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S. 2654 (113th): Veterans’ Credit Protection Act

The text of the bill below is as of Jul 24, 2014 (Introduced).

II

113th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2654

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 24, 2014

introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs

A BILL

To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct outreach to veterans regarding the effect of certain delayed payments by the Secretary, to require the Secretary to submit to Congress an annual report regarding such delayed payments, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Veterans’ Credit Protection Act .

2.

Outreach to veterans regarding effect of delayed payments by Veterans Integrated Service Networks

(a)

Outreach

(1)

In general

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall conduct outreach, including through national and local veterans service organizations, to inform veterans of how to resolve credit issues caused by a delayed payment.

(2)

Ability to report issues

The Secretary shall establish a toll-free telephone number for veterans to report credit issues described in paragraph (1) to the Veterans Integrated Service Networks of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

(b)

Annual report

(1)

In general

Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, and not less frequently than annually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the effectiveness of each Veterans Integrated Service Network in providing timely payment of a proper invoice by the required payment date during both the five-year period preceding the date of the report and the one-year period preceding such date.

(2)

Elements

Each report required by paragraph (1) shall include, for each period covered by the report, the following:

(A)

The number of veterans who contacted the Secretary regarding a delayed payment that negatively affected, or will potentially negatively affect, the credit of the veteran.

(B)

The total amount of interest penalties paid by the Secretary under section 3902 of title 31, United States Code, by reason of a delayed payment.

(C)

The number of proper invoices submitted, listed in a table for each quarter and fiscal year of each such period that includes the following:

(i)

The total amount owed by the Secretary under the proper invoices.

(ii)

The payment status of each proper invoice, as of the date of the report.

(iii)

The period that elapsed until each proper invoice was paid, including an explanation of any delayed payment.

(D)

Such comments made by medical providers regarding delayed payments to such medical providers that the Secretary has received and considers relevant.

(E)

An identification of the Veterans Integrated Service Network with the least number of delayed payments and the Veterans Integrated Service Network with the most number of delayed payments.

(F)

A description of the best practices that a Veterans Integrated Service Network can carry out to provide timely payment of a proper invoice, including a plan for underperforming Veterans Integrated Service Networks to improve such timely payments.

(c)

Comptroller General study

(1)

In general

The Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct a study that assesses the effectiveness of each Veterans Integrated Service Network in providing timely payment of a proper invoice by the required payment date.

(2)

Submittal

The Comptroller General shall submit to Congress a report on the study conducted under paragraph (1), including the total amount of interest penalties paid by the Secretary under section 3902 of title 31, United States Code, by reason of a delayed payment.

(d)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Delayed payment

The term delayed payment means a proper invoice that is not paid by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs until after the required payment date.

(2)

Proper invoice

The term proper invoice has the meaning given that term in section 3901(a) of title 31, United States Code.

(3)

Required payment date

The term required payment date means the date that payment is due for a contract pursuant to section 3903(a) of title 31, United States Code.

(4)

Veterans service organization

The term veterans service organization means an organization recognized by the Secretary for the representation of veterans under section 5902 of title 38, United States Code.