H.R. 5833 (112th): Veterans Burial Benefits Improvement Act of 2012

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of May 18, 2012 (Introduced).

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I

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5833

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 18, 2012

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

A BILL

To amend title 38, United States Code, to increase burial benefits for veterans, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Veterans Burial Benefits Improvement Act of 2012.

2.

Increase in burial benefits for veterans

(a)

Burial and funeral expenses

(1)

Section 2302(a) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by striking $300 and inserting $3,000 (as increased from time to time under section 5312(a) of this title).

(2)

Section 2303(a)(1)(A) of such title is amended by striking $700 and inserting $3,000.

(3)

Section 2307 of such title is amended by striking $2,000, and inserting $4,000 (as increased from time to time under section 5312(a) of this title),.

(b)

Plot allowance

Section 2303(b) of such title is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1), by striking $700 and inserting $800; and

(2)

in paragraph (2), by striking $700 the second place it appears and inserting $800.

(c)

Annual adjustment

Section 5312(a) of such title is amended by striking and each rate of monthly allowance paid under section 1805 of this title, and inserting each rate of monthly allowance paid under section 1805 of this title, each rate of burial and funeral expenses provided for under sections 2302(a) and 2307 of this title, and each rate of plot allowance provided for under section 2303(b) of this title,.

(d)

Effective date

(1)

Except as provided in paragraph (2), the amendments made by this section shall apply to deaths occurring on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(2)

No adjustments shall be made under section 5312(a) of title 38, United States Code, as amended by subsection (c), for fiscal year 2012 for rates of burial and funeral expenses provided for under sections 2302(a) and 2307 of title 38, United States Code.

3.

Restoration of veteran plot allowance eligibility and headstone or marker allowance

(a)

Restoration of plot allowance eligibility for veterans of any war

Section 2303(b) of title 38, United States Code, is amended—

(1)

in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking subsection (a) of this section and all that follows through and who and inserting the following: subsection (a), in the case of a veteran who is eligible for a burial allowance under such subsection or under section 2302 of this title, who was discharged from the active military, naval, or air service for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, or who is a veteran of any war and; and

(2)

in paragraph (2)—

(A)

by striking is eligible for a burial allowance under section 2302 of this title or under subsection (a) of this section, or was discharged from the active military, naval, or air service for a disability incurred or aggravated in line of duty, and such veteran; and

(B)

by striking clause (1) of this subsection and inserting paragraph (1).

(b)

Restoration of headstone or marker allowance

(1)

Allowance

Section 2306 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(h)

In lieu of furnishing a headstone or marker under subsection (a)(2) or (b), the Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, having due regard for the circumstances in each case, may reimburse the person entitled to request such headstone or marker for the cost of acquiring a non-Government headstone or marker for placement in any cemetery other than a national cemetery in connection with the burial or memorialization of the deceased individual.

.

(2)

Conforming amendment

Subsection (g) of such section is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(4)

Reimbursement may not be provided under subsection (h) for the cost of acquiring a non-Government headstone or marker in connection with the burial or memorialization of a person described in section 2411(b) of this title.

.

(3)

Clerical amendment

Subsection (a) of such section is amended by moving the margin of each of paragraphs (1) through (5) by two ems to the right.

(4)

Effective date

The amendments made by this subsection shall apply with respect to deaths occurring on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

4.

Expansion of burial benefits for veterans

(a)

Homeless veterans

(1)

In general

Chapter 23 of such title is amended by inserting after section 2302 the following new section:

2302A.

Funeral expenses for homeless veterans not serving during wartime

(a)

Payment of funeral expenses

The Secretary, in the Secretary’s discretion, having due regard to the circumstances in each case, may pay a sum not exceeding the amount authorized under section 2302(a) of this title to such person as the Secretary prescribes to cover the burial and funeral expenses of a deceased veteran described in subsection (b) and the expense of preparing the body and transporting it to the place of burial.

(b)

Homeless veteran

A deceased veteran described in this subsection is an individual—

(1)

whom the Secretary determines—

(A)

is a homeless veteran (as defined in section 2002(1) of this title);

(B)

has no next of kin or other person claiming the body of the deceased veteran; and

(C)

does not have available sufficient resources to cover burial and funeral expenses;

(2)

whose service in the Armed Forces was not during wartime; and

(3)

who was either—

(A)

discharged from the active military, naval, or air service under honorable conditions; or

(B)

died during a period deemed to be active military, naval, or air service under section 106(c) of this title.

(c)

Deductions

(1)

Except as provided in this subsection, no deduction shall be made from the burial allowance because of the veteran’s net assets at the time of the death of such veteran, or because of any contribution from any source toward the burial and funeral expenses (including transportation) unless the amount of expenses incurred is covered by the amount actually paid therefore by the United States, a State, any agency or political subdivision of the United States or of a State, or the employer of the deceased veteran.

(2)

No claim shall be allowed—

(A)

for more than the difference between the entire amount of the expenses incurred and an amount paid by the United States, a State, any agency or political subdivision of the United States or of a State, or the employer of the deceased veteran, as described in paragraph (1);

(B)

when the burial allowance would revert to the funds of a public or private organization or would discharge such an organization’s obligation without payment; or

(C)

in any case where payment of expenses of funeral, transportation, and interment for the veteran is made under any other Act.

.

(2)

Clerical amendment

The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 2302 the following new item:

2302A. Funeral expenses for homeless veterans not serving during wartime.

.

(b)

Effective date

The amendment made by subsection (a)(1) shall apply to deaths occurring on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.