Text: S.591 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (03/09/2017)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. 591 Introduced in Senate (IS)]

<DOC>






115th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                 S. 591

 To expand eligibility for the program of comprehensive assistance for 
  family caregivers of the Department of Veterans Affairs, to expand 
   benefits available to participants under such program, to enhance 
special compensation for members of the uniformed services who require 
          assistance in everyday life, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                             March 9, 2017

  Mrs. Murray (for herself, Ms. Collins, Ms. Baldwin, Mr. Bennet, Mr. 
 Blumenthal, Mr. Brown, Mr. Coons, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Franken, Mr. King, 
  Mr. Murphy, Mr. Schatz, Mr. Sanders, Mrs. Shaheen, Mr. Tester, Mr. 
Warner, and Ms. Cantwell) introduced the following bill; which was read 
        twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To expand eligibility for the program of comprehensive assistance for 
  family caregivers of the Department of Veterans Affairs, to expand 
   benefits available to participants under such program, to enhance 
special compensation for members of the uniformed services who require 
          assistance in everyday life, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Military and Veteran Caregiver 
Services Improvement Act of 2017''.

SEC. 2. EXPANSION OF ELIGIBILITY FOR PARTICIPATION IN AND SERVICES 
              PROVIDED UNDER FAMILY CAREGIVER PROGRAM OF DEPARTMENT OF 
              VETERANS AFFAIRS.

    (a) Family Caregiver Program.--
            (1) Expansion of eligibility.--Subsection (a)(2)(B) of 
        section 1720G of title 38, United States Code, is amended by 
        striking ``on or after September 11, 2001''.
            (2) Clarification of eligibility for illness.--Such 
        subsection is further amended by inserting ``or illness'' after 
        ``serious injury''.
            (3) Expansion of needed services in eligibility criteria.--
        Subsection (a)(2)(C) of such section is amended--
                    (A) in clause (ii), by striking ``; or'' and 
                inserting a semicolon;
                    (B) by redesignating clause (iii) as clause (iv); 
                and
                    (C) by inserting after clause (ii) the following 
                new clause (iii):
                    ``(iii) a need for regular or extensive instruction 
                or supervision without which the ability of the veteran 
                to function in daily life would be seriously impaired; 
                or''.
            (4) Expansion of services provided.--Subsection 
        (a)(3)(A)(ii) of such section is amended--
                    (A) in subclause (IV), by striking ``; and'' and 
                inserting a semicolon;
                    (B) in subclause (V), by striking the period at the 
                end and inserting a semicolon; and
                    (C) by adding at the end the following new 
                subclauses:
                    ``(VI) child care services or a monthly stipend for 
                such services if such services are not readily 
                available from the Department;
                    ``(VII) financial planning services relating to the 
                needs of injured and ill veterans and their caregivers; 
                and
                    ``(VIII) legal services, including legal advice and 
                consultation, relating to the needs of injured and ill 
                veterans and their caregivers.''.
            (5) Expansion of respite care provided.--Subsection 
        (a)(3)(B) of such section is amended by striking ``shall be'' 
        and all that follows through the period at the end and 
        inserting ``shall--
            ``(i) be medically and age-appropriate;
            ``(ii) include in-home care; and
            ``(iii) include peer-oriented group activities.''.
            (6) Modification of stipend calculation.--Subsection 
        (a)(3)(C) of such section is amended--
                    (A) by redesignating clause (iii) as clause (iv); 
                and
                    (B) by inserting after clause (ii) the following 
                new clause (iii):
    ``(iii) In determining the amount and degree of personal care 
services provided under clause (i) with respect to an eligible veteran 
whose need for personal care services is based in whole or in part on a 
need for supervision or protection under paragraph (2)(C)(ii) or 
regular or extensive instruction or supervision under paragraph 
(2)(C)(iii), the Secretary shall take into account the following:
            ``(I) The assessment by the family caregiver of the needs 
        and limitations of the veteran.
            ``(II) The extent to which the veteran can function safely 
        and independently in the absence of such supervision, 
        protection, or instruction.
            ``(III) The amount of time required for the family 
        caregiver to provide such supervision, protection, or 
        instruction to the veteran.''.
            (7) Periodic evaluation of need for certain services.--
        Subsection (a)(3) of such section is amended by adding at the 
        end the following new subparagraph:
    ``(D) In providing instruction, preparation, and training under 
subparagraph (A)(i)(I) and technical support under subparagraph 
(A)(i)(II) to each family caregiver who is approved as a provider of 
personal care services for an eligible veteran under paragraph (6), the 
Secretary shall periodically evaluate the needs of the eligible veteran 
and the skills of the family caregiver of such veteran to determine if 
additional instruction, preparation, training, or technical support 
under those subparagraphs is necessary.''.
            (8) Use of primary care teams.--Subsection (a)(5) of such 
        section is amended, in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), 
        by inserting ``(in collaboration with the primary care team for 
        the eligible veteran to the maximum extent practicable)'' after 
        ``evaluate''.
            (9) Eligibility of and assistance for family caregivers.--
        Subsection (a) of such section is amended by adding at the end 
        the following new paragraphs:
    ``(11) Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, a 
family caregiver of an eligible veteran who is eligible under paragraph 
(2) solely because of a serious injury or illness (including traumatic 
brain injury, psychological trauma, or other mental disorder) incurred 
or aggravated in the line of duty in the active military, naval, or air 
service before September 11, 2001, is eligible for assistance under 
this subsection as follows:
            ``(A) Not earlier than October 1, 2018, if the family 
        caregiver would merit a monthly personal caregiver stipend 
        under paragraph (3)(A)(ii)(V) in an amount that is in the 
        highest tier specified in the schedule established by the 
        Secretary under paragraph (3)(C)(i).
            ``(B) Not earlier than October 1, 2020, if the family 
        caregiver would merit such a stipend in an amount that is in 
        the middle tier specified in such schedule.
            ``(C) Not earlier than October 1, 2022, if the family 
        caregiver would merit such a stipend in an amount that is in 
        the lowest tier specified in such schedule.
    ``(12)(A) In providing assistance under this subsection to family 
caregivers of eligible veterans, the Secretary may enter into 
contracts, provider agreements, and memoranda of understanding with 
Federal agencies, States, and private, nonprofit, and other entities to 
provide such assistance to such family caregivers.
    ``(B) The Secretary may provide assistance under this paragraph 
only if such assistance is reasonably accessible to the family 
caregiver and is substantially equivalent or better in quality to 
similar services provided by the Department.
    ``(C) The Secretary may provide fair compensation to Federal 
agencies, States, and other entities that provide assistance under this 
paragraph.
    ``(D) In carrying out this paragraph, the Secretary shall work with 
the interagency working group on policies relating to caregivers of 
veterans and members of the Armed Forces established under section 7 of 
the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act of 2017.''.
    (b) Termination of General Caregiver Support Program.--
            (1) In general.--Subsection (b) of such section is amended 
        by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
    ``(6) The authority of the Secretary to provide support services 
for caregivers of covered veterans under this subsection shall 
terminate on October 1, 2022.''.
            (2) Continuation of certain assistance.--The Secretary of 
        Veterans Affairs shall ensure that any activities carried out 
        under subsection (b) of such section on September 30, 2022, are 
        continued under subsection (a) of such section on and after 
        October 1, 2022.
    (c) Modification of Definition of Family Member.--Subparagraph (B) 
of subsection (d)(3) of such section is amended to read as follows:
                    ``(B) is not a member of the family of the veteran 
                and does not provide care to the veteran on a 
                professional basis.''.
    (d) Modification of Definition of Personal Care Services.--
Subsection (d)(4) of such section is amended--
            (1) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``independent'';
            (2) by redesignating subparagraph (B) as subparagraph (D); 
        and
            (3) by inserting after subparagraph (A) the following new 
        subparagraphs:
                    ``(B) Supervision or protection based on symptoms 
                or residuals of neurological or other impairment or 
                injury.
                    ``(C) Regular or extensive instruction or 
                supervision without which the ability of the veteran to 
                function in daily life would be seriously impaired.''.
    (e) Annual Evaluation Report.--Paragraph (2) of section 101(c) of 
the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010 (Public 
Law 111-163; 38 U.S.C. 1720G note) is amended to read as follows:
            ``(2) Contents.--Each report required by paragraph (1) 
        after the date of the enactment of the Military and Veteran 
        Caregiver Services Improvement Act of 2017 shall include the 
        following with respect to the program of comprehensive 
        assistance for family caregivers required by subsection (a)(1) 
        of such section 1720G:
                    ``(A) The number of family caregivers that received 
                assistance under such program.
                    ``(B) The cost to the Department of providing 
                assistance under such program.
                    ``(C) A description of the outcomes achieved by, 
                and any measurable benefits of, carrying out such 
                program.
                    ``(D) An assessment of the effectiveness and the 
                efficiency of the implementation of such program, 
                including a description of any barriers to accessing 
                and receiving care and services under such program.
                    ``(E) A description of the outreach activities 
                carried out by the Secretary under such program.
                    ``(F) An assessment of the manner in which 
                resources are expended by the Secretary under such 
                program, particularly with respect to the provision of 
                monthly personal caregiver stipends under subsection 
                (a)(3)(A)(ii)(V) of such section 1720G.
                    ``(G) An evaluation of the sufficiency and 
                consistency of the training provided to family 
                caregivers under such program in preparing family 
                caregivers to provide care to veterans under such 
                program.
                    ``(H) Such recommendations, including 
                recommendations for legislative or administrative 
                action, as the Secretary considers appropriate in light 
                of carrying out such program.''.

SEC. 3. AUTHORITY TO TRANSFER ENTITLEMENT TO POST-9/11 EDUCATION 
              ASSISTANCE TO FAMILY MEMBERS BY SERIOUSLY INJURED 
              VETERANS IN NEED OF PERSONAL CARE SERVICES.

    (a) In General.--Subchapter II of chapter 33 of title 38, United 
States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:
``Sec. 3319A. Authority to transfer unused education benefits to family 
              members by seriously injured veterans
    ``(a) In General.--Subject to the provisions of this section, the 
Secretary may permit an individual described in subsection (b) who is 
entitled to educational assistance under this chapter to elect to 
transfer to one or more of the dependents specified in subsection (c) a 
portion of such individual's entitlement to such assistance, subject to 
the limitation under subsection (d).
    ``(b) Eligible Individuals.--An individual referred to in 
subsection (a) is any individual who is described in paragraph (2) of 
section 1720G(a) of this title and who is participating in the program 
established under paragraph (1) of such section.
    ``(c) Eligible Dependents.--An individual approved to transfer an 
entitlement to educational assistance under this section may transfer 
the individual's entitlement as follows:
            ``(1) To the individual's spouse.
            ``(2) To one or more of the individual's children.
            ``(3) To a combination of the individuals referred to in 
        paragraphs (1) and (2).
    ``(d) Limitation on Months of Transfer.--(1) The total number of 
months of entitlement transferred by a individual under this section 
may not exceed 36 months.
    ``(2) The Secretary may prescribe regulations that would limit the 
months of entitlement that may be transferred under this section to no 
less than 18 months.
    ``(e) Designation of Transferee.--An individual transferring an 
entitlement to educational assistance under this section shall--
            ``(1) designate the dependent or dependents to whom such 
        entitlement is being transferred;
            ``(2) designate the number of months of such entitlement to 
        be transferred to each such dependent; and
            ``(3) specify the period for which the transfer shall be 
        effective for each dependent designated under paragraph (1).
    ``(f) Time for Transfer; Revocation and Modification.--(1) Transfer 
of entitlement to educational assistance under this section shall be 
subject to the time limitation for use of entitlement under section 
3321 of this title.
    ``(2)(A) An individual transferring entitlement under this section 
may modify or revoke at any time the transfer of any unused portion of 
the entitlement so transferred.
    ``(B) The modification or revocation of the transfer of entitlement 
under this paragraph shall be made by the submittal of written notice 
of the action to the Secretary.
    ``(3) Entitlement transferred under this section may not be treated 
as marital property, or the asset of a marital estate, subject to 
division in a divorce or other civil proceeding.
    ``(g) Commencement of Use.--A dependent child to whom entitlement 
to educational assistance is transferred under this section may not 
commence the use of the transferred entitlement until either--
            ``(1) the completion by the child of the requirements of a 
        secondary school diploma (or equivalency certificate); or
            ``(2) the attainment by the child of 18 years of age.
    ``(h) Additional Administrative Matters.--(1) The use of any 
entitlement to educational assistance transferred under this section 
shall be charged against the entitlement of the individual making the 
transfer at the rate of one month for each month of transferred 
entitlement that is used.
    ``(2) Except as provided under subsection (e)(2) and subject to 
paragraphs (5) and (6), a dependent to whom entitlement is transferred 
under this section is entitled to educational assistance under this 
chapter in the same manner as the individual from whom the entitlement 
was transferred.
    ``(3) The monthly rate of educational assistance payable to a 
dependent to whom entitlement referred to in paragraph (2) is 
transferred under this section shall be payable at the same rate as 
such entitlement would otherwise be payable under this chapter to the 
individual making the transfer.
    ``(4) The death of an individual transferring an entitlement under 
this section shall not affect the use of the entitlement by the 
dependent to whom the entitlement is transferred.
    ``(5)(A) A child to whom entitlement is transferred under this 
section may use the benefits transferred without regard to the 15-year 
delimiting date specified in section 3321 of this title, but may not, 
except as provided in subparagraph (B), use any benefits so transferred 
after attaining the age of 26 years.
    ``(B)(i) Subject to clause (ii), in the case of a child who, before 
attaining the age of 26 years, is prevented from pursuing a chosen 
program of education by reason of acting as the primary provider of 
personal care services for a veteran or member of the Armed Forces 
under section 1720G(a) of this title, the child may use the benefits 
beginning on the date specified in clause (iii) for a period whose 
length is specified in clause (iv).
    ``(ii) Clause (i) shall not apply with respect to the period of an 
individual as a primary provider of personal care services if the 
period concludes with the revocation of the individual's designation as 
such a primary provider under section 1720G(a)(7)(D) of this title.
    ``(iii) The date specified in this clause for the beginning of the 
use of benefits by a child under clause (i) is the later of--
            ``(I) the date on which the child ceases acting as the 
        primary provider of personal care services for the veteran or 
        member concerned as described in clause (i);
            ``(II) the date on which it is reasonably feasible, as 
        determined under regulations prescribed by the Secretary, for 
        the child to initiate or resume the use of benefits; or
            ``(III) the date on which the child attains the age of 26 
        years.
    ``(iv) The length of the period specified in this clause for the 
use of benefits by a child under clause (i) is the length equal to the 
length of the period that--
            ``(I) begins on the date on which the child begins acting 
        as the primary provider of personal care services for the 
        veteran or member concerned as described in clause (i); and
            ``(II) ends on the later of--
                    ``(aa) the date on which the child ceases acting as 
                the primary provider of personal care services for the 
                veteran or member as described in clause (i); or
                    ``(bb) the date on which it is reasonably feasible, 
                as so determined, for the child to initiate or resume 
                the use of benefits.
    ``(6) The purposes for which a dependent to whom entitlement is 
transferred under this section may use such entitlement shall include 
the pursuit and completion of the requirements of a secondary school 
diploma (or equivalency certificate).
    ``(7) The administrative provisions of this chapter shall apply to 
the use of entitlement transferred under this section, except that the 
dependent to whom the entitlement is transferred shall be treated as 
the eligible individual for purposes of such provisions.
    ``(i) Overpayment.--In the event of an overpayment of educational 
assistance with respect to a dependent to whom entitlement is 
transferred under this section, the dependent and the individual making 
the transfer shall be jointly and severally liable to the United States 
for the amount of the overpayment for purposes of section 3685 of this 
title.
    ``(j) Regulations.--(1) The Secretary shall prescribe regulations 
to carry out this section.
    ``(2) Such regulations shall specify--
            ``(A) the manner of authorizing the transfer of 
        entitlements under this section;
            ``(B) the eligibility criteria in accordance with 
        subsection (b); and
            ``(C) the manner and effect of an election to modify or 
        revoke a transfer of entitlement under subsection (f)(2).''.
    (b) Conforming Amendments.--
            (1) Transfers by members of armed forces.--The heading of 
        section 3319 of such title is amended by inserting ``by members 
        of the Armed Forces'' after ``family members''.
            (2) Bar to duplication of educational assistance 
        benefits.--Section 3322(e) of such title is amended by 
        inserting ``or 3319A'' after ``and 3319''.
    (c) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
chapter 33 of such title is amended by striking the item relating to 
section 3319 and inserting the following new items:

``3319. Authority to transfer unused education benefits to family 
                            members by members of the Armed Forces.
``3319A. Authority to transfer unused education benefits to family 
                            members by seriously injured veterans.''.

SEC. 4. ENHANCEMENT OF SPECIAL COMPENSATION FOR MEMBERS OF THE 
              UNIFORMED SERVICES WITH INJURIES OR ILLNESSES REQUIRING 
              ASSISTANCE IN EVERYDAY LIVING.

    (a) Expansion of Covered Members.--Subsection (b) of section 439 of 
title 37, United States Code, is amended--
            (1) by striking paragraphs (1) through (3) and inserting 
        the following new paragraphs:
            ``(1) has a serious injury or illness that was incurred or 
        aggravated in the line of duty;
            ``(2) is in need of personal care services (including 
        supervision or protection or regular instruction or 
        supervision) as a result of such injury or illness; and''; and
            (2) by redesignating paragraph (4) as paragraph (3).
    (b) Provision of Assistance to Family Caregivers.--Such section is 
further amended--
            (1) by redesignating subsections (e), (f), (g), and (h) as 
        subsections (f), (g), (h), and (i), respectively; and
            (2) by inserting after subsection (d) the following new 
        subsection (e):
    ``(e) Assistance for Family Caregivers.--(1) The Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs shall provide family caregivers of a member in receipt 
of monthly special compensation under subsection (a) the assistance 
required to be provided to family caregivers of eligible veterans under 
section 1720G(a)(3)(A) of title 38 (other than the monthly personal 
caregiver stipend provided for in clause (ii)(V) of such section). For 
purposes of the provision of such assistance under this subsection, the 
definitions in section 1720G(d) of title 38 shall apply, except that 
any reference in such definitions to a veteran or eligible veteran 
shall be deemed to be a reference to the member concerned.
    ``(2) The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall provide assistance 
under this subsection--
            ``(A) in accordance with a memorandum of understanding 
        entered into by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the 
        Secretary of Defense; and
            ``(B) in accordance with a memorandum of understanding 
        entered into by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the 
        Secretary of Homeland Security (with respect to members of the 
        Coast Guard).
    ``(3) The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall ensure that a family 
caregiver in receipt of assistance under this subsection is able to 
transition seamlessly to the receipt of assistance under section 1720G 
of title 38.''.
    (c) Information on Family Caregiver Benefits.--Subsection (g) of 
such section, as redesignated by subsection (b)(1) of this section, is 
amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
    ``(3) The Secretary of Defense, in collaboration with the Secretary 
of Veterans Affairs, shall ensure that members of the uniformed 
services in receipt of monthly special compensation under subsection 
(a) are aware of the eligibility of such members for family caregiver 
assistance under subsection (e).''.
    (d) Expansion of Covered Injuries and Illnesses.--Subsection (h) of 
such section, as redesignated by subsection (b)(1) of this section, is 
amended to read as follows:
    ``(h) Serious Injury or Illness Defined.--In this section, the term 
`serious injury or illness' means an injury, disorder, or illness 
(including traumatic brain injury, psychological trauma, or other 
mental disorder) that--
            ``(1) renders the afflicted person unable to carry out one 
        or more activities of daily living;
            ``(2) renders the afflicted person in need of supervision 
        or protection due to the manifestation by such person of 
        symptoms or residuals of neurological or other impairment or 
        injury;
            ``(3) renders the afflicted person in need of regular or 
        extensive instruction or supervision in completing two or more 
        instrumental activities of daily living; or
            ``(4) otherwise impairs the afflicted person in such manner 
        as the Secretary of Defense (or the Secretary of Homeland 
        Security, with respect to the Coast Guard) prescribes for 
        purposes of this section.''.
    (e) Clerical Amendments.--
            (1) Heading amendment.--The heading for such section is 
        amended to read as follows:
``Sec. 439. Special compensation: members of the uniformed services 
              with serious injuries or illnesses requiring assistance 
              in everyday living''.
            (2) Table of sections amendment.--The table of sections at 
        the beginning of chapter 7 of such title is amended by striking 
        the item relating to section 439 and inserting the following 
        new item:

``439. Special compensation: members of the uniformed services with 
                            serious injuries or illnesses requiring 
                            assistance in everyday living.''.

SEC. 5. FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS FOR CERTAIN FEDERAL EMPLOYEES.

    (a) Definition of Covered Employee.--In this section, the term 
``covered employee'' means an employee (as defined in section 2105 of 
title 5, United States Code) who--
            (1) is a caregiver, as defined in section 1720G of title 
        38, United States Code; or
            (2) is a caregiver of an individual who receives 
        compensation under section 439 of title 37, United States Code.
    (b) Authority To Allow Flexible Work Arrangements.--The Director of 
the Office of Personnel Management may promulgate regulations under 
which a covered employee may--
            (1) use a flexible schedule or compressed schedule in 
        accordance with subchapter II of chapter 61 of title 5, United 
        States Code; or
            (2) telework in accordance with chapter 65 of title 5, 
        United States Code.

SEC. 6. LIFESPAN RESPITE CARE.

    (a) Definitions.--Section 2901 of the Public Health Service Act (42 
U.S.C. 300ii) is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (1)--
                    (A) by redesignating subparagraphs (A) through (C) 
                as clauses (i) through (iii), respectively, and 
                realigning the margins accordingly;
                    (B) by striking ``who requires care or supervision 
                to--'' and inserting ``who--
                    ``(A) requires care or supervision to--'';
                    (C) by striking the period and inserting ``; or''; 
                and
                    (D) by adding at the end the following:
                    ``(B) is a veteran participating in the program of 
                comprehensive assistance for family caregivers under 
                section 1720G(a) of title 38, United States Code.''; 
                and
            (2) in paragraph (5), by striking ``or another unpaid 
        adult,'' and inserting ``another unpaid adult, or a family 
        caregiver as defined in section 1720G of title 38, United 
        States Code, who receives compensation under such section,''.
    (b) Grants and Cooperative Agreements.--Section 2902(c) of the 
Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300ii-1(c)) is amended by 
inserting ``and the interagency working group on policies relating to 
caregivers of veterans established under section 7 of the Military and 
Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act of 2017'' after ``Human 
Services''.
    (c) Authorization of Appropriations.--Section 2905 of the Public 
Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300ii-4) is amended by striking ``There 
are'' and all that follows through ``2011.'' and inserting ``There are 
authorized to be appropriated to carry out this title $15,000,000 for 
each of fiscal years 2017 through 2022.''.

SEC. 7. INTERAGENCY WORKING GROUP ON CAREGIVER POLICY.

    (a) Establishment.--There shall be established in the executive 
branch an interagency working group on policies relating to caregivers 
of veterans and members of the Armed Forces (in this section referred 
to as the ``working group'').
    (b) Composition.--
            (1) In general.--The working group shall be composed of the 
        following:
                    (A) A chairperson selected by the President.
                    (B) A representative from each of the following 
                agencies or organizations selected by the head of such 
                agency or organization:
                            (i) The Department of Veterans Affairs.
                            (ii) The Department of Defense.
                            (iii) The Department of Health and Human 
                        Services.
                            (iv) The Department of Labor.
                            (v) The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid 
                        Services.
            (2) Advisors.--The chairperson may select any of the 
        following individuals that the chairperson considers 
        appropriate to advise the working group in carrying out the 
        duties of the working group:
                    (A) Academic experts in fields relating to 
                caregivers.
                    (B) Clinicians.
                    (C) Caregivers.
                    (D) Individuals in receipt of caregiver services.
    (c) Duties.--The duties of the working group are as follows:
            (1) To regularly review policies relating to caregivers of 
        veterans and members of the Armed Forces.
            (2) To coordinate and oversee the implementation of 
        policies relating to caregivers of veterans and members of the 
        Armed Forces.
            (3) To evaluate the effectiveness of policies relating to 
        caregivers of veterans and members of the Armed Forces, 
        including programs in each relevant agency, by developing and 
        applying specific goals and performance measures.
            (4) To develop standards of care for caregiver services and 
        respite care services provided to a caregiver, veteran, or 
        member of the Armed Forces by a nonprofit or private sector 
        entity.
            (5) To ensure the availability of mechanisms for agencies, 
        and entities affiliated with or providing services on behalf of 
        agencies, to enforce the standards described in paragraph (4) 
        and conduct oversight on the implementation of such standards.
            (6) To develop recommendations for legislative or 
        administrative action to enhance the provision of services to 
        caregivers, veterans, and members of the Armed Forces, 
        including eliminating gaps in such services and eliminating 
        disparities in eligibility for such services.
            (7) To coordinate with State and local agencies and 
        relevant nonprofit organizations on maximizing the use and 
        effectiveness of resources for caregivers of veterans and 
        members of the Armed Forces.
    (d) Reports.--
            (1) In general.--Not later than December 31, 2017, and 
        annually thereafter, the chairperson of the working group shall 
        submit to Congress a report on policies and services relating 
        to caregivers of veterans and members of the Armed Forces.
            (2) Elements.--Each report required by paragraph (1) shall 
        include the following:
                    (A) An assessment of the policies relating to 
                caregivers of veterans and members of the Armed Forces 
                and services provided pursuant to such policies as of 
                the date of submittal of the report.
                    (B) A description of any steps taken by the working 
                group to improve the coordination of services for 
                caregivers of veterans and members of the Armed Forces 
                among the entities specified in subsection (b)(1)(B) 
                and eliminate barriers to effective use of such 
                services, including aligning eligibility criteria.
                    (C) An evaluation of the performance of the 
                entities specified in subsection (b)(1)(B) in providing 
                services for caregivers of veterans and members of the 
                Armed Forces.
                    (D) An evaluation of the quality and sufficiency of 
                services for caregivers of veterans and members of the 
                Armed Forces available from nongovernmental 
                organizations.
                    (E) A description of any gaps in care or services 
                provided by caregivers to veterans or members of the 
                Armed Forces identified by the working group, and steps 
                taken by the entities specified in subsection (b)(1)(B) 
                to eliminate such gaps or recommendations for 
                legislative or administrative action to address such 
                gaps.
                    (F) Such other matters or recommendations as the 
                chairperson considers appropriate.

SEC. 8. STUDIES ON POST-SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, VETERANS AND SERIOUSLY 
              INJURED VETERANS.

    (a) Longitudinal Study on Post-9/11 Veterans.--
            (1) In general.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
        provide for the conduct of a longitudinal study on members of 
        the Armed Forces who commenced service in the Armed Forces 
        after September 11, 2001.
            (2) Grant or contract.--The Secretary shall award a grant 
        to, or enter into a contract with, an appropriate entity 
        unaffiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct 
        the study required by paragraph (1).
            (3) Plan.--Not later than one year after the date of the 
        enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the 
        Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee 
        on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives a plan for 
        the conduct of the study required by paragraph (1).
            (4) Reports.--Not later than October 1, 2021, and not less 
        frequently than once every four years thereafter, the Secretary 
        shall submit to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the 
        Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of 
        Representatives a report on the results of the study required 
        by paragraph (1) as of the date of such report.
    (b) Comprehensive Study on Seriously Injured Veterans and Their 
Caregivers.--
            (1) In general.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall 
        provide for the conduct of a comprehensive study on the 
        following:
                    (A) Veterans who have incurred a serious injury or 
                illness, including a mental health injury.
                    (B) Individuals who are acting as caregivers for 
                veterans.
            (2) Elements.--The comprehensive study required by 
        paragraph (1) shall include the following with respect to each 
        veteran included in such study:
                    (A) The health of the veteran and, if applicable, 
                the impact of the caregiver of such veteran on the 
                health of such veteran.
                    (B) The employment status of the veteran and, if 
                applicable, the impact of the caregiver of such veteran 
                on the employment status of such veteran.
                    (C) The financial status and needs of the veteran.
                    (D) The use by the veteran of benefits available to 
                such veteran from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
                    (E) Any other information that the Secretary 
                considers appropriate.
            (3) Grant or contract.--The Secretary shall award a grant 
        to, or enter into a contract with, an appropriate entity 
        unaffiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct 
        the study required by paragraph (1).
            (4) Report.--Not later than two years after the date of the 
        enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the 
        Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee 
        on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives a report 
        on the results of the study required by paragraph (1).
                                 <all>

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