IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
November 30, 2021
Ms. Rosen (for herself and Mrs. Fischer) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs
To require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to establish a toll-free telephone helpline for veterans and other eligible individuals to use to obtain information about the benefits and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Veterans Assistance Helpline Act of 2021.
Telephone helpline for assistance for veterans and other eligible individuals
Establishment of helpline
The Secretary shall establish a toll-free telephone helpline that a covered individual may use to obtain information about, or through which a covered individual may be directed to, any service or benefit provided under a law administered by the Secretary, including any service provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs in the area in which the covered individual is located.
Contract for direction of calls authorized
The Secretary may, in coordination with the Commission, enter into a contract with an third-party to direct calls made to the toll-free helpline established under paragraph (1) to the appropriate person regarding a service or benefit described in that paragraph.
Live individual required
The Secretary, in coordination with the Commission, shall ensure that a covered individual using the telephone helpline established under paragraph (1) speaks with a live individual rather than a recording.
Study and report required
Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall, in coordination with the Commission—
complete a study to assess the feasibility and advisability of designating a covered dialing code for the purposes of reaching the toll-free telephone helpline established under subsection (a)(1); and
submit to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veteran's Affairs of the House of Representatives a report on the findings of the Commission with respect to the study completed under subparagraph (A).
In this section:
The term Commission means the Federal Communications Commission.
Covered dialing code
The term covered dialing code means a simple, easy-to-remember, 3-digit dialing code.
The term covered individual means—
an individual acting on behalf of a veteran; or
an individual, other than a veteran, who is eligible to receive a benefit or service under a law administered by the Secretary.
The term Secretary means the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
The term veteran has the meaning given the term in section 101 of title 38, United States Code.