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S 2674 IS
110th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 2674

To amend titles 10 and 38, United States Code, to improve and enhance procedures for the retirement of members of the Armed Forces for disability and to improve and enhance authorities for the rating and compensation of service-connected disabilities in veterans, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

February 28, 2008

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


A BILL

To amend titles 10 and 38, United States Code, to improve and enhance procedures for the retirement of members of the Armed Forces for disability and to improve and enhance authorities for the rating and compensation of service-connected disabilities in veterans, 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 `America's Wounded Warriors Act'.
(b) Table of Contents- The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

TITLE I--RETIREMENT OF MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES FOR DISABILITY

Sec. 101. Retirement for disability of members of the Armed Forces after implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system.
Sec. 102. Continuation of respite care and aid and other extended care benefits for members of the uniformed services who incur a serious injury or illness on active duty.
Sec. 103. Eligibility for medical and dental care of members of the Armed Forces retired after implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system.

TITLE II--COMPENSATION OF VETERANS FOR SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABILITY

Sec. 201. Study on veterans disability compensation.
Sec. 202. Study on veterans transition benefits.
Sec. 203. Study on measures to assist and encourage veterans in the completion of their vocational rehabilitation plans.
Sec. 204. Proposal on veterans disability compensation and veterans transition benefits.
Sec. 205. Congressional consideration of proposal.
Sec. 206. Effective date of implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system.
Sec. 207. Enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system.
Sec. 208. Supplemental survivor benefit for survivors of veterans retired for disability after implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system.

TITLE I--RETIREMENT OF MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES FOR DISABILITY

SEC. 101. RETIREMENT FOR DISABILITY OF MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES AFTER IMPLEMENTATION OF ENHANCED DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS DISABILITY COMPENSATION SYSTEM.

(a) In General- Chapter 61 of title 10, United States Code, is amended--
(1) by inserting before section 1201 the following:

`SUBCHAPTER I--RETIREMENT OR SEPARATION BEFORE IMPLEMENTATION OF ENHANCED DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS DISABILITY COMPENSATION SYSTEM

`Sec. 1200. Applicability of subchapter: members retired or separated before implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system; certain members on temporary disability retired list as of implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system

`(a) In General- Except as provided in subsection (b), this subchapter applies to the retirement or separation for disability of members as follows:
`(1) Members who are eligible for retirement for disability or separation for disability before the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system under chapter 12 of title 38 (as determined in accordance with section 206 of the America's Wounded Warriors Act).
`(2) Members on the temporary disability retired list as of the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system who--
`(A) are eligible for retirement under the provisions of subchapter II in accordance with section 1206c of this title; but
`(B) do not elect to retire under the provisions of subchapter II as otherwise provided in section 1206c of this title.
`(b) Inapplicability to Certain Members- For provisions relating to the applicability of subchapter II to the retirement for disability of certain members otherwise covered by this subchapter under subsection (a)(1), see section 1206b of this title.';
(2) by transferring section 1206a to appear after section 1207a and redesignating such section, as so transferred, as section 1207b; and
(3) by inserting after section 1206 the following:

`SUBCHAPTER II--RETIREMENT AFTER IMPLEMENTATION OF ENHANCED DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS DISABILITY COMPENSATION SYSTEM

`Sec. 1206a. Applicability of subchapter: members retired on or after implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system

`(a) In General- This subchapter applies to the retirement of members for disability (including the placement of members on the temporary disability retired list in accordance with section 1206e of this title) on or after the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system (as determined in accordance with section 206 of the America's Wounded Warriors Act).
`(b) Exclusive Application- Members eligible for retirement under this subchapter by reason of this section are not eligible for retirement or separation under subchapter I.

`Sec. 1206b. Applicability of subchapter: certain members retired on or after October 7, 2001, but before implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system

`(a) Election of Applicability- (1) During such period as the Secretary of Defense shall prescribe for purposes of this section, a former member described in subsection (b) may elect to retire under this subchapter in lieu of retirement under the provisions of this chapter as in effect on the day before the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system (as determined in accordance with section 206 of the America's Wounded Warriors Act).
`(2) Each election under this subsection shall be executed in such form and manner as the Secretary of Defense shall prescribe for purposes of this section.
`(3) Any election made under this subsection is irrevocable.
`(b) Covered Former Members- A former member described in this subsection is any former member who, during the period beginning on October 7, 2001, and ending on the day before the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system, is retired under the provisions of this chapter as in effect before the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system.
`(c) Treatment of Former Members Making Elections- (1) Effective as of the date of the correction of the military records of such former member under subsection (d), each former member who makes an election under subsection (a) shall be deemed to have been retired under this subchapter, with retired pay computed under section 1401 of this title (as in effect after the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system), rather than to have been retired under the provisions of this chapter as in effect before the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system.
`(2) No benefits are available to a former member under this subchapter for any period before the correction of the military records of the former member under subsection (d).
`(3) The Secretary of Defense may not recoup or collect from any former member who is retired under this subchapter pursuant to an election under subsection (a) any amount of retired pay paid to the former member under this chapter before the date of the effective date of the correction of the military records of the former member under subsection (d).
`(d) Correction of Military Records- The Secretary concerned shall correct the military records of each former member making an election under subsection (a) to reflect that the former member is retired under the provisions of this subchapter rather than retired under the provisions of this chapter as in effect before the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system.

`Sec. 1206c. Applicability of subchapter: members on temporary disability retired list as of implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system

`(a) Election of Applicability- (1) A member described in subsection (b) may elect to retire under this subchapter in lieu of retirement under the provisions of subchapter I.
`(2) Each election under this subsection shall be executed in such form and manner as the Secretary of Defense shall prescribe for purposes of this section.
`(3) Any election made under this subsection is irrevocable.
`(b) Covered Members- A member described in this subsection is any member--
`(1) whose name is on the temporary disability retired list as of the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system (as determined in accordance with section 206 of the America's Wounded Warriors Act); and
`(2)(A) whose disability qualifying the member for placement on the temporary disability retired list is determined after such effective date by the Secretary concerned, based on accepted medical principles, to be of a permanent nature and stable; or
`(B) whose disability is considered after such effective date by the Secretary concerned to be of a permanent nature and stable after five years of the placement of the member's name on the temporary disability retired list in accordance with section 1210(b) of this title.
`(c) Timing of Election- A member eligible to make an election under subsection (a) by reason of a determination under subparagraph (A) or (B) of subsection (b)(2) shall make such election, if at all, during such period after the date of the determination as the Secretary of Defense shall prescribe for purposes of this section.
`(d) Treatment of Members Making Elections- (1) Effective as of the date of such election, each member who makes an election under subsection (a) shall be retired under this subchapter, with retired pay computed under section 1401 of this title (as in effect after the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system).
`(2) No benefits are available to a member under this subchapter for any period before the election of the member under subsection (a).
`(3) The Secretary of Defense may not recoup or collect from any member who is retired under this subchapter pursuant to an election under subsection (a) any amount of retired pay paid to the member under this chapter before the date of the election of the member under subsection (a).

`Sec. 1206d. Retirement

`(a) In General- Upon a determination by the Secretary concerned that a member covered by this subchapter under section 1206a of this title is unfit to perform the duties of the member's office, grade, rank, or rating because of physical disability, the Secretary may, consistent with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense for purposes of this subchapter, retire the member, with retired pay computed under section 1401 of this title (as in effect after the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system), if the Secretary concerned also makes the determinations specified in subsection (b) with respect to the member.
`(b) Determinations- The determinations specified in this subsection with respect to a member are determinations by the Secretary concerned as follows:
`(1) That the disability of the member, based upon accepted medical principles--
`(A) is of a permanent nature; or
`(B) is of uncertain permanency, such that a temporary disability retirement under section 1206e of this title is appropriate.
`(2) That the injury, illness, or disease rendering the member unfit was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty--
`(A) while the member was entitled to basic pay under section 204 of title 37 or compensation under section 206 of that title;
`(B) while performing active duty but not entitled to basic pay under section 204 of title 37 or inactive-duty training; or
`(C) while engaged in an activity covered by section 1201(c)(3), 1204(2)(B), or 1204(2)(C) of this title.
`(3) That the injury, illness, or disease was not--
`(A) the result of the member's intentional misconduct or willful neglect; or
`(B) incurred during a period of unauthorized absence.

`Sec. 1206e. Temporary disability retired list

`(a) In General- Subject to the provisions of this section, a member covered by section 1206d(b) of this title who is described by paragraph (1)(B) of such section shall have such member's name placed on the temporary disability retired list, with retired pay computed under section 1401 of this title (as in effect after the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system (as determined in accordance with section 206 of the America's Wounded Warriors Act)).
`(b) Administration- (1) Subsection (a) shall be administered in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary of Defense shall prescribe for purposes of this section.
`(2)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the regulations prescribed under this subsection shall provide for the applicability of the provisions of sections 1210 and 1211 of this title to a member whose name is placed on the temporary disability retired list under this section.
`(B) The provisions of subsections (c), (d), and (e) of section 1210 of this title shall not apply to a member whose name is placed on the temporary disability retired list under this section.
`(3)(A) The regulations shall provide for appropriate mechanisms, applicable uniformly across the military departments, for an annual review by the military departments of determinations to place members' names on the temporary disability retired list under this section in order to ensure the accuracy and consistency of such determinations by the military departments.
`(B) The Secretary of Defense shall submit to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives each year a report on the results of the reviews conducted by the military departments under subparagraph (A) during the preceding year.
`(c) Retirement- If, as a result of a periodic examination under section 1210(a) of this title or upon a final determination under section 1210(b) of this title, it is determined that a member's physical disability is of a permanent nature, the member's name shall be removed from the temporary disability retired list, and the member shall be retired under section 1206d of this title.

`Sec. 1206f. Treatment of retired pay

`(a) In General- Except as provided in subsection (b), retired pay authorized by this subchapter shall be treated as retired pay for all purposes under this title.
`(b) Treatment for Eligibility for Medical and Dental Care- (1) Subject to paragraph (2), for purposes of eligibility for medical and dental care under chapter 55 of this title, retired pay authorized a member by this subchapter shall be treated as retired pay only in accordance with provisions of law enacted by Congress after receipt by Congress of the report of the Secretary of Defense on eligibility of members retired under this subchapter for medical and dental care, as submitted pursuant to section 103 of the America's Wounded Warriors Act.
`(2) In the event no provisions of law have been enacted by Congress as described by paragraph (1) to specify the category or categories of members of the armed forces retired under this subchapter who are to be eligible for medical and dental care under chapter 55 of this title as of the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system (as determined in accordance with section 206 of the America's Wounded Warriors Act), the category or categories of members who are to be so eligible for such medical and dental care after that date shall be such category or categories of members as the Secretary of Defense considers appropriate in regulations prescribed for purposes of this subsection.
`(c) No Offset Under Duplication of Benefits- Retired pay authorized by this subchapter is not subject to the prohibitions against duplication of benefits under sections 5304 and 5305 of title 38.
`(d) Ineligibility for Combat-Related Special Compensation- A member retired under this subchapter is not eligible for combat-related special compensation under section 1413a of this title.

`Sec. 1206g. Determinations of unfitness

`(a) In General- In this subchapter, a finding of unfitness for duty with respect to a member shall be based on determinations by the Secretary concerned that--
`(1) the member is unfit to perform the duties of the member's office, grade, rank, or rating because of a physical disability; and
`(2) it is unlikely that through retraining in another occupational specialty or other preparations the member can be reassigned to other duties the member would be fit to perform and which are consistent with the needs of the armed force concerned.
`(b) Interservice Transfer- With the consent of a member determined unfit for duty under subsection (a), the member may, instead of being retired under this subchapter, be transferred under section 716 of this title to another uniformed service if the Secretary responsible for that uniformed service determines that the member, currently or through retraining in another occupational specialty or other preparations, can be reassigned to other duties the member would be fit to perform and which are consistent with the needs of that uniformed service.
`(c) Continuation of Service of Member Determined Unfit- Upon the agreement of a member determined unfit for duty under subsection (a) and the Secretary concerned, the member's service may be continued under terms and conditions specified by the Secretary concerned, including through transfer to another uniformed service under section 716 of this title.

`Sec. 1206h. Definitions

`In this subchapter, the terms `disability' and `physical disability' include any disability based on a mental disorder.

`SUBCHAPTER III--ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS'.

(b) Clerical Amendments- Chapter 61 of such title is further amended--
(1) by inserting after the chapter heading the following:

`Subchapter

--Sec.

1200

1206a

1207';

(2) by inserting after the subchapter heading for subchapter I, as added by subsection (a)(1) of this section, the following:
`Sec.
`1200. Applicability of subchapter: members retired or separated before implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system; certain members on temporary disability retired list as of implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system.
`1201. Regulars and members on active duty for more than 30 days: retirement.
`1202. Regulars and members on active duty for more than 30 days: temporary disability retired list.
`1203. Regulars and members on active duty for more than 30 days: separation.
`1204. Members on active duty for 30 days or less or on inactive-duty training: retirement.
`1205. Members on active duty for 30 days or less or on inactive-duty training: temporary disability retired list.
`1206. Members on active duty for 30 days or less or on inactive-duty training: separation.';
(3) by inserting after the subchapter heading for subchapter II, as added by subsection (a)(3) of this section, the following:
`Sec.
`1206a. Applicability of subchapter: members retired on or after implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system.
`1206b. Applicability of subchapter: certain members retired on or after October 7, 2001, but before implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system.
`1206c. Applicability of subchapter: members on temporary disability retired list as of implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system.
`1206d. Retirement.
`1206e. Temporary disability retired list.
`1206f. Treatment of retired pay.
`1206g. Determinations of unfitness.
`1206h. Definitions.';
and
(4) by inserting after the subchapter heading for subchapter III, as so added, the following:
`Sec.
`1207. Disability from intentional misconduct or willful neglect: separation.
`1207a. Members with over eight years of active service: eligibility for disability retirement for pre-existing conditions.
`1207b. Reserve component members unable to perform duties when ordered to active duty: disability system processing.
`1208. Computation of service.
`1209. Transfer to inactive status list instead of separation.
`1210. Members on temporary disability retired list: periodic physical examination; final determination of status.
`1211. Members on temporary disability retired list: return to active duty; promotion.
`1212. Disability severance pay.
`1213. Effect of separation on benefits and claims.
`1214. Right to full and fair hearing.
`1215. Members other than Regulars: applicability of laws.
`1216. Secretaries: powers, functions, and duties.
`1217. Academy cadets and midshipmen: applicability of chapter.
`1218. Discharge or release from active duty: claims for compensation, pension, or hospitalization.
`1219. Statement of origin of disease or injury: limitations.
`1221. Effective date of retirement or placement of name on temporary disability retired list.'.
(c) Eligibility for Disability Retirement for Pre-Existing Condition After Eight Years of Service- Section 1207a(a) of title 10, United States Code, is amended by striking `or 1203' and inserting `1203, 1206b, 1206c, 1206d, or 1206e'.
(d) Computation of Retired Pay- The table in section 1401(a) of title 10, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the matter relating to Formula 2 the following matter:
--------------------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------------------------
`3 1206b Retired pay base 2 1/2 % of years of service   
   1206c      as computed      credited to the person   
   1206d    under section      under section 1208.1'.   
   1206e       1406(b) or                               
                    1407.                               
--------------------------------------------------------
(e) Conforming Amendments Relating to Retired Pay-
(1) RECOMPUTATION OF RETIRED PAY TO REFLECT LATER ACTIVE DUTY- Sections 1402(b) and 1402a(b) of title 10, United States Code, are each amended by inserting `(as in effect before the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system (as determined in accordance with section 206 of the America's Wounded Warriors Act) or subchapter I of chapter 61 of this title (as in effect after such effective date), as applicable' after `chapter 61 of this title'.
(2) RETIRED PAY BASE FOR MEMBERS RETIRED BEFORE SEPTEMBER 8, 1980- The items in the column in the table in section 1406(b)(1) of such title designated `For a member entitled to retired pay under section:' are amended to read as follows:
--------
--------
  `1201 
   1202 
   1204 
   1205 
  1206b 
  1206c 
  1206d 
1206e'. 
--------
(3) RETIRED PAY BASE FOR MEMBERS RETIRED AFTER SEPTEMBER 7, 1980- Section 1407 of such title is amended--
(A) in subsection (c)--
(i) in paragraph (1), by striking `other than section 1204 or 1205 or section 12731 of this title' and inserting `(other than section 1204, 1205, or 12731 of this title, or section 1206b, 1206c, 1206d, or 1206e of this title for nonregular service)';
(ii) in paragraph (2), by inserting `, or under section 1206b, 1206c, 1206d, or 1206e of this title for regular service,' after `section 1201 or 1202 of this title'; and
(iii) in paragraph (3)--
(I) by striking `section 1201 or 1202' and inserting `section 1201, 1202, 1206b, 1206c, 1206d, or 1206e'; and
(II) by inserting `or under section 1206b, 1206c, 1206d, or 1206e of this title for nonregular service' before the period; and
(B) in subsection (d)--
(i) in paragraph (2), by inserting `, or under section 1206b, 1206c, 1206d, or 1206e of this title for nonregular service,' after `section 1204 or 1205 of this title'; and
(ii) in paragraph (3), inserting `, or under section 1206, 1206c, 1206d, or 1206e of this title for nonregular service,' after `section 1204 or 1205 of this title'.
(4) GRADE ON RETIREMENT FOR PHYSICAL DISABILITY- Section 1372 of such title is amended--
(A) by striking `section 1201 or 1204' and inserting `section 1201, 1204, 1206b, 1206c, or 1206d'; and
(B) by striking `section 1202 or 1205' and inserting `section 1202, 1205, or 1206e'.
(f) Effective Date-
(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2), this section and the amendments made by this section shall take effect, if at all, on the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system as determined in accordance with section 206.
(2) ANTICIPATION OF IMPLEMENTATION- The Secretary of Defense shall take appropriate actions to ensure that the amendments made by this section are implementable on the effective date described in paragraph (1) in the event of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system on that date.

SEC. 102. CONTINUATION OF RESPITE CARE AND AID AND OTHER EXTENDED CARE BENEFITS FOR MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHO INCUR A SERIOUS INJURY OR ILLNESS ON ACTIVE DUTY.

Paragraph (4) of section 1074(c) of title 10, United States Code, as added by section 1633(a) of the Wounded Warrior Act (title XVI of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008), is amended--
(1) by redesignating subparagraph (B) as subparagraph (C); and
(2) by inserting after subparagraph (A) the following new subparagraph (B):
`(B) Coverage for a member under this paragraph may continue for such period after the discharge or separation of the member from active duty as the Secretary considers appropriate.'.

SEC. 103. ELIGIBILITY FOR MEDICAL AND DENTAL CARE OF MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES RETIRED AFTER IMPLEMENTATION OF ENHANCED DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS DISABILITY COMPENSATION SYSTEM.

(a) Study on Eligibility- The Secretary of Defense shall conduct a study to determine the members of the Armed Forces retired under subchapter II of chapter 61 of title 10, United States Code (as amended by section 101 of this Act), who are to be eligible for medical and dental care under chapter 55 of title 10, United States Code, after the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system as determined in accordance with section 206.
(b) Report- Not later than 270 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the study conducted under subsection (a). The report shall include--
(1) the results of the study; and
(2) comprehensive and specific recommendations on the category or categories of members described in subsection (a) who are to be eligible for medical and dental care as described in that subsection.

TITLE II--COMPENSATION OF VETERANS FOR SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABILITY

SEC. 201. STUDY ON VETERANS DISABILITY COMPENSATION.

(a) In General- The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall conduct a study to determine the amount of compensation for service-connected disability to be payable to veterans under chapter 12 of title 38, United States Code (as added by section 207(b) of this Act), for each rating of disability assignable to veterans for service-connected disability.
(b) Matters To Be Examined- In conducting the study required by subsection (a), the Secretary shall examine the following:
(1) The nature of injuries and combination of injuries for which disability compensation is payable under various disability compensation programs of the Federal Government, State governments, and other countries.
(2) To the extent applicable, the nature of injuries and combination of injuries for which disability compensation is payable under commercial disability insurance.
(3) The extent to which quality of life and loss of earnings are independently taken into account in various disability compensation programs of the Federal Government, State governments, and other countries.
(4) The effect of an injury or combination of injuries on--
(A) average loss of earning capacity, such as inability to work in certain occupations; and
(B) a veteran's quality of life, such as activities of independent living, recreational and community activities, and personal relationships, including the inability to participate in favorite activities, social problems related to disfigurement or cognitive difficulties, and the need to spend increased amounts of time performing activities of daily living.
(5) The measurement of the effect of an injury or combination of injuries on a veteran's psychological state, loss of physical integrity, and social inability to adapt.
(6) The extent to which disability compensation for veterans may be used as an incentive to encourage veterans to seek and undergo appropriate medical treatment and vocational rehabilitation.
(c) Considerations in Determinations of Amounts of Compensation-
(1) GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS- In determining amounts of compensation under the study required by subsection (a), the Secretary shall ensure that the determinations--
(A) reflect current concepts of medicine and disability; and
(B) take into account loss of quality of life and average loss of earning capacity resulting from specific injuries or combinations of injuries.
(2) SPECIFIC CONSIDERATIONS- In determining amounts of compensation, the Secretary shall consider the following:
(A) The appropriate injuries or combination of injuries to be covered by the new schedule for rating service-connected disabilities.
(B) The appropriate level of compensation under that schedule for loss of quality of life.
(C) The appropriate standards for determining for purposes of that schedule whether an injury or combination of injuries has caused a loss in a veteran's quality of life.
(D) The appropriate level of compensation, including an age-appropriate level of compensation at time of initial filing of claims, under that schedule for loss of earnings.
(E) The appropriate standards for purposes of that schedule for determining whether an injury or combination of injuries causes loss of earnings.
(F) The appropriate relationship between the receipt of compensation under that schedule, and, where appropriate, assurances by the veterans concerned of participation in a regimen of medical treatment or vocational rehabilitation.
(d) Consultation- In conducting the study required by subsection (a), the Secretary--
(1) shall consult with such veterans and military service organizations and with such public and private organizations and individuals as the Secretary considers appropriate; and
(2) may employ consultants.
(e) Consideration of Completed and On-Going Studies- In conducting the study required by subsection (a), the Secretary may take into account the findings, determinations, and results of any completed or on-going study or report applicable to the matters addressed by the study required by subsection (a) that the Secretary considers appropriate.
(f) Report- Not later than 270 days after the commencement of the study required by subsection (a), 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 the study. The report shall include the following:
(1) The findings of the Secretary under the study.
(2) The findings of the Secretary with respect to matters covered by the study arising from--
(A) the report of the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission established pursuant to section 1501 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2004 (38 U.S.C. 1101 note); and
(B) the reports of any other independent advisory commission that has studied the matters covered by the study as the Secretary considers appropriate.
(3) The recommendations of the Secretary on the matters considered under subparagraphs (A), (C), (E), and (F) of subsection (c)(2), including a proposal for such legislative or administrative action as the Secretary considers appropriate to implement the recommendations.

SEC. 202. STUDY ON VETERANS TRANSITION BENEFITS.

(a) In General- The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall conduct a study to determine the appropriate amounts and duration of transition payments to be payable under chapter 12 of title 38, United States Code (as added by section 207(b) of this Act), including the amount of monthly transition payments to be payable under section 1204(b) of title 38, United States Code (as so added), and the amount and duration of rehabilitation transition allowances to be payable under section 1204(c) of title 38, United States Code (as so added), to veterans who are participating in a rehabilitation program under chapter 17 or 31 of title 38, United States Code.
(b) Considerations- In determining under subsection (a) the amount and duration of rehabilitation transition allowances to be payable under section 1204(c) of title 38, United States Code (as so added), to veterans who are participating in a rehabilitation program under chapter 17 or 31 of title 38, United States Code, the Secretary shall take into account the prohibition in paragraph (7) of such section 1204(c) on the payment of subsistence allowances otherwise authorized by section 3108 of title 38, United States Code, to veterans paid rehabilitation transition allowances under such section 1204(c).
(c) Consultation- In conducting the study required by subsection (a), the Secretary--
(1) shall consult with such veterans and military service organizations and with such public and private organizations and individuals as the Secretary considers appropriate; and
(2) may employ consultants.
(d) Consideration of Completed and On-Going Studies- In conducting the study required by subsection (a), the Secretary may take into account the findings, determinations, and results of any completed or on-going study or report applicable to the matters addressed by the study required by subsection (a) that the Secretary considers appropriate.
(e) Report- Not later than 270 days after the commencement of the study required by subsection (a), 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 the study. The report shall include the following:
(1) The findings of the Secretary under the study.
(2) The findings of the Secretary with respect to matters covered by the study arising from--
(A) the report of the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission established pursuant to section 1501 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2004 (38 U.S.C. 1101 note); and
(B) the reports of such other independent advisory commissions that have studied the matters covered by the study as the Secretary considers appropriate.

SEC. 203. STUDY ON MEASURES TO ASSIST AND ENCOURAGE VETERANS IN THE COMPLETION OF THEIR VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION PLANS.

(a) In General- The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall conduct a study to identify the following:
(1) The various factors that may prevent or preclude veterans from completing their vocational rehabilitation plans through the Department of Veterans Affairs or otherwise achieving the vocational rehabilitation objectives of such plans.
(2) Actions to be taken by the Secretary to assist and encourage veterans in overcoming such factors and in otherwise completing their vocational rehabilitation plans or achieving the vocational rehabilitation objectives of such plans.
(b) Matters To Be Examined- In conducting the study required by subsection (a), the Secretary shall examine the following:
(1) Measures utilized in other disability systems in the United States, and in other countries, to encourage completion of vocational rehabilitation.
(2) Any survey data available to the Secretary that relates to the matters covered by the study.
(3) The results of the studies conducted pursuant to sections 201 and 202, including any analysis for purposes of such studies of the extent to which disability compensation may be used as an incentive to encourage veterans to undergo and complete vocational rehabilitation.
(4) The report of the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission established pursuant to section 1501 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2004 (38 U.S.C. 1101 note).
(5) The report of the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors.
(c) Considerations- In conducting the study required by subsection (a), the Secretary shall consider--
(1) the extent to which bonus payments or other incentives may be used to encourage veterans to complete their vocational rehabilitation plans or otherwise achieve the vocational rehabilitation objectives of such plans; and
(2) such other matters as the Secretary considers appropriate.
(d) Consultation- In conducting the study required by subsection (a), the Secretary--
(1) shall consult with such veterans and military service organizations and with such public and private organizations and individuals as the Secretary considers appropriate; and
(2) may employ consultants.
(e) Report- Not later than 270 days after the commencement of the study required by subsection (a), 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 the study. The report shall include the following:
(1) The findings of the Secretary under the study.
(2) Any recommendations that the Secretary considers appropriate for actions to be taken by the Secretary in light of the study, including a proposal for such legislative or administrative action as the Secretary considers appropriate to implement the recommendations.

SEC. 204. PROPOSAL ON VETERANS DISABILITY COMPENSATION AND VETERANS TRANSITION BENEFITS.

Not later than one year after the later of the dates of the reports required by sections 201(f) and 202(d), the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall submit to Congress a proposal setting forth the following:
(1) A statement of the purpose or purposes of the disability compensation and transition payments to be payable to veterans under chapter 12 of title 38, United States Code (as added by section 207(b) of this Act).
(2) A statement of the amounts of compensation for service-connected disability to be payable to veterans under chapter 12 of title 38, United States Code (as so added), for each rating of disability assignable to veterans for service-connected disability.
(3) A statement of the amounts and duration of transition benefits to be payable to veterans under chapter 12 of title 38, United States Code (as so added), including the amount of monthly transition payments to be payable under section 1204(b) of title 38, United States Code (as so added), and the amount and duration of rehabilitation transition allowances to be payable under section 1204(c) of title 38, United States Code (as so added), to veterans who are participating in a rehabilitation program under chapter 17 or 31 of title 38, United States Code.

SEC. 205. CONGRESSIONAL CONSIDERATION OF PROPOSAL.

(a) Terms of Joint Resolution- For purposes of this section, the term `joint resolution' means only a joint resolution which is introduced within the 10-day period beginning on the date on which the Secretary of Veterans Affairs submits to Congress the proposal of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on veterans disability compensation and veterans transition benefits under section 204, and--
(1) which does not have a preamble;
(2) the matter after the resolving clause of which is as follows: `That Congress disapproves the proposal on veterans disability compensation and veterans transition benefits under section 204 of the America's Wounded Warriors Act as submitted to Congress on XXXXX', the blank space being filled in with the appropriate date; and
(3) the title of which is as follows: `Joint resolution disapproving the proposal of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on veterans disability compensation and veterans transition benefits under the America's Wounded Warriors Act.'.
(b) Referral- A resolution described in subsection (a) that is introduced in the House of Representatives shall be referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives. A resolution described in subsection (a) introduced in the Senate shall be referred to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate.
(c) Discharge- If the committee to which a resolution described in subsection (a) is referred has not reported such resolution (or an identical resolution) by the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date on which the Secretary of Veterans Affairs submits to Congress the proposal under section 204, such committee shall be, at the end of such period, discharged from further consideration of such resolution, and such resolution shall be placed on the appropriate calendar of the House involved.
(d) Consideration-
(1) On or after the third day after the date on which the committee to which such a resolution is referred has reported, or has been discharged (under subsection (c)) from further consideration of, such a resolution, it is in order (even though a previous motion to the same effect has been disagreed to) for any Member of the respective House to move to proceed to the consideration of the resolution. A Member may make the motion only on the day after the calendar day on which the Member announces to the House concerned the Member's intention to make the motion, except that, in the case of the House of Representatives, the motion may be made without such prior announcement if the motion is made by direction of the committee to which the resolution was referred. All points of order against the resolution (and against consideration of the resolution) are waived. The motion is highly privileged in the House of Representatives and is privileged in the Senate and is not debatable. The motion is not subject to amendment, or to a motion to postpone, or to a motion to proceed to the consideration of other business. A motion to reconsider the vote by which the motion is agreed to or disagreed to shall not be in order. If a motion to proceed to the consideration of the resolution is agreed to, the respective House shall immediately proceed to consideration of the joint resolution without intervening motion, order, or other business, and the resolution shall remain the unfinished business of the respective House until disposed of.
(2) Debate on the resolution, and on all debatable motions and appeals in connection therewith, shall be limited to not more than 2 hours, which shall be divided equally between those favoring and those opposing the resolution. An amendment to the resolution is not in order. A motion further to limit debate is in order and not debatable. A motion to postpone, or a motion to proceed to the consideration of other business, or a motion to recommit the resolution is not in order. A motion to reconsider the vote by which the resolution is agreed to or disagreed to is not in order.
(3) Immediately following the conclusion of the debate on a resolution described in subsection (a) and a single quorum call at the conclusion of the debate if requested in accordance with the rules of the appropriate House, the vote on final passage of the resolution shall occur.
(4) Appeals from the decisions of the Chair relating to the application of the rules of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case may be, to the procedure relating to a resolution described in subsection (a) shall be decided without debate.
(e) Consideration by Other House-
(1) If, before the passage by one House of a resolution of that House described in subsection (a), that House receives from the other House a resolution described in subsection (a), then the following procedures shall apply:
(A) The resolution of the other House shall not be referred to a committee and may not be considered in the House receiving it except in the case of final passage as provided in subparagraph (B)(ii).
(B) With respect to a resolution described in subsection (a) of the House receiving the resolution--
(i) the procedure in that House shall be the same as if no resolution had been received from the other House; but
(ii) the vote on final passage shall be on the resolution of the other House.
(2) Upon disposition of the resolution received from the other House, it shall no longer be in order to consider the resolution that originated in the receiving House.
(f) Rules of the Senate and House- This section is enacted by Congress--
(1) as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, and as such it is deemed a part of the rules of each House, respectively, but applicable only with respect to the procedure to be followed in that House in the case of a resolution described in subsection (a), and it supersedes other rules only to the extent that it is inconsistent with such rules; and
(2) with full recognition of the constitutional right of either House to change the rules (so far as relating to the procedure of that House) at any time, in the same manner, and to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of that House.

SEC. 206. EFFECTIVE DATE OF IMPLEMENTATION OF ENHANCED DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS DISABILITY COMPENSATION SYSTEM.

(a) In General- For purposes of this Act and the amendments made by this Act, the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affair disability compensation system is the date, as provided in subsection (b), on which the authority of Congress under section 205 to disapprove the proposal of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on veterans disability compensation and veterans transition benefits under section 204 expires, but only if Congress does not so disapprove the proposal of the Secretary before such date.
(b) Disapproval by Congress-
(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall not implement the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system if a joint resolution is enacted, in accordance with section 205, disapproving the proposal of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on veterans disability compensation and veterans transition benefits under section 204 before the earlier of--
(A) the end of the 85-day period beginning on the date on which the Secretary submits the proposal to Congress; or
(B) the adjournment of Congress sine die for the session during which the proposal is submitted.
(2) COMPUTATION OF PERIODS- For purposes of paragraph (1) and section 205, the days on which either House of Congress is not in session because of an adjournment of more than three days to a day certain shall be excluded in the computation of a period.
(c) Enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Compensation System Defined- For purposes of this Act and the amendments made by this Act, the term `enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system' means--
(1) the elements of the proposal of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on veterans disability compensation and veterans transition benefits under section 204; and
(2) the amendments to section 1155 of title 38, United States Code, made by section 207(a) of this Act; and
(3) chapter 12 of title 38, United States Code, as added by section 207(b) of this Act.

SEC. 207. ENHANCED DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS DISABILITY COMPENSATION SYSTEM.

(a) Modification of Schedule of Ratings To Account for Loss of Earning Capacity and Quality of Life-
(1) IN GENERAL- Section 1155 of title 38, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

`Sec. 1155. Schedule for rating disabilities

`(a) In General- The Secretary shall adopt and apply a schedule of ratings of disability of veterans associated with specific injuries or combinations of injuries.
`(b) Scope of Ratings- (1) For veterans for whom disability compensation is payable under this chapter, the ratings under subsection (a) shall be based, as far as practicable, upon the average impairments of earning capacity in civil occupations resulting from the injuries concerned.
`(2) For veterans for whom disability compensation is payable under chapter 12 of this title, the ratings shall reflect, as far as practicable, each of the following:
`(A) Average loss of earning capacity, such as inability to work in certain occupations.
`(B) Quality of life, such as activities of independent living, recreational and community activities, and personal relationships, including the inability to participate in favorite activities, social problems related to disfigurement or cognitive difficulties, and the need to spend increased amounts of time performing activities of daily living.
`(c) Grades of Disability- (1) For veterans for whom disability compensation is payable under this chapter, the schedule of ratings shall be constructed so as to provide ten grades of disability and no more, upon which payments of compensation shall be based, namely 10 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent, 40 percent, 50 percent, 60 percent, 70 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent, and total, 100 percent.
`(2) For veterans for whom disability compensation is payable under chapter 12 of this title, the schedule of ratings shall be constructed--
`(A) at the discretion of the Secretary in light of the study required by sections 201 of the America's Wounded Warriors Act, so as to provide such number of grades of disability as the Secretary considers appropriate;
`(B) at the discretion of the Secretary in light of the study referred to in subparagraph (A), so as to provide either--
`(i) the assignment to veterans of separate grades of disability reflecting each matter specified in subparagraphs (A) and (B) of subsection (b)(2); or
`(ii) the assignment to veterans of a single grade of disability reflecting both such matters; and
`(C) if provided in the schedule at the discretion of the Secretary in light of the study referred to in subparagraph (A), so as to reflect in the grade of disability assignable to a veteran for average loss of earning capacity the effect of the age of the veteran on the potential future earnings of the veteran at the time of assignment.
`(d) Adjustment- The Secretary shall from time to time adjust the schedule of ratings in accordance with experience.
`(e) Preservation of Rating- (1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), an adjustment in the schedule of ratings under subsection (d) shall not cause a veteran's disability rating in effect on the effective date of the adjustment to be reduced unless an improvement in the veteran's disability is shown to have occurred.
`(2) An adjustment in the schedule of ratings may result in a reduction in a veteran's disability rating as provided in section 1205 of this title.'.
(2) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 11 of such title is amended by striking the item relating to section 1155 and inserting the following new item:
`1155. Schedule for rating disabilities.'.
(3) EFFECTIVE DATE- Except as provided in paragraph (4), this subsection and the amendments made by this subsection shall take effect, if at all, on the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system as determined in accordance with section 206.
(4) ANTICIPATION OF IMPLEMENTATION- The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall take appropriate actions to ensure that the amendments made by this subsection are implementable on the effective date described in paragraph (3) in the event of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system on that date.
(b) Disability Compensation for Loss of Earning Capacity and Quality of Life and Transition Payments for Participation in Medical or Rehabilitational Regimen-
(1) IN GENERAL- Part II of title 38, United States Code, is amended by inserting after chapter 11 the following new chapter:

`CHAPTER 12--COMPENSATION AND TRANSITION PAYMENTS FOR SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABILITY

`Sec.
`1201. Compensation for service-connected disability: veterans not rated as service-connected disabled who file claims for compensation on or after implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system.
`1202. Compensation for service-connected disability: veterans rated as service-connected disabled as of implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system who file claims on or after implementation.
`1203. Rates of compensation.
`1204. Transition benefits: payments; allowances.
`1205. Periodic review of extent of disability.
`1206. Prohibition on duplication of benefits.

`Sec. 1201. Compensation for service-connected disability: veterans not rated as service-connected disabled who file claims for compensation on or after implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system

`(a) In General- In the case of a veteran who has not been rated as having a service-connected disability under chapter 11 of this title as of the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system (as determined in accordance with section 206 of the America's Wounded Warriors Act) and who files with the Secretary a claim with respect to disability on or after that effective date, for disability resulting from personal injury suffered or disease contracted in line of duty, or from aggravation of a preexisting injury suffered or disease contracted in line of duty, in the active military, naval, or air service, the United States will pay such veteran thus disabled and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from the period of service in which such injury or disease was incurred, or preexisting injury or disease was aggravated, compensation as provided in section 1203 of this title, but no compensation shall be paid if the disability is a result of such veteran's own willful misconduct or abuse of alcohol or drugs.
`(b) Rating of Disability- The rating of disability for which compensation is payable under this section shall be assigned utilizing the schedule of ratings under section 1155 of this title that is applicable to veterans for whom disability compensation is payable under this chapter.
`(c) Limitations- (1) The payment of compensation pursuant to this section shall be subject to the provisions of sections 5110 and 5112 of this title.
`(2) Compensation shall not be paid under this section to a veteran who is retired for disability under subchapter II of chapter 61 of title 10 pursuant to section 1206a of that title for any period before the first day following termination of the veteran's receipt of benefits under section 1204 of this title.

`Sec. 1202. Compensation for service-connected disability: veterans rated as service-connected disabled as of implementation of enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system who file claims on or after implementation

`(a) In General- In the case of a veteran who is rated as having a service-connected disability under chapter 11 of this title as of the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system (as determined in accordance with section 206 of the America's Wounded Warriors Act) who files with the Secretary a claim with respect to such disability or disabilities, or another disability, on or after that date, for disability resulting from personal injury suffered or disease contracted in line of duty, or from aggravation of a preexisting injury suffered or disease contracted in line of duty, in the active military, naval, or air service, the United States will pay such veteran thus disabled and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable from the period of service in which such injury or disease was incurred, or preexisting injury or disease was aggravated, compensation as provided in section 1203 of this title, but no compensation shall be paid if such disability is a result of such veteran's own willful misconduct or abuse of alcohol or drugs.
`(b) Rating of Disability- The rating of disability for which compensation is payable under this section shall--
`(1) take into account all service-connected disabilities of the veteran concerned, including any disability for which such veteran was rated as having a service-connected as described in subsection (a) and the disability with respect to which such veteran files a claim as described in that subsection; and
`(2) be assigned utilizing the schedule of ratings under section 1155 of this title that is applicable to veterans for whom disability compensation is payable under this chapter.
`(c) Limitation- The payment of compensation pursuant to this section shall be subject to the provisions of sections 5110 and 5112 of this title.

`Sec. 1203. Rates of compensation

`(a) In General- For purposes of sections 1201 and 1202 of this title, the rates of compensation payable for disabilities shall be the applicable rates specified for grade of disability in the proposal of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs under section 204(2) of the America's Wounded Warriors Act.
`(b) Reduction for Persons Incarcerated for Conviction of a Felony- The payment of compensation for disabilities under sections 1201 and 1202 shall be subject to the provisions of section 5313 of this title.
`(c) Source of Funds- Amounts for the payment of compensation under this section shall be derived from amounts available in the Compensation and Pension account of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

`Sec. 1204. Transition benefits: payments; allowances

`(a) Eligible Veterans- For purposes of this section, an eligible veteran is any veteran who is retired under subchapter II of chapter 61 of title 10 pursuant to section 1206a of that title.
`(b) Monthly Transition Payments- (1) Subject to the provisions of this subsection, the Secretary shall pay to each eligible veteran a monthly transition payment.
`(2) A veteran entitled to monthly transition payments under this subsection shall be paid--
`(A) a monthly transition payment in an amount equal to the amount specified with respect to the veteran in the proposal of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs under section 204(3) of the America's Wounded Warriors Act for each of the first three months beginning on the date of the veteran's retirement as described in paragraph (1); and
`(B) a one-time prorated payment of such amount for the remaining portion of the month in which the retirement of the veteran occurred.
`(3) No payment shall be made to a veteran under this subsection for any period for which a rehabilitation transition allowance is paid the veteran under subsection (c).
`(c) Rehabilitation Transition Allowance- (1) Subject to the provisions of this subsection, the Secretary shall pay to each eligible veteran who is participating in a rehabilitation program under chapter 17 or 31 of this title a monthly rehabilitation transition allowance described in paragraph (3) during the period described in paragraph (4).
`(2)(A) For purposes of this subsection, a veteran shall be treated as participating in a rehabilitation program under chapter 17 of this title if, as determined by the Secretary, the veteran is participating in an intensive treatment program under that chapter for a service-connected disability which program is intended to assist the veteran in restoring the veteran's ability to obtain and maintain substantially gainful employment.
`(B) For purposes of this subsection, a veteran shall be treated as participating in a rehabilitation program under chapter 31 of this title during any period, as determined by the Secretary, during which the veteran is eligible, notwithstanding paragraph (7), for the subsistence allowance authorized by section 3108(a)(1) of this title.
`(3)(A) The amount of the monthly rehabilitation transition allowance payable to a veteran under this subsection is the amount equal to the amount specified with respect to the veteran in the proposal of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs under section 204(3) of the America's Wounded Warriors Act.
`(B) For any month in which an eligible veteran participates in a rehabilitation program described in paragraph (1) for less than the full month, the amount payable to the veteran under this paragraph shall be prorated for the portion of the month in which the veteran so participates.
`(C) In the case of a veteran entitled to assistance under this subsection who is participating in a rehabilitation program that includes paid training on the job, the Secretary may reduce the veteran's rehabilitation transition allowance under this subsection by one dollar for each dollar of wages, compensation, or other income paid (directly or indirectly) by the employer to the veteran for such training.
`(4) The period for which a monthly rehabilitation transition allowance is payable to a veteran under this subsection is the period specified with respect to the veteran in the proposal of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs under section 204(3) of the America's Wounded Warriors Act.
`(5) A veteran may be paid a rehabilitation transition allowance under this subsection only if the veteran is complying substantially with the individual rehabilitation or recovery plan developed by the Secretary for purposes of the rehabilitation program described in paragraph (1).
`(6)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), no rehabilitation transition allowance may be paid under this subsection to a veteran who is participating in a vocational rehabilitation program under chapter 31 of this title while such veteran is incarcerated in a Federal, State, local, or other penal institution or correctional facility for conviction of a felony.
`(B) Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to a veteran who is participating in a vocational rehabilitation program while residing in a halfway house or participating in a work-release program in connection with the veteran's conviction of a felony.
`(7) A veteran paid a rehabilitation transition allowance for a month under this subsection may not be paid the subsistence allowance otherwise authorized for the veteran under section 3108 of this title for that month.
`(d) Source of Funds- Amounts for payments under this section shall be derived from amounts available in the Readjustment Benefits account of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

`Sec. 1205. Periodic review of extent of disability

`(a) In General- Except as provided under this section, the Secretary shall--
`(1) reevaluate and adjust, if appropriate, the disability rating of each veteran entitled to compensation under section 1201 or 1202 of this title, as the Secretary considers appropriate; and
`(2) adjust the rate of compensation payable to such veteran under section 1203 of this title according to the new disability rating as adjusted under paragraph (1) and to any adjustment of the schedule of ratings under section 1155 of this title applicable to veterans for whom compensation is payable under this chapter that has occurred since the preceding assignment of a disability rating to such veteran.
`(b) Frequency of Reevaluations and Adjustments- The Secretary shall carry out the reevaluations and adjustments required by subsection (a) with respect to a veteran described in that subsection with such frequency as the Secretary considers appropriate. In making a determination regarding the appropriate frequency of reevaluations for a veteran, the Secretary shall be guided by recommendations made by an examining physician or other appropriate medical professional who has evaluated the veteran and by such other factors as the Secretary considers appropriate.
`(c) Reevaluation at Request of Veteran- At the request of a veteran receiving compensation under section 1201 or 1202 of this title, the Secretary may--
`(1) reevaluate and adjust, if appropriate, the disability rating of the veteran as the Secretary considers appropriate; and
`(2) adjust the rate of compensation payable to such veteran under section 1203 of this title according to the new disability rating as adjusted under paragraph (1) and to any adjustment of the schedule of ratings under section 1155 of this title applicable to veterans for whom compensation is payable under this chapter that has occurred since the preceding assignment of a disability rating to such veteran.

`Sec. 1206. Prohibition on duplication of benefits

`(a) In General- A veteran entitled to compensation under section 1201 or 1202 of this title is not entitled to compensation under chapter 11 of this title.
`(b) Preservation of Entitlement Under Other System- (1)(A) Except as provided in paragraph (2), any veteran in receipt of compensation under chapter 11 of this title (other than compensation paid as a result of a temporary rating of disability) as of the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system (as determined in accordance with section 206 of the America's Wounded Warriors Act) shall remain entitled to compensation in accordance with the provisions of chapter 11 of this title after that date.
`(B) For provisions relating to the protection of ratings of disability of veterans covered by subparagraph (A), see section 110(c) of this title.
`(2)(A) The entitlement to compensation of, and amount of compensation payable to, a veteran described in paragraph (1) who files a claim for compensation under this title on or after the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system shall be determined in accordance with the facts found under the provisions of section 1155 of this title and this chapter as such provisions are in effect on the date of the filing of the claim.
`(B) The objection of a veteran to a proposed reduction in rating of service-connected disability or other response of a veteran to a proposed adverse action by the Secretary concerning compensation for a service-connected disability under chapter 11 of this title shall not be treated as a claim for purposes of subparagraph (A).'.
(2) CLERICAL AMENDMENTS- The table of chapters at the beginning of title 38, United States Code, and the beginning of part II of such title, are each amended by inserting after the item related to chapter 11 the following new item:

1201'.

(3) DISABILITY EVALUATIONS SUBJECT TO REEVALUATION- Section 110 of title 38, United States Code, is amended--
(A) in the first sentence, by striking `A rating' and inserting `(a) Except as otherwise provided in this title, a rating';
(B) by designating the second sentence as subsection (b) and indenting such subsection, as so designated, two ems from the left margin;
(C) in subsection (b), as so designated, by striking `A disability' and inserting `Except as otherwise provided in this title, a disability'; and
(D) by adding at the end the following new subsection:
`(c) The rating of disability assigned to a veteran who continues to remain entitled to compensation under chapter 11 of this title after the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system (as determined in accordance with section 206 of the America's Wounded Warriors Act) by reason of section 1206(b) of this title may not be reduced while the veteran continues to remain so entitled, except upon a showing that such rating was based on fraud.'.
(4) MATTERS NOT SUBJECT TO REVIEW- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the following matters shall not be subject to review by any other official or by any court, whether by an action in the nature of mandamus or otherwise:
(A) Any rate of disability compensation payable under chapter 12 of title 38, United States Code (as amended by this subsection), that is prescribed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for purposes of the proposal under section 204(2) .
(B) Any amount of monthly transition payments payable under section 1204(b) of title 38, United States Code (as so amended), that is specified by the Secretary for purposes of the proposal under section 204(3).
(C) Any amount or duration of rehabilitation transition allowances payable under section 1204(c) of title 38, United States Code (as so amended), that is specified by the Secretary for purposes of the proposal under section 204(3).
(5) TREATMENT OF VETERANS WITH PENDING CLAIMS- In the case of a veteran whose claim for disability compensation under title 38, United States Code, is pending an initial decision from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, or is on appeal (whether before the Board of Veterans' Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, or otherwise), as of the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system (as determined in accordance with section 206), the Secretary shall treat such claim as a claim for compensation payable under chapter 11 of title 38, United States Code.
(6) EFFECTIVE DATE- Except as provided in paragraph (7), this subsection and the amendments made by this subsection shall take effect, if at all, on the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system as determined in accordance with section 206.
(7) ANTICIPATION OF IMPLEMENTATION- The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall take appropriate actions to ensure that this subsection and the amendments made by this subsection are implementable on the effective date described in paragraph (6) in the event of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system on that date.
(c) Expanded Retroactivity of Award of Compensation-
(1) IN GENERAL- Section 5110(g) of title 38, United States Code, is amended--
(A) by inserting `(1)' after `(g)'; and
(B) by striking the second sentence and inserting the following new paragraph:
`(2) Subject to the limitation in paragraph (1) and except as provided in paragraph (3), an award or increase described in paragraph (1) may not be retroactive for more than one year from the date of application therefore or the date of administrative determination of entitlement, whichever is earlier.
`(3) Subject to the limitation in paragraph (1), an award or increase described in that paragraph pursuant to the amendment to section 1155 of this title or chapter 12 of this title made by section 207 of the America's Wounded Warriors Act under an application therefor filed during the three-year period beginning on the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system (as determined in accordance with section 206 of that Act) may be retroactive for three years from the date of application or date of administrative determination of entitlement, whichever is earlier.'.
(2) EFFECTIVE DATE- The amendments made by this subsection shall take effect, if at all, on the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system as determined in accordance with section 206.
(d) Expedited Claims Processing During Implementation of Enhanced Disability Compensation System-
(1) IN GENERAL- Effective as of the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system as determined in accordance with section 206, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall implement appropriate mechanisms to expedite the processing of claims anticipated to be submitted to the Secretary under that system during the three-year period beginning on the effective date of the implementation of that system.
(2) ELEMENTS- The mechanisms implemented under this subsection shall include the following:
(A) Mechanisms for affording appropriate priority for processing among the claims submitted as described in paragraph (1).
(B) Mechanisms for ensuring the appropriate allocation of personnel and resources of the Department of Veterans Affairs in order to facilitate an expedited processing of such claims.
(C) Any other mechanisms that the Secretary considers appropriate to facilitate an expedited processing of such claims.
(3) CONSULTATION IN DEVELOPMENT OF MECHANISMS- The Secretary shall consult with appropriate representatives of veterans services organizations in developing the mechanisms to be implemented under this subsection.
(4) ENHANCED AUTHORITY FOR PROCESSING CLAIMS-
(A) IN GENERAL- Subject to subparagraph (B), during the five-year period beginning on the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system, the Secretary may waive any provision or limitation of law applicable to determinations on claims for compensation for veterans under title 38, United States Code, if the Secretary determines that the waiver of such provision or limitation will further the expedited processing of claims submitted as described in paragraph (1).
(B) NOTICE AND WAIT- The Secretary may not waive a provision or limitation of law under subparagraph (A) until 30 days after the date on which the Secretary submits to the Committee Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives a report setting forth--
(i) the provision or limitation of law to be waived and the duration of the waiver;
(ii) a statement of the reasons why the waiver of the provision or limitation of law will further the expedited processing of claims submitted as described in paragraph (1); and
(iii) an estimate of the time anticipated to be required to complete the processing of claims under the waiver.

SEC. 208. SUPPLEMENTAL SURVIVOR BENEFIT FOR SURVIVORS OF VETERANS RETIRED FOR DISABILITY AFTER IMPLEMENTATION OF ENHANCED DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS DISABILITY COMPENSATION SYSTEM.

(a) Supplemental Survivor Benefit-
(1) IN GENERAL- Part II of title 38, United States Code, as amended by section 207(b) of this Act, is further amended by inserting after chapter 13 the following new chapter:

`CHAPTER 14--SUPPLEMENTAL SURVIVOR BENEFIT FOR SURVIVORS OF VETERANS RETIRED FOR DISABILITY AFTER IMPLEMENTATION OF ENHANCED DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS DISABILITY COMPENSATION SYSTEM

`Sec.
`1401. Definition.
`1402. Election of benefit.
`1403. Receipt of benefit.
`1404. Reduction of compensation; termination of reduction.
`1405. Offset for dependency and indemnity compensation.

`Sec. 1401. Definition

`In this chapter, the term `covered veteran' means a veteran retired under subchapter II of chapter 61 of title 10 pursuant to section 1206a of that title who is entitled to compensation for service-connected disability under chapter 12 of this title.

`Sec. 1402. Election of benefit

`(a) In General- A covered veteran may elect in accordance with this section to provide a monthly supplemental survivor benefit under this chapter to the veteran's survivors as follows:
`(1) The surviving spouse of the veteran.
`(2) The surviving children of the veteran.
`(b) Election by Veterans at Award of Compensation- (1) If, at the time of the award of compensation for service-connected disability under chapter 12 of this title that qualifies such veteran as a covered veteran, a veteran has a spouse, one or more children, or both, the veteran shall elect to whom to provide a supplemental survivor benefit under this chapter.
`(2) A veteran may provide the supplemental survivor benefit referred to in paragraph (1) pursuant to an election under this paragraph--
`(A) if the veteran has only a spouse at the time of the election, to the surviving spouse of the veteran;
`(B) if the veteran has both a spouse and one or more children at the time of the election--
`(i) to the surviving spouse of the veteran; or
`(ii) to the surviving children of the veteran; or
`(C) if the veteran is unmarried but has one or more children at the time of the election, to the surviving children of the veteran.
`(3)(A) If a veteran described by paragraph (2)(B) elects pursuant to paragraph (1) to provide a supplemental survivor benefit under this chapter to the surviving children of the veteran, the Secretary shall notify the veteran's spouse of the election.
`(B) A veteran who makes an election described by subparagraph (A) may later elect instead to provide a supplemental survivor benefit under this chapter to the surviving spouse of the veteran, but only if the veteran submits the election under this subparagraph to the Secretary not later than 30 days after the date of the submittal of the election described by subparagraph (A) to the Secretary.
`(4)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), an election pursuant to this subsection shall be effective as of the first day of the first month after the election is received by the Secretary.
`(B) An election pursuant to this subsection that is described by paragraph (3) shall be effective as of the first day of the first month that begins more than 30 days after the election described by paragraph (3)(A) is received by the Secretary.
`(5) Except as provided in subsection (c), a veteran who does not make the election provided in this subsection at the time described in paragraph (1) may not provide a supplemental survivor benefit under this chapter.
`(6) Except as provided in subsections (c), (d), and (e), an election pursuant to this subsection is irrevocable.
`(c) Election by Veterans Not Married at Award of Compensation Who Later Marry- (1) A veteran who is unmarried at the time of the award of compensation for service-connected disability under chapter 12 of this title that qualifies the veteran as a covered veteran and who later marries may elect to provide a supplemental survivor benefit under this chapter to the spouse of the veteran by such marriage.
`(2) An election pursuant to this subsection shall be effective only if received by the Secretary not later than 60 days after the date of the marriage concerned.
`(3) An election pursuant to this subsection shall be effective as of the first day of the first month after the date the election is received by the Secretary.
`(4) An election of a veteran pursuant to this subsection supersedes the election, if any, of the veteran described in subsection (b)(2)(C).
`(5) Except as provided in subsection (e), an election pursuant to this subsection is irrevocable.
`(d) Election by Veterans Married at Award of Compensation Who Later Remarry- (1) A veteran who is married at the time of the award of compensation for service-connected disability under chapter 12 of this title that qualifies the veteran as a covered veteran, who made an election provided in subsection (b) at that time, and who later remarries may elect to provide a supplemental survivor benefit under this chapter to the spouse of the veteran by such remarriage.
`(2) An election pursuant to this subsection shall be effective only if received by the Secretary not later than 60 days after the date of the marriage concerned.
`(3) An election pursuant to this subsection shall be effective as of the first day of the first month after the date the election is received by the Secretary.
`(4) An election of a veteran pursuant to this subsection supersedes the election of the veteran under subsection (b).
`(5) Except as provided in subsection (e), an election pursuant to this subsection is irrevocable.
`(e) Revocation of Election of Spouse Eligibility- (1) A covered veteran who has made an election under this section to provide a supplemental survivor benefit to the surviving spouse of the veteran may revoke the election.
`(2)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), a veteran may revoke an election under this subsection only with the concurrence of the veteran's spouse.
`(B) A veteran may revoke an election under this subsection without the concurrence of the veteran's spouse if the veteran demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Secretary that--
`(i) the whereabouts of the spouse cannot be determined; or
`(ii) because of exceptional circumstances, a requirement that the veteran seek the concurrence of the spouse would be unreasonable.
`(3) A revocation of an election under this subsection is irrevocable.
`(f) Form of Elections- Any election under this section (including a revocation of election under subsection (e)) shall be made in writing.
`(g) Notice Regarding Elections- The Secretary shall take appropriate actions to inform covered veterans of the elections available to covered veterans under this subsection, including the procedures and deadlines applicable to the making of such elections.

`Sec. 1403. Receipt of benefit

`(a) In General- (1) Effective as of the first day of the first month after the month in which a covered veteran who has made an election under section 1402 of this title dies, a monthly supplemental survivor benefit under this chapter in an amount equal to 55 percent of the monthly compensation payable to the veteran under section 1203(a) of this title at the time of the veteran's death shall be payable to the individual or individuals provided for in such election in force at the time of the veteran's death.
`(2) Any payment of a supplemental survivor benefit under this section to the surviving children of a veteran shall be paid to the surviving children in equal shares.
`(b) Eligibility of Surviving Spouse- (1) In the event of the death of a surviving spouse being paid a supplemental survivor benefit under subsection (a), the surviving spouse shall be ineligible for the benefit effective as of the first day of the first month after the date of the surviving spouse's death.
`(2)(A) In the event a surviving spouse being paid a supplemental survivor benefit under subsection (a) remarries before reaching the age of 55, the surviving spouse shall be ineligible for the benefit effective as of the first day of the first month after the date of the surviving spouse's remarriage.
`(B) If the remarriage of a surviving spouse covered by subparagraph (A) is terminated by the death of the surviving spouses's spouse, annulment, or divorce, the eligibility of the surviving spouse for the benefit shall recommence effective as of the first day of the first month after the date on which the remarriage is so terminated.
`(3) A surviving spouse who is otherwise eligible for payment of more than one supplemental survivor benefit under subsection (a) based on marriages to more than one covered veteran shall elect which marriage shall entitle the surviving spouse to payment of the benefit for purposes of this chapter. Any election under this paragraph is irrevocable.
`(c) Eligibility of Surviving Children- (1) In the event the surviving spouse of a veteran becomes ineligible for payment of a supplemental survivor benefit under subsection (b), the surviving children of the veteran shall become eligible for the benefit effective as of the first day of the first month after the date in which the surviving spouse becomes so ineligible.
`(2) In the event the surviving spouse of a veteran becomes re-eligible for payment of a supplemental survivor benefit under subsection (b)(2)(B), the surviving children of the veteran shall be ineligible for the benefit effective as of the first day of the first month after the date in which the surviving spouse becomes so re-eligible.
`(3) In the event of the death of a surviving child being paid a supplemental survivor benefit, the surviving child shall be ineligible for the benefit effective as of the first day of the first month after the surviving child's death, and the payment of the benefit to the remaining surviving children (if any) of the veteran concerned shall be adjusted accordingly effective as of that day.

`Sec. 1404. Reduction of compensation; termination of reduction

`(a) Reduction of Compensation- Effective as of the effective date of an election of a covered veteran under section 1402 of this title to provide a monthly supplemental survivor benefit under this chapter (as determined in accordance with applicable provisions of section 1402 of this title), the amount of monthly compensation for service-connected disability otherwise payable to the veteran under section 1203(a) of this title shall be reduced by an amount equal to 6.5 percent of the amount of such monthly compensation.
`(b) Termination of Reduction in Connection With Benefit for Surviving Spouse- (1) In the case of a covered veteran who has elected to provide a supplemental survivor benefit under this chapter to the surviving spouse of the veteran, the reduction required by subsection (a) shall terminate effective as of the first day of the first month after--
`(A) the death of the spouse;
`(B) the revocation of the eligibility of the spouse for the benefit under section 1402(e) of this title; or
`(C) the dissolution of the veteran's marriage to the spouse through annulment or divorce.
`(2) If after the reduction required by subsection (a) is terminated under paragraph (1)(C) a veteran elects under section 1402(d) of this title to provide the benefit to the surviving spouse of the remarriage covered by such section 1402(d), the reduction required by subsection (a) shall recommence effective as of the first day of the first month after the date of the remarriage, and shall be subject to subsequent termination in accordance with paragraph (1).
`(c) Termination of Reduction in Connection With Benefit for Surviving Children- In the case of a covered veteran who has elected to provide a supplemental survivor benefit under this chapter to the surviving children of the veteran, the reduction required by subsection (a) shall terminate effective as of the first day of the first month after--
`(1) the date of death of the last child of the veteran; or
`(2) the date on which the last of the children of the veteran is no longer treatable as a child under section 101 of this title.
`(d) Limitation on Number of Months Subject to Reduction- The total number of months for which the monthly compensation of a covered veteran is reduced under subsection (a) may not exceed 360 months.

`Sec. 1405. Offset for dependency and indemnity compensation

`(a) In General- If an individual eligible for payment of a monthly supplemental survivor benefit under this chapter based on the death of a covered veteran is or becomes entitled to dependency and indemnity compensation under chapter 13 of this title based on the death of the veteran, the amount of the supplemental survivor benefit paid the individual under this chapter for a month is the amount of the benefit otherwise payable to the individual under section 1403 of this title for that month minus the amount of the dependency and indemnity compensation so payable to the individual for that month.
`(b) Effective Date- The reduction of benefit of an individual required by subsection (a) shall be effective as of the date of the commencement of the payment of dependency and indemnity compensation to the individual under chapter 13 of this title.
`(c) Reimbursement of Reduction in Compensation- (1) If as a result of subsection (a) no benefit otherwise payable to an individual under section 1403 of this title with respect to a covered veteran is payable to the individual under this chapter, an amount shall be paid to the individual equal to the aggregate amount of the reduction under section 1404(a) of this title of the monthly compensation otherwise payable to the veteran.
`(2) If as a result of subsection (a) the amount of monthly benefit otherwise payable to an individual under section 1403 of this title with respect to a covered veteran is reduced (other than to zero), an amount shall be paid to the individual equal to--
`(A) the aggregate amount of the reduction under section 1404(a) of this title of the monthly compensation otherwise payable to the veteran; multiplied by
`(B) a number equal to 1 minus an amount equal to the fraction--
`(i) whose numerator is the amount of the monthly benefit payable to the individual under section 1403 of this title as a result of the reduction under subsection (a); and
`(ii) whose denominator is the amount of the monthly benefit otherwise payable to the individual under section 1403 of this title without regard to the reduction under subsection (a).
`(3) Any amount payable under this subsection shall be paid, at the election of the Secretary, in a lump sum or in such installments as the Secretary shall specify for purposes of this subsection.'.
(2) CLERICAL AMENDMENTS- The tables of chapters at the beginning of title 38, United States Code, and the beginning of part II of such title, as amended by section 207(b) of this Act, are each further amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 13 the following new item:

1401'.

(b) Effective Date- Except as provided in subsection (c), this section and the amendments made by this section shall take effect, if at all, on the effective date of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system as determined in accordance with section 206.
(c) Anticipation of Implementation- The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall take appropriate actions to ensure that the amendments made by this section are implementable on the effective date described in subsection (b) in the event of the implementation of the enhanced Department of Veterans Affairs disability compensation system on that date.

END