Williams-Sterling, Inc.
Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Cage #3YTG3
HomeAbout WSISupply and LogisticsPublic Law 108-183Executive Order 13360OMB-Presidential MOU2016 Supreme Court RulingAbout the WSFWilliams-Sterling Website Policies

CorporateLogo.JPG

Public Law 108-183

 

Public Law 108-183
108th Congress

An Act



To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve benefits under laws
administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and for other
purposes. <>

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled, <>

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

(a) Short <> Title.--This Act may be cited
as the ``Veterans Benefits Act of 2003''.

(b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. References to title 38, United States Code.

TITLE I--SURVIVOR BENEFITS

Sec. 101. Retention of certain veterans survivor benefits for surviving
spouses remarrying after age 57.
Sec. 102. Benefits for children with spina bifida of veterans of certain
service in Korea.
Sec. 103. Alternative beneficiaries for National Service Life Insurance
and United States Government Life Insurance.
Sec. 104. Payment of benefits accrued and unpaid at time of death.

TITLE II--BENEFITS FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR AND FOR FILIPINO VETERANS

Subtitle A--Former Prisoners of War

Sec. 201. Presumptions of service-connection relating to diseases and
disabilities of former prisoners of war.

Subtitle B--Filipino Veterans

Sec. 211. Rate of payment of benefits for certain Filipino veterans and
their survivors residing in the United States.
Sec. 212. Burial benefits for new Philippine Scouts residing in the
United States.
Sec. 213. Extension of authority to maintain regional office in the
Republic of the Philippines.

TITLE III--EDUCATION BENEFITS, EMPLOYMENT PROVISIONS, AND RELATED
MATTERS

Sec. 301. Expansion of Montgomery GI Bill education benefits for certain
self-employment training.
Sec. 302. Increase in rates of survivors' and dependents' educational
assistance.
Sec. 303. Restoration of survivors' and dependents' education benefits
of individuals being ordered to full-time National Guard
duty.
Sec. 304. Rounding down of certain cost-of-living adjustments on
educational assistance.
Sec. 305. Authorization for State approving agencies to approve certain
entrepreneurship courses.
Sec. 306. Repeal of provisions relating to obsolete education loan
program.
Sec. 307. Six-year extension of the Veterans' Advisory Committee on
Education.
Sec. 308. Procurement program for small business concerns owned and
controlled by service-disabled veterans.

[[Page 117 STAT. 2652]]

Sec. 309. Outstationing of Transition Assistance Program personnel.

TITLE IV--HOUSING BENEFITS AND RELATED MATTERS

Sec. 401. Authorization to provide adapted housing assistance to certain
disabled members of the Armed Forces who remain on active
duty.
Sec. 402. Increase in amounts for certain adaptive benefits for disabled
veterans.
Sec. 403. Permanent authority for housing loans for members of the
Selected Reserve.
Sec. 404. Reinstatement of minimum requirements for sale of vendee
loans.
Sec. 405. Adjustment to home loan fees.
Sec. 406. One-year extension of procedures on liquidation sales of
defaulted home loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans
Affairs.

TITLE V--BURIAL BENEFITS

Sec. 501. Burial plot allowance.
Sec. 502. Eligibility of surviving spouses who remarry for burial in
national cemeteries.
Sec. 503. Permanent authority for State cemetery grants program.

TITLE VI--EXPOSURE TO HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES

Sec. 601. Radiation Dose Reconstruction Program of Department of
Defense.
Sec. 602. Study on disposition of Air Force Health Study.
Sec. 603. Funding of Medical Follow-Up Agency of Institute of Medicine
of National Academy of Sciences for epidemiological research
on members of the Armed Forces and veterans.

TITLE VII--OTHER MATTERS

Sec. 701. Time limitations on receipt of claim information pursuant to
requests of Department of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 702. Clarification of applicability of prohibition on assignment of
veterans benefits to agreements requiring payment of future
receipt of benefits.
Sec. 703. Six-year extension of Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans.
Sec. 704. Temporary authority for performance of medical disabilities
examinations by contract physicians.
Sec. 705. Forfeiture of benefits for subversive activities.
Sec. 706. Two-year extension of round-down requirement for compensation
cost-of-living adjustments.
Sec. 707. Codification of requirement for expeditious treatment of cases
on remand.
Sec. 708. Technical and clerical amendments.

SEC. 2. REFERENCES TO TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE.

Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an
amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal
of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to
be made to a section or other provision of title 38, United States Code.

TITLE I--SURVIVOR BENEFITS

SEC. 101. RETENTION OF CERTAIN VETERANS SURVIVOR BENEFITS FOR SURVIVING
SPOUSES REMARRYING AFTER AGE 57.

(a) Exception to Termination of Benefits Upon Remarriage.--Section
103(d)(2)(B) <> is amended by striking ``The
remarriage after age 55'' and inserting ``The remarriage after age 57 of
the surviving spouse of a veteran shall not bar the furnishing of
benefits specified in paragraph (5) to such person as the surviving
spouse of the veteran. Notwithstanding the previous sentence, the
remarriage after age 55''.

(b) Coordination of Benefits.--Section 1311 is amended by adding at
the end the following new subsection:
``(e) In the case of an individual who is eligible for dependency
and indemnity compensation under this section by reason of section
103(d)(2)(B) of this title who is also eligible for benefits under
another provision of law by reason of such individual's status as

[[Page 117 STAT. 2653]]

the surviving spouse of a veteran, then, notwithstanding any other
provision of law (other than section 5304(b)(3) of this title), no
reduction in benefits under such other provision of law shall be made by
reason of such individual's eligibility for benefits under this
section.''.
(c) Effective <> Date.--The amendments made
by subsections (a) and (b) shall take effect on January 1, 2004.

(d) Retroactive <> Benefits Prohibited.--No
benefit may be paid to any person by reason of the amendments made by
subsections (a) and (b) for any period before the effective date
specified in subsection (c).

(e) Application <> for
Benefits.--In the case of an individual who but for having remarried
would be eligible for benefits under title 38, United States Code, by
reason of the amendment made by subsection (a) and whose remarriage was
before the date of the enactment of this Act and after the individual
had attained age 57, the individual shall be eligible for such benefits
by reason of such amendment only if the individual submits an
application for such benefits to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs not
later than the end of the one-year period beginning on the date of the
enactment of this Act.

(f) Technical Correction.--Section 101(b) of the Veterans Benefits
Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-330; 116 Stat. 2821; 38 U.S.C. 103 note) is
amended by striking ``during the 1-year period'' and all that follows
through ``(c)'' and inserting ``before the end of the one-year period
beginning on the date of the enactment of the Veterans Benefits Act of
2003''.

SEC. 102. BENEFITS FOR CHILDREN WITH SPINA BIFIDA OF VETERANS OF CERTAIN
SERVICE IN KOREA.

(a) In General.--Chapter 18 is amended--
(1) by redesignating subchapter III, and sections 1821,
1822, 1823, and 1824, as subchapter IV, and sections 1831, 1832,
1833, and 1834, respectively; and
(2) by inserting after subchapter II the following new
subchapter III:

``SUBCHAPTER III--CHILDREN OF CERTAIN KOREA SERVICE VETERANS BORN WITH
SPINA BIFIDA

``Sec. 1821. Benefits for children of certain Korea service veterans
born with spina bifida

``(a) Benefits Authorized.--The Secretary may provide to any child
of a veteran of covered service in Korea who is suffering from spina
bifida the health care, vocational training and rehabilitation, and
monetary allowance required to be paid to a child of a Vietnam veteran
who is suffering from spina bifida under subchapter I of this chapter as
if such child of a veteran of covered service in Korea were a child of a
Vietnam veteran who is suffering from spina bifida under such
subchapter.
``(b) Spina Bifida Conditions Covered.--This section applies with
respect to all forms and manifestations of spina bifida, except spina
bifida occulta.
``(c) Veteran of Covered Service in Korea.--For purposes of this
section, a veteran of covered service in Korea is any individual,
without regard to the characterization of that individual's service,
who--

[[Page 117 STAT. 2654]]

``(1) served in the active military, naval, or air service
in or near the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ), as determined by
the Secretary in consultation with the Secretary of Defense,
during the period beginning on September 1, 1967, and ending on
August 31, 1971; and
``(2) is determined by the Secretary, in consultation with
the Secretary of Defense, to have been exposed to a herbicide
agent during such service in or near the Korean demilitarized
zone.

``(d) Herbicide Agent.--For purposes of this section, the term
`herbicide agent' means a chemical in a herbicide used in support of
United States and allied military operations in or near the Korean
demilitarized zone, as determined by the Secretary in consultation with
the Secretary of Defense, during the period beginning on September 1,
1967, and ending on August 31, 1971.''.
(b) Child Defined.--Section 1831, as redesignated by subsection (a)
of this section, is amended by striking paragraph (1) and inserting the
following new paragraph (1):
``(1) The term `child' means the following:
``(A) For purposes of subchapters I and II of this
chapter, an individual, regardless of age or marital
status, who--
``(i) is the natural child of a Vietnam
veteran; and
``(ii) was conceived after the date on which
that veteran first entered the Republic of Vietnam
during the Vietnam era.
``(B) For purposes of subchapter III of this
chapter, an individual, regardless of age or marital
status, who--
``(i) is the natural child of a veteran of
covered service in Korea (as determined for
purposes of section 1821 of this title); and
``(ii) was conceived after the date on which
that veteran first entered service described in
subsection (c) of that section.''.


(c) Nonduplication of Benefits.--Subsection (a) of section 1834, as
redesignated by subsection (a) of this section, is amended by adding at
the end the following new sentence: ``In the case of a child eligible
for benefits under subchapter I or II of this chapter who is also
eligible for benefits under subchapter III of this chapter, a monetary
allowance shall be paid under the subchapter of this chapter elected by
the child.''.
(d) Conforming Amendments.--(1) Section 1811(1)(A) is amended by
striking ``section 1821(1)'' and inserting ``section 1831(1)''.
(2) The heading for chapter 18 is amended to read as follows:

``CHAPTER 18--BENEFITS FOR CHILDREN OF VIETNAM VETERANS AND CERTAIN
OTHER VETERANS''.

(e) Clerical Amendments.--(1) The table of sections at the beginning
of chapter 18 is amended by striking the items relating to subchapter
III and sections 1821, 1822, 1823, and 1824 and inserting the following
new items:

``SUBCHAPTER III--CHILDREN OF CERTAIN KOREA SERVICE VETERANS BORN WITH
SPINA BIFIDA

``1821. Benefits for children of certain Korea service veterans born
with spina bifida.

[[Page 117 STAT. 2655]]

``SUBCHAPTER IV--GENERAL PROVISIONS

``1831. Definitions.
``1832. Applicability of certain administrative provisions.
``1833. Treatment of receipt of monetary allowance and other benefits.
``1834. Nonduplication of benefits.''.

(2) The table of chapters at the beginning of title 38, United
States Code, and at the beginning of part II, are each amended by
striking the item relating to chapter 18 and inserting the following new
item:

``18. Benefits for Children of Vietnam Veterans and Certain Other
Veterans.........................................................1802''.

SEC. 103. ALTERNATIVE BENEFICIARIES FOR NATIONAL SERVICE LIFE INSURANCE
AND UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT LIFE INSURANCE.

(a) National Service Life Insurance.--Section 1917 is amended by
adding at the end the following new subsection:
``(f)(1) Following the death of the insured and in a case not
covered by subsection (d)--
``(A) if the first beneficiary otherwise entitled to payment
of the insurance does not make a claim for such payment within
two years after the death of the insured, payment may be made to
another beneficiary designated by the insured, in the order of
precedence as designated by the insured, as if the first
beneficiary had predeceased the insured; and
``(B) <> if, within four years after the
death of the insured, no claim has been filed by a person
designated by the insured as a beneficiary and the Secretary has
not received any notice in writing that any such claim will be
made, payment may (notwithstanding any other provision of law)
be made to such person as may in the judgment of the Secretary
be equitably entitled thereto.

``(2) Payment of insurance under paragraph (1) shall be a bar to
recovery by any other person.''.
(b) United States Government Life Insurance.--Section 1952 is
amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
``(c)(1) Following the death of the insured and in a case not
covered by section 1950 of this title--
``(A) if the first beneficiary otherwise entitled to payment
of the insurance does not make a claim for such payment within
two years after the death of the insured, payment may be made to
another beneficiary designated by the insured, in the order of
precedence as designated by the insured, as if the first
beneficiary had predeceased the insured; and
``(B) if, within four years after the death of the insured,
no claim has been filed by a person designated by the insured as
a beneficiary and the Secretary has not received any notice in
writing that any such claim will be made, payment may
(notwithstanding any other provision of law) be made to such
person as may in the judgment of the Secretary be equitably
entitled thereto.

``(2) Payment of insurance under paragraph (1) shall be a bar to
recovery by any other person.''.
(c) Effective <> Date.--The amendments made
by subsections (a) and (b) shall take effect on October 1, 2004.

(d) Transition <> Provision.--In the case
of a person insured under subchapter I or II of chapter 19 of title 38,
United States Code, who dies before the effective date of the amendments
made

[[Page 117 STAT. 2656]]

by subsections (a) and (b), as specified by subsection (c), the two-year
and four-year periods specified in subsection (f)(1) of section 1917 of
title 38, United States Code, as added by subsection (a), and subsection
(c)(1) of section 1952 of such title, as added by subsection (b), as
applicable, shall for purposes of the applicable subsection be treated
as being the two-year and four-year periods, respectively, beginning on
the effective date of such amendments, as so specified.

SEC. 104. PAYMENT OF BENEFITS ACCRUED AND UNPAID AT TIME OF DEATH.

(a) Repeal of Two-Year Limitation on Payment.--Section 5121(a) is
amended by striking ``for a period not to exceed two years'' in the
matter preceding paragraph (1).
(b) Payment Recipients for Beneficiaries Under Chapter 18.--Such
section is further amended--
(1) by striking ``and'' at the end of paragraph (4);
(2) by redesignating paragraph (5) as paragraph (6); and
(3) by inserting after paragraph (4) the following new
paragraph (5):
``(5) Upon the death of a child claiming benefits under
chapter 18 of this title, to the surviving parents.''.

(c) Technical Amendments.--Such section is further amended--
(1) in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking the
comma after ``or decisions'';
(2) by striking the semicolon at the end of paragraphs (1),
(2), (3), and (4), and at the end of subparagraphs (A) and (B)
of paragraph (2), and inserting a period.

(d) Effective <> Date.--The
amendments made by subsections (a) and (b) shall apply with respect to
deaths occurring on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

TITLE II--BENEFITS FOR FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR AND FOR FILIPINO VETERANS

Subtitle A--Former Prisoners of War

SEC. 201. PRESUMPTIONS OF SERVICE-CONNECTION RELATING TO DISEASES AND
DISABILITIES OF FORMER PRISONERS OF WAR.

Subsection (b) of section 1112 is amended to read as follows:
``(b)(1) For the purposes of section 1110 of this title and subject
to the provisions of section 1113 of this title, in the case of a
veteran who is a former prisoner of war--
``(A) a disease specified in paragraph (2) which became
manifest to a degree of 10 percent or more after active
military, naval, or air service shall be considered to have been
incurred in or aggravated by such service, notwithstanding that
there is no record of such disease during the period of service;
and
``(B) if the veteran was detained or interned as a prisoner
of war for not less than thirty days, a disease specified in
paragraph (3) which became manifest to a degree of 10 percent or
more after active military, naval, or air service shall be

[[Page 117 STAT. 2657]]

considered to have been incurred in or aggravated by such
service, notwithstanding that there is no record of such disease
during the period of service.

``(2) The diseases specified in this paragraph are the following:
``(A) Psychosis.
``(B) Any of the anxiety states.
``(C) Dysthymic disorder (or depressive neurosis).
``(D) Organic residuals of frostbite, if the Secretary
determines that the veteran was detained or interned in climatic
conditions consistent with the occurrence of frostbite.
``(E) Post-traumatic osteoarthritis.

``(3) The diseases specified in this paragraph are the following:
``(A) Avitaminosis.
``(B) Beriberi (including beriberi heart disease).
``(C) Chronic dysentery.
``(D) Helminthiasis.
``(E) Malnutrition (including optic atrophy associated with
malnutrition).
``(F) Pellagra.
``(G) Any other nutritional deficiency.
``(H) Cirrhosis of the liver.
``(I) Peripheral neuropathy except where directly related to
infectious causes.
``(J) Irritable bowel syndrome.
``(K) Peptic ulcer disease.''.

Subtitle B--Filipino Veterans

SEC. 211. RATE OF PAYMENT OF BENEFITS FOR CERTAIN FILIPINO VETERANS AND
THEIR SURVIVORS RESIDING IN THE UNITED STATES.

(a) Rate of Payment.--Section 107 is amended--
(1) in the second sentence of subsection (b), by striking
``Payments'' and inserting ``Except as provided in subsection
(c), payments''; and
(2) in subsection (c)--
(A) by inserting ``and subchapter II of chapter 13
(except section 1312(a)) of this title'' after ``chapter
11 of this title'';
(B) by striking ``in subsection (a)'' and inserting
``in subsection (a) or (b)''; and
(C) by striking ``of subsection (a)'' and inserting
``of the applicable subsection''.

(b) Effective <> Date.--The
amendments made by subsection (a) shall apply to benefits paid for
months beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 212. BURIAL BENEFITS FOR NEW PHILIPPINE SCOUTS RESIDING IN THE
UNITED STATES.

(a) Benefit Eligibility.--Section 107, as amended by section 211 of
this Act, is amended--
(1) in subsection (b)(2)--
(A) by striking ``and'' and inserting a comma; and
(B) by inserting ``, 23, and 24 (to the extent
provided for in section 2402(8))'' after ``(except
section 1312(a))'';

[[Page 117 STAT. 2658]]

(2) in the second sentence of subsection (b), as so amended,
by inserting ``or (d)'' after ``subsection (c)'';
(3) in subsection (d)(1), by inserting ``or (b), as
otherwise applicable,'' after ``subsection (a)''; and
(4) in subsection (d)(2), by inserting ``or whose service is
described in subsection (b) and who dies after the date of the
enactment of the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003,'' after
``November 1, 2000,''.

(b) National Cemetery Interment.--Section 2402(8) is amended by
striking ``section 107(a)'' and inserting ``subsection (a) or (b) of
section 107''.
(c) Effective <> Date.--The
amendments made by this section shall apply with respect to deaths
occurring on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 213. EXTENSION OF AUTHORITY TO MAINTAIN REGIONAL OFFICE IN THE
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES.

Section 315(b) is amended by striking ``December 31, 2003'' and
inserting ``December 31, 2009''.

TITLE III--EDUCATION BENEFITS, EMPLOYMENT PROVISIONS, AND RELATED
MATTERS

SEC. 301. EXPANSION OF MONTGOMERY GI BILL EDUCATION BENEFITS FOR CERTAIN
SELF-EMPLOYMENT TRAINING.

(a) Definition of Training Establishment.--Section 3452(e) is
amended by striking ``means any'' and all that follows and inserting
``means any of the following:
``(1) An establishment providing apprentice or other on-job
training, including those under the supervision of a college or
university or any State department of education.
``(2) An establishment providing self-employment on-job
training consisting of full-time training for a period of less
than six months that is needed or accepted for purposes of
obtaining licensure to engage in a self-employment occupation or
required for ownership and operation of a franchise that is the
objective of the training.
``(3) A State board of vocational education.
``(4) A Federal or State apprenticeship registration agency.
``(5) A joint apprenticeship committee established pursuant
to the Act of August 16, 1937, popularly known as the `National
Apprenticeship Act' (29 U.S.C. 50 et seq.).
``(6) An agency of the Federal Government authorized to
supervise such training.''.

(b) Effective <> Date.--The
amendment made by subsection (a) shall take effect on the date that is
six months after the date of the enactment of this Act and shall apply
to self-employment on-job training approved and pursued on or after that
date.

SEC. 302. INCREASE IN RATES OF SURVIVORS' AND DEPENDENTS' EDUCATIONAL
ASSISTANCE.

(a) Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance.--Section 3532
is amended--
(1) in subsection (a)--

[[Page 117 STAT. 2659]]

(A) in paragraph (1), by striking ``at the monthly
rate of'' and all that follows and inserting ``at the
monthly rate of $788 for full-time, $592 for three-
quarter-time, or $394 for half-time pursuit.''; and
(B) in paragraph (2), by striking ``at the rate of''
and all that follows and inserting ``at the rate of the
lesser of--
``(A) the established charges for tuition and fees that the
educational institution involved requires similarly
circumstanced nonveterans enrolled in the same program to pay;
or
``(B) $788 per month for a full-time course.'';
(2) in subsection (b), by striking ``$670'' and inserting
``$788''; and
(3) in subsection (c)(2), by striking ``shall be'' and all
that follows and inserting ``shall be $636 for full-time, $477
for three-quarter-time, or $319 for half-time pursuit.''.

(b) Correspondence Courses.--Section 3534(b) is amended by striking
``$670'' and inserting ``$788''.
(c) Special Restorative Training.--Section 3542(a) is amended--
(1) by striking ``$670'' and inserting ``$788''; and
(2) by striking ``$210'' each place it appears and inserting
``$247''.

(d) Apprenticeship Training.--Section 3687(b)(2) is amended by
striking ``shall be $488 for the first six months'' and all that follows
and inserting ``shall be $574 for the first six months, $429 for the
second six months, $285 for the third six months, and $144 for the
fourth and any succeeding six-month period of training.''.
(e) Effective <> Date.--The
amendments made by this section shall take effect on July 1, 2004, and
shall apply with respect to educational assistance allowances payable
under chapter 35 and section 3687(b)(2) of title 38, United States Code,
for months beginning on or after that date.

SEC. 303. RESTORATION OF SURVIVORS' AND DEPENDENTS' EDUCATION BENEFITS
OF INDIVIDUALS BEING ORDERED TO FULL-TIME NATIONAL GUARD
DUTY.

(a) Delimiting Date.--Section 3512(h) is amended by inserting ``or
is involuntarily ordered to full-time National Guard duty under section
502(f) of title 32,'' after ``title 10,''.
(b) Effective <> Date.--The amendment made
by subsection (a) shall take effect as of September 11, 2001.

SEC. 304. ROUNDING DOWN OF CERTAIN COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTS ON
EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE.

(a) Basic Educational Assistance Under Montgomery GI Bill.--Section
3015(h) is amended--
(1) by redesignating paragraphs (1) and (2) as subparagraphs
(A) and (B), respectively;
(2) by inserting ``(1)'' after ``(h)'';
(3) by striking ``(rounded to the nearest dollar)'';
(4) in subparagraph (B), as so redesignated, by striking
``paragraph (1)'' and inserting ``subparagraph (A)''; and
(5) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

``(2) Any increase under paragraph (1) in a rate with respect to a
fiscal year after fiscal year 2004 and before fiscal year 2014

[[Page 117 STAT. 2660]]

shall be rounded down to the next lower whole dollar amount. Any such
increase with respect to a fiscal year after fiscal year 2013 shall be
rounded to the nearest whole dollar amount.''.
(b) Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance.--Section 3564
is amended--
(1) by inserting ``(a)'' before ``With'';
(2) by striking ``(rounded to the nearest dollar)''; and
(3) by adding at the end the following new subsection:

``(b) Any increase under subsection (a) in a rate with respect to a
fiscal year after fiscal year 2004 and before fiscal year 2014 shall be
rounded down to the next lower whole dollar amount. Any such increase
with respect to a fiscal year after fiscal year 2013 shall be rounded to
the nearest whole dollar amount.''.

SEC. 305. AUTHORIZATION FOR STATE APPROVING AGENCIES TO APPROVE CERTAIN
ENTREPRENEURSHIP COURSES.

(a) Approval of Entrepreneurship Courses.--Section 3675 is amended
by adding at the end the following new subsection:
``(c)(1) A State approving agency may approve the entrepreneurship
courses offered by a qualified provider of entrepreneurship courses.
``(2) For purposes of this subsection, the term `entrepreneurship
course' means a non-degree, non-credit course of business education that
enables or assists a person to start or enhance a small business concern
(as defined pursuant to section 3(a) of the Small Business Act (15
U.S.C. 632(a))).
``(3) Subsection (a) and paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (b)
shall not apply to--
``(A) an entrepreneurship course offered by a qualified
provider of entrepreneurship courses; and
``(B) a qualified provider of entrepreneurship courses by
reason of such provider offering one or more entrepreneurship
courses.''.
(b) Business Owners Not Treated as Already Qualified.--Section 3471
is amended by inserting before the last sentence the following: ``The
Secretary shall not treat a person as already qualified for the
objective of a program of education offered by a qualified provider of
entrepreneurship courses solely because such person is the owner or
operator of a business.''.
(c) Inclusion of Entrepreneurship Courses in Definition of Program
of Education.--Subsection (b) of section 3452 is amended by adding at
the end the following: ``Such term also includes any course, or
combination of courses, offered by a qualified provider of
entrepreneurship courses.''.
(d) Inclusion of Qualified Provider of Entrepreneurship Courses in
Definition of Educational Institution.--Subsection (c) of section 3452
is amended by adding at the end the following: ``Such term also includes
any qualified provider of entrepreneurship courses.''.
(e) Definition of Qualified Provider of Entrepreneurship Courses.--
Section 3452 is further amended by adding at the end the following new
subsection:
``(h) The term `qualified provider of entrepreneurship courses'
means any of the following entities insofar as such entity offers,
sponsors, or cosponsors an entrepreneurship course (as defined in
section 3675(c)(2) of this title):
[[Page 117 STAT. 2661]]

``(1) Any small business development center described in
section 21 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 648).
``(2) The National Veterans Business Development Corporation
(established under section 33 of the Small Business Act (15
U.S.C. 657c)).''.

(f) Effective <> Date.--The
amendments made by this section shall apply to courses approved by State
approving agencies after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 306. REPEAL OF PROVISIONS RELATING TO OBSOLETE EDUCATION LOAN
PROGRAM.

(a) Termination <> of Program.--The
Secretary of Veterans Affairs may not make a loan under subchapter III
of chapter 36 of title 38, United States Code, after the date of the
enactment of this Act.

(b) Discharge <> of
Liabilities.--Effective as of the date of the transfer of funds under
subsection (c)--
(1) any liability on an education loan under subchapter III
of chapter 36 of title 38, United States Code, that is
outstanding as of such date shall be deemed discharged; and
(2) the right of the United States to recover an overpayment
declared under section 3698(e)(1) of such title that is
outstanding as of such date shall be deemed waived.

(c) Termination of Loan Fund.--(1) Effective as of the day before
the date of the repeal under this section of subchapter III of chapter
36 of title 38, United States Code, all monies in the revolving fund of
the Treasury known as the ``Department of Veterans Affairs Education
Loan Fund'' shall be transferred to the Department of Veterans Affairs
Readjustment Benefits Account, and the revolving fund shall be closed.
(2) Any monies transferred to the Department of Veterans Affairs
Readjustment Benefits Account under paragraph (1) shall be merged with
amounts in that account and shall be available for the same purposes,
and subject to the same conditions and limitations, as amounts in that
account.
(d) Use of Entitlement to Veterans Educational Assistance for
Education Loan Program.--Section 3462(a) is amended by striking
paragraph (2).
(e) Repeal of <> Education Loan Program.--
Subchapter III of chapter 36 is repealed.

(f) Conforming Amendments.--(1) Section 3485(e)(1) is amended by
striking ``(other than an education loan under subchapter III)''.
(2) Section 3512 is amended by striking subsection (f).
(g) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of
chapter 36 is amended by striking the items relating to subchapter III
and sections 3698 and 3699.
(h) Effective <> Dates.--(1) The amendments
made by subsection (d) shall take effect on the date of the enactment of
this Act.

(2) <> The amendments made by subsections
(e), (f), and (g) shall take effect 90 days after the date of the
enactment of this Act.

[[Page 117 STAT. 2661]]

``(1) Any small business development center described in
section 21 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 648).
``(2) The National Veterans Business Development Corporation
(established under section 33 of the Small Business Act (15
U.S.C. 657c)).''.

(f) Effective <> Date.--The
amendments made by this section shall apply to courses approved by State
approving agencies after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 307. SIX-YEAR EXTENSION OF THE VETERANS' ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON
EDUCATION.

(a) Membership.--Subsection (a) of section 3692 is amended in the
second sentence by inserting ``, to the maximum extent practicable,''
after ``The committee shall also''.

[[Page 117 STAT. 2662]]

(b) Extension.--Subsection (c) of that section is amended by
striking ``December 31, 2003'' and inserting ``December 31, 2009''.
(c) Technical Amendments.--That section is further amended--
(1) in subsections (a) and (b), by striking ``chapter 106''
each place it appears and inserting ``chapter 1606''; and
(2) in subsection (b), by striking ``chapter 30'' and
inserting ``chapters 30''.

SEC. 308. PROCUREMENT PROGRAM FOR SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS OWNED AND
CONTROLLED BY SERVICE-DISABLED VETERANS.

The Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 631 et seq.) is amended by
redesignating section 36 <> as section 37 and
by inserting after section 35 the following new section:

``SEC. 36. <> PROCUREMENT PROGRAM FOR SMALL BUSINESS
CONCERNS OWNED AND CONTROLLED BY SERVICE-DISABLED VETERANS.

``(a) Sole Source Contracts.--In accordance with this section, a
contracting officer may award a sole source contract to any small
business concern owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans if--
``(1) such concern is determined to be a responsible
contractor with respect to performance of such contract
opportunity and the contracting officer does not have a
reasonable expectation that 2 or more small business concerns
owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans will submit
offers for the contracting opportunity;
``(2) the anticipated award price of the contract (including
options) will not exceed--
``(A) $5,000,000, in the case of a contract
opportunity assigned a standard industrial
classification code for manufacturing; or
``(B) $3,000,000, in the case of any other contract
opportunity; and
``(3) in the estimation of the contracting officer, the
contract award can be made at a fair and reasonable price.

``(b) Restricted Competition.--In accordance with this section, a
contracting officer may award contracts on the basis of competition
restricted to small business concerns owned and controlled by service-
disabled veterans if the contracting officer has a reasonable
expectation that not less than 2 small business concerns owned and
controlled by service-disabled veterans will submit offers and that the
award can be made at a fair market price.
``(c) Relationship to Other Contracting Preferences.--A procurement
may not be made from a source on the basis of a preference provided
under subsection (a) or (b) if the procurement would otherwise be made
from a different source under section 4124 or 4125 of title 18, United
States Code, or the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act (41 U.S.C. 46 et seq.).
``(d) Enforcement; <> Penalties.--Rules
similar to the rules of paragraphs (5) and (6) of section 8(m) shall
apply for purposes of this section.

``(e) Contracting Officer.--For purposes of this section, the term
`contracting officer' has the meaning given such term in section
27(f)(5) of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C.
423(f)(5)).''.

[[Page 117 STAT. 2663]]

SEC. 309. OUTSTATIONING OF TRANSITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM PERSONNEL.

(a) In General.--(1) Chapter 41 is amended by adding at the end the
following new section:

``Sec. 4113. Outstationing of Transition Assistance Program personnel

``(a) Stationing of TAP Personnel at Overseas Military
Installations.--(1) The Secretary--
``(A) shall station employees of the Veterans' Employment
and Training Service, or contractors under subsection (c), at
each veterans assistance office described in paragraph (2); and
``(B) may station such employees or contractors at such
other military installations outside the United States as the
Secretary, after consultation with the Secretary of Defense,
determines to be appropriate or desirable to carry out the
purposes of this chapter.

``(2) Veterans assistance offices referred to in paragraph (1)(A)
are those offices that are established by the Secretary of Veterans
Affairs on military installations pursuant to the second sentence of
section 7723(a) of this title.
``(b) Functions.--Employees (or contractors) stationed at military
installations pursuant to subsection (a) shall provide, in person,
counseling, assistance in identifying employment and training
opportunities, help in obtaining such employment and training, and other
related information and services to members of the Armed Forces who are
being separated from active duty, and the spouses of such members, under
the Transition Assistance Program and Disabled Transition Assistance
Program established in section 1144 of title 10.
``(c) Authority To Contract With Private Entities.--The Secretary,
consistent with section 1144 of title 10, may enter into contracts with
public or private entities to provide, in person, some or all of the
counseling, assistance, information and services under the Transition
Assistance Program required under subsection (a).''.
(2) The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is
amended by adding at the end the following new item:

``4113. Outstationing of Transition Assistance Program personnel.''.

(b) Deadline <> for Implementation.--Not
later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the
Secretary of Labor shall implement section 4113 of title 38, United
States Code, as added by subsection (a), and shall have employees of the
Veterans' Employment and Training Service, or contractors, to carry out
that section at the military installations involved by such date.

(c) Additional Amendment.--(1) The second sentence of section
7723(a) is amended by inserting ``and taking into account
recommendations, if any, of the Secretary of Labor'' after ``Secretary
of Defense''.
(2) The <> amendment made by
paragraph (1) shall apply with respect to offices established after the
date of the enactment of this Act.

[[Page 117 STAT. 2664]]

TITLE IV--HOUSING BENEFITS AND RELATED MATTERS

SEC. 401. AUTHORIZATION TO PROVIDE ADAPTED HOUSING ASSISTANCE TO CERTAIN
DISABLED MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES WHO REMAIN ON ACTIVE
DUTY.

Section 2101 is amended by adding at the end the following new
subsection:
``(c)(1) The Secretary may provide assistance under subsection (a)
to a member of the Armed Forces serving on active duty who is suffering
from a disability described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of that
subsection if such disability is the result of an injury incurred or
disease contracted in or aggravated in line of duty in the active
military, naval, or air service. Such assistance shall be provided to
the same extent as assistance is provided under that subsection to
veterans eligible for assistance under that subsection and subject to
the requirements of the second sentence of that subsection.
``(2) The Secretary may provide assistance under subsection (b) to a
member of the Armed Forces serving on active duty who is suffering from
a disability described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) of
that subsection if such disability is the result of an injury incurred
or disease contracted in or aggravated in line of duty in the active
military, naval, or air service. Such assistance shall be provided to
the same extent as assistance is provided under that subsection to
veterans eligible for assistance under that subsection and subject to
the requirements of paragraph (2) of that subsection.''.

SEC. 402. INCREASE IN AMOUNTS FOR CERTAIN ADAPTIVE BENEFITS FOR DISABLED
VETERANS.

(a) Increase in Assistance Amount for Specially Adapted Housing.--
Section 2102 is amended--
(1) in the matter preceding paragraph (1) of subsection (a),
by striking ``$48,000'' and inserting ``$50,000''; and
(2) in subsection (b)(2), by striking ``$9,250'' and
inserting ``$10,000''.

(b) Increase in Amount of Assistance for Automobile and Adaptive
Equipment for Certain Disabled Veterans.--Section 3902(a) is amended by
striking ``$9,000'' and inserting ``$11,000''.
(c) Effective <> Date.--The
amendments made by subsections (a) and (b) shall apply with respect to
assistance furnished on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 403. PERMANENT AUTHORITY FOR HOUSING LOANS FOR MEMBERS OF THE
SELECTED RESERVE.

Section 3702(a)(2)(E) is amended by striking ``For the period'' and
all that follows through ``each'' and inserting ``Each''.

SEC. 404. REINSTATEMENT OF MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR SALE OF VENDEE
LOANS.

(a) Reinstatement.--Subsection (a) of section 3733 is amended by
adding at the end the following new paragraph:
``(7) During the period that begins on the date of the enactment of
the Veterans' Benefits Act of 2003 and ends on September 30,

[[Page 117 STAT. 2665]]

2013, the Secretary shall carry out the provisions of this subsection as
if--
``(A) the references in the first sentence of paragraph (1)
to `65 percent' and `may be financed' were references to `85
percent' and `shall be financed', respectively;
``(B) the second sentence of paragraph (1) were repealed;
and
``(C) the reference in paragraph (2) to `September 30,
1990,' were a reference to `September 30, 2013,'.''.

(b) Stylistic Amendments.--Such section is further amended--
(1) by striking ``of this subsection'' after--
(A) ``paragraph (1)'' in subsections (a)(4)(A),
(a)(5), (a)(6), and (c)(2); and
(B) ``paragraph (5)'' in subsection (a)(4)(B)(i);
and
(2) by striking ``of this paragraph'' each place it appears
in subsection (a)(4).

SEC. 405. <> ADJUSTMENT TO HOME LOAN FEES.

Effective January 1, 2004, paragraph (2) of section 3729(b) is
amended to read as follows:
``(2) The loan fee table referred to in paragraph (1) is as follows:

``LOAN FEE TABLE
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Active duty Other
Type of loan veteran Reservist obligor
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(A)(i) Initial loan described 2.00 2.75 NA
in section 3710(a) to
purchase or construct a
dwelling with 0-down, or any
other initial loan described
in section 3710(a) other than
with 5-down or 10-down
(closed before January 1,
2004)........................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(A)(ii) Initial loan described 2.20 2.40 NA
in section 3710(a) to
purchase or construct a
dwelling with 0-down, or any
other initial loan described
in section 3710(a) other than
with 5-down or 10-down
(closed on or after January
1, 2004, and before October
1, 2004).....................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(A)(iii) Initial loan 2.15 2.40 NA
described in section 3710(a)
to purchase or construct a
dwelling with 0-down, or any
other initial loan described
in section 3710(a) other than
with 5-down or 10-down
(closed on or after October
1, 2004, and before October
1, 2011).....................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(A)(iv) Initial loan described 1.40 1.65 NA
in section 3710(a) to
purchase or construct a
dwelling with 0-down, or any
other initial loan described
in section 3710(a) other than
with 5-down or 10-down
(closed on or after October
1, 2011).....................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(B)(i) Subsequent loan 3.00 3.00 NA
described in section 3710(a)
to purchase or construct a
dwelling with 0-down, or any
other subsequent loan
described in section 3710(a)
(closed before January 1,
2004)........................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(B)(ii) Subsequent loan 3.30 3.30 NA
described in section 3710(a)
to purchase or construct a
dwelling with 0-down, or any
other subsequent loan
described in section 3710(a)
(closed on or after January
1, 2004, and before October
1, 2011).....................
------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 117 STAT. 2666]]


(B)(iii) Subsequent loan 2.15 2.15 NA
described in section 3710(a)
to purchase or construct a
dwelling with 0-down, or any
other subsequent loan
described in section 3710(a)
(closed on or after October
1, 2011 and before October 1,
2013)........................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(B)(iv) Subsequent loan 1.25 1.25 NA
described in section 3710(a)
to purchase or construct a
dwelling with 0-down, or any
other subsequent loan
described in section 3710(a)
(closed on or after October
1, 2013).....................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(C)(i) Loan described in 1.50 1.75 NA
section 3710(a) to purchase
or construct a dwelling with
5-down (closed before October
1, 2011).....................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(C)(ii) Loan described in 0.75 1.00 NA
section 3710(a) to purchase
or construct a dwelling with
5-down (closed on or after
October 1, 2011).............
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(D)(i) Initial loan described 1.25 1.50 NA
in section 3710(a) to
purchase or construct a
dwelling with 10-down (closed
before October 1, 2011)......
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(D)(ii) Initial loan described 0.50 0.75 NA
in section 3710(a) to
purchase or construct a
dwelling with 10-down (closed
on or after October 1, 2011).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(E) Interest rate reduction 0.50 0.50 NA
refinancing loan.............
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(F) Direct loan under section 1.00 1.00 NA
3711.........................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(G) Manufactured home loan 1.00 1.00 NA
under section 3712 (other
than an interest rate
reduction refinancing loan)..
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(H) Loan to Native American 1.25 1.25 NA
veteran under section 3762
(other than an interest rate
reduction refinancing loan)..
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(I) Loan assumption under 0.50 0.50 0.50
section 3714.................
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(J) Loan under section 3733(a) 2.25 2.25 2.25''.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


SEC. 406. ONE-YEAR EXTENSION OF PROCEDURES ON LIQUIDATION SALES OF
DEFAULTED HOME LOANS GUARANTEED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF
VETERANS AFFAIRS.

Section 3732(c)(11) is amended by striking ``October 1, 2011'' and
inserting ``October 1, 2012''.

TITLE V--BURIAL BENEFITS

SEC. 501. BURIAL PLOT ALLOWANCE.

(a) In General.--Section 2303(b) is amended--
(1) in the matter preceding paragraph (1), by striking ``a
burial allowance under such section 2302, or under such
subsection, who was discharged from the active military, naval,
or air service for a disability incurred or aggravated in line
of duty, or who is a veteran of any war'' and inserting ``burial
in a national cemetery under section 2402 of this title''; and
(2) in paragraph (2), by striking ``(other than a veteran
whose eligibility for benefits under this subsection is based

[[Page 117 STAT. 2667]]

on being a veteran of any war)'' and inserting ``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''.

(b) Conforming Amendment.--Section 2307 is amended in the last
sentence by striking ``and (b)'' and inserting ``and (b)(2)''.

SEC. 502. ELIGIBILITY OF SURVIVING SPOUSES WHO REMARRY FOR BURIAL IN
NATIONAL CEMETERIES.

(a) Eligibility.--Section 2402(5) is amended by striking ``(which
for purposes of this chapter includes an unremarried surviving spouse
who had a subsequent remarriage which was terminated by death or
divorce)'' and inserting ``(which for purposes of this chapter includes
a surviving spouse who had a subsequent remarriage)''.
(b) Effective <> Date.--The
amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply with respect to deaths
occurring on or after January 1, 2000.

SEC. 503. PERMANENT AUTHORITY FOR STATE CEMETERY GRANTS PROGRAM.

(a) Permanent Authority.--Subsection (a) of section 2408 is
amended--
(1) by striking ``(1)''; and
(2) by striking paragraph (2).

(b) Conforming Amendment.--Subsection (e) of such section is amended
by striking ``Sums appropriated under subsection (a) of this section''
and inserting ``Amounts appropriated to carry out this section''.
(c) Technical Amendment To Repeal Obsolete Provision.--Subsection
(d)(1) of such section is amended by striking ``on or after November 21,
1997,''.

TITLE VI--EXPOSURE TO HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES

SEC. 601. <> RADIATION DOSE RECONSTRUCTION
PROGRAM OF DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE.

(a) Review of Mission, Procedures, and Administration.--(1) The
Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Secretary of Defense shall jointly
conduct a review of the mission, procedures, and administration of the
Radiation Dose Reconstruction Program of the Department of Defense.
(2) In conducting the review under paragraph (1), the Secretaries
shall--
(A) determine whether any additional actions are required to
ensure that the quality assurance and quality control mechanisms
of the Radiation Dose Reconstruction Program are adequate and
sufficient for purposes of the program; and
(B) determine the actions that are required to ensure that
the mechanisms of the Radiation Dose Reconstruction Program for
communication and interaction with veterans are adequate and
sufficient for purposes of the program, including mechanisms to
permit veterans to review the assumptions utilized in their dose
reconstructions.

[[Page 117 STAT. 2668]]

(3) <> Not later than 90 days after the
date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretaries shall jointly submit
to Congress a report on the review under paragraph (1). The report shall
set forth--
(A) the results of the review;
(B) a plan for any actions determined to be required under
paragraph (2); and
(C) such other recommendations for the improvement of the
mission, procedures, and administration of the Radiation Dose
Reconstruction Program as the Secretaries jointly consider
appropriate.

(b) On-Going Review and Oversight.--The Secretaries shall jointly
take appropriate actions to ensure the on-going independent review and
oversight of the Radiation Dose Reconstruction Program, including the
establishment of the advisory board required by subsection (c).
(c) Advisory <> Board.--(1) In taking actions
under subsection (b), the Secretaries shall jointly appoint an advisory
board to provide review and oversight of the Radiation Dose
Reconstruction Program.

(2) The advisory board under paragraph (1) shall be composed of the
following:
(A) At least one expert in historical dose reconstruction of
the type conducted under the Radiation Dose Reconstruction
Program.
(B) At least one expert in radiation health matters.
(C) At least one expert in risk communications matters.
(D) A representative of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
(E) A representative of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
(F) At least three veterans, including at least one veteran
who is a member of an atomic veterans group.

(3) The advisory board under paragraph (1) shall--
(A) conduct periodic, random audits of dose reconstructions
under the Radiation Dose Reconstruction Program and of decisions
by the Department of Veterans Affairs on claims for service
connection of radiogenic diseases;
(B) assist the Department of Veterans Affairs and the
Defense Threat Reduction Agency in communicating to veterans
information on the mission, procedures, and evidentiary
requirements of the Radiation Dose Reconstruction Program; and
(C) carry out such other activities with respect to the
review and oversight of the Radiation Dose Reconstruction
Program as the Secretaries shall jointly specify.

(4) The advisory board under paragraph (1) may make such
recommendations on modifications in the mission or procedures of the
Radiation Dose Reconstruction Program as the advisory board considers
appropriate as a result of the audits conducted under paragraph (3)(A).

SEC. 602. STUDY ON DISPOSITION OF AIR FORCE HEALTH STUDY.

(a) Study Required.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall, in
accordance with this section, carry out a study to determine the
appropriate disposition of the Air Force Health Study, an epidemiologic
study of Air Force personnel who were responsible for conducting aerial
spray missions of herbicides during the Vietnam era.

[[Page 117 STAT. 2669]]

(b) Study <> Through National Academy of
Sciences.--Not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of
this Act, the Secretary shall seek to enter into an agreement with the
National Academy of Sciences, or another appropriate scientific
organization, to carry out the study required by subsection (a).

(c) Elements.--Under the study under subsection (a), the National
Academy of Sciences, or other appropriate scientific organization, shall
address the following:
(1) The scientific merit of retaining and maintaining the
medical records, other study data, and laboratory specimens
collected in the course of the Air Force Health Study after the
currently-scheduled termination date of the study in 2006.
(2) Whether or not any obstacles exist to retaining and
maintaining the medical records, other study data, and
laboratory specimens referred to in paragraph (1), including
privacy concerns.
(3) The advisability of providing independent oversight of
the medical records, other study data, and laboratory specimens
referred to in paragraph (1), and of any further study of such
records, data, and specimens, and, if so, the mechanism for
providing such oversight.
(4) The advisability of extending the Air Force Health
Study, including the potential value and relevance of extending
the study, the potential cost of extending the study, and the
Federal or non-Federal entity best suited to continue the study
if extended.
(5) The advisability of making the laboratory specimens of
the Air Force Health Study available for independent research,
including the potential value and relevance of such research,
and the potential cost of such research.

(d) Report.--Not <> later than 120 days after
entering into an agreement under subsection (b), the National Academy of
Sciences, or other appropriate scientific organization, shall submit to
the Secretary and Congress a report on the results of the study under
subsection (a). The report shall include the results of the study,
including the matters addressed under subsection (c), and such other
recommendations as the Academy, or other appropriate scientific
organization, considers appropriate as a result of the study.

SEC. 603. FUNDING OF MEDICAL FOLLOW-UP AGENCY OF INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE
OF NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES FOR EPIDEMIOLOGICAL RESEARCH
ON MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AND VETERANS.

(a) Funding.--(1) The Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the
Secretary of Defense shall each make available to the National Academy
of Sciences in each of fiscal years 2004 through 2013 the amount of
$250,000 for the Medical Follow-Up Agency of the Institute of Medicine
of the Academy for purposes of epidemiological research on members of
the Armed Forces and veterans.
(2) The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall make available amounts
under paragraph (1) for a fiscal year from amounts available for the
Department of Veterans Affairs for that fiscal year.
(3) The Secretary of Defense shall make available amounts under
paragraph (1) for a fiscal year from amounts available for the
Department of Defense for that fiscal year.

[[Page 117 STAT. 2670]]

(b) Use of Funds.--The Medical Follow-Up Agency shall use funds made
available under subsection (a) for epidemiological research on members
of the Armed Forces and veterans.
(c) Supplement Not Supplant.--Amounts made available to the Medical
Follow-Up Agency under this section for a fiscal year for the purposes
referred to in subsection (b) are in addition to any other amount made
available to the Agency for that fiscal year for those purposes.

TITLE VII--OTHER MATTERS

SEC. 701. TIME LIMITATIONS ON RECEIPT OF CLAIM INFORMATION PURSUANT TO
REQUESTS OF DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

(a) Information To Complete Claims Applications.--Section 5102 is
amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
``(c) Time Limitation.--(1) If information that a claimant and the
claimant's representative, if any, are notified under subsection (b) is
necessary to complete an application is not received by the Secretary
within one year from the date such notice is sent, no benefit may be
paid or furnished by reason of the claimant's application.
``(2) This subsection shall not apply to any application or claim
for Government life insurance benefits.''.
(b) Construction of Limitation on Information To Substantiate
Claims.--Section 5103(b) is amended--
(1) in paragraph (1), by striking ``if such'' and all that
follows through ``application'' and inserting ``such information
or evidence must be received by the Secretary within one year
from the date such notice is sent''; and
(2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

``(3) Nothing in paragraph (1) shall be construed to prohibit the
Secretary from making a decision on a claim before the expiration of the
period referred to in that subsection.''.
(c) Effective <> Date.--The amendments made
by this section shall take effect as if enacted on November 9, 2000,
immediately after the enactment of the Veterans Claims Assistance Act of
2000 (Public Law 106-475; 114 Stat. 2096).

(d) Procedures <> for Readjudication of
Certain Claims.--(1) The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall
readjudicate a claim of a qualified claimant if the request for such
readjudication is received not later than the end of the one-year period
that begins on the date of the enactment of this Act.

(2) For purposes of this subsection, a claimant is qualified within
the meaning of paragraph (1) if the claimant--
(A) received notice under section 5103(a) of title 38,
United States Code, requesting information or evidence to
substantiate a claim;
(B) did not submit such information or evidence within a
year after the date such notice was sent;
(C) did not file a timely appeal to the Board of Veterans'
Appeals or the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans
Claims; and
(D) submits such information or evidence during the one-year
period referred to in paragraph (1).

[[Page 117 STAT. 2671]]

(3) If the decision of the Secretary on a readjudication under this
subsection is in favor of the qualified claimant, the award of the grant
shall take effect as if the prior decision by the Secretary on the claim
had not been made.
(4) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to establish a
duty on the part of the Secretary to identify or readjudicate any claim
that--
(A) is not submitted during the one-year period referred to
in paragraph (1); or
(B) has been the subject of a timely appeal to the Board of
Veterans' Appeals or the United States Court of Appeals for
Veterans Claims.

(e) Construction on Providing Renotification.--Nothing in this
section, or the amendments made by this section, shall be construed to
require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs--
(1) to provide notice under section 5103(a) of such title
with respect to a claim insofar as the Secretary has previously
provided such notice; or
(2) to provide for a special notice with respect to this
section and the amendments made by this section.

SEC. 702. CLARIFICATION OF APPLICABILITY OF PROHIBITION ON ASSIGNMENT OF
VETERANS BENEFITS TO AGREEMENTS REQUIRING PAYMENT OF FUTURE
RECEIPT OF BENEFITS.

Section 5301(a) is amended--
(1) by inserting ``(1)'' after ``(a)'';
(2) by designating the last sentence as paragraph (2); and
(3) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

``(3)(A) This paragraph is intended to clarify that, in any case
where a beneficiary entitled to compensation, pension, or dependency and
indemnity compensation enters into an agreement with another person
under which agreement such other person acquires for consideration the
right to receive such benefit by payment of such compensation, pension,
or dependency and indemnity compensation, as the case may be, except as
provided in subparagraph (B), and including deposit into a joint account
from which such other person may make withdrawals, or otherwise, such
agreement shall be deemed to be an assignment and is prohibited.
``(B) Notwithstanding subparagraph (A), nothing in this paragraph is
intended to prohibit a loan involving a beneficiary under the terms of
which the beneficiary may use the benefit to repay such other person as
long as each of the periodic payments made to repay such other person is
separately and voluntarily executed by the beneficiary or is made by
preauthorized electronic funds transfer pursuant to the Electronic Funds
Transfers Act (15 U.S.C. 1693 et seq.).
``(C) Any agreement or arrangement for collateral for security for
an agreement that is prohibited under subparagraph (A) is also
prohibited and is void from its inception.''.

SEC. 703. SIX-YEAR EXTENSION OF ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON MINORITY VETERANS.

Section 544(e) is amended by striking ``December 31, 2003'' and
inserting ``December 31, 2009''.

[[Page 117 STAT. 2672]]

SEC. 704. <> TEMPORARY AUTHORITY FOR
PERFORMANCE OF MEDICAL DISABILITIES EXAMINATIONS BY CONTRACT
PHYSICIANS.

(a) Authority.--Using appropriated funds, other than funds available
for compensation and pension, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs may
provide for the conduct of examinations with respect to the medical
disabilities of applicants for benefits under laws administered by the
Secretary by persons other than Department of Veterans Affairs
employees. The authority under this section is in addition to the
authority provided in section 504(b) of the Veterans' Benefits
Improvement Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-275; 38 U.S.C. 5101 note).
(b) Performance by Contract.--Examinations under the authority
provided in subsection (a) shall be conducted pursuant to contracts
entered into and administered by the Under Secretary for Benefits.
(c) Expiration.--The authority in subsection (a) shall expire on
December 31, 2009. No examination may be carried out under the authority
provided in that subsection after that date.
(d) Report.--Not <> later than four years after the
date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to
Congress a report on the use of the authority provided in subsection
(a). The Secretary shall include in the report an assessment of the
effect of examinations under that authority on the cost, timeliness, and
thoroughness of examinations with respect to the medical disabilities of
applicants for benefits under laws administered by the Secretary.

SEC. 705. FORFEITURE OF BENEFITS FOR SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES.

(a) Addition of Certain Offenses.--Paragraph (2) of section 6105(b)
is amended--
(1) by inserting ``175, 229,'' after ``sections''; and
(2) by inserting ``831, 1091, 2332a, 2332b,'' after
``798,''.

(b) Effective <> Date.--The
amendments made by subsection (a) shall apply to claims filed after the
date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 706. TWO-YEAR EXTENSION OF ROUND-DOWN REQUIREMENT FOR COMPENSATION
COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTS.

Sections 1104(a) and 1303(a) are each amended by striking ``2011''
and inserting ``2013''.

SEC. 707. CODIFICATION OF REQUIREMENT FOR EXPEDITIOUS TREATMENT OF CASES
ON REMAND.

(a) Cases Remanded by Board of Veterans' Appeals.--(1) Chapter 51 is
amended by adding at the end of subchapter I the following new section:

``Sec. 5109B. Expedited treatment of remanded claims

``The Secretary shall take such actions as may be necessary to
provide for the expeditious treatment by the appropriate regional office
of the Veterans Benefits Administration of any claim that is remanded to
a regional office of the Veterans Benefits Administration by the Board
of Veterans' Appeals.''.

[[Page 117 STAT. 2673]]

(2) The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is
amended by inserting after the item relating to section 5109A the
following new item:

``5109B. Expedited treatment of remanded claims.''.

(b) Cases Remanded by Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.--(1)
Chapter 71 is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

``Sec. 7112. Expedited treatment of remanded claims

``The Secretary shall take such actions as may be necessary to
provide for the expeditious treatment by the Board of any claim that is
remanded to the Secretary by the Court of Appeals for Veterans
Claims.''.
(2) The table of sections at the beginning of such chapter is
amended by adding at the end the following new item:

``7112. Expedited treatment of remanded claims.''.

(c) Repeal of Source Section.--Section 302 of the Veterans' Benefits
Improvement Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-446; 108 Stat. 4658; 38 U.S.C.
5101 note) is repealed.

SEC. 708. TECHNICAL AND CLERICAL AMENDMENTS.

(a) Miscellaneous Amendments.--(1) Section 103(d) is amended--
(A) in paragraph (4)--
(i) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by
striking ``this subsection'' and inserting ``paragraph
(2)(A) or (3)''; and
(ii) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``paragraph
(2)'' and inserting ``paragraph (2)(A)''; and
(B) in paragraph (5), by striking ``Paragraphs (2)'' and
inserting ``Paragraphs (2)(A)''.

(2) Section 1729A is amended--
(A) in subsection (b), by striking ``after June 30, 1997,''
in the matter preceding paragraph (1);
(B) in subsection (c), by striking paragraph (3);
(C) by striking subsection (e); and
(D) by redesignating subsection (f) as subsection (e).

(3) Section 1804(c)(2) is amended by striking ``subsection'' and
inserting ``section''.
(4) Section 1974(a)(5) is amended by striking ``Secretary of
Transportation'' and inserting ``Secretary of Homeland Security''.
(b) Amendments Relating to the Jobs for Veterans Act.--(1)(A)
Subsection (c)(2)(B)(ii) of section 4102A is amended by striking
``October 1, 2002'' and inserting ``October 1, 2003''.
(B) The <> amendment made by subparagraph (A)
shall take effect as if included in the enactment of section 4(a) of the
Jobs for Veterans Act (Public Law 107-288; 116 Stat. 2038).

(2) Subsection (f)(1) of section 4102A is amended by striking ``6
months after the date of the enactment of this section,'' and inserting
``May 7, 2003,''.
(c) Amendments Relating to the Establishment of Social Security
Administration as an Independent Agency.--(1) Section 1322 is amended--
(A) in subsection (a), by striking ``Secretary of Health and
Human Services'' and all that follows through the period and

[[Page 117 STAT. 2674]]

inserting ``Commissioner of Social Security, and shall be
certified by the Commissioner to the Secretary upon request of
the Secretary.''; and
(B) in subsection (b)--
(i) by striking ``Secretary of Health and Human
Services'' in the first sentence and inserting
``Commissioner of Social Security'';
(ii) by striking ``the two Secretaries'' and
inserting ``the Secretary and the Commissioner''; and
(iii) by striking ``Secretary of Health and Human
Services'' in the second sentence and inserting
``Commissioner''.

(2) Section 5101(a) is amended by striking ``Secretary of Health and
Human Services'' and inserting ``Commissioner of Social Security''.
(3) Section 5317 is amended by striking ``Secretary of Health and
Human Services'' in subsections (a), (b), and (g) and inserting
``Commissioner of Social Security''.
(4)(A) Section 5318 is amended--
(i) in subsection (a), by striking ``Department of Health
and Human Services'' and inserting ``Social Security
Administration''; and
(ii) in subsection (b)--
(I) by striking ``Department of Health and Human
Services'' and inserting ``Social Security
Administration'';
(II) by striking ``Secretary of Health and Human
Services'' the first place it appears and inserting
``Commissioner of Social Security'';
(III) by striking ``Secretary of Health and Human
Services'' the second place it appears and inserting
``Commissioner''; and
(IV) by striking ``such Secretaries'' and inserting
``the Secretary and the Commissioner''.

(B)(i) The heading of such section is amended to read as follows:

[[Page 117 STAT. 2675]]

``Sec. 5318. Review of Social Security Administration death
information''.

(ii) The item relating to that section in the table of sections at
the beginning at chapter 53 is amended to read as follows:

``5318. Review of Social Security Administration death information.''.

Approved December 16, 2003.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 2297 (S. 1132):
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOUSE REPORTS: No. 108-211 (Comm. on Veterans' Affairs)
SENATE REPORTS: No. 108-169 accompanying S. 1132 (Comm. on Veterans'
Affairs).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 149 (2003):
Oct. 8, considered and passed House.
Nov. 19, considered and passed Senate, amended.
Nov. 20, House concurred in Senate amendment.


We have provided additional information regarding Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). Public Law 106.5 and the Executive Order.





 


Williams-Sterling Inc. 2014-2020© All rights reserved

 

 



 

Comment Card

Please tell us what you thought of our website.
How did you hear about our website?
Has this page satisfied your awareness of SDVOSB enactment and laws?
Extremely Satisfied
Satisfied
Neutral
Dissatisfied
Extremely Dissatisfied
Name
E-mail Address