3015(e) 
        of this title, or
            ``(B) an eligible person who is entitled to monthly 
        educational assistance allowances payable under section 3532(a) 
        of this title,

as the case may be.''.
    (b) <<NOTE: 38 USC 3687 note.>> Effective Date.--The amendment made 
by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to months beginning after 
September 30, 2005.
SEC. 103. INCREASE <<NOTE: Effective dates.>> IN BENEFIT FOR 
                        INDIVIDUALS PURSUING APPRENTICESHIP OR ON-
                        JOB TRAINING.

    (a) <<NOTE: 38 USC 3032 note.>> Montgomery GI Bill.--For months 
beginning on or after October 1, 2005, and before January 1, 2008, 
subsection (c)(1) of section 3032 of title 38, United States Code, shall 
be applied as if--
            (1) the reference to ``75 percent'' in subparagraph (A) were 
        a reference to ``85 percent'';
            (2) the reference to ``55 percent'' in subparagraph (B) were 
        a reference to ``65 percent''; and
            (3) the reference to ``35 percent'' in subparagraph (C) were 
        a reference to ``45 percent''.

    (b) <<NOTE: 38 USC 3233 note.>> Post-Vietnam Era Veterans' 
Educational Assistance.--For months beginning on or after October 1, 
2005, and before January 1, 2008, subsection (a) of section 3233 of 
title 38, United States Code, shall be applied as if--
            (1) the reference to ``75 percent'' in paragraph (1) were a 
        reference to ``85 percent'';

[[Page 118 STAT. 3601]]

            (2) the reference to ``55 percent'' in paragraph (2) were a 
        reference to ``65 percent''; and
            (3) the reference to ``35 percent'' in paragraph (3) were a 
        reference to ``45 percent''.

    (c) <<NOTE: 38 USC 3687 note.>> Survivors and Dependents Educational 
Assistance.--(1) For months beginning on or after October 1, 2005, and 
before January 1, 2008, subsection (b)(2) of section 3687 of title 38, 
United States Code, shall be applied as if--
            (A) the reference to ``$574 for the first six months'' were 
        a reference to ``$650 for the first six months'';
            (B) the reference to ``$429 for the second six months'' were 
        a reference to ``$507 for the second six months''; and
            (C) the reference to ``$285 for the third six months'' were 
        a reference to ``$366 for the third six months''.

    (2) Subsection (d) of such section 3687 shall not apply with respect 
to the provisions of paragraph (1) for months occurring during fiscal 
year 2006.
    (3) For months beginning on or after January 1, 2008, the Secretary 
shall carry out subsection (b)(2) of such section 3687 as if paragraphs 
(1) and (2) were not enacted into law.
    (d) <<NOTE: 38 USC 16131 note.>> Selected Reserve Montgomery GI 
Bill.--For months beginning on or after October 1, 2005, and before 
January 1, 2008, subsection (d)(1) of section 16131 of title 10, United 
States Code, shall be applied as if--
            (1) the reference to ``75 percent'' in subparagraph (A) were 
        a reference to ``85 percent'';
            (2) the reference to ``55 percent'' in subparagraph (B) were 
        a reference to ``65 percent''; and
            (3) the reference to ``35 percent'' in subparagraph (C) were 
        a reference to ``45 percent''.
SEC. 104. AUTHORITY FOR COMPETENCY-BASED APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMS.

    (a) In General.--Section 3672(c) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``(1)'' and ``(2)'' and inserting ``(A)'' 
        and ``(B)'', respectively;
            (2) by inserting ``(1)'' after ``(c)''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraphs:

    ``(2) The period of a program of apprenticeship may be determined 
based upon a specific period of time (commonly referred to as a `time-
based program'), based upon the demonstration of successful mastery of 
skills (commonly referred to as a `competency-based program'), or based 
upon a combination thereof.
    ``(3)(A) In the case of a competency-based program of 
apprenticeship, State approving agencies shall determine the period for 
which payment may be made for such a program under chapters 30 and 35 of 
this title and chapter 1606 of title 10. In determining the period of 
such a program, State approving agencies shall take into consideration 
the approximate term of the program recommended in registered 
apprenticeship program standards recognized by the Secretary of Labor.
    ``(B) The sponsor of a competency-based program of apprenticeship 
shall provide notice to the State approving agency involved of any such 
standards that may apply to the program and the proposed approximate 
period of training under the program.
    ``(4) <<NOTE: Notification.>> The sponsor of a competency-based 
program of apprenticeship shall notify the Secretary upon the successful 
completion of

[[Page 118 STAT. 3602]]

a program of apprenticeship by an individual under chapter 30 or 35 of 
this title, or chapter 1606 of title 10, as the case may be.''.

    (b) Increased Use of Apprenticeships.--Section 3672(d)(1) is amended 
by adding at the end the following new sentence: ``The Secretary of 
Labor shall provide assistance and services to the Secretary, and to 
State approving agencies, to increase the use of apprenticeships.''.
    (c) Funding for Department Computer System Modifications.--From 
amounts appropriated to the Department of Veterans Affairs for fiscal 
year 2005 for readjustment benefits, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
shall use an amount not to exceed $3,000,000 to modify computer systems 
and to develop procedures required to carry out the amendments made by 
subsection (a) and sections 102 and 103.
SEC. 105. TEN-YEAR EXTENSION OF DELIMITING PERIOD FOR SURVIVORS' 
                        AND DEPENDENTS' EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE FOR 
                        SPOUSES OF MEMBERS WHO DIE ON ACTIVE DUTY.

     Section 3512(b)(1) is amended--
            (1) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``in subparagraph (B)'' 
        and inserting ``in subparagraph (B) or (C)''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

    ``(C) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), an eligible person referred 
to in that subparagraph who is made eligible under section 3501(a)(1)(B) 
of this title by reason of the death of a person on active duty may be 
afforded educational assistance under this chapter during the 20-year 
period beginning on the date (as determined by the Secretary) such 
person becomes an eligible person within the meaning of such section.''.
SEC. 106. AVAILABILITY OF EDUCATION BENEFITS FOR PAYMENT FOR 
                        NATIONAL ADMISSIONS EXAMS AND NATIONAL 
                        EXAMS FOR CREDIT AT INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER 
                        EDUCATION.

    (a) Covered Exams.--Sections 3452(b) and 3501(a)(5) are each amended 
by adding at the end the following new sentence: ``Such term also 
includes national tests for admission to institutions of higher learning 
or graduate schools (such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Law 
School Admission Test (LSAT), Graduate Record Exam (GRE), and Graduate 
Management Admission Test (GMAT)) and national tests providing an 
opportunity for course credit at institutions of higher learning (such 
as the Advanced Placement (AP) exam and College-Level Examination 
Program (CLEP)).''.
    (b) Amount of Payment.--
            (1) Chapter 30.--Section 3032 is amended by adding at the 
        end the following new subsection:

    ``(g)(1) Subject to paragraph (3), the amount of educational 
assistance payable under this chapter for a national test for admission 
or national test providing an opportunity for course credit at 
institutions of higher learning described in section 3452(b) of this 
title is the amount of the fee charged for the test.
    ``(2) The number of months of entitlement charged in the case of any 
individual for a test described in paragraph (1) is equal to the number 
(including any fraction) determined by dividing the total amount of 
educational assistance paid such individual for such test by the full-
time monthly institutional rate of educational

[[Page 118 STAT. 3603]]

assistance, except for paragraph (1), such individual would otherwise be 
paid under subsection (a)(1), (b)(1), (d), or (e)(1) of section 3015 of 
this title, as the case may be.
    ``(3) In no event shall payment of educational assistance under this 
subsection for a test described in paragraph (1) exceed the amount of 
the individual's available entitlement under this chapter.''.
            (2) Chapter 32.--Section 3232 is amended by adding at the 
        end the following new subsection:

    ``(d)(1) Subject to paragraph (3), the amount of educational 
assistance payable under this chapter for a national test for admission 
or national test providing an opportunity for course credit at 
institutions of higher learning described in section 3452(b) of this 
title is the amount of the fee charged for the test.
    ``(2) The number of months of entitlement charged in the case of any 
individual for a test described in paragraph (1) is equal to the number 
(including any fraction) determined by dividing the total amount of 
educational assistance paid such individual for such test by the full-
time monthly institutional rate of educational assistance, except for 
paragraph (1), such individual would otherwise be paid under this 
chapter.
    ``(3) In no event shall payment of educational assistance under this 
subsection for a test described in paragraph (1) exceed the amount of 
the individual's available entitlement under this chapter.''.
            (3) Chapter 35.--Section 3532 is amended by adding at the 
        end the following new subsection:

    ``(g)(1) Subject to paragraph (3), the amount of educational 
assistance payable under this chapter for a national test for admission 
or national test providing an opportunity for course credit at 
institutions of higher learning described in section 3501(a)(5) of this 
title is the amount of the fee charged for the test.
    ``(2) The number of months of entitlement charged in the case of any 
individual for a test described in paragraph (1) is equal to the number 
(including any fraction) determined by dividing the total amount of 
educational assistance paid such individual for such test by the full-
time monthly institutional rate of educational assistance, except for 
paragraph (1), such individual would otherwise be paid under this 
chapter.
    ``(3) In no event shall payment of educational assistance under this 
subsection for a test described in paragraph (1) exceed the amount of 
the individual's available entitlement under this chapter.''.
SEC. 107. REQUIREMENT FOR COORDINATION OF DATA AMONG THE 
                        DEPARTMENTS OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, DEFENSE, 
                        AND LABOR WITH RESPECT TO ON-JOB TRAINING.

     Section 3694 is amended--
            (1) by striking ``In carrying out'' and inserting ``(a) In 
        General.--In carrying out''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following new subsection:

    ``(b) Coordination of Information Among the Departments of Veterans 
Affairs, Defense, and Labor With Respect to On-Job Training.--At the 
time of a servicemember's discharge or release from active duty service, 
the Secretary of Defense shall furnish to the Secretary such pertinent 
information concerning each registered apprenticeship pursued by the 
servicemember during

[[Page 118 STAT. 3604]]

the period of active duty service of the servicemember. The Secretary, 
in conjunction with the Secretary of Labor, shall encourage and assist 
States and private organizations to give credit to servicemembers for 
the registered apprenticeship program so pursued in the case of any 
related apprenticeship program the servicemember may pursue as a 
civilian.''.
SEC. 108. PILOT PROGRAM TO PROVIDE ON-JOB BENEFITS TO TRAIN 
                        DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS' CLAIMS 
                        ADJUDICATORS.

     Section 3677 is amended by adding at the end the following new 
subsection:
    ``(d)(1) The Secretary may conduct a pilot program under which the 
Secretary operates a program of training on the job under this section 
for a period (notwithstanding subsection (c)(2)) of up to three years in 
duration to train employees of the Department to become qualified 
adjudicators of claims for compensation, dependency and indemnity 
compensation, and pension.
    ``(2)(A) <<NOTE: Deadlines. Reports.>> Not later than three years 
after the implementation of the pilot project, the Secretary shall 
submit to Congress an initial report on the pilot project. The report 
shall include an assessment of the usefulness of the program in 
recruiting and retaining of personnel of the Department as well as an 
assessment of the value of the program as a training program.

    ``(B) Not later than 18 months after the date on which the initial 
report under subparagraph (A) is submitted, the Secretary shall submit 
to Congress a final report on the pilot project. The final report shall 
include recommendations of the Secretary with respect to continuation of 
the pilot project and with respect to expansion of the types of claims 
for which the extended period of on the job training is available to 
train such employees.''.
SEC. 109. COLLECTION OF PAYMENT FOR EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE UNDER 
                        MONTGOMERY GI BILL FROM MEMBERS OF THE 
                        SELECTED RESERVE CALLED TO ACTIVE DUTY.

    (a) Active Duty Program.--Section 3011(b) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``The basic pay'' and inserting ``(1) Except 
        as provided in paragraph (2), the basic pay'';
            (2) by designating the second sentence as paragraph (3) and 
        in that paragraph by striking ``this chapter'' and inserting 
        ``this subsection''; and
            (3) by inserting after paragraph (1), as so designated, the 
        following new paragraph:

    ``(2) In the case of an individual covered by paragraph (1) who is a 
member of the Selected Reserve, the Secretary of Defense shall collect 
from the individual an amount equal to $1,200 not later than one year 
after completion by the individual of the two years of service on active 
duty providing the basis for such entitlement. The Secretary of Defense 
may collect such amount through reductions in basic pay in accordance 
with paragraph (1) or through such other method as the Secretary of 
Defense considers appropriate.''.
    (b) Selected Reserve Program.--Section 3012(c) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``The basic pay'' and inserting ``(1) Except 
        as provided in paragraph (2), the basic pay'';

[[Page 118 STAT. 3605]]

            (2) by designating the second sentence as paragraph (3) and 
        in that paragraph by striking ``this chapter'' and inserting 
        ``this subsection''; and
            (3) by inserting after paragraph (1), as so designated, the 
        following new paragraph:

    ``(2) <<NOTE: Deadline.>> In the case of an individual covered by 
paragraph (1) who is a member of the Selected Reserve, the Secretary of 
Defense shall collect from the individual an amount equal to $1,200 not 
later than one year after completion by the individual of the two years 
of service on active duty providing the basis for such entitlement. The 
Secretary of Defense may collect such amount through reductions in basic 
pay in accordance with paragraph (1) or through such other method as the 
Secretary of Defense considers appropriate.''.

SEC. 110. TECHNICAL AND CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.

    (a) Definition of Training Establishment.--Section 3452(e), as 
amended by section 301 of the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003 (Public Law 
108-183; 117 Stat. 2658), is amended in paragraph (5) to read as 
follows:
            ``(5) The sponsor of a program of apprenticeship.''.

    (b) Clarification of Applicable Apprenticeship Standards.--(1) 
Section 3672(c), as amended by section 105(a), is amended in 
subparagraph (A) by inserting ``apprenticeship'' before ``standards''.
    (2) Section 3672(d)(1) is amended by striking ``of programs of 
training on the job (including programs of apprenticeship)'' and 
inserting ``of apprenticeship and on the job training programs''.
    (c) Record-Keeping Requirements for Qualified Providers of 
Entrepreneurship Courses.--(1) Section 3675(c) is amended by adding at 
the end the following new paragraph:
    ``(4) Notwithstanding paragraph (3), a qualified provider of 
entrepreneurship courses shall maintain such records as the Secretary 
determines to be necessary to comply with reporting requirements that 
apply under section 3684(a)(1) of this title with respect to eligible 
persons and veterans enrolled in an entrepreneurship course offered by 
the provider.''.
    (2) <<NOTE: Effective date. 38 USC 3675 note.>> The amendment made 
by paragraph (1) shall take effect as if included in the enactment of 
section 305(a) of the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-183; 
117 Stat. 2660).

    (d) Authority To Pay Reporting Fee.--Section 3684(c) is amended by 
striking ``or to any joint apprenticeship training committee acting as a 
training establishment'' and inserting ``or to the sponsor of a program 
of apprenticeship''.

                      TITLE II--EMPLOYMENT MATTERS

             Subtitle A--Employment and Reemployment Rights

SEC. 201. TWO-YEAR PERIOD OF CONTINUATION OF EMPLOYER-SPONSORED 
                        HEALTH CARE COVERAGE.

    (a) Improvement in Period of Coverage.--Subsection (a)(1)(A) of 
section 4317 is amended by striking ``18-month period'' and inserting 
``24-month period''.

[[Page 118 STAT. 3606]]

    (b) <<NOTE: 38 USC 4317 note.>> Effective Date.--The amendment made 
by subsection (a) shall apply to elections made under section 4317 of 
title 38, United States Code, on or after the date of the enactment of 
this Act.
SEC. 202. REINSTATEMENT OF REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.

    Section 4332 is amended in the matter preceding paragraph (1) by 
striking ``no later than February 1, 1996, and annually thereafter 
through 2000'' and inserting ``no later than February 1, 2005, and 
annually thereafter''.
SEC. 203. REQUIREMENT FOR EMPLOYERS TO PROVIDE NOTICE OF RIGHTS 
                        AND DUTIES UNDER USERRA.

    (a) Notice.--Chapter 43 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new section:

``Sec. 4334. Notice of rights and duties

    ``(a) Requirement To Provide Notice.--Each employer shall provide to 
persons entitled to rights and benefits under this chapter a notice of 
the rights, benefits, and obligations of such persons and such employers 
under this chapter. The requirement for the provision of notice under 
this section may be met by the posting of the notice where employers 
customarily place notices for employees.
    ``(b) Content of Notice.--The Secretary shall provide to employers 
the text of the notice to be provided under this section.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

``4334. Notice of rights and duties.''.

    (c) <<NOTE: Deadline. 38 USC 4334 note.>> Implementation.--(1) Not 
later than the date that is 90 days after the date of the enactment of 
this Act, the Secretary of Labor shall make available to employers the 
notice required under section 4334 of title 38, United States Code, as 
added by subsection (a).

    (2) The amendments made by this section shall apply to employers 
under chapter 43 of title 38, United States Code, on and after the first 
date referred to in paragraph (1).
SEC. 204. DEMONSTRATION <<NOTE: Effective date. 38 USC 4301 
                        note.>> PROJECT FOR REFERRAL OF USERRA 
                        CLAIMS AGAINST FEDERAL AGENCIES TO THE 
                        OFFICE OF SPECIAL COUNSEL.

    (a) Establishment of Project.--The Secretary of Labor and the Office 
of Special Counsel shall carry out a demonstration project under which 
certain claims against Federal executive agencies under the Uniformed 
Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act under chapter 43 of 
title 38, United States Code, are referred to, or otherwise received by, 
the Office of Special Counsel for assistance, including investigation 
and resolution of the claim as well as enforcement of rights with 
respect to the claim.
    (b) Referral of All Prohibited Personnel Action Claims to the Office 
of Special Counsel.--(1) Under the demonstration project, the Office of 
Special Counsel shall receive and investigate all claims under the 
Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act with respect 
to Federal executive agencies in cases where the Office of Special 
Counsel has jurisdiction over related claims pursuant to section 1212 of 
title 5, United States Code.

[[Page 118 STAT. 3607]]

    (2) For purposes of paragraph (1), a related claim is a claim 
involving the same Federal executive agency and the same or similar 
factual allegations or legal issues as those being pursued under a claim 
under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
    (c) Referral of Other Claims Against Federal Executive Agencies.--
(1) Under the demonstration project, the Secretary--
            (A) shall refer to the Office of Special Counsel all claims 
        described in paragraph (2) made during the period of the 
        demonstration project; and
            (B) may refer any claim described in paragraph (2) filed 
        before the demonstration project that is pending before the 
        Secretary at the beginning of the demonstration project.

    (2) A claim referred to in paragraph (1) is a claim under chapter 43 
of title 38, United States Code, against a Federal executive agency by a 
claimant with a social security account number with an odd number as its 
terminal digit, or, in the case of a claim that does not contain a 
social security account number, a case number assigned to the claim with 
an odd number as its terminal digit.
    (d) Administration of Demonstration Project.--(1) The Office of 
Special Counsel shall administer the demonstration project. The 
Secretary shall cooperate with the Office of Special Counsel in carrying 
out the demonstration project.
    (2) In the case of any claim referred, or otherwise received by, to 
the Office of Special Counsel under the demonstration project, any 
reference to the ``Secretary'' in sections 4321, 4322, and 4326 of title 
38, United States Code, is deemed a reference to the ``Office of Special 
Counsel''.
    (3) In the case of any claim referred to, or otherwise received by, 
the Office of Special Counsel under the demonstration project, the 
Office of Special Counsel shall retain administrative jurisdiction over 
the claim.
    (e) Period of Project.--The demonstration project shall be carried 
out during the period beginning on the date that is 60 days after the 
date of the enactment of this Act, and ending on September 30, 2007.
    (f) Evaluations and Report.--(1) The Comptroller General of the 
United States shall conduct periodic evaluations of the demonstration 
project under this section.
    (2) Not later than April 1, 2007, the Comptroller General shall 
submit to Congress a report on the evaluations conducted under paragraph 
(1). The report shall include the following information and 
recommendations:
            (A) A description of the operation and results of the 
        demonstration program, including--
                    (i) the number of claims described in subsection (c) 
                referred to, or otherwise received by, the Office of 
                Special Counsel, and the number of such claims referred 
                to the Secretary of Labor; and
                    (ii) for each Federal executive agency, the number 
                of claims resolved, the type of corrective action 
                obtained, the period of time for final resolution of the 
                claim, and the results obtained.
            (B) An assessment of whether referral to the office of 
        special counsel of claims under the demonstration project--

[[Page 118 STAT. 3608]]

                    (i) improved services to servicemembers and 
                veterans; or
                    (ii) significantly reduced or eliminated duplication 
                of effort and unintended delays in resolving meritorious 
                claims of those servicemembers and veterans.
            (C) An assessment of the feasibility and advisability of 
        referring all claims under chapter 43 of title 38, United States 
        Code, against Federal executive agencies to the Office of 
        Special Counsel for investigation and resolution.
            (D) Such other recommendations for administrative action or 
        legislation as the Comptroller General determines appropriate.

    (g) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) The term ``Office of Special Counsel'' means the Office 
        of Special Counsel established by section 1211 of title 5, 
        United States Code.
            (2) The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of Labor.
            (3) The term ``Federal executive agency'' has the meaning 
        given that term in section 4303(5) of title 38, United States 
        Code.

                        Subtitle B--Other Matters

SEC. 211. REPORT OF EMPLOYMENT PLACEMENT, RETENTION, AND 
                        ADVANCEMENT OF RECENTLY SEPARATED 
                        SERVICEMEMBERS.

    (a) Contract for Report.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall enter 
into a contract with a qualified entity to conduct a study of and 
prepare a report on the employment histories of recently separated 
servicemembers.
    (b) Content of Report.--(1) The study conducted pursuant to 
subsection (a) shall consist of an analysis of employment-related data 
that have been collected with respect to recently separated 
servicemembers.
    (2) In conducting the study, the qualified entity shall--
            (A) determine whether the employment obtained by recently 
        separated servicemembers is commensurate with training and 
        education of those servicemembers;
            (B) determine whether recently separated servicemembers 
        received educational assistance or training and rehabilitation 
        under programs administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
        under chapter 30 or 31 of title 38, United States Code, or under 
        chapter 1606 of title 10, United States Code;
            (C) determine whether transition assistance services 
        provided to recently separated servicemembers assisted those 
        servicemembers in obtaining civilian employment;
            (D) analyze trends in hiring of veterans by the private 
        sector; and
            (E) identify recently separated servicemembers who have 
        reached senior level management positions.

    (c) Use of Data.--In conducting the study under subsection (a), the 
qualified entity shall review data compiled and reported by the Bureau 
of Labor Statistics and shall collect additional data on the employment 
histories of recently separated servicemembers

[[Page 118 STAT. 3609]]

available from such other sources as the qualified entity determines to 
be appropriate.
    (d) Contract Requirements.--(1) The contract entered into under 
subsection (a) shall contain such terms and conditions as the Secretary 
may require. <<NOTE: Deadline.>> The contract shall require that the 
report on the study be submitted to the Secretary not later than 2 years 
after the date on which the contract was entered into.

    (2) The report required under subsection (a) shall contain the 
findings and conclusions of the qualified entity on the study and 
specific recommendations to improve employment opportunities for 
veterans recently separated from service in the Armed Forces, including, 
if appropriate, recommendations for--
            (A) the establishment of networks of contacts for employment 
        of such veterans in the private sector;
            (B) outreach to private sector leaders on the merits and 
        sound business practice of hiring such veterans; and
            (C) additional methods to facilitate communication between 
        private sector employers and such veterans who are seeking 
        employment.

    (e) Funding.--Payment by the Secretary for the contract entered into 
under subsection (a)--
            (1) shall be made from the Department of Veterans Affairs 
        appropriations account from which payments for readjustment 
        benefits are made; and
            (2) may not exceed $490,000.

    (f) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) The term ``qualified entity'' means an entity or 
        organization that meets the following requirements:
                    (A) Demonstrated experience in conducting employment 
                surveys of recently separated servicemembers, including 
                Internet-based surveys, that meet such quality assurance 
                requirements as the Secretary determines appropriate.
                    (B) Demonstrated familiarity with veteran employment 
                matters.
                    (C) Demonstrated ability in developing plans to 
                market veterans as employment assets.
                    (D) Demonstrated ability to acquire services at no 
                cost from other organizations, such as technology, staff 
                services, and advertising services.
                    (E) Demonstrated ability to develop relationships, 
                establish employment networks, and facilitate 
                interaction between private and public sector leaders 
                and veterans.
            (2) The term ``employment history'' means, with respect to a 
        recently separated servicemember, training, placement, 
        retention, and advancement in employment of that servicemember.
            (3) The term ``recently separated servicemember'' means any 
        veteran (as defined in section 101(2) of title 38, United States 
        Code) discharged or released from active duty in the Armed 
        Forces of the United States during the 16-year period beginning 
        on January 1, 1990.

[[Page 118 STAT. 3610]]

                       TITLE III--BENEFITS MATTERS

SEC. 301. ADDITIONAL DEPENDENCY AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION FOR 
                        SURVIVING SPOUSES WITH DEPENDENT CHILDREN.

    (a) Additional Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.--Section 1311 
is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
    ``(e)(1) Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), if there is a surviving 
spouse with one or more children below the age of 18, the dependency and 
indemnity compensation paid monthly to the surviving spouse shall be 
increased by $250, regardless of the number of such children.
    ``(2) Dependency and indemnity compensation shall be increased under 
this subsection only for months occurring during the two-year period 
beginning on the date on which entitlement to dependency and indemnity 
compensation commenced.
    ``(3) The increase in dependency and indemnity compensation of a 
surviving spouse under this subsection shall cease beginning with the 
first month commencing after the month in which all children of the 
surviving spouse have attained the age of 18.
    ``(4) Dependency and indemnity compensation under this subsection is 
in addition to any other dependency and indemnity compensation payable 
under this chapter.''.
    (b) <<NOTE: 38 USC 1311 note.>> Effective Date.--Subsection (e) of 
section 1311 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection 
(a), shall take effect with respect to payments for the first month 
beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 302. OFFSET OF VETERANS' DISABILITY COMPENSATION AND 
                        DEPENDENCY AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION FROM 
                        AWARDS UNDER RADIATION EXPOSURE 
                        COMPENSATION PROGRAM.

    (a) Offset in Lieu of Forfeiture From Disability Compensation.--
Subsection (c) of section 1112 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new paragraph:
    ``(4) A radiation-exposed veteran who receives a payment under the 
provisions of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 
2210 note) shall not be deprived, by reason of the receipt of that 
payment, of receipt of compensation to which that veteran is entitled by 
reason of paragraph (1), but there shall be deducted from payment of 
such compensation the amount of the payment under that Act.''.
    (b) Offset in Lieu of Forfeiture From Dependency and Indemnity 
Compensation.--Section 1310 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new paragraph:
    ``(c) A person who receives a payment under the provisions of the 
Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 2210 note) shall 
not be deprived, by reason of the receipt of that payment, of receipt of 
dependency and indemnity compensation to which that person is otherwise 
entitled, but there shall be deducted from payment of such dependency 
and indemnity compensation the amount of the payment under that Act.''.
    (c) <<NOTE: 38 USC 1112 note.>> Effective Date.--Paragraph (4) of 
section 1112(c) of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection 
(a), shall take effect with respect to compensation payments for months 
beginning

[[Page 118 STAT. 3611]]

after March 26, 2002. Subsection (c) of section 1310 of such title, as 
added by subsection (b), shall take effect with respect to dependency 
and indemnity compensation payments for months beginning after March 26, 
2002.
SEC. 303. EXCLUSION OF LIFE INSURANCE PROCEEDS FROM CONSIDERATION 
                        AS INCOME FOR VETERANS' PENSION PURPOSES.

     Section 1503(a) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``and'' at the end of paragraph (9);
            (2) by striking the period at the end of the paragraph (10) 
        and inserting ``; and''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
            ``(11) lump-sum proceeds of any life insurance policy on a 
        veteran, for purposes of pension under subchapter III of this 
        chapter.''.
SEC. 304. CERTAIN SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABILITY BENEFITS AUTHORIZED 
                        FOR PERSONS DISABLED BY TREATMENT OR 
                        VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION PROVIDED BY THE 
                        DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

    (a) Authorized Benefits.--Section 1151 is amended by adding at the 
end the following new subsection:
    ``(c) A qualifying additional disability under this section shall be 
treated in the same manner as if it were a service-connected disability 
for purposes of the following provisions of this title:
            ``(1) Chapter 21, relating to specially adapted housing.
            ``(2) Chapter 39, relating to automobiles and adaptive 
        equipment.''.

    (b) <<NOTE: 38 USC 1151 note.>> Effective Date.--Subsection (c) of 
section 1151 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection 
(a), shall apply with respect to eligibility for benefits and services 
provided by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on or after the date of 
the enactment of this Act.

    (c) Administration of Offset Provision.--Subsection (b) of section 
1151 is amended--
            (1) by inserting ``(1)'' after ``(b)'';
            (2) by inserting ``(except as otherwise provided in 
        paragraph (2))'' after ``service-connected, then''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

    ``(2) In the case of a judgment, settlement, or compromise covered 
by paragraph (1) that becomes final on or after the date of the 
enactment of this paragraph and that includes an amount that is 
specifically designated for a purpose for which benefits are provided 
under chapter 21 or 39 of this title (hereinafter in this paragraph 
referred to as the `offset amount'), if such judgment, settlement, or 
compromise becomes final before the date of the award of benefits under 
chapter 21 or 39 for the purpose for which the offset amount was 
specifically designated--
            ``(A) the amount of such award shall be reduced by the 
        offset amount; and
            ``(B) if the offset amount is greater than the amount of 
        such award, the excess amount received pursuant to the judgment, 
        settlement or compromise, shall be offset against benefits 
        otherwise payable under this chapter.''.
SEC. 305. EFFECTIVE DATE OF DEATH PENSION.

     Section 5110(d) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``(1)'';

[[Page 118 STAT. 3612]]

            (2) by striking ``death compensation or dependency and 
        indemnity compensation'' and inserting ``death compensation, 
        dependency and indemnity compensation, or death pension''; and
            (3) by striking paragraph (2).
SEC. 306. CODIFICATION OF ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS RELATING TO 
                        PRESUMPTIONS OF SERVICE CONNECTION FOR 
                        VETERANS EXPOSED TO IONIZING RADIATION.

    (a) Covered Diseases.--Subsection (c)(2) of section 1112 is amended 
by adding at the end the following new subparagraphs:
            ``(Q) Cancer of the bone.
            ``(R) Cancer of the brain.
            ``(S) Cancer of the colon.
            ``(T) Cancer of the lung.
            ``(U) Cancer of the ovary.''.

    (b) Covered Radiation-Risk Activities.--Subsection (c)(3)(B) of such 
section is amended by adding at the end the following new clause:
                    ``(iv) Service in a capacity which, if performed as 
                an employee of the Department of Energy, would qualify 
                the individual for inclusion as a member of the Special 
                Exposure Cohort under section 3621(14) of the Energy 
                Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act 
                of 2000 (42 U.S.C. 7384l(14)).''.

    (c) <<NOTE: 38 USC 1112 note.>> Effective Date.--The amendments made 
by this section shall take effect as of March 26, 2002.
SEC. 307. CODIFICATION OF COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT PROVIDED IN 
                        PUBLIC LAW 108-47.

    (a) Veterans' Disability Compensation.--Section 1114 is amended--
            (1) by striking ``$104'' in subsection (a) and inserting 
        ``$106'';
            (2) by striking ``$201'' in subsection (b) and inserting 
        ``$205'';
            (3) by striking ``$310'' in subsection (c) and inserting 
        ``$316'';
            (4) by striking ``$445'' in subsection (d) and inserting 
        ``$454'';
            (5) by striking ``$633'' in subsection (e) and inserting 
        ``$646'';
            (6) by striking ``$801'' in subsection (f) and inserting 
        ``$817'';
            (7) by striking ``$1,008'' in subsection (g) and inserting 
        ``$1,029'';
            (8) by striking ``$1,171'' in subsection (h) and inserting 
        ``$1,195'';
            (9) by striking ``$1,317'' in subsection (i) and inserting 
        ``$1,344'';
            (10) by striking ``$2,193'' in subsection (j) and inserting 
        ``$2,239'';
            (11) in subsection (k)--
                    (A) by striking ``$81'' both places it appears and 
                inserting ``$82''; and
                    (B) by striking ``$2,728'' and ``$3,827'' and 
                inserting ``$2,785'' and ``$3,907'', respectively;
            (12) by striking ``$2,728'' in subsection (l) and inserting 
        ``$2,785'';
            (13) by striking ``$3,010'' in subsection (m) and inserting 
        ``$3,073'';
            (14) by striking ``$3,425'' in subsection (n) and inserting 
        ``$3,496'';

[[Page 118 STAT. 3613]]

            (15) by striking ``$3,827'' each place it appears in 
        subsections (o) and (p) and inserting ``$3,907'';
            (16) by striking ``$1,643'' and ``$2,446'' in subsection (r) 
        and inserting ``$1,677'' and ``$2,497'', respectively; and
            (17) by striking ``$2,455'' in subsection (s) and inserting 
        ``$2,506''.

    (b) Additional Compensation for Dependents.--Section 1115(1) is 
amended--
            (1) by striking ``$125'' in subparagraph (A) and inserting 
        ``$127'';
            (2) by striking ``$215'' and ``$64'' in subparagraph (B) and 
        inserting ``$219'' and ``$65'', respectively;
            (3) by striking ``$85'' and ``$64'' in subparagraph (C) and 
        inserting ``$86'' and ``$65'', respectively;
            (4) by striking ``$101'' in subparagraph (D) and inserting 
        ``$103'';
            (5) by striking ``$237'' in subparagraph (E) and inserting 
        ``$241''; and
            (6) by striking ``$198'' in subparagraph (F) and inserting 
        ``$202''.

    (c) Clothing Allowance for Certain Disabled Veterans.--Section 1162 
is amended by striking ``$588'' and inserting ``$600''.
    (d) Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for Surviving Spouses.--
(1) Section 1311(a) is amended--
            (A) by striking ``$948'' in paragraph (1) and inserting 
        ``$967''; and
            (B) by striking ``$204'' in paragraph (2) and inserting 
        ``$208''.

    (2) The table in section 1311(a)(3) is amended to read as follows:


 
                                 Monthly                         Monthly
           Pay grade              rate            Pay grade       rate
 
E-1...........................      $967  ..   W-4............    $1,157
 E-2..........................      $967  ..  O-1.............    $1,022
 E-3..........................      $967  ..   O-2............    $1,056
 E-4..........................      $967  ..   O-3............    $1,130
E-5...........................      $967  ..   O-4............    $1,195
 E-6..........................      $967  ..   O-5............    $1,316
 E-7..........................    $1,000  ..   O-6............    $1,483
E-8...........................    $1,056  ..  O-7.............    $1,602
 E-9..........................   $1,1021  ..  O-8.............    $1,758
W-1...........................    $1,022  ..   O-9............    $1,881
W-2...........................    $1,063  ..  O-10............   $2,0632
W-3...........................    $1,094  ..  ................  ........
1 If the veteran served as sergeant major of the Army, senior enlisted
  advisor of the Navy, chief master sergeant of the Air Force, sergeant
  major of the Marine Corps, or master chief petty officer of the Coast
  Guard, at the applicable time designated by section 1302 of this
  title, the surviving spouse's rate shall be $1,189.
2 If the veteran served as Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
  of Staff, Chief of Staff of the Army, Chief of Naval Operations, Chief
  of Staff of the Air Force, Commandant of the Marine Corps, or
  Commandant of the Coast Guard, at the applicable time designated by
  section 1302 of this title, the surviving spouse's rate shall be
  $2,213.

            (3) Section 1311(b) is amended by striking ``$237'' and 
        inserting ``$241''.

[[Page 118 STAT. 3614]]

            (4) Section 1311(c) is amended by striking ``$237'' and 
        inserting ``$241''.
            (5) Section 1311(d) is amended by striking ``$113'' and 
        inserting ``$115''.

    (e) Dependency and Indemnity Compensation for Children.--(1) Section 
1313(a) is amended--
            (A) by striking ``$402'' in paragraph (1) and inserting 
        ``$410'';
            (B) by striking ``$578'' in paragraph (2) and inserting 
        ``$590'';
            (C) by striking ``$752'' in paragraph (3) and inserting 
        ``$767''; and
            (D) by striking ``$752'' and ``$145'' in paragraph (4) and 
        inserting ``$767'' and ``$148'', respectively.

    (2) Section 1314 is amended--
            (A) by striking ``$237'' in subsection (a) and inserting 
        ``$241'';
            (B) by striking ``$402'' in subsection (b) and inserting 
        ``$410''; and
            (C) by striking ``$201'' in subsection (c) and inserting 
        ``$205''.
SEC. 308. CROSS-REFERENCE AMENDMENTS RELATING TO CONCURRENT 
                        PAYMENT OF RETIRED PAY AND VETERANS' 
                        DISABILITY COMPENSATION.

    (a) Prohibition Against Duplication of Benefits.--Section 5304(a)(1) 
is amended by inserting ``as provided in section 1414 of title 10 or'' 
after ``Except''.
    (b) Waiver of Retired Pay.--Section 5305 is amended by striking 
``Any'' in the first sentence and inserting ``Except as provided in 
section 1414 of title 10, any''.

                        TITLE IV--HOUSING MATTERS

SEC. 401. AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE SPECIALLY ADAPTED HOUSING TO 
                        CERTAIN DISABLED VETERANS.

     The text of section 2101 is amended to read as follows:
    ``(a) Acquisition of Housing With Special Features.--(1) Subject to 
paragraph (3), the Secretary may assist a disabled veteran described in 
paragraph (2) in acquiring a suitable housing unit with special fixtures 
or movable facilities made necessary by the nature of the veteran's 
disability, and necessary land therefor.
    ``(2) A veteran is described in this paragraph if the veteran is 
entitled to compensation under chapter 11 of this title for a permanent 
and total service-connected disability that meets any of the following 
criteria:
            ``(A) The disability is due to the loss, or loss of use, of 
        both lower extremities such as to preclude locomotion without 
        the aid of braces, crutches, canes, or a wheelchair.
            ``(B) The disability is due to--
                    ``(i) blindness in both eyes, having only light 
                perception, plus
                    ``(ii) loss or loss of use of one lower extremity.
            ``(C) The disability is due to the loss or loss of use of 
        one lower extremity together with--
                    ``(i) residuals of organic disease or injury; or

[[Page 118 STAT. 3615]]

                    ``(ii) the loss or loss of use of one upper 
                extremity,
        which so affect the functions of balance or propulsion as to 
        preclude locomotion without the aid of braces, crutches, canes, 
        or a wheelchair.
            ``(D) The disability is due to the loss, or loss of use, of 
        both upper extremities such as to preclude use of the arms at or 
        above the elbows.

    ``(3) The regulations prescribed under subsection (c) shall require 
that assistance under paragraph (1) may be provided to a veteran only if 
the Secretary finds that--
            ``(A) it is medically feasible for the veteran to reside in 
        the proposed housing unit and in the proposed locality;
            ``(B) the proposed housing unit bears a proper relation to 
        the veteran's present and anticipated income and expenses; and
            ``(C) the nature and condition of the proposed housing unit 
        are such as to be suitable to the veteran's needs for dwelling 
        purposes.

    ``(b) Adaptations to Residence of Veteran.--(1) Subject to paragraph 
(3), the Secretary shall assist any disabled veteran described in 
paragraph (2) (other than a veteran who is eligible for assistance under 
subsection (a))--
            ``(A) in acquiring such adaptations to such veteran's 
        residence as are determined by the Secretary to be reasonably 
        necessary because of such disability; or
            ``(B) in acquiring a residence already adapted with special 
        features determined by the Secretary to be reasonably necessary 
        for the veteran because of such disability.

    ``(2) A veteran is described in this paragraph if the veteran is 
entitled to compensation under chapter 11 of this title for a permanent 
and total service-connected disability that meets either of the 
following criteria:
            ``(A) The disability is due to blindness in both eyes with 
        5/200 visual acuity or less.
            ``(B) The disability includes the anatomical loss or loss of 
        use of both hands.

    ``(3) Assistance under paragraph (1) may be provided only to a 
veteran who the Secretary determines--
            ``(A) is residing in and reasonably intends to continue 
        residing in a residence owned by such veteran or by a member of 
        such veteran's family; or
            ``(B) if the veteran's residence is to be constructed or 
        purchased, will be residing in and reasonably intends to 
        continue residing in a residence owned by such veteran or by a 
        member of such veteran's family.

    ``(c) Regulations.--Assistance under this section shall be provided 
in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe.''.
SEC. 402. TRANSITIONAL HOUSING AMENDMENTS.

    (a) Use of Veteran Volunteers.--Section 2051 is amended by adding at 
the end the following new subsection:
    ``(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a multifamily 
transitional housing project that is funded by a loan guaranteed under 
this subchapter may accept uncompensated voluntary services performed by 
any eligible entity (as that term is defined in

[[Page 118 STAT. 3616]]

section 2011(d) of this title) in connection with the construction, 
alteration, or repair of such project.''.
    (b) Authorization for Commercially-Leased Space.--Section 2052(c)(1) 
is amended by striking ``services'' and inserting ``services, other 
commercial activities,''.
SEC. 403. INCREASE IN MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF HOME LOAN GUARANTY FOR 
                        CONSTRUCTION AND PURCHASE OF HOMES AND 
                        ANNUAL INDEXING OF AMOUNT.

    (a) Maximum Loan Guaranty Based on 100 Percent of Freddie Mac 
Conforming Loan Rate.--Section 3703(a)(1) is amended by striking 
``$60,000'' each place it appears in subparagraphs (A)(i)(IV) and (B) 
and inserting ``the maximum guaranty amount (as defined in subparagraph 
(C))''.
    (b) Definition.--Such section is further amended by adding at the 
end the following new subparagraph:
    ``(C) In this paragraph, the term `maximum guaranty amount' means 
the dollar amount that is equal to 25 percent of the Freddie Mac 
conforming loan limit limitation determined under section 305(a)(2) of 
the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation Act (12 U.S.C. 1454(a)(2)) 
for a single-family residence, as adjusted for the year involved.''.
SEC. 404. EXTENSION OF AUTHORITY FOR GUARANTEE OF ADJUSTABLE RATE 
                        MORTGAGES.

     Section 3707(a) is amended by striking ``during fiscal years 1993, 
1994, and 1995'' and inserting ``during fiscal years 1993 through 
2008''.
SEC. 405. EXTENSION AND IMPROVEMENT OF AUTHORITY FOR GUARANTEE OF 
                        HYBRID ADJUSTABLE RATE MORTGAGES.

    (a) Extension of Authority.--Subsection (a) of section 3707A is 
amended by striking ``during fiscal years 2004 and 2005'' and inserting 
``during fiscal years 2004 through 2008''.
    (b) Modification of Interest Rate Adjustment Requirements.--
Subsection (c) of such section is amended--
            (1) by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph (5);
            (2) by striking paragraph (3) and inserting the following 
        new paragraphs:
            ``(3) in the case of the initial contract interest rate 
        adjustment--
                    ``(A) if the initial contract interest rate remained 
                fixed for less than 5 years, be limited to a maximum 
                increase or decrease of 1 percentage point; or
                    ``(B) if the initial contract interest rate remained 
                fixed for 5 years or more, be limited to a maximum 
                increase or decrease of such percentage point or points 
                as the Secretary may prescribe;
            ``(4) in the case of any single annual interest rate 
        adjustment after the initial contract interest rate adjustment, 
        be limited to a maximum increase or decrease of 1 percentage 
        point; and''; and
            (3) in paragraph (5), as so redesignated, by striking ``5 
        percentage points'' and all that follows and inserting ``such 
        number of percentage points as the Secretary shall prescribe for 
        purposes of this section.''.

    (c) <<NOTE: 38 USC 3707A note.>> No Effect on Guarantee of Loans 
Under Hybrid Adjustable Rate Mortgage Guarantee Demonstration

[[Page 118 STAT. 3617]]

Project.--The amendments made by this section shall not be construed to 
affect the force or validity of any guarantee of a loan made by the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs under the demonstration project for the 
guarantee of hybrid adjustable rate mortgages under section 3707A of 
title 38, United States Code, as in effect on the day before the date of 
the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 406. TERMINATION OF COLLECTION OF LOAN FEES FROM VETERANS 
                        RATED ELIGIBLE FOR COMPENSATION AT PRE-
                        DISCHARGE RATING EXAMINATIONS.

     Section 3729(c) is amended--
            (1) by inserting ``(1)'' before ``A fee''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

    ``(2) A veteran who is rated eligible to receive compensation as a 
result of a pre-discharge disability examination and rating shall be 
treated as receiving compensation for purposes of this subsection as of 
the date on which the veteran is rated eligible to receive compensation 
as a result of the pre-discharge disability examination and rating 
without regard to whether an effective date of the award of compensation 
is established as of that date.''.
SEC. 407. THREE-YEAR EXTENSION OF NATIVE AMERICAN VETERAN HOUSING 
                        LOAN PILOT PROGRAM.

    Section 3761(c) is amended by striking ``December 31, 2005'' and 
inserting ``December 31, 2008''.

                TITLE V--MATTERS RELATING TO FIDUCIARIES

SEC. 501. DEFINITION OF FIDUCIARY.

    (a) In General.--(1) Chapter 55 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new section:

``Sec. 5506. Definition of `fiduciary'

    ``For purposes of this chapter and chapter 61 of this title, the 
term `fiduciary' means--
            ``(1) a person who is a guardian, curator, conservator, 
        committee, or person legally vested with the responsibility or 
        care of a claimant (or a claimant's estate) or of a beneficiary 
        (or a beneficiary's estate); or
            ``(2) any other person having been appointed in a 
        representative capacity to receive money paid under any of the 
        laws administered by the Secretary for the use and benefit of a 
        minor, incompetent, or other beneficiary.''.

    (2) The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is 
amended by adding at the end the following new item:

``5506. Definition of `fiduciary'.''.

    (b) Conforming Amendments to Section 5502.--Section 5502 is 
amended--
            (1) in subsection (a)--
                    (A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``other person'' 
                and inserting ``other fiduciary''; and
                    (B) in the second sentence of paragraph (2), by 
                inserting ``for benefits under this title'' after ``in 
                connection with rendering fiduciary services'';

[[Page 118 STAT. 3618]]

            (2) in subsection (b), by striking ``guardian, curator, 
        conservator, or other person'' each place it appears and 
        inserting ``fiduciary''; and
            (3) in subsection (d), by striking ``guardian, curator, or 
        conservator'' and inserting ``fiduciary''.

    (c) Conforming Amendment to Section 6101.--Section 6101(a) is 
amended by striking ``guardian, curator,'' and all that follows through 
``beneficiary,'' and inserting ``fiduciary (as defined in section 5506 
of this title) for the benefit of a minor, incompetent, or other 
beneficiary under laws administered by the Secretary,''.
SEC. 502. INQUIRY, INVESTIGATIONS, AND QUALIFICATION OF 
                        FIDUCIARIES.

    (a) In General.--Chapter 55, as amended by section 501(a)(1), is 
further amended by adding at the end the following new section:

``Sec. 5507. Inquiry, investigations, and qualification of fiduciaries

    ``(a) Any certification of a person for payment of benefits of a 
beneficiary to that person as such beneficiary's fiduciary under section 
5502 of this title shall be made on the basis of--
            ``(1) an inquiry or investigation by the Secretary of the 
        fitness of that person to serve as fiduciary for that 
        beneficiary, such inquiry or investigation--
                    ``(A) to be conducted in advance of such 
                certification;
                    ``(B) to the extent practicable, to include a face-
                to-face interview with such person; and
                    ``(C) to the extent practicable, to include a copy 
                of a credit report for such person issued within one 
                year of the date of the proposed appointment;
            ``(2) adequate evidence that certification of that person as 
        fiduciary for that beneficiary is in the interest of such 
        beneficiary (as determined by the Secretary under regulations); 
        and
            ``(3) the furnishing of any bond that may be required by the 
        Secretary.

    ``(b) As part of any inquiry or investigation of any person under 
subsection (a), the Secretary shall request information concerning 
whether that person has been convicted of any offense under Federal or 
State law which resulted in imprisonment for more than one year. If that 
person has been convicted of such an offense, the Secretary may certify 
the person as a fiduciary only if the Secretary finds that the person is 
an appropriate person to act as fiduciary for the beneficiary concerned 
under the circumstances.
    ``(c)(1) In the case of a proposed fiduciary described in paragraph 
(2), the Secretary, in conducting an inquiry or investigation under 
subsection (a)(1), may carry out such inquiry or investigation on an 
expedited basis that may include waiver of any specific requirement 
relating to such inquiry or investigation, including the otherwise 
applicable provisions of subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) of such 
subsection. Any such inquiry or investigation carried out on such an 
expedited basis shall be carried out under regulations prescribed for 
purposes of this section.
    ``(2) <<NOTE: Applicability.>> Paragraph (1) applies with respect to 
a proposed fiduciary who is--

[[Page 118 STAT. 3619]]

            ``(A) the parent (natural, adopted, or stepparent) of a 
        beneficiary who is a minor;
            ``(B) the spouse or parent of an incompetent beneficiary;
            ``(C) a person who has been appointed a fiduciary of the 
        beneficiary by a court of competent jurisdiction; or
            ``(D) being appointed to manage an estate where the annual 
        amount of veterans benefits to be managed by the proposed 
        fiduciary does not exceed $3,600, as adjusted pursuant to 
        section 5312 of this title.

    ``(d) Temporary Fiduciaries.--When in the opinion of the Secretary, 
a temporary fiduciary is needed in order to protect the assets of the 
beneficiary while a determination of incompetency is being made or 
appealed or a fiduciary is appealing a determination of misuse, the 
Secretary may appoint one or more temporary fiduciaries for a period not 
to exceed 120 days. If a final decision has not been made within 120 
days, the Secretary may not continue the appointment of the fiduciary 
without obtaining a court order for appointment of a guardian, 
conservator, or other fiduciary under the authority provided in section 
5502(b) of this title.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter is amended by adding after the item added by section 
501(a)(2) the following new item:

``5507. Inquiry, investigations, and qualification of fiduciaries.''.

SEC. 503. MISUSE OF BENEFITS BY FIDUCIARIES.

    (a) Protection of Veterans Benefits When Administered by 
Fiduciaries.--(1) Chapter 61 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new sections:

``Sec. 6106. Misuse of benefits by fiduciaries

    ``(a) Fee Forfeiture in Case of Benefit Misuse by Fiduciaries.--A 
fiduciary may not collect a fee from a beneficiary for any month with 
respect to which the Secretary or a court of competent jurisdiction has 
determined that the fiduciary misused all or part of the individual's 
benefit, and any amount so collected by the fiduciary as a fee for such 
month shall be treated as a misused part of the individual's benefit.
    ``(b) Misuse of Benefits Defined.--For purposes of this chapter, 
misuse of benefits by a fiduciary occurs in any case in which the 
fiduciary receives payment, under any of laws administered by the 
Secretary, for the use and benefit of a beneficiary and uses such 
payment, or any part thereof, for a use other than for the use and 
benefit of such beneficiary or that beneficiary's dependents. Retention 
by a fiduciary of an amount of a benefit payment as a fiduciary fee or 
commission, or as attorney's fees (including expenses) and court costs, 
if authorized by the Secretary or a court of competent jurisdiction, 
shall be considered to be for the use or benefit of such beneficiary.
    ``(c) Regulations.--The Secretary may prescribe by regulation the 
meaning of the term `use and benefit' for purposes of this section.

``Sec. 6107. Reissuance of benefits

    ``(a) Negligent Failure by Secretary.--(1) In any case in which the 
negligent failure of the Secretary to investigate or monitor a fiduciary 
results in misuse of benefits by the fiduciary, the Secretary shall pay 
to the beneficiary or the beneficiary's successor

[[Page 118 STAT. 3620]]

fiduciary an amount equal to the amount of benefits that were so 
misused.
    ``(2) There shall be considered to have been a negligent failure by 
the Secretary to investigate and monitor a fiduciary in the following 
cases:
            ``(A) A case in which the Secretary failed to review a 
        fiduciary's accounting within 60 days of the date on which that 
        accounting is scheduled for review.
            ``(B) A case in which the Secretary was notified of 
        allegations of misuse, but failed to act within 60 days of the 
        date of such notification to terminate the fiduciary.
            ``(C) In any other case in which actual negligence is shown.

    ``(b) Reissuance of Misused Benefits in Other Cases.--(1) In any 
case in which a fiduciary described in paragraph (2) misuses all or part 
of an individual's benefit paid to such fiduciary, the Secretary shall 
pay to the beneficiary or the beneficiary's successor fiduciary an 
amount equal to the amount of such benefit so misused.
    ``(2) <<NOTE: Applicability.>> Paragraph (1) applies to a fiduciary 
that--
            ``(A) is not an individual; or
            ``(B) is an individual who, for any month during a period 
        when misuse occurs, serves 10 or more individuals who are 
        beneficiaries under this title.

    ``(3) In any other case in which the Secretary obtains recoupment 
from a fiduciary who has misused benefits, the Secretary shall promptly 
remit payment of the recouped amounts to the beneficiary or the 
beneficiary's successor fiduciary as the case may be.
    ``(c) Limitation on Total Amount Paid.--The total of the amounts 
paid to a beneficiary (or a beneficiary's successor fiduciary) under 
this section may not exceed the total benefit amount misused by the 
fiduciary with respect to that beneficiary.
    ``(d) Recoupment of Amounts Reissued.--In any case in which the 
Secretary reissues a benefit payment (in whole or in part) under 
subsection (a) or (b), the Secretary shall make a good faith effort to 
obtain recoupment from the fiduciary to whom the payment was originally 
made.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new items:

``6106. Misuse of benefits by fiduciaries.
``6107. Reissuance of benefits.''.

SEC. 504. ADDITIONAL PROTECTIONS FOR BENEFICIARIES WITH 
                        FIDUCIARIES.

    (a) Onsite Reviews and Required Accountings.--(1) Chapter 55, as 
amended by section 502(a), is further amended by adding at the end the 
following new sections:

``Sec. 5508. Periodic onsite reviews of institutional fiduciaries

    ``In addition to such other reviews of fiduciaries as the Secretary 
may otherwise conduct, the Secretary shall provide for the periodic 
onsite review of any person or agency located in the United States that 
receives the benefits payable under laws administered by the Secretary 
to another individual pursuant to the appointment of such person or 
agency as a fiduciary under section 5502(a)(1) of this title in any case 
in which the fiduciary is serving in that capacity with respect to more 
than 20 beneficiaries and the total

[[Page 118 STAT. 3621]]

annual amount of such benefits exceeds $50,000, as adjusted pursuant to 
section 5312 of this title.

``Sec. 5509. Authority to require fiduciary to receive payments at 
                        regional offices of the Department when failing 
                        to provide required accounting

    ``(a) Required Reports and Accountings.--The Secretary may require a 
fiduciary to file a report or accounting pursuant to regulations 
prescribed by the Secretary.
    ``(b) Actions Upon Failure To File.--In any case in which a 
fiduciary fails to submit a report or accounting required by the 
Secretary under subsection (a), the Secretary may, after furnishing 
notice to such fiduciary and the beneficiary entitled to such payment of 
benefits, require that such fiduciary appear in person at a regional 
office of the Department serving the area in which the beneficiary 
resides in order to receive such payments.''.
    (2) The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is 
amended by adding after the item added by section 502(b) the following 
new items:

``5508. Periodic onsite reviews of institutional fiduciaries.
``5509. Authority to require fiduciary to receive payments at regional 
           offices of the Department when failing to provide required 
           accounting.''.

    (b) Judicial Orders of Restitution.--(1) Chapter 61, as amended by 
section 503(a), is further amended by adding at the end the following 
new section:

``Sec. 6108. Authority for judicial orders of restitution

    ``(a) Any Federal court, when sentencing a defendant convicted of an 
offense arising from the misuse of benefits under this title, may order, 
in addition to or in lieu of any other penalty authorized by law, that 
the defendant make restitution to the Department.
    ``(b) Sections 3612, 3663, and 3664 of title 18 shall apply with 
respect to the issuance and enforcement of orders of restitution under 
subsection (a). In so applying those sections, the Department shall be 
considered the victim.
    ``(c) If the court does not order restitution, or orders only 
partial restitution, under subsection (a), the court shall state on the 
record the reasons therefor.
    ``(d) Amounts received in connection with misuse by a fiduciary of 
funds paid as benefits under laws administered by the Secretary shall be 
paid to the individual whose benefits were misused. If the Secretary has 
previously reissued the misused benefits, the amounts shall be treated 
in the same manner as overpayments recouped by the Secretary and shall 
be deposited to the credit of the applicable revolving fund, trust fund, 
or appropriation.''.
    (2) The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is 
amended by adding after the item added by section 503(b) the following 
new item:

``6108. Authority for judicial orders of restitution.''.

SEC. 505. ANNUAL REPORT.

    (a) In General.--Chapter 55, as amended by section 504(a)(1), is 
further amended by adding at the end the following new section:

``Sec. 5510. Annual report

    ``The Secretary shall include in the Annual Benefits Report of the 
Veterans Benefits Administration or the Secretary's Annual

[[Page 118 STAT. 3622]]

Performance and Accountability Report information concerning fiduciaries 
who have been appointed to receive payments for beneficiaries of the 
Department. As part of such information, the
Secretary shall separately set forth the following: --
            ``(1) The number of beneficiaries in each category (veteran, 
        surviving spouse, child, adult disabled child, or parent).
            ``(2) The types of benefit being paid (compensation, 
        pension, dependency and indemnity compensation, death pension or 
        benefits payable to a disabled child under chapter 18 of this 
        title).
            ``(3) The total annual amounts and average annual amounts of 
        benefits paid to fiduciaries for each category and type of 
        benefit.
            ``(4) The number of fiduciaries who are the spouse, parent, 
        legal custodian, court-appointed fiduciary, institutional 
        fiduciary, custodian in fact, and supervised direct payees.
            ``(5) The number of cases in which the fiduciary was changed 
        by the Secretary because of a finding that benefits had been 
        misused.
            ``(6) How such cases of misuse of benefits were addressed by 
        the Secretary.
            ``(7) The final disposition of such cases of misuse of 
        benefits, including the number and dollar amount of any benefits 
        reissued to beneficiaries.
            ``(8) The number of fiduciary cases referred to the Office 
        of the Inspector General and the nature of the actions taken by 
        the Inspector General.
            ``(9) The total amount of money recovered by the government 
        in cases arising from the misuse of benefits by a fiduciary.
            ``(10) Such other information as the Secretary considers 
        appropriate.''.

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter is amended by adding after the items added by the amendment 
made by section 504(a)(2) the following new item:

``5510. Annual report.''.

SEC. 506. ANNUAL ADJUSTMENT IN BENEFITS THRESHOLDS.

    Section 5312(b)(1) is amended by inserting ``and the annual benefit 
amount limitations under sections 5507(c)(2)(D) and 5508 of this 
title,'' after ``(d)(3) of such section,''.

SEC. 507. EFFECTIVE DATES. <<NOTE: 38 USC 5312 note.>> 

    (a) In General.--Except as otherwise provided, this title and the 
amendments made by this title shall take effect on the first day of the 
seventh month beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act.
    (b) Special Rules.--(1) Section 5510 of title 38, United States 
Code, as added by section 505(a), shall take effect on the date of the 
enactment of this Act.
    (2) Sections 6106 and 6107 of title 38, United States Code, as added 
by section 503(a), shall apply with respect to any determinations by the 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs made after the date of the enactment of 
this Act of misuse of funds by a fiduciary.

[[Page 118 STAT. 3623]]

                   TITLE VI--MEMORIAL AFFAIRS MATTERS

SEC. 601. DESIGNATION <<NOTE: 16 USC 431 note.>> OF PRISONER OF 
                        WAR/MISSING IN ACTION NATIONAL MEMORIAL, 
                        RIVERSIDE NATIONAL CEMETERY, RIVERSIDE, 
                        CALIFORNIA.

    (a) Designation.--The memorial to former prisoners of war and 
members of the Armed Forces listed as missing in action that is under 
construction at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California, is 
hereby designated: ``Prisoner of War/Missing in Action National 
Memorial''.
    (b) Effect of Designation.--Such national memorial designated by 
subsection (a) is not a unit of the National Park System, and the 
designation of the national memorial shall not be construed to require 
Federal funds to be expended for any purpose related to the national 
memorial.
SEC. 602. LEASE OF CERTAIN NATIONAL CEMETERY ADMINISTRATION 
                        PROPERTY.

    (a) In General.--Chapter 24 is amended by adding at the end the 
following new section:

``Sec. 2412. Lease of land and buildings

    ``(a) Lease Authorized.--The Secretary may lease any undeveloped 
land and unused or underutilized buildings, or parts or parcels thereof, 
belonging to the United States and part of the National Cemetery 
Administration.
    ``(b) Term.--The term of a lease under subsection (a) may not exceed 
10 years.
    ``(c) Lease to Public or Nonprofit Organizations.--(1) A lease under 
subsection (a) to any public or nonprofit organization may be made 
without regard to the provisions of section 3709 of the Revised Statutes 
(41 U.S.C. 5).
    ``(2) Notwithstanding section 1302 of title 40 or any other 
provision of law, a lease under subsection (a) to any public or 
nonprofit organization may provide for the maintenance, protection, or 
restoration of the leased property by the lessee, as a part or all of 
the consideration for the lease.
    ``(d) Notice.--Before entering into a lease under subsection (a), 
the Secretary shall give appropriate public notice of the intention of 
the Secretary to enter into the lease in a newspaper of general 
circulation in the community in which the lands or buildings concerned 
are located.
    ``(e) National Cemetery Administration Facilities Operation Fund.--
(1) There is established on the book of the Treasury an account to be 
known as the `National Cemetery Administration Facilities Operation 
Fund' (in this section referred to as the `Fund').
    ``(2) The Fund shall consist of the following:
            ``(A) Proceeds from the lease of land or buildings under 
        this section.
            ``(B) Proceeds of agricultural licenses of lands of the 
        National Cemetery Administration.
            ``(C) Any other amounts appropriated to or otherwise 
        authorized for deposit in the Fund by law.

[[Page 118 STAT. 3624]]

    ``(3) Amounts in the Fund shall be available to cover costs incurred 
by the National Cemetery Administration in the operation and maintenance 
of property of the Administration.
    ``(4) Amounts in the Fund shall remain available until expended.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

``2412. Lease of land and buildings.''.

SEC. 603. EXCHANGES OF REAL PROPERTY FOR NATIONAL CEMETERIES.

    Section 2406 is amended by inserting ``exchange,'' after 
``agencies,''.

       TITLE VII--IMPROVEMENTS TO SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT

SEC. 701. CLARIFICATION OF MEANING OF ``JUDGMENT'' AS USED IN THE 
                        ACT.

     Section 101 of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. App. 
511) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
            ``(9) Judgment.--The term `judgment' means any judgment, 
        decree, order, or ruling, final or temporary.''.
SEC. 702. REQUIREMENTS RELATING TO WAIVER OF RIGHTS UNDER THE ACT.

     Section 107 of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. App. 
517) is amended--
            (1) in subsection (a), by inserting after the first sentence 
        the following new sentence: ``Any such waiver that applies to an 
        action listed in subsection (b) of this section is effective 
        only if it is in writing and is executed as an instrument 
        separate from the obligation or liability to which it 
        applies.'';
            (2) by redesignating subsection (c) as subsection (d); and
            (3) by inserting after subsection (b) the following new 
        subsection (c):

    ``(c) Prominent Display of Certain Contract Rights Waivers.--Any 
waiver in writing of a right or protection provided by this Act that 
applies to a contract, lease, or similar legal instrument must be in at 
least 12 point type.''.
SEC. 703. RIGHT OF SERVICEMEMBER PLAINTIFFS TO REQUEST STAY OF 
                        CIVIL PROCEEDINGS.

     Section 202(a) of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. 
App. 522(a)) is amended by inserting ``plaintiff or'' before 
``defendant''.

SEC. 704. TERMINATION OF LEASES.

    (a) Joint Leases.--Subsection (a) of section 305 of the 
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (50 U.S.C. App. 535) is amended to read 
as follows:
    ``(a) Termination by Lessee.--

[[Page 118 STAT. 3625]]

            ``(1) In general.--The lessee on a lease described in 
        subsection (b) may, at the lessee's option, terminate the lease 
        at any time after--
                    ``(A) the lessee's entry into military service; or
                    ``(B) the date of the lessee's military orders 
                described in paragraph (1)(B) or (2)(B) of subsection 
                (b), as the case may be.
            ``(2) Joint leases.--A lessee's termination of a lease 
        pursuant to this subsection shall terminate any obligation a 
        dependent of the lessee may have under the lease.''.

    (b) Motor Vehicles Leases.--
            (1) Applicability to pcs orders from states outside conus.--
        Subparagraph (B) of subsection (b)(2) of such section is amended 
        by striking ``military orders for'' and all that follows through 
        ``or to deploy'' and inserting ``military orders--
                          ``(i) for a change of permanent station--
                                    ``(I) from a location in the 
                                continental United States to a location 
                                outside the continental United States; 
                                or
                                    ``(II) from a location in a State 
                                outside the continental United States to 
                                any location outside that State; or
                          ``(ii) to deploy''.
            (2) Definitions.--Such section is further amended by adding 
        at the end the following new subsection:

    ``(i) Definitions.--
            ``(1) Military orders.--The term `military orders', with 
        respect to a servicemember, means official military orders, or 
        any notification, certification, or verification from the 
        servicemember's commanding officer, with respect to the 
        servicemember's current or future military duty status.
            ``(2) Conus.--The term `continental United States' means the 
        48 contiguous States and the District of Columbia.''.

    (c) Coverage of Individual Deployments.--Subsection (b) of such 
section is further amended in paragraph (1)(B) and paragraph (2)(B)(ii) 
(as designated by subsection (b) of this section) by inserting ``, or as 
an individual in support of a military operation,'' after ``deploy with 
a military unit''.

                        TITLE VIII--OTHER MATTERS

SEC. 801. PRINCIPAL OFFICE OF UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR 
                        VETERANS CLAIMS.

     Section 7255 is amended by striking ``District of Columbia'' and 
inserting ``Washington, D.C., metropolitan area''.
SEC. 802. TECHNICAL AMENDMENTS RELATING TO THE UNITED STATES COURT 
                        OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS.

    (a) Restoration of Prior Provision Relating to Chief Judge.--Section 
7253(d)(1) is amended by inserting after ``(1)'' the following: ``The 
chief judge of the Court is the head of the Court.''.
    (b) Capitalization Amendments.--Section 7253(d)(4)(A) is amended by 
striking ``court'' in clauses (i) and (ii) and inserting ``Court''.

[[Page 118 STAT. 3626]]

    (c) Date of Enactment Reference.--Section 7253(h)(4) is amended by 
striking ``the date of the enactment of this subsection'' and inserting 
``December 27, 2001,''.
SEC. 803. EXTENSION OF BIENNIAL REPORT OF ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON 
                        FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR.

     Section 541(c)(1) is amended by striking ``2003'' and inserting 
``2009''.
SEC. 804. AVAILABILITY OF ADMINISTRATIVE AND JUDICIAL REDRESS FOR 
                        CERTAIN VETERANS DENIED OPPORTUNITY TO 
                        COMPETE FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT.

    (a) Administrative Redress.--Section 3330a(a)(1) of title 5, United 
States Code, is amended--
            (1) by inserting ``(A)'' after ``(1)''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

    ``(B) A veteran described in section 3304(f)(1) who alleges that an 
agency has violated such section with respect to such veteran may file a 
complaint with the Secretary of Labor.''.
    (b) Judicial Redress.--Section 3330b(a) <<NOTE: 5 USC 3330b.>> is 
amended by inserting ``, or a veteran described by section 
3330a(a)(1)(B) with respect to a violation described by such section,'' 
after ``a preference eligible''.
SEC. 805. REPORT ON SERVICEMEMBERS' AND VETERANS' AWARENESS OF 
                        BENEFITS AND SERVICES AVAILABLE UNDER LAWS 
                        ADMINISTERED BY SECRETARY OF VETERANS 
                        AFFAIRS.

    (a) Report.--Not later than one year after the date of the enactment 
of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to Congress 
a report setting forth a detailed description of (1) the outreach 
efforts of the Department of Veterans Affairs, as of the date of the 
enactment of this Act, to inform members of the uniformed services and 
veterans (and their family members and survivors) of the benefits and 
services to which they are entitled under laws administered by the 
Secretary, and (2) the current level of awareness of those members and 
veterans (and family members and survivors) of those benefits and 
services.
    (b) Matters To Be Included.--The report under subsection (a) shall 
include the following:
            (1) A description of the outreach activities conducted by 
        the Secretary in each of the three Administrations of the 
        Department of Veterans Affairs and outreach activities conducted 
        by other entities within the Department.
            (2) The results of a national survey, conducted as described 
        in subsection (c), to ascertain servicemembers' and veterans' 
        level of awareness of benefits and services referred to in 
        subsection (a) and whether servicemembers and veterans know how 
        to access those benefits and services.
            (3) Recommendations by the Secretary on how outreach and 
        awareness activities to veterans and servicemembers may be 
        improved.

    (c) Conduct of Survey.--The survey conducted for purposes of 
subsection (b)(2) shall be conducted in a manner to include a 
statistically valid sample of persons in each of the following groups:
            (1) World War II veterans.
            (2) Korean conflict era veterans.

[[Page 118 STAT. 3627]]

            (3) Vietnam era veterans.
            (4) Persian Gulf era veterans.
            (5) Active duty servicemembers.
            (6) National Guard and Reserve members activated under title 
        10, United States Code.
            (7) Family members and survivors.

    Approved December 10, 2004.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 2486:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

SENATE REPORTS: No. 108-352 (Comm. on Veterans' Affairs).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 150 (2004):
            Oct. 8, considered and passed Senate.
            Nov. 17, considered and passed House.

                                  <all>