There is one summary for H.R.6062. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (09/15/2016)

Supporting, Employing, and Recognizing Veterans in Communities Everywhere Act or the SERVICE Act

TITLE I--ACCOUNTABILITY

This bill establishes in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection and expands VA whistleblower protections.

The VA may remove and suspend (without pay) employees based on performance or misconduct that threatens the health and safety of veterans.

The VA: (1) shall reduce the federal annuity of an individual removed from the VA Senior Executive Service (SES) who is convicted of a felony that influenced his or her performance; (2) may reduce the federal annuity of an individual who was convicted of such a felony and was subject to removal or transfer from the SES but who left the VA before final action was taken; and (3) may recoup awards, bonus, or relocation expenses paid to a VA employee who has committed an act of fraud, waste, or malfeasance.

TITLE II--HEALTH CARE

The VA may enter into contracts or agreements with eligible providers to furnish hospital care and medical services to electing, eligible veterans, which include veterans who are unable to schedule an appointment with a VA health care provider within a specified time frame or who do not reside within 40 miles of a VA medical facility. Such provisions may be referred to as the Veterans Choice Program.

VA emergency treatment reimbursement in non-VA facilities shall include reimbursement for urgent care.

The bill: (1) expands and makes permanent the VA childcare program for beneficiaries,and (2) provides for adoption assistance for certain disabled veterans.

The caregiver support program is terminated on October 1, 2020.

The bill: (1) authorizes the transfer of entitlement to Post 9/11 education assistance to family members by veterans who are retired for a physical disability or who are seriously injured veterans in need of family caregiver services, without regard to length-of-service requirements; (2) expands the family caregiver program; (3) establishes the Office of Health Care Quality in the Veterans Health Administration; and (4) revises physician recruitment and retention provisions.

The VA shall: (1) report annually, through 2020, on disability claims based on a mental health condition alleged to have been incurred or aggravated by military sexual trauma; (2) establish a pilot program for veterans with chronic pain issues, including those veterans who are dependent on opioids; and (3) establish a center of excellence for the treatment of burn pit and other environmental exposures.

TITLE III--EDUCATION

The bill increases oversight of schools eligible to receive veterans benefits and increases counseling and access to information for student veterans.

The VA shall establish: (1) an interagency working group to share information on education programs that employ deceptive or misleading practices, and (2) the Grow Our Own Directive (G.O.O.D.) pilot program to provide educational assistance to certain former members of the Armed Forces for education and training as VA physician assistants.

If, as a result of a permanent school closure, a veteran is forced to discontinue a course, did not receive credit, or lost training time toward completion of the education program, VA educational assistance payments shall not be: (1) charged against the individual's entitlement to educational assistance, or (2) counted against the aggregate assistance period.

Certain reserves active duty time shall be considered for purposes of Post-9/11 educational assistance eligibility.

TITLE IV--DISABILITY COMPENSATION AND PENSION

The bill amends the disability benefits appeals process.

The definition of "spouse" is amended for purposes of veterans' benefits to require the VA to recognize a marriage based on the law of the state where the marriage occurred. A marriage that occurs outside a state shall be recognized if such marriage is lawful in the place where it occurs and could have been entered into under the laws of any state.

The bill allows the receipt of both military retired pay and veterans' disability compensation with respect to any service-connected disability.

The bill extends for two years: (1) the VA presumption of service connection for diseases associated with exposure to certain herbicides, including Agent Orange, with respect to specified veterans who served in Vietnam; and (2) VA authority to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate evidence regarding associations between diseases and exposure to dioxin and other chemical compounds in herbicides, including herbicides used in military operations in the Vietnam and each disease suspected to be associated with such exposure.

TITLE V--HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

VA homeless veterans reintegration programs are extended.

The VA shall begin a three-year pilot program to assess the feasibility of awarding grants to eligible entities to purchase and renovate abandoned homes for homeless veterans.

The bill establishes the Veterans Homelessness Grant Fund.

TITLE VI--EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING

The Department of Defense (DOD) may carry out a pilot program to enhance DOD efforts to provide job placement assistance and related employment services directly to members of the National Guard and Reserves and veterans of the Armed Forces.

The VA may, in awarding a contract or task order for the procurement of goods or services, give preference to offerors based on the percentage of their full-time employees who are veterans.

The Department of of Labor shall carry out a five-year pilot program to award grants to manufacturing employers and labor-management organizations that provide eligible veterans with training, apprenticeships, and certification.

TITLE VII--CONSTRUCTION AND LEASES

No funds may be appropriated for any major medical facility lease unless the Committees on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and House of Representatives adopt resolutions approving the lease.

The VA shall: (1) enter into partnership agreements with appropriate non-federal entities for major construction projects, and (2) carry out a pilot program to accept the donation of medical facilities and related property.

The VA may carry out: (1) certain leases at the Department of Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Campus in Los Angeles, California; and (2) a major medical facility lease for an outpatient clinic in Oxnard, California.

TITLE VIII--OTHER MATTERS

The Department of Homeland Security shall: (1) establish a program to permit eligible deported noncitizen veterans to enter the United States as, and to permit eligible noncitizen veterans in the United States to adjust their status to that of, a noncitizen lawfully admitted for permanent residence; and (2) cancel the removal of eligible noncitizen veterans and allow them to similarly adjust their status.

Each military department shall ensure that its oral historians review the circumstances surrounding members of the Armed Forces who were discharged between World War II and September 2011 because of their sexual orientation.

Certain service performed before July 1, 1946, in the organized military forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Scouts is deemed to be active military service for VA benefits purposes.