Summary: H.R.2481 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (10/28/2013)

(This measure has not been amended since it was reported to the House on September 11, 2013. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Veterans Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 - (Sec. 4) Establishes in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) a Veterans Economic Opportunity Administration (VEOA), headed by an Under Secretary for Veterans Economic Opportunity, to administer VA programs of economic opportunity assistance to veterans and their dependents and survivors. Requires VEOA to administer: (1) vocational rehabilitation and employment programs, (2) educational assistance programs, (3) veterans' housing loan and related programs, and (4) veterans' small business programs. Limits the aggregate number of full-time equivalent employees authorized for the Veterans Benefit Administration and VEOA for FY2014-FY2015.

(Sec. 6) Extends through FY2018 VA homeless veterans reintegration programs (job training, counseling, and placement services to expedite the reintegration of homeless veterans into the labor force).

(Sec. 7) Expands the eligibility of children for educational assistance under the VA post-9/11 educational assistance program to include the child of a person who, on or after September 11, 2001, is awarded the Purple Heart for an injury and dies as a result of that injury within 31 days after discharge or release from active-duty service.

(Sec. 8) Allows individuals to elect to convert their educational assistance to the post-9/11 veterans' educational assistance program if, as of August 1, 2009, they meet specified conditions with respect to their entitlements and elections under the all-volunteer force educational assistance program or certain other educational assistance programs for professional military, selected reserve, or reserve component members. Conditions such post-9/11 program eligibility on the individual meeting the requirements for the post-9/11 program as of the date of election.

Sets forth transitional rules with respect the transfer or revocation of entitlements from a previous assistance program after an election to convert to the post-9/11 program. Requires certain assistance to remain available to individuals under their previous program if it is not available under the post-9/11 program.

Authorizes the VA Secretary to make an alternative election on behalf of an individual who submits an election on or after October 1, 2014, that the Secretary determines is against the individual's interests. Allows such individual, during the subsequent 30-day period, to modify or revoke the alternative selection.

(Sec. 9) Amends veterans' educational assistance program reporting requirements under which enrolled veterans (or eligible persons) and educational institutions must report enrollment information to the Secretary. Requires individuals and educational institutions participating in the post-Vietnam era and post-9/11 veterans' educational assistance programs to report to the Secretary such enrollment and any updates on interruption or termination of education (thereby making the enrollment reporting requirements for the post-Vietnam and post-9/11 programs consistent with other veterans' educational programs).

Defines "educational institution" to permit the inclusion of groups, districts, or consortiums of separately accredited educational institutions located in the same state that are organized in a manner facilitating the centralized reporting by veterans and educational institutions of their participation in the post-Vietnam era and post-9/11 veterans' educational assistance programs.

(Sec. 10) Extends through FY2018 VA authority to collect a fee from each individual obtaining an additional VA-guaranteed housing loan.

(Sec. 11) Amends the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to allow a court to stay for a specified period (generally, one year after the event occurred for which an individual became covered) proceedings in an action to enforce an obligation on real or personal property secured by a mortgage against: (1) a servicemember who is or was eligible for hostile fire or imminent danger pay during a period of military service, (2) a servicemember placed on convalescent status, (3) a veteran who was medically discharged and retired, or (4) the surviving spouse of a member who died during military service. Requires such court to stay such proceedings upon a request by such individual. Prohibits the sale, foreclosure, or seizure of the subject property during such period, except upon a court order or pursuant to an agreement authorized under such Act. Requires the individual to notify the mortgagee, trustee, or other creditor of such coverage. Provides a criminal penalty for violations of the sale or foreclosure prohibitions and increases current civil penalties for mortgage violations under the Act. Prohibits an individual from being denied or refused credit solely by reason of eligibility for relief under this section.

(Sec. 12) Requires a servicemember-mortgagor who does not reside in the mortgage-secured residence due to military relocation and who inquires about, or applies for, a refinancing to be considered to occupy such residence during the period of the relocation.

(Sec. 13) Requires each lending institution acting as a creditor to such servicemember, veteran, or surviving spouse to designate an employee responsible for ensuring the institution's compliance with requirements of such Act. Requires any such institution that had prior annual assets of $10 billion or more to maintain on its primary website a toll-free number for information concerning such requirements.

(Sec. 14) Requires a custody order that was in effect immediately before a court renders a temporary child custody order based solely on a deployment or anticipated deployment of a parent-servicemember to be reinstated upon the servicemember's return,, unless the court finds that such reinstatement is not in the child's best interest. Prohibits a court from considering the absence of a servicemember due to deployment, or the possibility of deployment, as the sole factor in determining a child's best interest. Requires the appropriate court, in any case where state law applicable to child custody proceedings provides a higher standard of protection to the rights of a deploying servicemember, to apply the higher standard. Defines a deployment for purposes of this section as one lasting more than 60 and up to 540 days for which dependent travel to the location is not authorized or permitted.