H.R. 3373 (104th): Veterans’ Benefits Amendments of 1996

104th Congress, 1995–1996. Text as of May 22, 1996 (Referred to Senate Committee).

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HR 3373 RFS

104th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 3373

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

MAY 22, 1996

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans’ affairs

AN ACT

To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve certain veterans’ benefits programs, 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; REFERENCES TO TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE.

    (a) SHORT TITLE- This Act may be cited as the ‘Veterans’ Benefits Amendments of 1996’.

    (b) REFERENCES- Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an amendment is expressed in terms of an amendment to a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of title 38, United States Code.

TITLE I--INSURANCE REFORM

SEC. 101. MERGER OF RETIRED RESERVE SERVICEMEMBERS’ GROUP LIFE INSURANCE AND VETERANS’ GROUP LIFE INSURANCE AND EXTENSION OF VETERANS’ GROUP LIFE INSURANCE TO MEMBERS OF THE READY RESERVE.

    (a) DEFINITION OF MEMBER- Section 1965(5) is amended--

      (1) by inserting ‘and’ at the end of subparagraph (B);

      (2) by striking out subparagraphs (C) and (D); and

      (3) by redesignating subparagraph (E) as subparagraph (C).

    (b) PERSONS INSURED- Section 1967 is amended--

      (1) in subsection (a)--

        (A) by inserting ‘and’ at the end of paragraph (1);

        (B) by striking out paragraphs (3) and (4); and

        (C) by striking out ‘or the first day a member of the Reserves, whether or not assigned to the Retired Reserve of a uniformed service, meets the qualifications of section 1965(5)(C) of this title, or the first day a member of the Reserves meets the qualifications of section 1965(5)(D) of this title,’; and

      (2) by striking out subsection (d).

    (c) DURATION AND TERMINATION OF COVERAGE- Section 1968 is amended--

      (1) in subsection (a)--

        (A) by striking out ‘subparagraph (B), (C), or (D) of section 1965(5)’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘section 1965(5)(B)’;

        (B) by striking out the period at the end of paragraphs (1) and (2) and inserting in lieu thereof a semicolon;

        (C) by striking out the period at the end of paragraph (3) and inserting in lieu thereof ‘; and’;

        (D) in paragraph (4)--

          (i) by striking out ‘from such’ in the matter preceding subparagraph (A) and all that follows through ‘(A) unless on’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘from such assignment, unless on’;

          (ii) by striking out the semicolon after ‘such assignment’ and inserting in lieu thereof a period; and

          (iii) by striking out subparagraphs (B) and (C); and

        (E) by striking out paragraphs (5) and (6); and

      (2) in subsection (b), by striking out the last two sentences.

    (d) PREMIUMS- Section 1969 is amended--

      (1) in subsection (a)(2), by striking out ‘is assigned to the Reserve (other than the Retired Reserve) and meets the qualifications of section 1965(5)(C) of this title, or is assigned to the Retired Reserve and meets the qualifications of section 1965(5)(D) of this title,’;

      (2) by striking out subsection (e); and

      (3) by redesignating subsections (f) and (g) as subsections (e) and (f), respectively.

SEC. 102. CONVERSION TO COMMERCIAL LIFE INSURANCE POLICY.

    (a) SGLI CONVERSION- Subsection (b) of section 1968, as amended by section 101(c)(2), is amended--

      (1) by inserting ‘(1)’ after ‘(b)’ at the beginning of the subsection;

      (2) by striking out ‘would cease,’ in the first sentence and all that follows through the period at the end of the sentence and inserting in lieu thereof ‘would cease--

      ‘(A) shall be automatically converted to Veterans’ Group Life Insurance, subject to (i) the timely payment of the initial premium under terms prescribed by the Secretary, and (ii) the terms and conditions set forth in section 1977 of this title; or

      ‘(B) at the election of the member, shall be converted to an individual policy of insurance as described in section 1977(e) of this title upon written application for conversion made to the participating company selected by the member and payment of the required premiums.’; and

      (3) by designating the second sentence as paragraph (2) and in that sentence striking out ‘Such automatic conversion’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘Automatic conversion to Veterans’ Group Life Insurance under paragraph (1)’.

    (b) VGLI CONVERSION- Section 1977 is amended--

      (1) in subsection (a)--

        (A) by inserting ‘(1)’ after ‘(a)’;

        (B) by striking out the last two sentences; and

        (C) by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(2) If any person insured under Veterans’ Group Life Insurance again becomes insured under Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance but dies before terminating or converting such person’s Veterans’ Group Insurance, Veterans’ Group Life Insurance shall be payable only if such person is insured for less than $200,000 under Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, and then only in an amount which, when added to the amount of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance payable, does not exceed $200,000.’; and

      (2) in subsection (e)--

        (A) in the first sentence, by inserting ‘at any time’ after ‘shall have the right’; and

        (B) by striking out the third sentence and inserting in lieu thereof the following: ‘The Veterans’ Group Life Insurance policy will terminate on the day before the date on which the individual policy becomes effective.’.

SEC. 103. INFORMATION TO BE PROVIDED MEMBERS CONCERNING AUTOMATIC MAXIMUM COVERAGE OF $200,000 UNDER SERVICEMEN’S GROUP LIFE INSURANCE.

    Section 1967, as amended by section 101(b), is amended by inserting after subsection (c) the following new subsection (d):

    ‘(d) Whenever a member has the opportunity to make an election under subsection (a) not to be insured under this subchapter, or to be insured under this subchapter in an amount less than the maximum amount of $200,000, and at such other times periodically thereafter as the Secretary concerned considers appropriate, the Secretary concerned shall furnish to the member general information concerning life insurance. Such information shall include--

      ‘(1) the purpose and role of life insurance in financial planning;

      ‘(2) the difference between term life insurance and whole life insurance;

      ‘(3) the availability of commercial life insurance; and

      ‘(4) the relationship between Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance and Veterans’ Group Life Insurance.’.

SEC. 104. RENAMING OF SERVICEMEN’S GROUP LIFE INSURANCE PROGRAM.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The program of insurance operated by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs under subchapter III of chapter 19 of title 38, United States Code, is hereby redesignated as the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance program.

    (b) AMENDMENTS TO CHAPTER 19- (1) Sections 1967(a), (c), and (e), 1968(b), 1969(a)-(e), 1970(a), (f), and (g), 1971(b), 1973, 1974, and 1977(a), (d), (e), and (g) are amended by striking out ‘Servicemen’s Group’ each place it appears and inserting in lieu thereof ‘Servicemembers’ Group’.

    (2)(A) The heading of subchapter III of chapter 19 is amended to read as follows:

‘SUBCHAPTER III--SERVICEMEMBERS’ GROUP LIFE INSURANCE (FORMERLY SERVICEMEN’S GROUP LIFE INSURANCE)’.

    (B) The heading of section 1974 is amended to read as follows:

‘Sec. 1974. Advisory Council on Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (formerly Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance)’.

    (3) The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 19 is amended--

      (A) by striking out the item relating to subchapter III and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

‘SUBCHAPTER III--SERVICEMEMBERS’ GROUP LIFE INSURANCE (FORMERLY SERVICEMEN’S GROUP LIFE INSURANCE)’

      and

      (B) by striking out the item relating to section 1974 and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

      ‘1974. Advisory Council on Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (formerly Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance)’.

    (c) OTHER CONFORMING AMENDMENTS- (1) Section 1315(f)(1)(F) is amended by striking out ‘servicemen’s’ the first place it appears and inserting in lieu thereof ‘servicemembers’.

    (2) Sections 3017(a) and 3224(1) are amended by striking out ‘Servicemen’s’ each place it appears and inserting in lieu thereof ‘Servicemembers’.

SEC. 105. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    The Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance of any member of the Retired Reserve of a uniformed service in force on the date of the enactment of this Act shall be converted, effective 90 days after that date, to Veterans’ Group Life Insurance.

TITLE II--OTHER MATTERS

SEC. 201. ELIGIBILITY OF CERTAIN MINORS FOR BURIAL IN NATIONAL CEMETERIES.

    (a) ELIGIBILITY- Paragraph (5) of section 2402 is amended by adding at the end thereof the following: ‘For purposes of this paragraph, a ‘minor child’ is a child under 21 years of age, or under 23 years of age if pursuing a program of education at an educational institution, and those terms have the meaning as defined in sections 3452 (b) and (c) of this title.’.

    (b) CONFORMING AMENDMENT- Section 101(4)(A) is amended by striking out ‘chapter 19’ and inserting in lieu thereof ‘chapters 19 and 24’.

SEC. 202. PROGRAMS, PROJECTS, AND ACTIVITIES OF THE EDUCATION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

    (a) LOCATED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA- Chapter 77 is amended by inserting after section 7703 the following new section:

‘Sec. 7705. Management, policy, and operations functions associated with the educational assistance programs of the Education Service

    ‘The offices of Education Procedures Systems, Education Operations, and Education Policy and Program Administration, and any successor to any such office, of the Education Service of the Veterans Benefit Administration shall be in the District of Columbia.’.

    (b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 7703 the following new item:

      ‘7705. Management, policy, and operations functions associated with the educational assistance programs of the Education Service.’.

Passed the House of Representatives May 21, 1996.

Attest:

ROBIN H. CARLE,

Clerk.

By Linda Nave,

Deputy Clerk.