Summary: H.R.4782 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House with amendment(s) (09/12/2016)

Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2016

(Sec. 2) This bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to increase, as of December 1, 2016, the amounts for the payment of veterans' disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, the clothing allowance for certain disabled veterans, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children.

Each such increase shall be the same percentage as the increase in benefits provided under title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) of the Social Security Act, on the same effective date (rounded to the next lower dollar amount if the amount is not a whole dollar amount).

The VA may adjust administratively the rates of disability compensation payable to persons receiving benefits pursuant to public laws administered by the VA on December 31, 1958 (that are still in effect) who have not received service-connected disability or death compensation.

The VA shall publish such increased amounts in the Federal Register.

(Sec. 3) The VA may pay the cost of transporting a deceased veteran:

  • who died as the result of a service-connected disability, or who died while in receipt of disability compensation, to a national cemetery or a state- or tribal-owned veterans' cemetery in which the deceased veteran is eligible to be buried, or
  • who has no next of kin or other person claiming the body to a national cemetery in which the deceased veteran is eligible to be buried.

Such payment shall not exceed the cost of transportation to the national cemetery nearest to the veteran's last place of residence in which burial space is available.

(Sec. 4) The VA shall furnish at a private cemetery, upon request, a headstone, marker, or medallion that signifies the status of an eligible veteran who served in the Armed Forces on or after April 6, 1917, as a Medal of Honor recipient.

If the VA furnished a headstone, marker, or medallion for a deceased veteran that does not signify his or her status as a Medal of Honor recipient, the VA shall, upon request, replace that headstone, marker, or medallion with one that signifies such status.

(Sec. 5) The bill authorizes award of the Presidential Memorial Certificate to certain deceased members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces and certain deceased members of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

(Sec. 6) The Department of the Army shall reserve 100 in-ground burial plots at Arlington National Cemetery for interment of deceased Medal of Honor recipients. Such requirement shall terminate when the Army submits a report on the cemetery's interment and inurnment capacity that includes: (1) the estimated date of achieving maximum capacity; and (2) recommendations to ensure that such capacity is not reached until well into the future, including actions to redefine interment eligibility and considerations for cemetery expansion.

(Sec. 7) The VA, beginning not later than October 1, 2016, shall carry out a three-year pilot program under which the VA shall carry out Veteran Engagement Team events to assist veterans in completing VA disability and pension claims.

Such events shall be carried out:

  • during the first year, at least once a month within the jurisdiction of each of 10 VA regional offices, including at least 2 regional offices in each of the 5 districts of the Veterans Benefits Administration;
  • during each of the second and third years, at least once a month within the jurisdiction of each of 15 VA regional offices, including at least 3 regional offices in each district;
  • at different locations within each regional office's jurisdiction and at least 50 miles from any regional office;
  • during the sponsoring regional office's normal business hours; and
  • with a sufficient number of physicians (to be available for opinions only), veteran service and rating representatives, and other appropriate claims personnel to initiate, update, and finalize the completion and adjudication of claims.

The VA shall: (1) collect and analyze event-satisfaction information from attending veterans, and (2) report annuallys on event implementation.

The VA may not permanently transfer any Veterans Health Administration physician to staff an event.