Summary: H.R.1961 — 98th Congress (1983-1984)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
House agreed to Senate amendment with amendment (10/03/1984)

(House agreed to Senate amendments with amendments)

Veterans' Dioxin and Radiation Exposure Compensation Standards Act - Directs the Administrator of Veterans Affairs to establish guidelines and criteria for resolving claims for benefits resulting from a service-connected death or disability based on a veteran's exposure during service on active duty to: (1) herbicides containing dioxin in Vietnam during the Vietnam era; or (2) ionizing radiation from the detonation of a nuclear device either in connection with testing or the American occupation of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, Japan, prior to July 1, 1946.

Requires the Administrator to include guidelines for using findings of epidemiological and clinical studies examining the possible relationship between such exposure and the manifestation of adverse health effects to resolve claims for compensation.

Directs the Administrator to determine which of the following diseases would be considered service-connected when individual cases are being adjudicated: (1) soft tissue sarcoma, porphyria cutanea tarda, or chloracne if developed after a veteran's departure from Vietnam; and (2) leukemia, malignancies of the thyroid, female breast, lung, bone, liver, and skin, and polycythemia vera.

Sets forth procedures for the development of such regulations, including consultations with the Advisory Committee on Environmental Hazards and the Scientific Council thereof.

Establishes the Veterans' Advisory Committee on Environmental Hazards to make findings, evaluations, and recommendations concerning scientific evidence relating to possible adverse health hazards from dioxin or ionizing radiation exposure.

Directs the Secretary of Defense, in connection with the Director of the Defense Nuclear Agency, to prescribe guidelines for specifying the minimum standards governing the preparation of radiation dose estimates for use in VA disability claims. Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to review the current state of the art in determining previous radiation exposure and to report to the Administrator and the Veterans' Affairs Committees of Congress by July 1, 1985, on such review.

Requires the Administrator to provide for the preparation of an independent radiation dose estimate when conflicting figures are presented by a claimant and the VA.

Amends the Veterans' Health Programs Extension and Improvement Act of 1979 to direct the Administrator to evaluate the need for amending existing regulations under this Act upon the annual reporting of the results of the epidemiological study on the effects of exposure to Agent Orange required by such Act. Amends the Veterans' Health Care Amendments of 1983 to evaluate the need for amending existing regulations under this Act upon the annual reporting of the results of the epidemiological study on the effects of exposure to ionizing radiation required by such Act.

Directs the Administrator to pay disability compensation or survivors benefits to a veteran or the survivors of a veteran who served on active duty in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam era and suffers or suffered from porphyria cutanea tarda or chloracne manifest within one year of service. Prohibits the payment of benefits where there is affirmative evidence that such disease was incurred from another source. Bases such rates of compensation on those paid for wartime disability or service-connected death. Deems such compensation service-connected for all purposes. Authorizes the payment of such benefits only during FY 1985 and 1986.