Summary: S.1235 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Public Law No: 109-233 (06/15/2006)

(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the House on May 22, 2006. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Veterans' Housing Opportunity and Benefits Improvement Act of 2006 - Title I: Housing Matters - (Sec. 101) Permits the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (Secretary), in the case of a service-disabled veteran who is residing, but does not intend to permanently reside, in a residence owned by a member of the veteran's family, to assist the veteran in acquiring such adaptations determined reasonably necessary due to the veteran's disability. Provides assistance limits. Terminates such assistance five years after the enactment of this Act. Prohibits any veteran from receiving more than three grants of assistance. Requires an interim and final implementation report from the Comptroller General to Congress.

(Sec. 102) Allows the Secretary, with respect to hybrid adjustable rate mortgages offered to veterans under provisions of the National Housing Act, to increase or decrease the interest rate in any single adjustment by such percentage points as the Secretary may prescribe. (Currently, the Secretary is limited to an increase of one percentage point in any single adjustment.)

(Sec. 103) Amends provisions directing the Secretary to establish and implement a pilot program for making direct housing loans to Native American veterans to: (1) make such program a permanent program rather than a pilot program; and (2) require the Secretary to include information on loans so provided as part of the annual benefits report of the Veterans Benefits Administration.

(Sec. 104) Extends eligibility for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) direct loans for Native American veterans to a non-Native American veteran who is the spouse of a Native American veteran, as long as there is joint possession or ownership on trust land.

Title II: Employment Matters - (Sec. 201) Requires, as additional duties of the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans' Employment and Training (Assistant Secretary), the: (1) furnishing of information to employers with respect to the training and skills of veterans and disabled veterans; and (2) facilitation of employment of such veterans through participation in labor exchanges and other means.

(Sec. 202) Renames the Advisory Committee on Veterans Employment and Training as the Advisory Committee on Veterans Employment, Training, and Employer Outreach. Expands the duties of the Assistant Secretary to include outreach activities to employers with respect to the training and skills of veterans and the advantages offered by their employment. Revises Committee membership. Directs that a currently-required annual report from the Committee also be transmitted to the congressional veterans' committees, and include a special emphasis on disabled veterans. Requires additional information within the annual reports, including an assessment of veterans' employment outreach activities carried out by the Secretary of Labor.

(Sec. 203) Extends through FY2009 the authorization of appropriations for homeless veterans reintegration programs.

Title III: Life and Health Insurance Matters - (Sec. 301) Extends the period of Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage for totally disabled veterans following separation from active duty or active duty for training to the earlier of: (1) the date on which the insured ceases to be totally disabled; (2) two years after separation or release, in the case of a separation or release during the period beginning one year before the enactment of this Act and ending on September 30, 2011; and (2) 18 months after separation or release, in the case of a separation or release on or after October 1, 2011. Makes identical changes with respect to certain reserve assignments in which the individual performs active duty or volunteers for assignment to a mobilization category.

(Sec. 302) Amends the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to prohibit a premium increase for reinstated civilian health insurance for a servicemember who is released from active duty.

(Sec. 303) Provides for the preservation (reinstatement) of employer-sponsored health coverage for reserve members who acquire coverage under TRICARE (a Department of Defense (DOD)-managed health care plan) by reason of active-duty service, and then later return to civilian employment.

Title IV: Other Matters - (Sec. 401) Adds atherosclerotic heart disease or hypertensive vascular disease, stroke, and their complications to the list of diseases or conditions presumed to be associated with prisoner-of-war status, and therefore compensable under veterans' disability compensation.

(Sec. 402) Consolidates and recodifies the veterans outreach services program. Requires the Secretary to prepare a plan for VA outreach activities for each two-fiscal-year period. Changes from annually to biennially a required report from the Secretary to Congress on outreach activities.

(Sec. 403) Extends through 2009 (currently, 2004) a requirement for annual reports from the Secretary to Congress on VA equitable relief provided to veterans and their dependents following a loss of benefits because of VA administrative error.

Title V: Technical Amendments - (Sec. 501) Makes technical and clarifying amendments to provisions concerning SGLI traumatic injury protection coverage.

(Sec. 502) Makes typographical corrections, stylistic changes, and other revisions in provisions relating to eligibility for veterans' disability compensation or dependency and indemnity compensation.