S 1123

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 1123

To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the provision of benefits and assistance under laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to veterans affected by natural or other disasters, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 26, 2011

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


A BILL

To amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the provision of benefits and assistance under laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to veterans affected by natural or other disasters, 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. ASSISTANCE TO VETERANS AFFECTED BY NATURAL DISASTERS.

    (a) Additional Grants for Disabled Veterans for Specially Adapted Housing-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Chapter 21 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

`Sec. 2109. Specially adapted housing destroyed or damaged by natural disasters

    `(a) In General- Notwithstanding the provisions of section 2102 of this title, the Secretary may award a grant to a veteran whose home was previously adapted with assistance of a grant under this chapter in the event the adapted home which was being used and occupied by the veteran was destroyed or substantially damaged in a natural or other disaster, as determined by the Secretary.

    `(b) Use of Funds- A grant awarded under subsection (a) shall be available to acquire a suitable housing unit with special fixtures or moveable facilities made necessary by the veteran's disability, and necessary land therefor.

    `(c) Limitations- The amount of the grant awarded under subsection (a) may not exceed the lesser of--

      `(1) the reasonable cost, as determined by the Secretary, of repairing or replacing the damaged or destroyed home in excess of the available insurance coverage on such home; or

      `(2) the maximum grant amount to which the veteran would have been entitled under subsection (a) or (b) of section 2102 of this title had the veteran not obtained the prior grant.'.

      (2) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 21 of such title is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 2108 the following new item:

      `2109. Specially adapted housing destroyed or damaged by natural disasters.'.

    (b) Extension of Subsistence Allowance for Veterans Completing Vocational Rehabilitation Program- Section 3108(a)(2) of such title is amended--

      (1) by inserting `(A)' before `In'; and

      (2) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

    `(B) In any case in which the Secretary determines that a veteran described in subparagraph (A) has been displaced as the result of a natural or other disaster while being paid a subsistence allowance under that subparagraph, as determined by the Secretary, the Secretary may extend the payment of a subsistence allowance under such subparagraph for up to an additional two months while the veteran is satisfactorily following a program of employment services described in such subparagraph.'.

    (c) Waiver of Limitation on Program of Independent Living Services and Assistance- Section 3120(e) of such title is amended--

      (1) by inserting `(1)' before `Programs'; and

      (2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

    `(2) The limitation in paragraph (1) shall not apply in any case in which the Secretary determines that a veteran described in subsection (b) has been displaced as the result of, or has otherwise been adversely affected in the areas covered by, a natural or other disaster, as determined by the Secretary.'.

    (d) Covenants and Liens Created by Public Entities in Response to Disaster-Relief Assistance- Paragraph (3) of section 3703(d) of such title is amended to read as follows:

    `(3)(A) Any real estate housing loan (other than for repairs, alterations, or improvements) shall be secured by a first lien on the realty. In determining whether a loan is so secured, the Secretary may either disregard or allow for subordination to a superior lien created by a duly recorded covenant running with the realty in favor of either of the following:

      `(i) A public entity that has provided or will provide assistance in response to a major disaster as determined by the President under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.).

      `(ii) A private entity to secure an obligation to such entity for the homeowner's share of the costs of the management, operation, or maintenance of property, services, or programs within and for the benefit of the development or community in which the veteran's realty is located, if the Secretary determines that the interests of the veteran-borrower and of the Government will not be prejudiced by the operation of such covenant.

    `(B) With respect to any superior lien described in subparagraph (A) created after June 6, 1969, the Secretary's determination under clause (ii) of such subparagraph shall have been made prior to the recordation of the covenant.'.

    (e) Automobiles and Other Conveyances for Certain Disabled Veterans and Members of the Armed Forces- Section 3903(a) of such title is amended--

      (1) by striking `No' and inserting `(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), no'; and

      (2) by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

    `(2) The Secretary may provide or assist in providing an eligible person with a second automobile or other conveyance under this chapter if--

      `(A) the Secretary receives satisfactory evidence that the automobile or other conveyance previously purchased with assistance under this chapter was destroyed--

        `(i) as a result of a natural or other disaster, as determined by the Secretary; and

        `(ii) through no fault of the eligible person; and

      `(B) the eligible person does not otherwise receive from a property insurer compensation for the loss.'.

END