H. R. 1530
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
March 10, 2023
Mr. Luttrell (for himself and Mr. Pappas) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs
To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the requirement to publish disability benefit questionnaire forms of Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.
Short title; table of contents
This Act may be cited as the
Veterans Benefits Improvement Act.
Improving requirement to publish disability benefit questionnaire forms of Department of Veterans Affairs
Section 5101(d) of title 38, United States Code, is amended—
in paragraph (1)(A), by inserting
, including (except as provided in paragraph (4)(A)) all disability benefit questionnaire forms available to personnel of the Veterans Health Administration and contracted personnel for the completion of compensation and pension examinations before the semicolon; and
by adding at the end the following new paragraph:
The Secretary may exclude from publication under clauses (i) and (ii) of paragraph (1)(A) any form described in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph that the Secretary determines could not reasonably be completed to a clinically acceptable standard by someone not an employee or a contractor of the Department.
A form described in this subparagraph is a form that—
was in effect after January 1, 2022; and
has not been published under paragraph (1).
For each form excluded under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall—
list the form on the same internet website as the forms published under paragraph (1)(A) with an indication that the form has been excluded; and
provide with such listing a justification for such exclusion.
Report on improving medical disability examinations for veterans who live abroad
Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, after consulting with the Secretary of State and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, shall submit to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives a report on the efforts of the Secretary to provide reimbursement for a veteran’s travel to a facility of the Department of Veterans Affairs or a facility of a Department-contracted provider, regardless of whether the facility is inside or outside the United States, when such travel is incident to a scheduled compensation and pension examination.
Department of Veterans Affairs requirement for communication by contractors providing covered medical disability examinations with persons appointed by a power of attorney for preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims
In each contract entered into by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs after the date of the enactment of this Act for the provision by a contractor of a covered medical disability examination, the Secretary shall include a requirement that every communication from a contractor to a claimant regarding the scheduling of a covered medical disability examination be contemporaneously transmitted to the person or organization appointed by a power of attorney executed under sections 5902, 5903, and 5904 of title 38, United States Code, for the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims.
In this section, the term covered medical disability examination means a medical examination that the Secretary determines necessary for the purposes of adjudicating a benefit under chapter 11 or 15 of title 38, United States Code.
Department of Veterans Affairs outreach regarding contact information for contractors providing covered medical disability examinations
Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall, in partnership with veterans service organizations and such other stakeholders as the Secretary considers relevant and appropriate, implement an informative outreach program for veterans regarding the following:
Contact information for contractors providing covered medical disability examinations, including the telephone numbers from which such contractors may contact veterans.
The requirement for veterans to provide personally identifiable information when contacted by such contractors in order to verify their identity.
Report on supporting governmental veterans service officers
Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act and after consulting veterans service organizations and such other stakeholders as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs considers relevant and appropriate, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives a report on improving the support by the Department of Veterans Affairs of governmental veterans service officers.
The report submitted under subsection (a) shall include the following:
An assessment of the feasibility, advisability, and current technical limitations of providing governmental veterans service officers enhanced access to certain Department systems to better serve veterans those governmental service officers may not have authorization to represent.
An assessment as to whether the Department would benefit from the establishment or designation of an office or working group within the Department to serve as an intergovernmental liaison between the Department and governmental veterans service officers.
Any other recommendations to improve how the Department monitors, coordinates with, or provides support to governmental veterans service officers.
In this section:
The term governmental veterans service officer means an employee of a State, county, municipal, or Tribal government—
who is recognized by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs as a representative of a veterans service organization to serve as a veterans service officer; and
whose primary responsibilities include preparing, presenting, and prosecuting benefit claims before the Department of Veterans Affairs.
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.