VA benefits expand. (Legislation).
H.R. 2716--Homeless Veterans Comprehensive Assistance Act (P.L. 107-95)
Authorizes $1 billion to aid homeless veterans and prevent veterans from becoming homeless.
Status: signed into law Dec. 21, 2001.
* Authorizes 2,000 Sec. 8 HUD low-income housing vouches for homeless veterans.
* Authorizes 10 new domiciliaries for homeless veterans programs.
* Authorizes $285 million for the Homeless Grant and Per Diem program.
* Authorizes $250 million for Labor's Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.
* Requires the VA to provide technical assistance to non-profit community-based organizations seeking federal funding for homeless programs.
* Requires the VA to provide mental health programs wherever primary care is provided.
* Earmarks $10 million for medical care for homeless veterans with special needs, including older veterans, women and substance abusers.
H.R. 1291--Veterans Education and Benefits Expansion Act
Authorizes more than $3.1 billion over five years to expand and increase educational, housing, burial and disability benefits.
Status: awaiting the President's signature.
* Boosts the MGIB College Education Benefit amount by record 46% over two years.
* Restore lost MGIB benefits for Reservists and National Guardsmen called to active duty.
* Increase grants for specially adapted housing for severely disable veterans from $43,000 to $48,000.
* Increase the Automobile and Adaptive Equipment Grant for Severely Disabled Veterans.
* Increase burial and funeral expense benefits by 25% and doubles burial plot allowances.
* Adds Diabetes Type II to list of service-connected conditions for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
* Adds undiagnosed conditions, such as fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and chronic multi-sympton illness to list of service-connected conditions for Gulf War veterans.
H.R. 2540--Veterans Compensation Rate Amendments of 2001 (P.L. 107-94)
Boosts compensation payments for disabled veterans by $2.5 billion over the next five years.
Status: signed into law Dec. 21, 2001.
* For 100% disabled veterans, the average increase would be $738 per year.
H.R. 3447--Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care Programs Enhancement Act
Increase spending on health programs for veterans by $1.4 billion.
Status: passed in the House and Senate, awaiting the President's signature.
* Lowers out-of pocket hospitalizations expenses for lower income veterans by 80% to compensate for regional differences in the cost-of-living.
* Requires the VA to establish chiropractic care programs nationwide.
* Authorizes service dog programs for paralyzed and other severely disabled veterans.
* Requires the VA to maintain specialized medical programs--such as for mental illness, spinal cord injuries and prosthetics--in each of the 21 VA regions.
H.R. 801--Veterans Survivors' Benefits Improvements Act (P.L. 107-14)
Adds $100 million in the new health care benefits for surviving spouses of veterans, and extends life insurance coverage to spouses and children of servicemembers.
Status: signed into law June 5, 2001.
* Expands CHAMPVA to surviving spouses of veterans who die of service-connected disability.
* Expands Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) to include spouses and children of servicemembers; $100,000 for spouses and $10,000 for children.
* Makes retroactive to Oct. 1, 2000, increase in the maximum SGLI benefit for servicemembers killed in the line of duty to $250,000.
H.R. 811--Veterans Hospitals Emergency Repair Act
Authorizes $550 million over two years to repair, renovate and rebuild dilapidated VA medical facilities.
Status: passed the House only.
* Provides the VA with authority to award grants up to S30 million per medical facility:
H.R. 3423--Reforming Burial Rules at Arlington National Cemetery
Reforms the law on in-ground burials for members of the National Guard and Reserves at Arlington National Cemetery.
Status: passed the House, pending in Senate.
* Removes the age requirement for retired Reserve members
* Makes eligible all National Guardsmen and Reservists who die in the line of duty.
Source: House Veterans Affairs Committee