Summary: H.R.7394 — 96th Congress (1979-1980)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (07/21/1980)

(Measure passed House, amended, roll call #403 (383-0))

Veterans' Rehabilitation and Education Amendments of 1980 - =Title I: Revision of Vocational Rehabilitation Program= - Revises veterans' vocational rehabilitation provisions to declare the purpose of this Act to be to provide all services necessary to enable veterans with service-connected disabilities to attain maximum independence, to become employable, and to obtain and maintain suitable employment.

Redefines "vocational rehabilitation" to include the provision of all services required to achieve the purpose of this Act, including discharge, medical, social, psychological, economic, and vocational services (presently defined in terms of educational and vocational training to restore employability).

Defines "employment handicap" as a disability impairing a veteran's ability to prepare for, obtain, or retain employment consistent with his or her abilities, aptitudes, and interests.

Revises entitlement provisions to: (1) make eligibility run as of September 16, 1940, (rather than World War II as at present); (2) require a handicap to be an employment handicap as defined by this Act; and (3) provide for follow up vocational services to a rehabilitated veteran in order for such veteran to enter new employment more suitable to his or her current capacity or condition.

Eliminates the language extending eligibility for specified veterans to October 15, 1971.

Sets forth the scope of services, including: (1) evaluation of rehabilitation potential; (2) educational, vocational and personal counseling; (3) a vocational rehabilitation plan; (4) vocational and related services including tutorial services, tuition, books, and other training materials; (5) treatment for mental and emotional disorders; (6) medical care; (7) prosthetic and other corrective devices; (8) placement and postplacement services; (9) services to a veteran's family; (10) special rehabilitation services, including services for the blind and the deaf; (11) subsistence allowances; (12) essential employment equipment and supplies for severely disabled veterans requiring homebound training and or self-employment; (13) transportation costs, including pre- and post-training services; and (14) work study allowance, loans, and other incidental goods and services.

Revises duration of services provisions to: (1) provide basic vocational rehabilitation services for 48-months; (2) remove the nine year (from discharge) eligibility limitation; and (3) provide a 12 month rehabilitation evaluation period.

Revises subsistence allowance provisions to: (1) provide for payments during the evaluation of vocational rehabilitation potential; (2) provide payments for unpaid on-job training or work experience in a Federal agency or during such evaluation period; (3) pay room and board expenses for individuals pursuing a program on a residential basis in a specialized rehabilitation facility; (4) provide that vocational payments be paid on a full-time basis for two months following a determination of employability; (5) set forth the rate of payment for individuals in unpaid Federal training or work experience; (6) prohibit payments to incarcerated individuals; and (7) provide for advance payment of subsistence allowances.

Authorizes personal adjustment counseling during the evaluation of rehabilitation feasibility period.

Sets forth basic requirements of a vocational rehabilitation program, which shall include: (1) participation by the veteran in formulation of a written plan; and (2) a statement of objectives and goals, services and a time schedule for providing such services, and a projected completion date.

Revises leave of absence provisions to remove the 30-day per year limitation on such leave.

Revises the regulation of conduct provisions to remove the three-month forfeiture of subsistence penalty for unsatisfactory conduct and to replace the permanent disqualification for further vocational rehabilitation penalty with a provision allowing the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs to reinstate such benefits upon satisfactory conduct.

Increases the maximum amount of loans available to a veteran from $200 to $400.

Authorizes vocational rehabilitation to members of the Armed Forces, otherwise eligible, and veterans hospitalized in VA or non-VA medical facilities.

Authorizes vocational training outside the United States (presently prohibited for post-World War II veterans who were not citizens at the time of their United States military service).

Provides that any Federal agency facility may be used to provide unpaid training or work experience as part of a veteran's vocational rehabilitation program. States that such veteran shall be deemed a Federal employee for workmen's compensation purposes but not for the purposes of laws administered by the Office of Personnel Management.

Authorizes the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs to use the facilities, staff, and other resources of any Federal agency to provide services under this Act.

Directs the Administrator to assist in the development of employment and on-job training opportunities, including payments to employers for providing on-job training to certain veterans.

Directs the Veterans Administration (VA) to: (1) provide employment assistance, including direct employment placement, utilization of Federal, State, and nonprofit private employment services, and securing loans and paying business license fees; (2) provide vocational rehabilitation staff training and development; and (3) carry out an ongoing program of rehabilitation research and special projects, including grants and contracts with public and nonprofit agencies.

Directs the Administrator to appoint a Veterans' Advisory Committee on Rehabilitation.

Revises provisions concerning the limitation on periods of assistance under two or more veterans' educational assistance programs to include post-Vietnam era benefits within such limitation, and to provide a 48-month aggregate eligibility period for vocational rehabilitation and other educational assistance.

Limits the current provision which reduces the number of clock hours of attendance required for payment of benefits for certain courses to courses accredited by nationally recognized accrediting agencies.

Authorizes veterans eligible for vocational rehabilitation services to pursue such program using their educational assistance entitlements.

=Title II: GI Bill Rate Increase= - Increases rates of veterans payments for: (1) educational assistance allowances, including special supplementary assistance; (2) educational assistance for survivors and dependents, including special training allowances; and (3) State and local agency administrative expenses, including educational assistance for apprenticeship or other on-job training and education loans.

=Title III: Educational Assistance Program Amendments=: Part A - Educational Assistance for Veterans - Authorizes the Administrator to disapprove a veteran's or serviceperson's application for educational assistance if enrollment would be prohibited by any of the appropriate administrative provisions.

Eliminates the 50 percent employment reporting requirement for courses if: (1) veteran and eligible dependent or survivor enrollment does not exceed 35 percent of total enrollment (for the two-year reporting period); and (2) the course had met the employment requirements for two consecutive reporting periods.

Eliminates the requirement that a major portion of an open circuit television course must require conventional classroom or laboratory attendance in order to be approved by the Administrator for assistance.

Eliminates computing persons receiving Federal educational assistance from the "85-15" enrollment eligibility requirement.

Eliminates the course completion time provision as a requirement for satisfactory educational progress with regard to discontinuance of educational assistance.

Revises foreign study provisions to authorize such study if: (1) the course is part of a standard college degree program (or its equivalent) at an institution of higher learning so recognized by the foreign country; and (2) the Administrator approves.

Authorizes assistance for continuing education or training required by Federal, State, or local law for professional or vocational relicensure or continued employment. Provides that such continuing education shall be paid at the same rate as refresher training.

Stipulates that educational assistance for a veteran pursuing an eligible (as revised by this Act) open circuit television course shall be paid in the same manner as an independent study program.

Part B - Educational Assistance for Dependents and Survivors - Disqualifies specified family members from eligibility as qualified tutors for veterans receiving supplementary tutorial assistance.

Directs the Administrator to approve any application for educational assistance received from an eligible survivor or dependent. Authorizes the Administrator to arrange for educational or vocational counseling for such dependents upon their request.

Authorizes the Administrator to disapprove an eligible survivor's or dependent's application for educational assistance if enrollment would be prohibited by any of the appropriate administrative provisions.

Prohibits such individuals from enrolling in an educational institution not located in a State or in the Republic of the Philippines unless: (1) the course is part of a standard college degree (or its equivalent) at an institution of higher learning so recognized by the foreign country; and (2) the Administrator approves.

Revises provisions concerning advance educational assistance payments to such individuals to: (1) authorize direct payments to an eligible individual (presently payments must be made to a parent or guardian); (2) eliminate certain certification requirements; and (3) provide that payments for an eligible (as revised by this Act) open circuit television course shall be paid in the same manner as an independent study program.

Part C - Amendment Relating to Administration of Educational Benefits - Revises provisions concerning the period for which educational or subsistence allowances will be paid for eligible veterans or persons to provide that: (1) the individual must be pursuing a course of study (presently only required to be enrolled); (2) the Administrator shall determine regulations regarding eligibility; and (3) payment shall be for the stated period of enrollment, or the actual period of enrollment, whichever is shorter.

Requires veterans and other individuals to report any changes in their educational status to the Administrator. Requires educational institutions to report any facts they know or should have known concerning their compliance with, or eligibility for, such educational assistance.

Includes "residence" in the definition of a full-time undergraduate course. Defines "in residence on a standard quarter-or semester-hour basis" to require pursuit of regularly scheduled weekly class instruction on campus at the rate of one standard class session per week throughout the semester for one semester hour of credit.

Provides for payments to veterans and eligible persons attending non-degree courses during periods between terms which do not exceed 15 calendar days and periods when the school is not in session because of teacher conferences or teacher training sessions (not to exceed five days in any 12-month period).

Terminates the (veterans') education advisory committee as of December 31, 1989. Includes post- Vietnam era veterans' educational assistance, and deletes vocational rehabilitation, within such committee's responsibility.

=Title IV: Post-Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational Assistance Program Adjustments= - Makes eligible for participation in the Post-Vietnam Era Veterans' Educational Assistance Program certain persons who entered military service on or after January 1, 1977, after having served on active duty before or after such date for a period of 180 days or less and were discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable. Revises the procedure for distribution of unused contributions to such program fund by the participant, if the participant dies while on, or after discharge from, active duty and has not designated a beneficiary under the Servicemen's Group Life Insurance program.

=Title V: Veterans Employment and Training Programs= - Defines "veteran" for purposes of veterans' job counseling, training, and placement benefits, and disabled and Vietnam era veterans' employment and training benefits as one who: (1) served on active-duty for more than 180 days and received other than a dishonorable discharge; or (2) received a service-connected disability discharge.

Defines "disabled veteran" for purposes of disabled veterans' training and employment benefits as one who: (1) is entitled to veterans' disability compensation; or (2) received a service-connected disability discharge.

Declares that no veteran shall be considered a Vietnam-era veteran after December 31, 1989.

Requires the Secretary of Labor to assure that any veteran made ineligible for certain veterans' job counseling and placement assistance by provisions of this Act (defining categories of eligible veterans) shall be provided with employment assistance and related services under other applicable provisions of law. Includes disabled veterans and Vietnam-era veterans as those eligible veterans who shall receive special consideration for job placement.

Requires the Secretary of Labor to include numerical breakdowns of such veterans' categories in his annual veterans' training report to Congress.

Makes a qualifying Vietnam veteran eligible for Federal contract priority-hiring.

Directs that the benefits an eligible veteran may be receiving (or has received) under certain other programs of the VA shall be disregarded when determining the needs and qualifications of such veteran under any employment or training program financed with Federal funds.

Authorizes the Administrator to give preference to qualified disabled and Vietnam-era veterans for employment in the VA as veterans' benefits counselors and veterans' claim examiners.

Grants to members of the National Guard, called to assemble for required drills and field exercises for a period of not less than twelve consecutive weeks, the reemployment rights of reserves called to active duty.

=Title VI: Cost-Savings Provisions= - Repeals the authority for veterans to receive educational assistance for the pursuit of flight and correspondence training, including post-Vietnam-era veterans and survivors and dependents.

Directs the Administrator to deduct from future payments any overpayment made to persons for service-connected disability or death compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, pension for non-service-connected disability for death, and educational assistance benefits. Provides that such deductions are not subject to time limitations for bringing civil actions or administrative proceedings.

Grants the Administrator the authority to charge interest on amounts owed to the United States for overpayment of benefits or services provided by the Veterans' Administration, unless such amounts are repaid within a reasonable period of time. Directs the Administrator to prescribe regulations to set forth the rate of interest to be charged.

Repeals the authority of the Administrator to deduct from future payments any overpayment made to parents for dependency and indemnity compensation.

Revises existing provisions of law relating to overpayments made to veterans receiving educational assistance to declare that such overpayment constitutes a liability of the veteran to the United States (present provisions cover the liability of the institution attended by the veteran). Stipulates that if such liability of the veteran is waived, the institution is not released from its liability.

Authorizes the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs to disclose to a consumer reporting agency the name and address of an individual indebted to the Veterans' Administration (VA) for the purpose of obtaining consumer reports in order to assess such individual's ability to repay the debt and to give notice of the outstanding obligation. Prohibits: (1) the VA from disclosing other information that would imply an individual's indebtedness to the United States; and (2) the credit reporting agency from indicating in its reports or files that such VA inquiry indicates any indebtedness by such individual (willful violation punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for the first offense and up to $20,000 for a subsequent offense).

Authorizes the disclosure of an individual's name, address, and other identifying information necessary to locate him or her in order to carry out specified VA evaluation studies. Requires the Administrator to make a pre-disclosure determination that the inclusion of a particular individual in such study is clearly warranted. Establishes other disclosure requirements similar to those for indebtedness disclosures.

Authorizes the disclosure of information affecting an individual's credit rating (name, address, indebtedness) if such individual has failed to respond to administrative debt-collection efforts. Requires the VA, before making such indebtedness disclosures, to: (1) notify an individual of the information to be disclosed, and to which credit agencies, at least 30 days prior to such disclosure; (2) inform the individual of his or her right to dispute the debt claim; and (3) make a determination regarding any such disputed debt.

Defines "consumer reporting agency" for purposes of this Act.

Authorizes the Administrator, upon application by any person, to make available any appraisal report submitted to, or prepared by, the VA in connection with any home, condominium, or mobile home loan. Authorizes the Administrator to disclose the name and address of any person to any person (authorized by regulation) for the purpose of determining creditworthiness, verifying information, or to provide assistance pursuant to any such loan made by the VA. Stipulates that any such disclosure be recorded in the file of the person concerned.

Exempts a credit agency's handling of such VA debt disclosures from the Privacy Act. Directs the Administrator to reasonably provide for the personal privacy of those persons concerned in such debt disclosures.

Repeals specified provisions authorizing servicepersons to participate in the predischarge education training program (PREP).

Sets forth the rate of educational assistance allowance for an incarcerated veteran or eligible person. Prohibits payments to such persons when their tuition and fees are paid under programs other than a VA program or when tuition and fees are not required.

=Title VII: Technical Amendments= - Defines "person" for purposes of veterans' survivors and dependents special restorative training to mean children of veterans. Makes technical and conforming amendments to the GI Bill Improvement Act of 1977.

=Title VIII: Effective Date= - Sets forth the effective dates for the provisions of this Act.