Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (07/28/2015)

(This measure has not been amended since it was reported to the House on July 16, 2015. The summary of that version is repeated here.)

Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2015

TITLE I--COMPENSATION COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT

(Sec. 101) This bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to increase, as of November 30, 2015, the rates of:

  • veterans' disability compensation,
  • additional compensation for dependents,
  • wartime disability compensation,
  • 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 benefits increase provided under title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) (OASDI) of the Social Security Act, as of December 1, 2015.

(Sec. 102) The VA shall publish such adjusted rates in the Federal Register.

TITLE II--UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS

(Sec. 201) The temporary expansion of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is extended till January 1, 2020.

(Sec. 202) Specified recall requirements for retired judges are amended. A recall-eligible judge may request a recall for a period of service of at least 90 days (or the equivalent).

(Sec. 203) A regular active service judge or a retired judge shall be treated as an employee for government life insurance purposes.

(Sec. 204) Regular service judges, retired recall-eligible judges, and certain retired but not recall-eligible judges may purchase in three-month increments up to an additional year of service credit for each year of federal judicial service completed.

(Sec. 205) The salary of Court judges is set at the rate applicable to federal appellate court judges. (Their salary is currently set at the rate applicable to federal district court judges.)

(Sec. 206) The chief judge of the Court, in addition to existing qualifications, must not be older than 64 and have at least 3 years remaining in term of office as a judge of the Court in regular active service.

TITLE III--IMPROVEMENT OF CLAIMS PROCESSING

(Sec. 301) In the case of a disability compensation claim for two or more disabilities for which the VA, before completing the full adjudication, makes a decision with respect to a disability that would result in the payment of monetary benefits to the claimant, the VA shall make interim payments to the claimant based on such disability.

Upon completion of the adjudication of all the disability claims the VA will pay the full amount of accrued benefits, less the amount of the interim payments that the claimant has already received.

(Sec. 302) The VA shall: (1) establish a minimum two-year training program for newly hired claims processors, and (2) identify successful claims processors to assist in such training.

(Sec. 303) The VA shall: (1) inform each person who submits a claim for benefits that he or she is eligible to receive up to an extra year of benefits payments upon the filing of a fully developed claim; and (2) post at each VA Regional Office, claims-intake facility, and on its website information regarding the average processing time of claims and the percentage of submitted claims for which benefits are awarded.

TITLE IV--OTHER MATTERS

(Sec. 401) The VA shall pay any accrued benefits due and unpaid, as of a veteran's date of death, to the veteran's estate unless the estate will escheat.

(Sec. 402) The President shall issue an annual proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe two minutes of silence on Veterans Day in honor of the service and sacrifice of veterans throughout the history of the nation.