Text: H.R.797 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 110-157 (12/26/2007)
[110th Congress Public Law 157]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[[Page 121 STAT. 1831]]
Public Law 110-157
To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve low-vision benefits
matters, matters relating to burial and memorial affairs, and other
matters under the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans
Affairs, and for other purposes. <<NOTE: Dec. 26, 2007 - [H.R. 797]>>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress <<NOTE: Dr. James Allen Veteran
Vision Equity Act of 2007. 38 USC 101 note.>> assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.
(a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Dr. James Allen
Veteran Vision Equity Act of 2007''.
(b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as
Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
TITLE I--LOW-VISION BENEFITS MATTERS
Sec. 101. Modification of rate of visual impairment for payment of
Sec. 102. Improvement in compensation for veterans in certain cases of
impairment of vision involving both eyes.
TITLE II--MATTERS RELATING TO BURIAL AND MEMORIAL AFFAIRS
Sec. 201. Provision of medallion or other device for privately-purchased
Sec. 202. Improvement in provision of assistance to States relating to
the interment of veterans in cemeteries other than national
Sec. 203. Modification of authorities on provision of Government
headstones and markers for burials of veterans at private
TITLE III--OTHER MATTERS
Sec. 301. Use of national directory of new hires for income verification
purposes for certain veterans benefits.
Sec. 302. Extension of authority of Secretary of Veterans Affairs to
provide an educational assistance allowance to persons
performing qualifying work-study activities.
TITLE I--LOW-VISION BENEFITS MATTERS
SEC. 101. MODIFICATION OF RATE OF VISUAL IMPAIRMENT FOR PAYMENT OF
Section 1114(o) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by
striking ``5/200'' and inserting ``20/200''.
SEC. 102. IMPROVEMENT IN COMPENSATION FOR VETERANS IN CERTAIN
CASES OF IMPAIRMENT OF VISION INVOLVING
Section 1160(a)(1) of title 38, United States Code, is amended--
[[Page 121 STAT. 1832]]
(1) by striking ``blindness'' both places it appears and
inserting ``impairment of vision'';
(2) by striking ``misconduct;'' and inserting ``misconduct
(3) by adding at the end the following new subparagraphs:
``(A) the impairment of vision in each eye is rated
at a visual acuity of 20/200 or less; or
``(B) the peripheral field of vision for each eye is
20 degrees or less;''.
TITLE II--MATTERS RELATING TO BURIAL AND MEMORIAL AFFAIRS
SEC. 201. PROVISION OF MEDALLION OR OTHER DEVICE FOR PRIVATELY-
PURCHASED GRAVE MARKERS.
Section 2306(d) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by
adding at the end the following new paragraph:
``(5) In lieu of furnishing a headstone or marker under this
subsection, the Secretary may furnish, upon request, a medallion or
other device of a design determined by the Secretary to signify the
deceased's status as a veteran, to be attached to a headstone or marker
furnished at private expense.''.
SEC. 202. IMPROVEMENT IN PROVISION OF ASSISTANCE TO STATES
RELATING TO THE INTERMENT OF VETERANS IN
CEMETERIES OTHER THAN NATIONAL CEMETERIES.
(a) Repeal of Time Limitation for State Filing for Reimbursement for
(1) In general.--The second sentence of section 3.1604(d)(2)
of title 38, Code of Federal Regulations, shall have no further
force or effect as it pertains to unclaimed remains of a
(2) <<NOTE: Effective date.>> Retroactive application.--
Paragraph (1) shall take effect as of October 1, 2006 and apply
with respect to interments and inurnments occurring on or after
(b) Grants for Operation and Maintenance of State Veterans'
(1) In general.--Subsection (a) of section 2408 of title 38,
United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
``(a)(1) Subject to subsection (b), the Secretary may make a grant
to any State for the following purposes:
``(A) Establishing, expanding, or improving a veterans'
cemetery owned by the State.
``(B) Operating and maintaining such a cemetery.
``(2) A grant under paragraph (1) may be made only upon submission
of an application to the Secretary in such form and manner, and
containing such information, as the Secretary may require.''.
(2) Limitation on amounts awarded.--Subsection (e) of such
section is amended--
(A) by inserting ``(1)'' before ``Amounts''; and
(B) by adding at the end the following new
``(2) In any fiscal year, the aggregate amount of grants awarded
under this section for the purposes specified in subsection (a)(1)(B)
may not exceed $5,000,000.''.
[[Page 121 STAT. 1833]]
(3) Conforming amendments.--Such section is further
(A) in subsection (b)--
(i) by striking ``Grants under this section''
and inserting ``A grant under this section for a
purpose described in subsection (a)(1)(A)''; and
(ii) by striking ``a grant under this
section'' each place it appears and inserting
``such a grant'';
(B) in subsection (d), by striking ``to assist such
State in establishing, expanding, or improving a
veterans' cemetery''; and
(C) in subsection (f)(1), by inserting ``, or in
operating and maintaining such cemeteries,'' after
(4) <<NOTE: Deadline. 38 USC 2408 note.>> Regulations.--Not
later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act,
the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall prescribe regulations to
carry out the amendments made by this subsection.
SEC. 203. MODIFICATION OF AUTHORITIES ON PROVISION OF GOVERNMENT
HEADSTONES AND MARKERS FOR BURIALS OF
VETERANS AT PRIVATE CEMETERIES.
(a) Repeal of Expiration of Authority.--Subsection (d) of section
2306 of title 38, United States Code, as amended by section 201, is
(1) by striking paragraph (3); and
(2) by redesignating paragraphs (4) and (5), as added by
that section, as paragraphs (3) and (4), respectively.
(b) <<NOTE: Applicability. 38 USC 2306 note.>> Retroactive
Effective Date.--Notwithstanding subsection (d) of section 502 of the
Veterans Education and Benefits Expansion Act of 2001 (Public Law 107-
103; 115 Stat. 995; 38 U.S.C. 2306 note) or any other provision of law,
the amendments made by that section and by subsections (a), (b), (c),
(d), and (f) of section 402 of the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and
Information Technology Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-461; 120 Stat. 3429)
shall take effect as of November 1, 1990, and shall apply with respect
to headstones and markers for the graves of individuals dying on or
after that date.
TITLE III--OTHER MATTERS
SEC. 301. USE OF NATIONAL DIRECTORY OF NEW HIRES FOR INCOME
VERIFICATION PURPOSES FOR CERTAIN VETERANS
(a) Authority for Information Comparisons and Disclosures of
Information to Assist in Administration of Certain Veterans Benefits.--
Section 453(j) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 653(j)) is amended
by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
``(11) Information comparisons and disclosures to assist in
administration of certain veterans benefits.--
``(A) Furnishing of information by secretary of
veterans affairs.--Subject to the provisions of this
paragraph, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall
furnish to the Secretary, on such periodic basis as
determined by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in
consultation with the
[[Page 121 STAT. 1834]]
Secretary, information in the custody of the Secretary
of Veterans Affairs for comparison with information in
the National Directory of New Hires, in order to obtain
information in such Directory with respect to
individuals who are applying for or receiving--
``(i) needs-based pension benefits provided
under chapter 15 of title 38, United States Code,
or under any other law administered by the
Secretary of Veterans Affairs;
``(ii) parents' dependency and indemnity
compensation provided under section 1315 of title
38, United States Code;
``(iii) health care services furnished under
subsections (a)(2)(G), (a)(3), or (b) of section
1710 of title 38, United States Code; or
``(iv) compensation paid under chapter 11 of
title 38, United States Code, at the 100 percent
rate based solely on unemployability and without
regard to the fact that the disability or
disabilities are not rated as 100 percent
disabling under the rating schedule.
``(B) Requirement to seek minimum information.--The
Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall seek information
pursuant to this paragraph only to the extent necessary
to verify the employment and income of individuals
described in subparagraph (A).
``(C) Duties of the secretary.--
``(i) Information disclosure.--The Secretary,
in cooperation with the Secretary of Veterans
Affairs, shall compare information in the National
Directory of New Hires with information provided
by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs with respect
to individuals described in subparagraph (A), and
shall disclose information in such Directory
regarding such individuals to the Secretary of
Veterans Affairs, in accordance with this
paragraph, for the purposes specified in this
``(ii) Condition on disclosure.--The Secretary
shall make disclosures in accordance with clause
(i) only to the extent that the Secretary
determines that such disclosures do not interfere
with the effective operation of the program under
``(D) Use of information by secretary of veterans
affairs.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may use
information resulting from a data match pursuant to this
``(i) for the purposes specified in
subparagraph (B); and
``(ii) after removal of personal identifiers,
to conduct analyses of the employment and income
reporting of individuals described in subparagraph
``(E) Reimbursement of hhs costs.--The Secretary of
Veterans Affairs shall reimburse the Secretary, in
accordance with subsection (k)(3), for the costs
incurred by the Secretary in furnishing the information
requested under this paragraph.
``(F) Consent.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs
shall not seek, use, or disclose information under this
[[Page 121 STAT. 1835]]
relating to an individual without the prior written
consent of such individual (or of a person legally
authorized to consent on behalf of such individual).
``(G) Expiration of authority.--The authority under
this paragraph shall expire on September 30, 2011.''.
(b) Amendments to Veterans Affairs Authority.--
(1) In general.--Chapter 53 of title 38, United States Code,
is amended by inserting after section 5317 the following new
``Sec. 5317A. Use of income information from other agencies:
independent verification required before
termination or reduction of certain benefits
``(a) Independent Verification Required.--The Secretary may
terminate, deny, suspend, or reduce any benefit or service specified in
section 5317(c), with respect to an individual under age 65 who is an
applicant for or recipient of such a benefit or service, by reason of
information obtained from the Secretary of Health and Human Services
under section 453(j)(11) of the Social Security Act, only if the
Secretary takes appropriate steps to verify independently information
relating to the individual's employment and income from employment.
``(b) Opportunity to Contest Findings.--The Secretary shall inform
each individual for whom the Secretary terminates, denies, suspends, or
reduces any benefit or service under subsection (a) of the findings made
by the Secretary under such subsection on the basis of verified
information and shall provide to the individual an opportunity to
contest such findings in the same manner as applies to other information
and findings relating to eligibility for the benefit or service
``(c) Source of Funds for Reimbursement to Secretary of Health and
Human Services.--The Secretary shall pay the expense of reimbursing the
Secretary of Health and Human Services in accordance with section
453(j)(11)(E) of the Social Security Act, for the cost incurred by the
Secretary of Health and Human Services in furnishing information
requested by the Secretary under section 453(j)(11) of such Act, from
amounts available to the Department for the payment of compensation and
``(d) Expiration of Authority.--The authority under this section
shall expire on September 30, 2011.''.
[[Page 121 STAT. 1836]]
(2) Clerical amendment.--The table of sections at the
beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the item
relating to section 5317 the following new item:
``5317A. Use of income information from other agencies: independent
verification required before termination or reduction of
certain benefits and services.''.
SEC. 302. EXTENSION OF AUTHORITY OF SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
TO PROVIDE AN EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE
ALLOWANCE TO PERSONS PERFORMING QUALIFYING
Section 3485(a)(4) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by
striking ``June 30, 2007'' each place it appears and inserting ``June
Approved December 26, 2007.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 797 (S. 1163):
HOUSE REPORTS: No. 110-57 (Comm. on Veterans' Affairs).
SENATE REPORTS: No. 110-143 accompanying S. 1163 (Comm. on Veterans'
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 153 (2007):
Mar. 21, considered and passed House.
Nov. 2, considered and passed Senate, amended, in lieu of S.
Dec. 11, House concurred in Senate amendment with amendments
pursuant to H. Res. 855.
Dec. 17, Senate concurred in House amendments.