skip to main content

H.R. 797 (110th): Dr. James Allen Veteran Vision Equity Act of 2007

The text of the bill below is as of Nov 5, 2007 (Passed the Senate with an Amendment).


HR 797 EAS

In the Senate of the United States,

November 2, 2007.

Resolved, That the bill from the House of Representatives (H.R. 797) entitled `An Act to amend title 38, United States Code, to improve compensation benefits for veterans in certain cases of impairment of vision involving both eyes, to provide for the use of the National Directory of New Hires for income verification purposes, to extend the authority of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide an educational assistance allowance for qualifying work study activities, and to authorize the provision of bronze representations of the letter `V' for the graves of eligible individuals buried in private cemeteries in lieu of Government-provided headstones or markers.', do pass with the following

AMENDMENT:

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Blinded Veterans Paired Organ Act of 2007'.

TITLE I--LOW-VISION BENEFITS MATTERS

SEC. 101. MODIFICATION OF RATE OF VISUAL IMPAIRMENT FOR PAYMENT OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION.

    Section 1114(o) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by striking ` 5/200 ' and inserting ` 20/200 '.

SEC. 102. IMPROVEMENT IN COMPENSATION FOR VETERANS IN CERTAIN CASES OF IMPAIRMENT OF VISION INVOLVING BOTH EYES.

    Section 1160(a)(1) of title 38, United States Code, is amended--

      (1) by striking `blindness' both places it appears and inserting `impairment of vision'; and

      (2) by striking `misconduct;' and inserting `misconduct if--

        `(A) the impairment of vision in each eye is rated at a visual acuity of 20/200 or less; or

        `(B) the peripheral field of vision for each eye is 20 degrees or less;'.

SEC. 103. USE OF NATIONAL DIRECTORY OF NEW HIRES FOR INCOME VERIFICATION PURPOSES FOR CERTAIN VETERANS BENEFITS.

    (a) Use of Information in National Directory of New Hires- Chapter 53 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

`Sec. 5320. Use of National Directory of New Hires for income verification purposes

    `(a) Information From National Directory of New Hires- (1) The Secretary shall furnish to the Secretary of Health and Human Services information in the custody of the Secretary on individuals under the age of 65 who are applicants for or recipients of benefits or services specified in subsection (d) for comparison with information on such individuals in the National Directory of New Hires maintained by the Secretary of Health and Human Services pursuant to section 453 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 653). The Secretary shall furnish the information on a quarterly basis or at such other intervals as may be determined by the Secretary.

    `(2) The Secretary shall furnish information under paragraph (1) with respect to any individual only if doing so is essential to determine the individual's eligibility for benefits and services specified in subsection (d) or the amount of benefits specified in paragraphs (1), (2), and (4) of subsection (d), to which the individual is entitled.

    `(3)(A) The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall, in cooperation with the Secretary and in accordance with this subsection--

      `(i) compare information in the National Directory of New Hires with information furnished pursuant to paragraph (1); and

      `(ii) disclose information in that directory to the Secretary for the purposes specified in this subsection.

    `(B) The Secretary of Health and Human Services may make a disclosure in accordance with subparagraph (A) only to the extent that the Secretary of Health and Human Services determines that such disclosure does not interfere with the effective operation of the program under part D of title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 651 et seq.).

    `(4) The Secretary may use information resulting from a data match pursuant to this subsection only for the purpose of determining eligibility for benefits and services specified in subsection (d), and the amount of benefits specified in paragraphs (1), (2), and (4) of that subsection, for individuals under the age of 65.

    `(5) The Secretary shall reimburse the Secretary of Health and Human Services for the additional costs incurred by that Secretary in furnishing information under this subsection. Such reimbursement shall be at rates that the Secretary of Health and Human Services determines to be reasonable (and shall include payment for the costs of obtaining, verifying, maintaining, and comparing the information).

    `(b) Notification to Beneficiaries- The Secretary shall notify each applicant for, or recipient of, a benefit or service specified in subsection (d) that income information furnished by the applicant to the Secretary may be compared with information obtained by the Secretary from the Secretary of Health and Human Services under subsection (a). The Secretary shall periodically transmit to recipients of such benefits additional notices under this subsection.

    `(c) Independent Verification Required- The Secretary may terminate, deny, suspend, or reduce any benefit or service described in subsection (d) by reason of information obtained from the Secretary of Health and Human Services under subsection (a) only if the Secretary takes appropriate steps to verify independently information relating to employment and income from employment.

    `(d) Covered Benefits and Services- The benefits and services specified in this subsection are the following:

      `(1) Needs-based pension benefits provided under chapter 15 of this title or under any other law administered by the Secretary.

      `(2) Parents' dependency and indemnity compensation provided under section 1315 of this title.

      `(3) Health-care services furnished under subsections (a)(2)(G), (a)(3), and (b) of section 1710 of this title.

      `(4) Compensation paid under chapter 11 of this title at the 100 percent rate based solely on unemployability and without regard to the fact that the disability or disabilities are not rated as 100 percent disabling under the rating schedule.

    `(e) Opportunity To Contest Findings- The Secretary shall inform the individual of the findings made by the Secretary on the basis of verified information under subsection (c), and shall give the individual an opportunity to contest such findings in the same manner as applies to other information and findings relating to eligibility for the benefit or service involved.

    `(f) Source of Funds for Administration of Section- The Secretary shall pay the expenses of carrying out this section from amounts available to the Department for the payment of compensation and pensions.

    `(g) Termination of Authority- The authority of the Secretary to obtain information from the Secretary of Health and Human Services under subsection (a) expires on September 30, 2012.'.

    (b) Clerical Amendment- The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

      `5320. Use of National Directory of New Hires for income verification purposes.'.

    (c) Effective Date- Section 5320 of title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), shall take effect 270 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

TITLE II--BURIAL AND MEMORIAL AFFAIRS MATTERS

SEC. 201. PROVISION OF MEDALLION OR OTHER DEVICE FOR PRIVATELY PURCHASED GRAVE MARKERS.

    Section 2306(d) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

    `(5) The Secretary may, upon request, furnish in lieu of a headstone or marker authorized by this subsection a medallion or other device of a design determined by the Secretary to signify the deceased's status as a veteran to be affixed to a headstone or marker purchased at private expense.'.

SEC. 202. INCREASE IN ASSISTANCE FOR VETERANS INTERRED IN CEMETERIES OTHER THAN NATIONAL CEMETERIES.

    (a) Repeal of Time Limitation for State Filing for Reimbursement for Interment Costs-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The second sentence of section 3.1604(d)(2) of title 38, Code of Federal Regulations, shall have no further force or effect as it pertains to unclaimed remains of a deceased veteran.

      (2) RETROACTIVE APPLICATION- The provision of paragraph (1) shall take effect as of October 1, 2006.

    (b) Grants for Operation and Maintenance of State Veterans' Cemeteries-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Subsection (a) of section 2408 of title 38, United States Code, is amended--

        (A) by inserting `(1)' before `Subject to';

        (B) by designating the second sentence as paragraph (2) and indenting the margin of such paragraph, as so designated, two ems from the left margin; and

        (C) in paragraph (1), as designated by subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, by striking `assist such State in establishing, expanding, or improving veterans' cemeteries owned by such State.' and inserting `assist such State in the following:

      `(A) Establishing, expanding, or improving veterans' cemeteries owned by such State.

      `(B) Operating and maintaining such cemeteries.'.

      (2) LIMITATION ON AMOUNTS AWARDED- Subsection (e) of such section is amended--

        (A) by inserting `(1)' before `Amounts'; and

        (B) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

    `(2) In any fiscal year, the aggregate amount of grants awarded under this section for the purposes specified in subsection (a)(1)(B) may not exceed $5,000,000.'.

      (3) CONFORMING AMENDMENTS- (A) Subsection (b) of such section is amended--

        (i) by striking `Grants under this section' and inserting `Grants under this section for the purposes described in subsection (a)(1)(A)'; and

        (ii) by striking `a grant under this section' each place it appears and inserting `such a grant'.

      (B) Subsection (d) of such section is amended by inserting `, or in operating and maintaining a veterans' cemetery,' after `veterans' cemetery'.

      (C) Subsection (f)(1) of such section is amended by inserting `, or in operating and maintaining veterans' cemeteries,' after `veterans' cemeteries'.

      (4) REGULATIONS- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall prescribe regulations to carry out the amendments made by this subsection.

SEC. 203. MODIFICATION OF AUTHORITIES ON PROVISION OF GOVERNMENT HEADSTONES AND MARKERS FOR BURIALS OF VETERANS AT PRIVATE CEMETERIES.

    (a) Repeal of Expiration of Authority- Subsection (d) of section 2306 of title 38, United States Code, as amended by section 201 of this Act, is further amended--

      (1) by striking paragraph (3); and

      (2) by redesignating paragraphs (4) and (5) (as added by section 201) as paragraphs (3) and (4), respectively.

    (b) Retroactive Effective Date- Notwithstanding subsection (d) of section 502 of the Veterans Education and Benefits Expansion Act of 2001 (Public Law 107-103; 115 Stat. 995; 38 U.S.C. 2306 note), the amendments made to section 2306(d) of title 38, United States Code, by such section 502 and the amendments made by section 402 of the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-461), other than the amendment made by subsection (e) of such section 402, shall take effect as of November 1, 1990, and shall apply with respect to the graves of individuals who have died on or after that day.

Attest:

Secretary.

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 797

AMENDMENT