Summary: H.R.5688 — 98th Congress (1983-1984)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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House agreed to Senate amendment with amendment (10/05/1984)

(House agreed to Senate amendments with amendments)

Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 1984 - Title I: Disability Compensation and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation - Part A: Increases - Increases the rates of: (1) veterans' disability compensation; (2) additional compensation for dependents; (3) the clothing allowances for certain disabled veterans; (4) dependency and indemnity compensation for spouses; (5) dependency and indemnity compensation for children; and (6) supplemental dependency and indemnity compensation for children.

Part B: Compensation Program Amendments - Amends the veterans' disability compensation provisions to provide periods of trial work for veterans assigned total service-connected disability ratings by reason of unemployability. Defines trial work as work performed for gain by such a veteran to determine whether in fact such veteran is able to pursue substantially gainful employment.

Entitles all unemployable veterans to counseling and other services (Currently, such services are extended only to veterans participating in a vocational rehabilitation program.) Requires veterans rated as unemployable and therefore totally disabled to submit to an evaluation and possibly to a vocational rehabilitation program if either or both are considered appropriate. Directs the Administrator to reduce the disability rating to what it would have been but for the determination of unemployability for veterans failing to participate in a required evaluation. Sets forth notice and outreach requirements. Directs the Administrator of Veterans Affairs to report annually to the Veterans' Affairs Committees on the conduct of the three-year trial work program.

Reduces from 50 to 30 percent the rate of peacetime service-connected disability entitling an affected veteran to additional monthly compensation for dependents.

Title II: Veterans' Rehabilitation, Education, and Employment Programs - Part A: Rate Increases - Increases the rates of: (1) rehabilitation subsistence allowances for veterans with service-connected disabilities; (2) GI Bill educational assistance for Vietnam-Era veterans; (3) educational assistance for survivors and dependents; and (4) training allowances for apprenticeship or other on-job training. Increases the amount a veteran or other eligible person may borrow for education in any one regular academic year.

Part B: Veterans' Employment Programs - Extends veterans' readjustment appointments in the Federal Government for Vietnam era veterans from a GS-7 maximum grade to a GS-9 maximum grade and from FY 1984 to FY 1986. Grants such veterans the same rights upon termination within the first year of employment as are granted to other Federal employees. Directs the Office of Personnel Management to periodically monitor this program and report to Congress annually on the number, grade, and result of veterans' readjustment appointments (e.g. terminations, conversions to career appointments, etc.) per agency, including training and education courses taken. Requires such report to detail which participating veterans have service-connected disabilities from the Vietnam era.

Amends the Emergency Veterans' Job Training Act of 1983 to extend from 60 to 90 days the viability of the Administrator of Veterans Affairs' certificate that a veteran is eligible to participate in the job training program established by such Act. Authorizes appropriations for an additional year, through FY 1987. Extends such program from the end of FY 1984 to February 28, 1985, for applications and from December 31, 1984, to September 1, 1985, for the actual job training.

Title III: Other Benefit Rate Increases and Program Improvements - Requires permanently and totally non-service-connected disabled veterans under the age of 50 and permits those 50 or older who apply for and receive a military pension to undergo a vocational evaluation. Limits the number of evaluations which may be given annually. Suspends pension payment to any veteran failing to participate as required by the Administrator.

Allows any veteran who the Administrator determines can achieve a vocational goal to undertake such training. Limits the program to four years and an individual training program to 24 months with a possible 24 month extension. Requires such a vocational program to consist of vocationally oriented services and assistance, including vocational and educational counseling. Limits the use of educational institutions under such a program.

Continues for three years the health benefit entitlements of participating veterans whose pensions are terminated by reason of income from work or training, including the drugs and medicine entitlement of housebound or regularly attended veterans.

Directs the Administrator to report to the Veterans' Affairs Committees by April 15, 1988, on the first three years of operation of this program, including the extension of health care benefits. Directs the Administrator to report to such Committees within such 28 months of enactment of this Act on the result of medical examinations of persons awarded a pension for being age 65 within a specified two-year period.

Prohibits the denial or discontinuance of a veteran's rating of total disability due to unemployability on the basis of such veteran's participation in therapeutic or rehabilitative activities at a VA health care facility.

Increases the amount of specially adapted housing and automobile and adaptive equipment assistance for eligible, service-connected disabled beterans. Entitles an eligible veteran to adaptive equipment for two vehicles within a four year period, with additional equipment provided at the Administrator's discretion.

Title IV: Miscellaneous Provisions - Repeals a reporting requirement pertaining to deceptive advertising practices by educational institutions.

Excludes the value of the home of an incompetent veteran without dependents from the determination of the value of the veteran's estate for purposes of the veteran's eligibility for VA benefits while institutionalized at public expense. Permits the Administrator to waive any discontinuation of benefits for such veterans for up to 60 days of care to avoid hardship.

Deletes gender references in certain veterans' benefits provisions.