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114th Congress    }                                       {     Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session      }                                       {    114-206

======================================================================



 
      VETERANS' COMPENSATION COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT ACT OF 2015

                                _______
                                

 July 16, 2015.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Miller of Florida, from the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 675]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 675) to increase, effective as of December 1, 
2015, the rates of compensation for veterans with service-
connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and 
indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled 
veterans, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
report favorably thereon with amendments and recommend that the 
bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Amendment........................................................     2
Purpose and Summary..............................................     6
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     7
Hearings.........................................................    12
Subcommittee Consideration.......................................    13
Committee Consideration..........................................    13
Committee Votes..................................................    14
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................    14
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............    14
New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures    14
Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits.............................    14
Committee Cost Estimate..........................................    14
Congressional Budget Office Estimate.............................    14
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................    19
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................    19
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................    19
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................    20
Statement on Duplication of Federal Programs.....................    20
Disclosure of Directed Rulemaking................................    20
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................    20
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill as Reported.............    23

                               Amendment

    The amendments are as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

  (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Veterans' 
Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2015''.
  (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

            TITLE I--COMPENSATION COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT

Sec. 101. Increase in rates of disability compensation and dependency 
and indemnity compensation.
Sec. 102. Publication of adjusted rates.

      TITLE II--UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS

Sec. 201. Extending temporary expansion of United States Court of 
Appeals for Veterans Claims.
Sec. 202. Recall of retired judges of United States Court of Appeals 
for Veterans Claims.
Sec. 203. Life insurance program relating to judges of United States 
Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
Sec. 204. Voluntary contributions to enlarge survivors' annuity.
Sec. 205. Salaries of judges of United States Court of Appeals for 
Veterans Claims.
Sec. 206. Selection of chief judge of United States Court of Appeals 
for Veterans Claims.

              TITLE III--IMPROVEMENT OF CLAIMS PROCESSING

Sec. 301. Interim payments of compensation benefits under laws 
administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Sec. 302. Claims processors training.
Sec. 303. Notice of average times for processing claims and percentage 
of claims approved.

                        TITLE IV--OTHER MATTERS

Sec. 401. Clarification of eligible recipients of certain accrued 
benefits upon death of beneficiary.
Sec. 402. Observance of Veterans Day.

            TITLE I--COMPENSATION COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT

SEC. 101. INCREASE IN RATES OF DISABILITY COMPENSATION AND DEPENDENCY 
                    AND INDEMNITY COMPENSATION.

  (a) Rate Adjustment.--Effective on December 1, 2015, the Secretary of 
Veterans Affairs shall increase, in accordance with subsection (c), the 
dollar amounts in effect on November 30, 2015, for the payment of 
disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation under 
the provisions specified in subsection (b).
  (b) Amounts To Be Increased.--The dollar amounts to be increased 
pursuant to subsection (a) are the following:
          (1) Wartime disability compensation.--Each of the dollar 
        amounts under section 1114 of title 38, United States Code.
          (2) Additional compensation for dependents.--Each of the 
        dollar amounts under section 1115(1) of such title.
          (3) Clothing allowance.--The dollar amount under section 1162 
        of such title.
          (4) Dependency and indemnity compensation to surviving 
        spouse.--Each of the dollar amounts under subsections (a) 
        through (d) of section 1311 of such title.
          (5) Dependency and indemnity compensation to children.--Each 
        of the dollar amounts under sections 1313(a) and 1314 of such 
        title.
  (c) Determination of Increase.--
          (1) Percentage.--Except as provided in paragraph (2), each 
        dollar amount described in subsection (b) shall be increased by 
        the same percentage as the percentage by which benefit amounts 
        payable under title II of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 
        401 et seq.) are increased effective December 1, 2015, as a 
        result of a determination under section 215(i) of such Act (42 
        U.S.C. 415(i)).
          (2) Rounding.--Each dollar amount increased under paragraph 
        (1), if not a whole dollar amount, shall be rounded to the next 
        lower whole dollar amount.
  (d) Special Rule.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs may adjust 
administratively, consistent with the increases made under subsection 
(a), the rates of disability compensation payable to persons under 
section 10 of Public Law 85-857 (72 Stat. 1263) who have not received 
compensation under chapter 11 of title 38, United States Code.

SEC. 102. PUBLICATION OF ADJUSTED RATES.

  The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall publish in the Federal 
Register the amounts specified in section 101(b), as increased under 
that section, not later than the date on which the matters specified in 
section 215(i)(2)(D) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 
415(i)(2)(D)) are required to be published by reason of a determination 
made under section 215(i) of such Act during fiscal year 2016.

      TITLE II--UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS

SEC. 201. EXTENDING TEMPORARY EXPANSION OF UNITED STATES COURT OF 
                    APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS.

  Section 7253(i)(2) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by 
striking ``January 1, 2013'' and inserting ``January 1, 2020''.

SEC. 202. RECALL OF RETIRED JUDGES OF UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS 
                    FOR VETERANS CLAIMS.

  Paragraph (1) of section 7257(b) of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended to read as follows:
  ``(1)(A) The chief judge may recall for further service on the Court 
a recall-eligible retired judge in accordance with this section. Such a 
recall shall be made upon written certification by the chief judge that 
substantial service is expected to be performed by the retired judge 
for such period, not to exceed 90 days (or the equivalent), as 
determined by the chief judge to be necessary to meet the needs of the 
Court.
  ``(B)(i) A recall-eligible judge may request that the chief judge 
recall the recall-eligible judge for a period of service of not less 
than 90 days (or the equivalent).
  ``(ii) The chief judge shall approve a request made by a recall-
eligible judge pursuant to clause (i) unless the chief judge certifies, 
in writing, that the Court does not have--
          ``(I) sufficient work to assign such recall-eligible judge 
        during the period of recalled service; or
          ``(II) sufficient resources to provide to such recall-
        eligible judge appropriate administrative and office support.
  ``(iii) At any time during the period of recalled service of a judge 
who is recalled pursuant to clause (i), the chief judge may terminate 
such recalled service if the chief judge makes a written certification 
described in clause (ii).''.

SEC. 203. LIFE INSURANCE PROGRAM RELATING TO JUDGES OF UNITED STATES 
                    COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS.

  (a) In General.--Section 7281 of title 38, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following:
  ``(j) For purposes of chapter 87 of title 5, a judge who is in 
regular active service and a judge who is retired under section 7296 of 
this title or under chapter 83 or 84 of title 5 shall be treated as an 
employee described in section 8701(a)(5) of title 5.''.
  (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply 
with respect to any payment made on or after the first day of the first 
applicable pay period beginning on or after the date of the enactment 
of this Act.

SEC. 204. VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS TO ENLARGE SURVIVORS' ANNUITY.

  Section 7297 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at 
the end the following new subsection:
  ``(p)(1) A covered judge who makes an election under subsection (b) 
may purchase, in three-month increments, up to an additional year of 
service credit for each year of Federal judicial service completed, 
under the terms set forth in this section.
  ``(2) In this subsection, the term `covered judge' means any of the 
following:
          ``(A) A judge in regular active service.
          ``(B) A retired judge who is a recall-eligible retired judge 
        pursuant to subsection (a) of section 7257 of this title.
          ``(C) A retired judge who would be a recall-eligible retired 
        judge pursuant to subsection (a) of section 7257 but for--
                  ``(i) meeting the aggregate recall service 
                requirements under subsection (b)(3) of such section; 
                or
                  ``(ii) being permanently disabled as described by 
                subsection (b)(4) of such section.''.

SEC. 205. SALARIES OF JUDGES OF UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR 
                    VETERANS CLAIMS.

  Section 7253(e) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by 
striking ``district courts'' and inserting ``courts of appeals''.

SEC. 206. SELECTION OF CHIEF JUDGE OF UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS 
                    FOR VETERANS CLAIMS.

  Section 7253(d) of title 38, United States Code, is amended--
          (1) in paragraph (1)--
                  (A) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``and'';
                  (B) by redesignating subparagraph (B) as subparagraph 
                (C); and
                  (C) by inserting after subparagraph (A) the following 
                new subparagraph (B):
          ``(B) are 64 years of age or under and have at least three 
        years remaining in term of office; and''; and
          (2) by amending paragraph (2) to read as follows:
  ``(2)(A) In any case in which there is no judge of the Court in 
regular active service who meets the requirements under paragraph (1), 
the judge of the Court in regular active service who is senior in 
commission and meets subparagraph (A) or (B) and subparagraph (C) of 
paragraph (1) shall act as the chief judge.
  ``(B) In any case under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph in which 
there is no judge of the Court in regular active service who meets 
subparagraph (A) or (B) and subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1), the 
judge of the Court in regular active service who is senior in 
commission and meets subparagraph (C) shall act as the chief judge.''.

              TITLE III--IMPROVEMENT OF CLAIMS PROCESSING

SEC. 301. INTERIM PAYMENTS OF COMPENSATION BENEFITS UNDER LAWS 
                    ADMINISTERED BY THE SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

  (a) In General.--Subchapter III of chapter 51 of title 38, United 
States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

``Sec. 5127. Interim payments of compensation benefits

  ``(a) In General.--In the case of a claim described in subsection 
(b), prior to adjudicating the claim, the Secretary shall make interim 
payments of monetary benefits to the claimant based on any disability 
for which the Secretary has made a decision or, with respect to such a 
disability that is not compensable, notify the claimant of the rating 
relating to such disability. Upon the adjudication of the claim, the 
Secretary shall pay to the claimant any monetary benefits awarded to 
the claimant for the period of payment under section 5111 of this title 
less the amount of such benefits paid to the claimant under this 
section.
  ``(b) Claim Described.--A claim described in this subsection is a 
claim for disability compensation under chapter 11 of this title 
(including a claim regarding an increased rating)--
          ``(1) the adjudication of which requires the Secretary to 
        make decisions with respect to two or more disabilities; and
          ``(2) for which, before completing the adjudication of the 
        claim, the Secretary makes a decision with respect to a 
        disability that would result in the payment of monetary 
        benefits to the claimant upon the adjudication of the claim.''.
  (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of 
such chapter is amended by adding at the end of the items relating to 
such subchapter the following new item:

``5127. Interim payments of compensation benefits.''.

SEC. 302. CLAIMS PROCESSORS TRAINING.

  (a) Establishment.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall establish 
a training program to provide newly hired claims processors of the 
Department of Veterans Affairs with training for a period of not less 
than two years. In carrying out such program, the Secretary shall 
identify successful claims processors of the Department who can assist 
in the training of newly hired claims processors.
  (b) Ability to Process Claims.--The Secretary shall carry out the 
training program established under subsection (a) without increasing 
the amount of time in which claims are processed by the Department.
  (c) Effective Date.--This section shall take effect on the date that 
is one year after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 303. NOTICE OF AVERAGE TIMES FOR PROCESSING CLAIMS AND PERCENTAGE 
                    OF CLAIMS APPROVED.

  (a) Public Notice.--The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall post the 
information described in subsection (c)--
          (1) in a conspicuous place in each regional office and claims 
        intake facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs; and
          (2) on the Internet Web site of the Department.
  (b) Notice to Applicants.--
          (1) In general.--The Secretary shall provide to each person 
        who submits a claim for benefits under the laws administered by 
        the Secretary before the person submits such claim--
                  (A) notice of the information described in subsection 
                (c); and
                  (B) notice that the person is eligible to receive up 
                to an extra year of benefits payments if the person 
                files a claim that is fully developed.
          (2) Acknowledgment of receipt of notice.--Each person who 
        submits a claim for benefits under the laws administered by the 
        Secretary shall include in such application a signed form 
        acknowledging that the person received the information 
        described in subsection (c).
  (c) Information Described.--
          (1) In general.--The information described in this subsection 
        is the following:
                  (A) The average processing time of the claims 
                described in paragraph (2) and the percentage of such 
                submitted claims for which benefits are awarded.
                  (B) The percentage of each of the following types of 
                submitted claims for benefits under the laws 
                administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for 
                which benefits are awarded:
                          (i) Claims filed by veterans who authorized a 
                        veterans service organization to act on the 
                        veterans' behalf under a durable power of 
                        attorney.
                          (ii) Claims filed by veterans who authorized 
                        a person other than a veterans service 
                        organization to act on the veterans' behalf 
                        under a durable power of attorney.
                          (iii) Claims filed by veterans who did not 
                        authorize a person to act on the veterans' 
                        behalf under a durable power of attorney.
          (2) Claims described.--The claims described in this paragraph 
        are each of the following types of claims for benefits under 
        the laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs:
                  (A) A fully developed claim that is submitted in 
                standard electronic form.
                  (B) A fully developed claim that is submitted in 
                standard paper form.
                  (C) A claim that is not fully developed that is 
                submitted in standard electronic form.
                  (D) A claim that is not fully developed that is 
                submitted in standard paper form.
                  (E) A claim that is not fully developed that is 
                submitted in non-standard paper form.
          (3) Update of information.--The information described in this 
        subsection shall be updated not less frequently than once each 
        fiscal quarter.

                        TITLE IV--OTHER MATTERS

SEC. 401. CLARIFICATION OF ELIGIBLE RECIPIENTS OF CERTAIN ACCRUED 
                    BENEFITS UPON DEATH OF BENEFICIARY.

  (a) Eligibility of Estate.--Section 5121(a)(2) of title 38, United 
States Code, is amended--
          (1) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by inserting 
        ``, or estate,'' after ``person''; and
          (2) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
                  ``(D) The estate of the veteran (unless the estate 
                will escheat).''.
  (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply 
with respect to the death of an individual on or after the date that is 
two years after the date of the enactment of this Act.

SEC. 402. OBSERVANCE OF VETERANS DAY.

  (a) Two Minutes of Silence.--Chapter 1 of title 36, United States 
Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

``Sec. 145. Veterans Day

  ``The President shall issue each year a proclamation calling on the 
people of the United States to observe two minutes of silence on 
Veterans Day in honor of the service and sacrifice of veterans 
throughout the history of the Nation, beginning at--
          ``(1) 3:11 p.m. Atlantic standard time;
          ``(2) 2:11 p.m. eastern standard time;
          ``(3) 1:11 p.m. central standard time;
          ``(4) 12:11 p.m. mountain standard time;
          ``(5) 11:11 a.m. Pacific standard time;
          ``(6) 10:11 a.m. Alaska standard time; and
          ``(7) 9:11 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian standard time.''.
  (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections for chapter 1 of title 
36, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following 
new item:

``145. Veterans Day.''.

    Amend the title so as to read:
    A bill to increase, effective as of December 1, 2015, the 
rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected 
disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity 
compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans, to 
amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the United 
States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, to improve the 
processing of claims by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and 
for other purposes.

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 675, as amended, the ``Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-
Living Adjustment Act of 2015,'' was introduced by 
Representative Ralph Abraham of Louisiana, Chairman of the 
Subcommittee of Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs 
(DAMA), on February 3, 2015. H.R. 675, as amended, incorporates 
the text of: H.R. 995, introduced by Representative Stephen 
Lynch of Massachusetts on February 13, 2015; H.R. 1067, as 
amended, introduced by Representative Ryan Costello of 
Pennsylvania on February 25, 2015; H.R 1414, as amended, 
introduced by Representative Dina Titus of Nevada on March 17, 
2015, and H.R. 1569, introduced by Representative Lee Zeldin of 
New York on March 25, 2015.
    Together, these provisions would, (1) as of December 1, 
2015, increase the rates of Wartime Disability Compensation, 
Compensation for Dependents, Clothing Allowance, Dependency and 
Indemnity Compensation to Surviving Spouse, and Dependency and 
Indemnity Compensation to Children by the same percentage as 
the increase in benefits provided under title II (Old Age, 
Survivors, and Disability Insurance) of the Social Security 
Act; (2) extend until 2020 the temporary expansion of the Court 
of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC); permit retired CAVC 
judges to be recalled for more than 90 days under certain 
circumstances; (3) allow regular service and retired CAVC 
judges to participate in the government life insurance program; 
(4) authorize certain CAVC judges to purchase additional 
service credit for retirement purposes; set the salary of CAVC 
judges at the same rate as that of federal appellate judges; 
(5) revise the eligibility criteria of the CAVC chief judge; 
(6) direct the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs 
(VA) to make interim payments based on any disability for which 
the Secretary has already made a decision prior to adjudicating 
a claim requiring decisions with respect to two or more 
disabilities; (7) establish a statutory two-year training 
program for claims processors; (8) direct the Secretary to 
provide notice of average times for processing claims and 
percentage of claims approved; (9) require VA to pay accrued 
benefits for certain deceased veterans to the veteran's estate; 
and (10) codify a two minute moment of silence on Veterans' 
Day.

                  Background and Need For Legislation


            TITLE I--COMPENSATION COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT

Section 101--Increase in rates of disability compensation and 
        dependency and indemnity compensation

    The purpose of the disability compensation program is to 
provide relief from the impaired earning capacity of veterans 
disabled as the result of their military service. The amount of 
compensation payable varies according to the degree of 
disability. This amount in turn is required by law to 
represent, to the extent practicable, the average impairment in 
earning capacity in civilian occupations resulting from such 
disability or combination of disabilities.
    To be eligible to receive disability compensation, a 
veteran must have a disability incurred or aggravated during 
military service, which is not the result of willful 
misconduct, and must have been discharged under other than 
dishonorable conditions. The responsibility for determining a 
veteran's entitlement to service-connection for a disability 
rests with VA.
    Surviving spouses and dependent children of veterans who 
died of disabilities determined by VA to be service-connected 
(including veterans who died while on active duty) or who had a 
service-connected disability rated at 100 percent for certain 
periods of time prior to death are entitled to receive monthly 
Dependency Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits. Additional 
amounts are paid to survivors who are housebound, in need of 
aid and attendance, or who have minor children. The purpose of 
DIC benefits authorized under chapter 13 of title 38, U.S.C., 
is to provide partial compensation to the appropriate survivors 
for the loss in financial support due to the service-connected 
death. Income and need are not factors in determining a 
surviving spouse's or child's entitlement because the nation, 
in part, assumes the legal and moral obligation of the veteran 
to support the spouse and children.
    Each year, the Committee approves and reports legislation 
authorizing the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) by reference 
to the yet-to-be-determined Social Security increase. Section 
101 of H.R. 675, as amended, would increase the rates of 
Wartime Disability Compensation, Additional Compensation for 
Dependents, Clothing Allowance, Dependency and Indemnity 
Compensation to Surviving Spouse, and Dependency and Indemnity 
Compensation to Children. Such increase in benefits would 
increase to be the same percentage as the increase in benefits 
provided under title II (Old Age, Survivors, and Disability 
Insurance) of the Social Security Act.

Section 102--Publication of adjusted rates

    Section 102 of H.R. 675, as amended, would require the 
Secretary to publish in the Federal Register the amounts 
specified in section 101, as increased under that section, not 
later than the date on which the matters specified in section 
415(i)(2)(D) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 
415(i)(2)(D)) are required to be published by reason of 
determination made under section 415(i) of such Act during 
fiscal year 2016.

      TITLE II--UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS

Section 201--Extending temporary expansion of United States Court of 
        Appeals for Veterans Claims

    In 1988, Congress created the CAVC to afford veterans the 
opportunity for an independent judicial review of decisions 
issued by the Board of Veterans Appeals (Board). The CAVC is an 
independent appellate court that only reviews veterans' 
benefits cases, applying general principles for appellate 
review of federal agency final decisions.
    Generally, judges are appointed for 15-year terms, and upon 
retirement, each judge has the option to agree to be available 
for further service as a recall-eligible senior judge. During 
any period of recall service, a senior judge has all of the 
judicial authority and powers of a judge in active service. The 
court consists of seven permanent, active judges. Congress 
authorized two additional judges as part of a temporary 
expansion provision in 2001. The temporary expansion was 
reauthorized in 2005 and 2009, but expired on January 1, 2013. 
As a result of the temporary expansion, CAVC currently has nine 
active judges, but one judge has announced his intention to 
retire early next year. Under current law, this position will 
not be filled. There will be no additional judicial 
appointments to the CAVC until there are fewer than seven 
permanent judges.
    The CAVC anticipates that appeals will increase 
proportionally with the increased decisions the Board has 
projected it will complete in the coming years. In FY 2013, the 
Board rendered approximately 42,000 decisions, but in FY 2014, 
the Board decided more than 55,500. The Board projects that it 
will decide more than 57,000 appeals in FY 2015, with similar 
and higher projections for following years. The number of 
appeals being filed at the CAVC already is estimated to be at 
least 4,500 this calendar year, with projections of continued 
growth thereafter.\1\ During the April 14, 2015, DAMA hearing, 
Chief Judge Bruce E. Kasold's written testimony stated that the 
re-authorization for nine judges will help the Court continue 
to manage its significant caseload.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\Kasold, Bruce E., Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for 
Veterans Claims, Statement to the House of Representatives, Committee 
on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans 
Affairs, and Related Agencies Hearing, March 18, 2015.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Section 201 of H.R. 675, as amended, would extend the 
temporary expansion of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims 
(CAVC) until January 1, 2020. This provision will continue the 
authorization for nine judges through 2020, at which time the 
need can again be reviewed.

Section 202--Recall of retired judges of United States Court of Appeals 
        for Veterans Claims

    Current law authorizes the chief judge to request that a 
recall-eligible retired judge temporarily return to service 
upon written certification by the chief judge that substantial 
service is expected to be performed by such retired judge for a 
period not to exceed 90 days (or the equivalent), as determined 
by the chief judge to be necessary to meet the needs of the 
court. Pursuant to section 7257(b)(3) of title 38, U.S.C., 
retired judges who are recall-eligible and who serve in the 
aggregate of at least five years of recalled service are no 
longer subject to mandatory recall.
    Section 202 of H.R. 675, as amended, would authorize the 
chief judge to recall a retired judge who has volunteered to be 
available for temporary service on the CAVC. The chief judge 
must provide a written certification that substantial service 
is expected to be performed by the retired judge for the period 
not to exceed 90 days (or the equivalent). Section 202 would 
amend current law by permitting a recall-eligible judge to 
request that the chief judge recall such judge for a period of 
service of not less than 90 days (or the equivalent). The chief 
judge would be required to approve such a request, unless the 
chief judge certifies, in writing, that the CAVC does not have 
sufficient work to assign such judge during the period of 
recalled service or sufficient resources to provide to such 
recall-eligible judge appropriate administrative and office 
support. The provision would also authorize the chief judge to 
terminate such recalled service. However, in order to terminate 
such recalled-service, the chief judge would be required to 
provide a written certification that the CAVC no longer has 
sufficient work or resources to provide appropriate 
administrative and office support.

Section 203--Life insurance program related to judges of United States 
        Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

    Section 203 of H.R. 675, as amended, would establish that a 
judge who is in regular active service and a judge who is 
retired shall be treated as an employee for purposes of 
eligibility in the federal government life insurance program. 
Under this section, CAVC judges would be eligible for the 
Federal Employee Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program. 
Additionally, this section clarifies that CAVC judges may 
purchase life insurance at the employee rate, and authorizes 
retired judges to do so, consistent with other federal judges, 
active and retired.

Section 204--Voluntary contributions to enlarge survivors' annuity

    Section 204 of H.R. 675, as amended, would authorize a 
covered judge to purchase, in three-month increments, up to an 
additional year of service credit for each year of Federal 
judicial service completed. A covered judge is defined as: (1) 
a judge in regular active service; (2) a retired judge who is 
recall-eligible; or (3) a retired judge who would be recall-
eligible but for meeting the aggregate recall service 
requirements under subsection section 7257(b)(3) of title 38, 
U.S.C., or is permanently disabled as described by section 
7257(b)(4) of title 38, U.S.C. This section would allow CAVC 
judges to purchase additional service credit for annuity 
purposes, the same as for other federal judges.

Section 205--Salaries of judges of United States Court of Appeals for 
        Veterans Claims

    Section 205 of H.R. 675, as amended, would set the salary 
of CAVC judges at the rate applicable to federal appellate 
court judges. Currently, their salary is set at the rate 
applicable to federal district court judges.

Section 206--Selection of chief judge of United States Court of Appeals 
        for Veterans Claims

    Current law provides that the chief judge should be in 
regular active service and senior in commission among the 
judges of the court who have served at least one year in that 
capacity.
    Section 206 of H.R. 675, as amended, would revise the 
qualifications for the chief judge of the CAVC. This section 
would require that the chief judge: (1) be 64 years of age and 
under; (2) have at least three years remaining in term of 
office; and (3) have not previously served as chief judge. In 
any case in which there is no judge of the CAVC who meets all 
of these requirements, the judge of the CAVC in regular active 
service who is senior in commission and has not served 
previously as chief judge; and, has either served for at least 
one year as a judge of the court, or is 64 years of age and 
under and has at least three years remaining in term of office, 
shall act as the chief judge.

              TITLE III--IMPROVEMENT OF CLAIMS PROCESSING

Section 301--Interim payments of compensation benefits under laws 
        administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs

    Veterans seeking disability benefits often seek them for 
more than one medical condition. Although VA currently has the 
authority to issue a determination on numerous medical 
conditions within a claim, VA continues to use this authority 
sparsely. During the April 14, 2015, DAMA hearing, The American 
Legion testified that VA is not consistently issuing interim 
decisions when evaluating multiple claims for disability. 
Failing to utilize this authority increases the economic burden 
on veterans who are waiting for the disability claims to be 
processed in a timely and adequate manner.
    Section 301 of H.R. 675, as amended, would add a new 
section to Subchapter III of chapter 51 of title 38, U.S.C., 
that would direct the Secretary, prior to adjudicating a claim 
that requires multiple individual determinations with respect 
to two or more medical conditions, to make interim payments of 
monetary benefits for any medical condition for which VA 
adjudicated to the benefit of the veteran, even if VA has not 
yet made a decision with respect to all medical conditions 
claimed. When VA completes adjudication of all of the veteran's 
medical conditions, the Secretary will pay the full amount of 
accrued benefits, less the amount of the interim payments the 
veteran has already received. Requiring VA to grant benefits as 
it adjudicates each individual claim will mean that veterans 
will receive at least some of their benefits more 
expeditiously. If a veteran has pending claims for disability 
compensation for two or more medical conditions, and VA makes a 
decision to award benefits for one of the medical conditions, 
this section would require VA to pay the awarded benefits as 
soon as the decision on that claimed condition is issued, 
without waiting to adjudicate pending claims for other medical 
conditions.

Section 302--Claims processors training

    VA has indicated that, on average, it takes two to three 
years for an employee to master the skills necessary to 
accurately process claims within Regional Benefits Offices. 
While VA has implemented new training programs, Veteran Service 
Organizations (VSO) have long reported that VA's training is 
not sufficient. Section 302 of H.R. 675, as amended, would 
direct the Secretary to establish a training program to provide 
newly hired VA claims processors with training for a period of 
not less than two years. In carrying out such a program, the 
Secretary would be required to identify successful claims 
processors within VA who can assist in the training of newly 
hired claims processors. Accordingly, this section will require 
VA to ensure adequate focus and resources remain targeted to 
ongoing and improved education and training for employees.

Section 303--Notice of average times for processing claims and 
        percentage of claims approved

    Section 303 of H.R. 675, as amended, would require VA to 
inform each person who submits a claim for benefits that such 
person is eligible to receive up to an extra year of benefits 
payments if the person files a Fully Developed Claim (FDC). In 
addition, this section would require VA to post in a 
conspicuous place at each VA Regional Office and claims-intake 
facility, and on its internet website, certain information 
relating to the average processing time of claims and the 
percentage of such submitted claims for which benefits are 
awarded.
    This section is intended to provide information that would 
educate VA stakeholders and veterans of the available options 
and consequent timeliness that would be associated with various 
claims submission forms. The information would include FDCs 
submitted in electronic form, FDCs submitted in paper form, 
undeveloped claims submitted in paper form, undeveloped claims 
submitted in standard paper form, claims submitted in a non-
standard form, and claims submitted with the assistance of a 
VSO. By providing ready access to this information, the 
Committee believes that veterans will be more informed of the 
possible benefits for faster adjudication of certain forms of 
claims submission, which will consequently shift behavior by 
encouraging submissions by the most manageable formats and with 
an appropriate level of VSO assistance. Additionally, this 
section would require that veterans be notified of the 
statutory benefit that is provided to FDCs submissions; 
pursuant to statute, FDCs are eligible for up to one year of 
retroactive benefits for any claims filed between August 6, 
2013, and August 6, 2015. This provision is also intended to 
encourage veterans to file FDCs, and is intended to result in 
time savings within the claims process.

                        TITLE IV--OTHER MATTERS

Section 401--Clarification of eligible recipients of certain accrued 
        benefits upon death of beneficiary

    Processing a claim for veterans' benefits may take years 
and a veteran may die before VA completes adjudication of the 
claim. If a veteran dies while VA is still reviewing a claim, 
VA will pay any accrued benefits to which the veteran was 
entitled as of the date of death to certain family members, 
including the spouse, dependent children, and dependent 
parents. If the veteran dies without any surviving qualifying 
family members, VA currently retains the benefits.
    Section 401 of H.R. 675, as amended, would provide for the 
payment to the estate of a veteran all or any part of such 
benefits to the veteran or to any other dependent or dependents 
of the veteran, as may be determined by the Secretary. Section 
401 would require VA to pay any accrued benefits to which the 
veteran was entitled as of the date of death and would add the 
estate of the veteran to the list of qualified family members, 
unless the estate would escheat. This would enable surviving 
adult children and other beneficiaries of the veteran's estate 
to receive the benefits to which the veteran was legally 
entitled.

Section 402--Observance of Veterans Day

    On November 11, 1918, at 11:00 A.M., fighting came to an 
end in World War I. Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice 
Day, was first observed in 1919 to commemorate the cease-fire 
on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. It has been 
customarily observed with a two minute moment of silence at 
11:00 A.M. Today, observance of a moment of silence varies from 
community to community and business to business around the 
United States.
    Section 402 of H.R. 675, as amended, would encourage the 
nationwide observance of two minutes of silence on Veterans 
Day. Specifically, this section would direct the President to 
issue an annual proclamation calling on the people of the 
United States to observe two minutes of silence on Veterans 
Day, beginning at 2:11 P.M. Eastern Time, in honor of the 
service and sacrifice of veterans throughout the history of the 
nation. This section would call for Americans across the nation 
to official hold a uniform moment of silence for our nation's 
servicemen and women on Veterans Day. The Committee believes 
this section would refocus the American public upon the Day's 
true and original meaning.

                                Hearings

    There were no full Committee hearings held on H.R. 675, as 
amended. On April 14, 2015, the Subcommittee on Disability 
Assistance and Memorial Affairs conducted a legislative hearing 
on various bills introduced during the 114th Congress, 
including H.R. 675, H.R. 1067, H.R. 1414, and H.R. 1569.
    The following witnesses testified: The Honorable Chellie 
Pingree, U.S. House of Representatives; Mr. David R. 
McLenachen, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Disability 
Assistance, Veterans Benefits Administration, U.S. Department 
of Veterans Affairs; Mr. Zachary Hearn, Deputy Director for 
Claims, Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division, The 
American Legion; Mr. Blake C. Ortner, Deputy Government 
Relations Director, Paralyzed Veterans of America; Mr. Paul R. 
Varela, Assistant National Legislative Director, Disabled 
American Veterans; Mr. Ronald B. Abrams, Joint Executive 
Director, National Veterans Legal Services Program; and Mr. 
Kenneth M. Carpenter, Founding Member, National Organization of 
Veterans' Advocates.
    Statements for the record were submitted by the following: 
The Veterans of Foreign Wars and the U.S. Court of Appeals for 
Veterans Claims.

                       Subcommittee Consideration

    On April 14, 2015, the Subcommittee on Disability 
Assistance and Memorial Affairs met in open markup session, a 
quorum being present, and favorably forwarded to the full 
Committee H.R. 675, H.R. 1067, as amended, H.R. 1414, as 
amended, and H.R. 1569.
    During consideration of H.R. 1067, the following amendment 
was considered and agreed to by voice vote: An amendment 
offered by Mr. Costello of Pennsylvania that modified the 
original text to clarify that a recall-eligible judge may 
request that the chief judge recall the recall-eligible judge 
for a period of service not less than 90 days (or the 
equivalent).
    During consideration of H.R. 1414, the following amendment 
in the nature of substitute was considered and agreed to by 
voice vote.
    An amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by Ms. 
Titus of Nevada that included the provisions of H.R. 1414 and 
inserted text that would: (1) require VA to establish a 
training program for newly hired claim processors; (2) require 
VA to publicly report on average time to process claims and the 
percentage of claims approved; and (3) incorporate text from 
H.R. 995, as introduced by Mr. Lynch of Massachusetts, which 
would encourage Americans to observe two minutes of silence on 
Veterans Day.

                        Committee Consideration

    On May 21, 2015, the Full Committee met in an open markup 
session, a quorum being present, and ordered H.R. 675, as 
amended, reported favorably to the House of Representatives by 
voice vote. During consideration of the bill, the following 
amendments were considered and agreed to by voice vote:
    An amendment in the nature of a substitute offered by Mr. 
Abraham of Louisiana that incorporated the text of H.R. 1067, 
originally offered by Mr. Costello of Pennsylvania, to (1) 
extend the temporary expansion of the CAVC from seven to nine 
judges through January 1, 2020; (2) permit retired judges to be 
recalled for more than 90 days under certain circumstances; 
and, (3) establish that CAVC judges are eligible for the same 
salaries, life insurance programs, and retirement service 
credit benefits offered to other federal appellate court 
judges. The amendment in the nature of a substitute also 
incorporated the text of H.R. 1414, as amended, originally 
offered by Ms. Titus of Nevada, which would require that, in 
cases when a veteran files a claim for two or more 
disabilities, VA make interim payments for any disability for 
which VA has already made a decision. The amendment in the 
nature of a substitute would also establish a training program 
for claims processors, and require VA to publicly post 
information regarding the average time for processing claims 
and the percentage of the claims approved. The amendment in the 
nature of a substitute also incorporated the text of H.R. 1569, 
originally offered by Mr. Zeldin of New York, and would require 
VA to pay accrued benefits to the estate of a veteran if such 
veteran dies before VA completes adjudication of his or her 
claim.
    An amendment to the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute 
offered by Mr. Costello of Pennsylvania, which would amend 
certain qualifications for the chief judge of the CAVC.

                            Committee Votes

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires the Committee to list the recorded 
votes on the motion to report the legislation and amendments 
thereto. There were no recorded votes taken on amendments or in 
connection with ordering H.R. 675, as amended, reported to the 
House. A motion by Ranking Member Corrine Brown of Florida to 
report H.R. 675, as amended, favorably to the House of 
Representatives was agreed to by voice vote.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goals and objectives are reflected in the descriptive portions 
of this report.

   New Budget Authority, Entitlement Authority, and Tax Expenditures

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee adopts as its 
own the estimate of new budget authority, entitlement 
authority, or tax expenditures or revenues contained in the 
cost estimate prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974.

                  Earmarks and Tax and Tariff Benefits

    H.R. 675, as amended, does not contain any Congressional 
earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as 
defined in clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives.

                        Committee Cost Estimate

    The Committee adopts as its own the cost estimate on H.R. 
675, as amended, prepared by the Director of the Congressional 
Budget Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional 
Budget Act of 1974.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the following is the cost estimate 
for H.R. 675, as amended, provided by the Congressional Budget 
Office pursuant to section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act 
of 1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, July 2, 2015.
Hon. Jeff Miller,
Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs,
House Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 675, the Veterans' 
Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2015.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Dwayne M. 
Wright.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 675--Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2015

    Summary: H.R. 675 would make changes to several benefit 
programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs 
(VA), and to the administrative processes of the Court of 
Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). CBO estimates that enacting 
H.R. 675 would decrease net direct spending by $4 million over 
the 2016-2025 period. Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because 
enacting the legislation would affect direct spending. Enacting 
the bill would have no effect on revenues.
    In addition, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would 
cost $5 million over the 2016-2020 period, subject to the 
availability of appropriated funds.
    H.R. 675 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary effect of H.R. 675 is shown in Table 1. The costs of 
this legislation fall within budget function 700 (veterans 
benefits and services).

  TABLE 1. ESTIMATED BUDGETARY EFFECTS OF H.R. 675, THE VETERANS' COMPENSATION COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT ACT OF
                                                      2015
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   Fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2016     2017     2018     2019     2020   2016-2020
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           CHANGES IN DIRECT SPENDINGa
 
Estimated Budget Authority..............................      -16      -30        7        4        5       -30
Estimated Outlays.......................................      -16      -30        7        4        5       -30
 
                                  CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
 
Estimated Authorization Level...........................        *        *        *        2        2         5
EStimated Outlays.......................................        *        *        *        2        2         5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.
* = between zero and $500,000.
a In addition to the changes in direct spending shown above, enacting H.R. 675 would have effects beyond 2020
  (see Table 2). CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 675 would decrease net direct spending by $4 million over the
  2016-2025 period.

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that H.R. 
675 will be enacted near the beginning of fiscal year 2016, 
that appropriations will reflect the estimated changes each 
year, and that outlays will follow historical spending patterns 
for the affected programs.

Direct Spending

    H.R. 675 contains several provisions that would affect 
direct spending (see Table 2). Enacting H.R. 675 would result 
in a net decrease in direct spending of $30 million over the 
2016-2020 period, and $4 million over the 2016-2025 period.
    Cost-of-Living Adjustment Round-Down. Section 101 would 
increase the amounts paid to veterans for disability 
compensation and to their survivors for dependency and 
indemnity compensation (DIC) by the same cost-of-living 
adjustment (COLA) that recipients of Social Security receive. 
Those increased payments would be rounded down to the next 
lower whole dollar, effective on December 1, 2015.

                                              TABLE 2. ESTIMATED CHANGES IN DIRECT SPENDING UNDER H.R. 675
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                    Fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     2016    2017    2018    2019    2020    2021    2022    2023    2024    2025   2016-2020  2016-2025
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               CHANGES IN DIRECT SPENDING
 
COLA Round-down...................................     -24     -30     -28     -32     -33     -34     -38     -36     -34     -38      -147       -327
Accrued Benefits..................................       0       0      35      36      38      39      40      41      42      43       109        314
Interim Payments of Adjudicated Claims............       8       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *         8          9
                                                   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Changes in Direct Spending..............     -16     -30       7       4       5       5       2       5       8       5       -30         -4
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes: Components may not sum to totals due to rounding.
COLA = Cost-of-Living Adjustment; * = between zero and $500,000.

    The COLA that would be authorized by this bill is assumed 
in CBO's baseline, consistent with section 257 of the Balanced 
Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act. Because the COLA is 
assumed in CBO's baseline, authorizing the COLA would have no 
budgetary effect relative to the baseline. Relative to current 
law, CBO estimates that enacting this bill would increase 
spending for those programs by $662 million in fiscal year 
2016. That estimate assumes that the COLA effective on December 
1, 2015, would be 0.9 percent. (The annualized cost would be 
about $890 million in subsequent years.)
    Section 101 also would require that the increased payments 
resulting from the cost-of-living adjustment be rounded down to 
the next lower whole dollar. The previous authority to round 
down the COLA expired at the end of calendar year 2013. Based 
on projections of the number of people receiving benefits and 
payments made each year, CBO estimates that enacting this 
section would reduce direct spending by $327 million over the 
2016-2025 period.
    Accrued Benefits. Section 401 would add the estate of a 
veteran to the list of payees for any accrued benefits owed to 
a veteran upon his or her death. Under current law, if a 
veteran dies while an application for benefits is being 
processed, and that application is subsequently approved, any 
benefits due to the veteran are paid to the spouse, children, 
or parents of the veteran, in that order. In the absence of an 
eligible survivor, no payments are made. By allowing payments 
to be made to veterans' estates, section 401 would ensure that 
such payments are made in all cases. Section 401 would take 
effect two years after the date of enactment.
    VA reports that, over the last several years, there was an 
average of 4,200 cases per year where an award for benefits was 
approved but there was no eligible survivor. The average amount 
paid to eligible survivors is about $8,000. CBO expects the 
same accrued benefit amount would be paid to veterans' estates. 
After accounting for inflation and annual growth in the number 
of approved applications, CBO estimates that enacting section 
401 would increase direct spending by $314 million over the 
2016-2025 period.
    Interim Payments of Adjudicated Claims. In cases where 
veterans file claims for more than one disability at the same 
time, section 301 would require VA to pay disability benefits 
to veterans as each claim is decided. Under current law, VA has 
the authority to make such partial payments for multiple 
claims, but that authority is rarely used.
    Once adjudicated, VA benefits are paid retroactively from 
the date of the initial application. That is, veterans usually 
receive an initial lump-sum payment that covers the months 
since their application was submitted. Thus, section 301 would 
have the effect of shifting some payments to an earlier fiscal 
year by paying certain veterans a part of their benefit earlier 
than they would otherwise receive it. However, those early 
payments would be fully offset by savings in the following year 
when the retroactive payments would normally be made.
    Based on information from VA, and assuming trends similar 
to those observed in previous years, CBO estimates that about 
290,000 veterans will apply for disability benefits for the 
first time in 2016. CBO expects that veterans who begin 
receiving payments at a disability rating of 50 percent or 
greater (about 135,000 veterans) would probably have applied to 
be compensated for more than one disability. Of those, CBO 
estimates that half would be fully adjudicated within the same 
fiscal year as the application. For those claims, enacting this 
provision would not move spending from one fiscal year to 
another.
    For claims that would be settled in the fiscal year after 
the year of submission, CBO estimates that about 20 percent 
would have a claim that could be adjudicated quickly. Two-
thirds of those claims--about 9,000--would then be paid one 
year earlier than under current law. Assuming an average rating 
of 10 percent ($140 per month) for the quickly adjudicated 
claims, and an average of six months of benefits, CBO estimates 
that enacting section 301 would increase direct spending by $8 
million in 2016. However, that new spending in 2016 would be 
offset by an equal reduction in spending in 2017. In each 
subsequent year, a similar effect would be seen--increased 
spending in one year followed by decreased spending in the 
following year. For this estimate, CBO adjusted the amount of 
the accelerated spending each year to account for inflation and 
population growth.
    On that basis, CBO estimates that enacting section 301 
would cost $8 million over the 2016-2020 period, and $9 million 
over the 2016-2025 period.

Spending Subject to Appropriation

    H.R. 675 contains several provisions that would affect 
spending subject to appropriation including extending the 
temporary expansion of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims 
and increasing the salaries of CAVC judges, among others (see 
Table 3). CBO estimates that implementing those provisions 
would cost $5 million over the 2016-2020 period, subject to the 
availability of appropriated amounts.
    Extension of Temporary Expansion of CAVC. Section 201 would 
extend, through January 1, 2020, the authority for the Court of 
Appeals for Veterans Claims to appoint a new judge to the court 
should a position become vacant. Previous legislation allowed 
for the court to expand from seven judges to nine in order to 
address the workload of the court. The authority to appoint a 
new judge to maintain nine judges expired on January 1, 2013.

                 TABLE 3. ESTIMATED CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION UNDER H.R. 675
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   Fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
                                                            2016     2017     2018     2019     2020   2016-2020
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Extension of Temporary Expansion of CAVC
    Estimated Authorization Level.......................        0        0        *        1        1         3
    Estimated Outlays...................................        0        0        *        1        1         3
Increased Salaries of CAVC Judges
    Estimated Authorization Level.......................        *        *        *        *        *         1
    Estimated Outlays...................................        *        *        *        *        *         1
Other Provisions
    Estimated Authorization Level.......................        *        *        *        *        *         1
    Estimated Outlays...................................        *        *        *        *        *         1
                                                         -------------------------------------------------------
    Total Changes
        Estimated Authorization Level...................        *        *        *        2        2         5
        Estimated Outlays...............................        *        *        *        2        2         5
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Components may not sum to totals due to rounding.
*=between zero and $500,000; CAVC=Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

    According to the CAVC, the cost of a judge and his or her 
chamber is about $1 million per year. CBO expects that one 
judge will leave or retire over the next several years; thus, 
under section 201 one new judge would be appointed. Therefore, 
CBO estimates that implementing section 201 would cost $3 
million over the 2016-2020 period.
    Increased Salaries of CAVC Judges. Section 205 would 
increase the annual salaries for judges of the CAVC. Under 
current law, CAVC judges are paid at the level of district 
court judges, which was $199,100 in 2014. Section 205 would 
increase the CAVC judges' salaries to the same rate as U.S. 
Court of Appeals judges--$211,200 in 2014. Currently, there are 
nine CAVC judges. After accounting for inflation, CBO estimates 
that implementing section 205 would increase costs for salaries 
by about $1 million over the 2016-2020 period.
    Other Provisions. Several sections of H.R. 675 would have 
very small effects on discretionary costs. In total, CBO 
estimates that implementing the following provisions would cost 
$1 million over the 2016-2020 period.
     Section 202 would allow judges who are eligible to 
be recalled to serve for more than the 90 days currently 
authorized.
     Section 302 would require VA to establish a 
training process for newly hired claims processors. According 
to VA, it has already begun the process of establishing new 
training programs for claims processors. Most of the 
requirements of section 104 would align with VA's new training 
program.
     Section 303 would require VA to post in public 
spaces and on their website information about the average 
processing times for all claims submitted, claims filed by 
veterans service organizations or other persons on the behalf 
of veterans, and claims filed by the veteran. Section 303 also 
would require VA to provide a notice containing information on 
processing times for submitted claims to all individuals who 
submit claims for benefits with the department.
    Pay-As-You-Go considerations: The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go 
Act of 2010 establishes budget-reporting and enforcement 
procedures for legislation affecting direct spending or 
revenues. The net changes in outlays that are subject to those 
pay-as-you-go procedures are shown in the following table.

           CBO ESTIMATE OF PAY-AS-YOU-GO EFFECTS FOR H.R. 675 AS ORDERED REPORTED BY THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS ON MAY 21, 2015
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
                                                   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     2016    2017    2018    2019    2020    2021    2022    2023    2024    2025   2016-2020  2016-2025
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             NET DECREASE (-) IN THE DEFICIT
 
Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Impact....................     -16     -30       7       4       5       5       2       5       8       5       -30         -4
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 675 
contains no intergovernmental or private sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would not affect the budgets of state, 
local, or tribal governments.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Dwayne M. Wright; 
Impact on state, local, and tribal governments: Jon Sperl; 
Impact on the private sector: Paige Piper/Bach.
    Estimate approved by: H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    The Committee adopts as its own the estimate of Federal 
mandates regarding H.R. 675, as amended, prepared by the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 
423 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

                      Advisory Committee Statement

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act would be created by H.R. 
675, as amended.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to Article I, section 8 of the United States 
Constitution, the reported bill is authorized by Congress' 
power to ``provide for the common Defense and general Welfare 
of the United States.''

                  Applicability to Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act.

              Statement on Duplication of Federal Programs

    Pursuant to section 3(g) of H. Res. 5, 114th Cong. (2015), 
the Committee finds that no provision of H.R. 675, as amended, 
establishes or reauthorizes a program of the Federal Government 
known to be duplicative of another Federal program, a program 
that was included in any report from the Government 
Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of 
Public Law 111-139, or a program related to a program 
identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal Domestic 
Assistance.

                   Disclosure of Directed Rulemaking

    Pursuant to section 3(i) of H. Res. 5, 114th Cong. (2015), 
the Committee estimates that H.R. 675, as amended, contains no 
directed rule making.

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Section 1--Short title; table of contents

    Section 1(a) would establish that this Act may be cited as 
the ``Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 
2015.''
    Section 1(b) would contain the table of contents for this 
Act.

            TITLE I--COMPENSATION COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT

Section 101--Increase in rates of disability compensation and 
        dependency and indemnity compensation

    Section 101(a) would authorize the Secretary of Veterans 
Affairs to increase, effective December 1, 2015, the dollar 
amounts in effect for the payment of disability compensation 
and dependency and indemnity compensation.
    Section 101(b) would specify the amounts that would be 
increased regarding the Wartime Disability Compensation, under 
section 1114 of title 38, U.S.C, the Additional Compensation 
for Dependents, under section 1115(1) of title 38, U.S.C., the 
Clothing Allowance, under section 1162 of title 38, U.S.C., the 
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation to Surviving Spouses, 
under section 1311 of title 38, U.S.C., and the Dependency and 
Indemnity Compensation to Children, under sections 1313(a) and 
1314 of title 38, U.S.C.
    Section 101(c) would specify that each amount shall be 
increased by the same percentage by which benefits are 
increased under title II of the Social Security Act\2\ (and 
would round down to the next lower dollar amount all 
compensation and DIC benefits, when the amount is not a whole 
dollar amount).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\42 U.S.C. Sec. Sec. 401 et seq.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Section 101(d) would provide a special rule authorizing the 
Secretary of VA to adjust administratively, consistent with the 
increases made under subsection (a), the rates of disability 
compensation payable to persons within the purview of section 
10 of Public Law 85-857, who are not in receipt of compensation 
payable pursuant to chapter 11 of title 38, U.S.C.

Section 102--Publication of adjusted rates

    Section 102 would require the Secretary of VA to publish in 
the Federal Register the amounts specified in subsection 
101(b), as increased pursuant to that section.

      TITLE II--UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS

Section 201--Extending temporary expansion of United States Court of 
        Appeals for veterans claims

    Section 201 would amend section 7253(i)(2) of title 38, 
U.S.C., to extend the temporary expansion of the CAVC from 
seven to nine judges to January 1, 2020.

Section 202--Recall of retired judges of United States Court of Appeals 
        for veterans claims

    Section 202 would amend section 7257(b) of title 38, 
U.S.C., to permit a retired, recall-eligible judge of the CAVC 
to be recalled upon request, unless the chief judge of the CAVC 
certifies that there is insufficient work for the judge or 
there are insufficient resources to provide appropriate 
administrative support to the judge.

Section 203--Life insurance program relating to judges of United States 
        Court of Appeals for veterans claims

    Section 203(a) would amend section 7281 of title 38, 
U.S.C., to extend certain life insurance benefits to judges of 
the CAVC.
    Section 203(b) would establish the effective date of this 
section as on or after the first day of the first applicable 
pay period beginning on or after the date of the enactment of 
this Act.

Section 204--Voluntary contributions to enlarge survivors' annuity

    Section 204 would amend section 7297 of title 38, U.S.C., 
to provide for judges of the CAVC the option of purchasing 
additional service credit to enlarge survivors' annuity.

Section 205--Salaries of judges of United States Court of Appeals for 
        veterans claims

    Section 205 would amend section 7253(e) of title 38, United 
States Code, to provide that the judges on the CAVC shall be 
paid the same as federal appellate judges.

Section 206--Selection of chief judge of United States Court of Appeals 
        for veterans claims

    Section 206 would amend section 7253(d) of title 38, 
U.S.C., to provide that the chief judge should: (1) be in 
regular, active service and senior in commission among the 
judges of the court who have served at least one year as judges 
of the CAVC; (2) be 64 years of age or under and have at least 
three years remaining in term of office; and (3) have not 
previously served as chief judge. In any case in which there is 
no judge of the CAVC who meets all of these requirements, the 
judge of the CAVC in regular active service who is senior in 
commission and has not served previously as chief judge; and, 
has either served for at least one year as a judge of the 
court, or is 64 years of age and under and has at least three 
years remaining in term of office, shall act as the chief 
judge.

              TITLE III--IMPROVEMENT OF CLAIMS PROCESSING

Section 301--Interim payments for compensation benefits under laws 
        administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs

    Section 301(a) would add a new section to subchapter III of 
chapter 51 of title 38, U.S.C., which would require the 
Secretary of VA, in claims in which adjudication requires 
decision making with respect to two or more medical conditions, 
to immediately pay the claimant any monetary benefits awarded 
to the claimant for positively adjudicated conditions while 
other conditions are further developed.
    Section 301(b) would provide a clerical amendment.

Section 302--Claims processors training

    Section 302(a) would require the Secretary of VA to 
establish a training program for up to two years for newly 
hired claims processors and to identify successful claims 
processors to assist in the training.
    Section 302(b) would require VA to execute the training 
program for newly hired claims processors without increasing 
the amount of time in which claims are processed.
    Section 302(c) would set the effective date of this section 
one year after the enactment of the Act.

Section 303--Notice of average times for processing claims and 
        percentage of claims approved

    Section 303(a) would provide for public notice of the 
information that is required to be collected by this section to 
be posted in each VA Regional Office and claims-intake facility 
and on the VA website.
    Section 303(b) would require the Secretary of VA to provide 
notice to claimants of the information that is required to be 
collected by this section, pursuant to subsection (c), as well 
as notice that, for the period ending on August 6, 2015, 
claimants are eligible to receive up to an extra year of 
benefits payments if they are filing a FDC. This subsection 
would also require claimants to include a signed form with 
their application acknowledging that the claimant received such 
notice.
    Section 303(c) would require VA to collect information on 
the average processing times of specific types of enumerated 
claims, including electronic FDCs, paper FDCs, electronic 
claims that are not fully developed, standard paper claims that 
are not fully developed, and non-standard paper claims that are 
not fully developed. Information on the percentage of each such 
submitted claim for which benefits are awarded would also be 
required. This subsection would also require VA to collect 
information on the percentage of claims that are awarded 
benefits based on the type of representation received by the 
veteran in the claims process. Such information would be 
required to be updated at least once each fiscal quarter.

                        TITLE IV--OTHER MATTERS

Section 401--Clarification of eligible recipients of certain accrued 
        benefits upon death of beneficiary

    Section 401(a) would amend section 5121(a)(2) of title 38, 
U.S.C., by requiring VA to pay any accrued benefits that are 
due and unpaid, as of the date of death of the veteran, to the 
veteran's estate unless the estate will escheat.
    Section 401(b) would set the effective date of this section 
at two years after the enactment of the Act.

Section 402--Observance of veterans day

    Section 402(a) would provide for a codified two minute 
moment of silence on Veterans Day in honor of the service and 
sacrifice of veterans throughout history.
    Section 402(b) would provide a clerical amendment.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

    In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

                      TITLE 38, UNITED STATES CODE




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
PART IV--GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISIONS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


           CHAPTER 51--CLAIMS, EFFECTIVE DATES, AND PAYMENTS


                          SUBCHAPTER I--CLAIMS

Sec.
5100. Definition of ``claimant''.
     * * * * * * *

                   SUBCHAPTER III--PAYMENT OF BENEFITS

     * * * * * * *
5127. Interim payments of compensation benefits.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER III--PAYMENT OF BENEFITS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 5121. Payment of certain accrued benefits upon death of a 
                    beneficiary

  (a) Except as provided in sections 3329 and 3330 of title 31, 
periodic monetary benefits (other than insurance and 
servicemen's indemnity) under laws administered by the 
Secretary to which an individual was entitled at death under 
existing ratings or decisions or those based on evidence in the 
file at date of death (hereinafter in this section and section 
5122 of this title referred to as ``accrued benefits'') and due 
and unpaid, shall, upon the death of such individual be paid as 
follows:
          (1) Upon the death of a person receiving an 
        apportioned share of benefits payable to a veteran, all 
        or any part of such benefits to the veteran or to any 
        other dependent or dependents of the veteran, as may be 
        determined by the Secretary.
          (2) Upon the death of a veteran, to the living 
        person, or estate, first listed below:
                  (A) The veteran's spouse.
                  (B) The veteran's children (in equal shares).
                  (C) The veteran's dependent parents (in equal 
                shares).
                  (D) The estate of the veteran (unless the 
                estate will escheat).
          (3) Upon the death of a surviving spouse or remarried 
        surviving spouse, to the children of the deceased 
        veteran.
          (4) Upon the death of a child, to the surviving 
        children of the veteran who are entitled to death 
        compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, or 
        death pension.
          (5) Upon the death of a child claiming benefits under 
        chapter 18 of this title, to the surviving parents.
          (6) In all other cases, only so much of the accrued 
        benefits may be paid as may be necessary to reimburse 
        the person who bore the expense of last sickness and 
        burial.
  (b) No part of any accrued benefits shall be used to 
reimburse any political subdivision of the United States for 
expenses incurred in the last sickness or burial of any 
beneficiary.
  (c) Applications for accrued benefits must be filed within 
one year after the date of death. If a claimant's application 
is incomplete at the time it is originally submitted, the 
Secretary shall notify the claimant of the evidence necessary 
to complete the application. If such evidence is not received 
within one year from the date of such notification, no accrued 
benefits may be paid.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 5127. Interim payments of compensation benefits

  (a) In General.--In the case of a claim described in 
subsection (b), prior to adjudicating the claim, the Secretary 
shall make interim payments of monetary benefits to the 
claimant based on any disability for which the Secretary has 
made a decision or, with respect to such a disability that is 
not compensable, notify the claimant of the rating relating to 
such disability. Upon the adjudication of the claim, the 
Secretary shall pay to the claimant any monetary benefits 
awarded to the claimant for the period of payment under section 
5111 of this title less the amount of such benefits paid to the 
claimant under this section.
  (b) Claim Described.--A claim described in this subsection is 
a claim for disability compensation under chapter 11 of this 
title (including a claim regarding an increased rating)--
          (1) the adjudication of which requires the Secretary 
        to make decisions with respect to two or more 
        disabilities; and
          (2) for which, before completing the adjudication of 
        the claim, the Secretary makes a decision with respect 
        to a disability that would result in the payment of 
        monetary benefits to the claimant upon the adjudication 
        of the claim.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


PART V--BOARDS, ADMINISTRATIONS, AND SERVICES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


     CHAPTER 72--UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS

Subchapter I--ORGANIZATION AND JURISDICTION

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 7253. Composition

  (a) Composition.--The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is 
composed of at least three and not more than seven judges, one 
of whom shall serve as chief judge in accordance with 
subsection (d).
  (b) Appointment.--The judges of the Court shall be appointed 
by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the 
Senate, solely on the grounds of fitness to perform the duties 
of the office. A person may not be appointed to the Court who 
is not a member in good standing of the bar of a Federal court 
or of the highest court of a State. Not more than the number 
equal to the next whole number greater than one-half of the 
number of judges of the Court may be members of the same 
political party.
  (c) Term of Office.--The term of office of the judges of the 
Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims shall be 15 years. A judge 
who is nominated by the President for appointment to an 
additional term on the Court without a break in service and 
whose term of office expires while that nomination is pending 
before the Senate may continue in office for up to 1 year while 
that nomination is pending.
  (d) Chief Judge.--(1) The chief judge of the Court is the 
head of the Court. The chief judge of the Court shall be the 
judge of the Court in regular active service who is senior in 
commission among the judges of the Court who--
          (A) have served for one or more years as judges of 
        the Court; [and]
          (B) are 64 years of age or under and have at least 
        three years remaining in term of office; and
          [(B)] (C) have not previously served as chief judge.
  [(2) In any case in which there is no judge of the Court in 
regular active service who has served as a judge of the Court 
for at least one year, the judge of the court in regular active 
service who is senior in commission and has not served 
previously as chief judge shall act as the chief judge.]
  (2)(A) In any case in which there is no judge of the Court in 
regular active service who meets the requirements under 
paragraph (1), the judge of the Court in regular active service 
who is senior in commission and meets subparagraph (A) or (B) 
and subparagraph (C) of paragraph (1) shall act as the chief 
judge.
  (B) In any case under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph in 
which there is no judge of the Court in regular active service 
who meets subparagraph (A) or (B) and subparagraph (C) of 
paragraph (1), the judge of the Court in regular active service 
who is senior in commission and meets subparagraph (C) shall 
act as the chief judge.
  (3) Except as provided in paragraph (4), a judge of the Court 
shall serve as the chief judge under paragraph (1) for a term 
of five years or until the judge becomes age 70, whichever 
occurs first. If no other judge is eligible under paragraph (1) 
to serve as chief judge upon the expiration of that term, that 
judge shall continue to serve as chief judge until another 
judge becomes eligible under that paragraph to serve as chief 
judge.
  (4)(A) The term of a chief judge shall be terminated before 
the end of the term prescribed by paragraph (3) if--
          (i) the chief judge leaves regular active service as 
        a judge of the Court;
          (ii) the chief judge notifies the other judges of the 
        Court in writing that such judge desires to be relieved 
        of the duties of chief judge.
  (B) The effective date of a termination of the term under 
subparagraph (A) shall be the date on which the chief judge 
leaves regular active service or the date of the notification 
under subparagraph (A)(ii), as the case may be.
  (5) If a chief judge is temporarily unable to perform the 
duties of chief judge, those duties shall be performed by the 
judge of the Court in active service who is present, able and 
qualified to act, and is next in precedence.
  (6) Judges who have the same seniority in commission shall be 
eligible for service as chief judge in accordance with their 
relative precedence.
  (e) Salary.--Each judge of the Court shall receive a salary 
at the same rate as is received by judges of the United States 
[district courts] courts of appeals.
  (f) Removal.--(1) A judge of the Court may be removed from 
office by the President on grounds of misconduct, neglect of 
duty, engaging in the practice of law, or violating section 
7255(c) of this title. A judge of the Court may not be removed 
from office by the President on any other ground.
  (2) Before a judge may be removed from office under this 
subsection, the judge shall be provided with a full 
specification of the reasons for the removal and an opportunity 
to be heard.
  (g) Rules.--(1) The Court shall prescribe rules, consistent 
with the provisions of chapter 16 of title 28, establishing 
procedures for the filing of complaints with respect to the 
conduct of any judge of the Court and for the investigation and 
resolution of such complaints. In investigating and taking 
action with respect to any such complaint, the Court shall have 
the powers granted to a judicial council under such chapter.
  (2) The provisions of sections 354(b) through 360 of title 
28, regarding referral or certification to, and petition for 
review in, the Judicial Conference of the United States and 
action thereon, shall apply to the exercise by the Court of the 
powers of a judicial council under paragraph (1) of this 
subsection. The grounds for removal from office specified in 
subsection (f)(1) shall provide a basis for a determination 
pursuant to section 354(b) or 355 of title 28, and 
certification and transmittal by the Conference shall be made 
to the President for consideration under subsection (f).
  (3)(A) In conducting hearings pursuant to paragraph (1), the 
Court may exercise the authority provided under section 1821 of 
title 28 to pay the fees and allowances described in that 
section.
  (B) The Court shall have the power provided under section 361 
of title 28 to award reimbursement for the reasonable expenses 
described in that section. Reimbursements under this 
subparagraph shall be made from funds appropriated to the 
Court.
  (h) Temporary Expansion of Court.--(1) During the period from 
January 1, 2002, through August 15, 2005, the authorized number 
of judges of the Court specified in subsection (a) is increased 
by two.
  (2)(A) Of the two additional judges authorized by this 
subsection--
          (i) only one may be appointed pursuant to a 
        nomination made in 2002; and
          (ii) only one may be appointed pursuant to a 
        nomination made in 2003.
  (B) If a judge is not appointed under this subsection 
pursuant to a nomination made in 2002, a judge may be appointed 
under this subsection pursuant to a nomination made in 2004. If 
a judge is not appointed under this subsection pursuant to a 
nomination made in 2003, a judge may be appointed under this 
subsection pursuant to a nomination made in 2004. In either 
case, such an appointment may be made only pursuant to a 
nomination made before October 1, 2004.
  (3) The term of office and the eligibility for retirement of 
a judge appointed under this subsection, other than a judge 
described in paragraph (4), are governed by the provisions of 
section 1012 of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims 
Amendments of 1999 (title X of Public Law 106-117; 113 Stat. 
1590; 38 U.S.C. 7296 note) if the judge is one of the first two 
judges appointed to the Court after November 30, 1999.
  (4) A judge of the Court as of December 27, 2001, who was 
appointed to the Court before January 1, 1991, may accept 
appointment as a judge of the Court under this subsection 
notwithstanding that the term of office of the judge on the 
Court has not yet expired under this section. The term of 
office of an incumbent judge who receives an appointment as 
described in the preceding sentence shall be 15 years, which 
includes any period remaining in the unexpired term of the 
judge. Any service following an appointment under this 
subsection shall be treated as though served as part of the 
original term of office of that judge on the Court.
  (5) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), an appointment may not be 
made to the Court if the appointment would result in there 
being more than seven judges on the Court who were appointed 
after January 1, 1997. For the purposes of this paragraph, a 
judge serving in recall status under section 7257 of this title 
shall be disregarded in counting the number of judges appointed 
to the Court after such date.
  (i) Additional Temporary Expansion of Court.--(1) Subject to 
paragraph (2), effective as of December 31, 2009, the 
authorized number of judges of the Court specified in 
subsection (a) is increased by two.
  (2) Effective as of [January 1, 2013] January 1, 2020, an 
appointment may not be made to the Court if the appointment 
would result in there being more judges of the Court than the 
authorized number of judges of the Court specified in 
subsection (a).

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 7257. Recall of retired judges

  (a)(1) A retired judge of the Court may be recalled for 
further service on the Court in accordance with this section. 
To be eligible to be recalled for such service, a retired judge 
must at the time of the judge's retirement provide to the chief 
judge of the Court (or, in the case of the chief judge, to the 
clerk of the Court) notice in writing that the retired judge is 
available for further service on the Court in accordance with 
this section and is willing to be recalled under this section. 
Such a notice provided by a retired judge to whom section 
7296(c)(1)(B) of this title applies is irrevocable.
  (2) For the purposes of this section--
          (A) a retired judge is a judge of the Court of 
        Appeals for Veterans Claims who retires from the Court 
        under section 7296 of this title or under chapter 83 or 
        84 of title 5; and
          (B) a recall-eligible retired judge is a retired 
        judge who has provided a notice under paragraph (1).
  (b)[(1) The chief judge may recall for further service on the 
Court a recall-eligible retired judge in accordance with this 
section. Such a recall shall be made upon written certification 
by the chief judge that substantial service is expected to be 
performed by the retired judge for such period, not to exceed 
90 days (or the equivalent), as determined by the chief judge 
to be necessary to meet the needs of the Court.] (1)(A) The 
chief judge may recall for further service on the Court a 
recall-eligible retired judge in accordance with this section. 
Such a recall shall be made upon written certification by the 
chief judge that substantial service is expected to be 
performed by the retired judge for such period, not to exceed 
90 days (or the equivalent), as determined by the chief judge 
to be necessary to meet the needs of the Court.
  (B)(i) A recall-eligible judge may request that the chief 
judge recall the recall-eligible judge for a period of service 
of not less than 90 days (or the equivalent).
  (ii) The chief judge shall approve a request made by a 
recall-eligible judge pursuant to clause (i) unless the chief 
judge certifies, in writing, that the Court does not have--
          (I) sufficient work to assign such recall-eligible 
        judge during the period of recalled service; or
          (II) sufficient resources to provide to such recall-
        eligible judge appropriate administrative and office 
        support.
  (iii) At any time during the period of recalled service of a 
judge who is recalled pursuant to clause (i), the chief judge 
may terminate such recalled service if the chief judge makes a 
written certification described in clause (ii). 
  (2) A recall-eligible retired judge may not be recalled for 
more than 90 days (or the equivalent) during any calendar year 
without the judge's consent.
  (3) If a recall-eligible retired judge is recalled by the 
chief judge in accordance with this section and (other than in 
the case of a judge who has previously during that calendar 
year served at least 90 days (or the equivalent) of recalled 
service on the court) declines (other than by reason of 
disability) to perform the service to which recalled, the chief 
judge shall remove that retired judge from the status of a 
recall-eligible judge. This paragraph shall not apply to a 
judge to whom section 7296(c)(1)(A) or 7296(c)(1)(B) of this 
title applies and who has, in the aggregate, served at least 
five years of recalled service on the Court under this section.
  (4) A recall-eligible retired judge who becomes permanently 
disabled and as a result of that disability is unable to 
perform further service on the Court shall be removed from the 
status of a recall-eligible judge. Determination of such a 
disability shall be made pursuant to section 7253(g) or 7296(g) 
of this title.
  (c) A retired judge who is recalled under this section may 
exercise all of the judicial powers and duties of the office of 
a judge in active service.
  (d)(1) The pay of a recall-eligible retired judge to whom 
section 7296(c)(1)(B) of this title applies is the pay 
specified in that section.
  (2) A judge who is recalled under this section who retired 
under chapter 83 or 84 of title 5 or to whom section 
7296(c)(1)(A) of this title applies shall be paid, during the 
period for which the judge serves in recall status, pay at the 
rate of pay in effect under section 7253(e) of this title for a 
judge performing active service, less the amount of the judge's 
annuity under the applicable provisions of chapter 83 or 84 of 
title 5 or the judge's annuity under section 7296(c)(1)(A) of 
this title, whichever is applicable.
  (e)(1) Except as provided in subsection (d), a judge who is 
recalled under this section who retired under chapter 83 or 84 
of title 5 shall be considered to be a reemployed annuitant 
under that chapter.
  (2) Nothing in this section affects the right of a judge who 
retired under chapter 83 or 84 of title 5 to serve as a 
reemployed annuitant in accordance with the provisions of title 
5.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                SUBCHAPTER III--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Sec. 7281. Employees

  (a) The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims may appoint a 
clerk without regard to the provisions of title 5 governing 
appointments in the competitive service. The clerk shall serve 
at the pleasure of the Court.
  (b) The judges of the Court may appoint law clerks and 
secretaries, in such numbers as the Court may approve, without 
regard to the provisions of title 5 governing appointments in 
the competitive service. Any such law clerk or secretary shall 
serve at the pleasure of the appointing judge.
  (c) The clerk, with the approval of the Court, may appoint 
necessary deputies and employees without regard to the 
provisions of title 5 governing appointments in the competitive 
service.
  (d) The Court may fix and adjust the rates of basic pay for 
the clerk and other employees of the Court without regard to 
the provisions of chapter 51, subchapter III of chapter 53, or 
section 5373 of title 5. To the maximum extent feasible, the 
Court shall compensate employees at rates consistent with those 
for employees holding comparable positions in the judicial 
branch.
  (e) In making appointments under subsections (a) through (c) 
of this section, preference shall be given, among equally 
qualified persons, to persons who are preference eligibles (as 
defined in section 2108(3) of title 5).
  (f) The Court may procure the services of experts and 
consultants under section 3109 of title 5.
  (g) The chief judge of the Court may exercise the authority 
of the Court under this section whenever there are not at least 
two other judges of the Court.
  (h) The Court shall not be considered to be an agency within 
the meaning of section 3132(a)(1) of title 5.
  (i) The Court may accept and utilize voluntary services and 
uncompensated (gratuitous) services, including services as 
authorized by section 3102(b) of title 5 and may accept, hold, 
administer, and utilize gifts and bequests of personal property 
for the purposes of aiding or facilitating the work of the 
Court. Gifts or bequests of money to the Court shall be covered 
into the Treasury.
  (j) For purposes of chapter 87 of title 5, a judge who is in 
regular active service and a judge who is retired under section 
7296 of this title or under chapter 83 or 84 of title 5 shall 
be treated as an employee described in section 8701(a)(5) of 
title 5.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SUBCHAPTER V--RETIREMENT AND SURVIVORS ANNUITIES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


Sec. 7297. Survivor annuities

  (a) For purposes of this section:
          (1) The term ``Court'' means the United States Court 
        of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
          (2) The term ``judge'' means a judge of the Court who 
        is in active service or who has retired under section 
        7296 of this title.
          (3) The term ``pay'' means salary received under 
        section 7253(e) of this title and retired pay received 
        under section 7296 of this title.
          (4) The term ``retirement fund'' means the Court of 
        Appeals for Veterans Claims Retirement Fund established 
        under section 7298 of this title.
          (5) The term ``surviving spouse'' means a surviving 
        spouse of an individual who (A) was married to such 
        individual for at least one year immediately preceding 
        the individual's death, or (B) is a parent of issue by 
        the marriage.
          (6) The term ``dependent child'' has the meaning 
        given the term ``child'' in section 376(a)(5) of title 
        28.
          (7) The term ``Member of Congress'' means a 
        Representative, a Senator, a Delegate to Congress, or 
        the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico.
          (8) The term ``assassination'' as applied to a judge 
        shall have the meaning provided that term in section 
        376(a)(7) of title 28 as applied to a judicial 
        official.
  (b) A judge may become a participant in the annuity program 
under this section by filing a written election under this 
subsection while in office or within six months after the date 
on which the judge marries if the judge has retired under 
section 7296 of this title. Any such election shall be made in 
such manner as may be prescribed by the Court.
  (c) There shall be deducted and withheld each pay period from 
the pay of a judge who has made an election under subsection 
(b) of this section a sum equal to that percentage of the 
judge's pay that is the same as provided for the deduction from 
the salary or retirement salary of a judge of the United States 
Court of Federal Claims for the purpose of a survivor annuity 
under section 376(b)(1)(B) of title 28. Amounts so deducted and 
withheld shall be deposited in the retirement fund. A judge who 
makes an election under subsection (b) of this section shall be 
considered by that election to agree to the deductions from the 
judge's pay required by this subsection.
  (d)(1) A judge who makes an election under subsection (b) of 
this section shall deposit, with interest at 3 percent per year 
compounded on December 31 of each year, to the credit of the 
retirement fund, an amount equal to 3.5 percent of the judge's 
pay and of the judge's basic salary, pay, or compensation for 
service as a Member of Congress, and for any other civilian 
service within the purview of section 8332 of title 5. Each 
such judge may elect to make such deposits in installments 
during the judge's period of service in such amount and under 
such conditions as may be determined in each instance by the 
chief judge. Notwithstanding the failure of a judge to make 
such deposit, credit shall be allowed for the service rendered, 
but the annual annuity of the surviving spouse of such judge 
shall be reduced by an amount equal to 10 percent of the amount 
of such deposit, computed as of the date of the death of such 
judge, unless the surviving spouse elects to eliminate such 
service entirely from credit under subsection (k) of this 
section. However, a deposit shall not be required from a judge 
for any year with respect to which deductions from the judge's 
pay, or a deposit, were actually made (and not withdrawn) under 
the civil service retirement laws.
  (2) The interest required under the first sentence of 
paragraph (1) shall not be required for any period--
          (A) during which a judge was separated from any 
        service described in section 376(d)(2) of title 28; and
          (B) during which the judge was not receiving retired 
        pay based on service as a judge or receiving any 
        retirement salary as described in section 376(d)(1) of 
        title 28.
  (e) If the service of a judge who makes an election under 
subsection (b) of this section terminates other than pursuant 
to the provisions of section 7296 of this title, or if any 
judge ceases to be married after making the election under 
subsection (b) of this section and revokes (in a writing filed 
as provided in subsection (b) of this section) such election, 
the amount credited to the judge's individual account (together 
with interest at 3 percent per year compounded on December 31 
of each year to the date of the judge's relinquishment of 
office) shall be returned to the judge. For the purpose of this 
section, the service of a judge making an election under 
subsection (b) of this section shall be considered to have 
terminated pursuant to section 7296 of this title if--
          (1) the judge is not reappointed following expiration 
        of the term for which appointed; and
          (2) at or before the time of the expiration of that 
        term, the judge is eligible for and elects to receive 
        retired pay under section 7296 of this title.
  (f)(1) If a judge who makes an election under subsection (b) 
of this section dies after having rendered at least 18 months 
of civilian service (computed as prescribed in subsection (l) 
of this section), for the last 18 months of which the salary 
deductions provided for by subsection (c) of this section or 
the deposits required by subsection (d) of this section have 
actually been made (and not withdrawn) or the salary deductions 
required by the civil service retirement laws have actually 
been made (and not withdrawn)--
          (A) if the judge is survived by a surviving spouse 
        but not by a dependent child, there shall be paid to 
        the surviving spouse an annuity beginning with the day 
        of the death of the judge, in an amount computed as 
        provided in subsection (k) of this section; or
          (B) if the judge is survived by a surviving spouse 
        and a dependent child or children, there shall be paid 
        to the surviving spouse an immediate annuity in an 
        amount computed as provided in subsection (k) of this 
        section and there shall also be paid to or on behalf of 
        each such child an immediate annuity equal to the 
        lesser of--
                  (i) 10 percent of the average annual pay of 
                such judge (determined in accordance with 
                subsection (k) of this section), or
                  (ii) 20 percent of such average annual pay, 
                divided by the number of such children; or
          (C) if the judge is not survived by a surviving 
        spouse but is survived by a dependent child or 
        children, there shall be paid to or on behalf of each 
        such child an immediate annuity equal to the lesser 
        of--
                  (i) 20 percent of the average annual pay of 
                such judge (determined in accordance with 
                subsection (k) of this section), or
                  (ii) 40 percent of such average annual pay, 
                divided by the number of such children.
  (2) The annuity payable to a surviving spouse under this 
subsection shall be terminated--
          (A) upon the surviving spouse's death; or
          (B) upon the remarriage of the surviving spouse 
        before age 55.
  (3) The annuity payable to a child under this subsection 
shall be terminated upon the child's death.
  (4) In case of the death of a surviving spouse of a judge 
leaving a dependent child or children of the judge surviving 
the spouse, the annuity of such child or children under 
paragraph (1)(B) of this subsection shall be recomputed and 
paid as provided in paragraph (1)(C) of this subsection. In any 
case in which the annuity of a dependent child is terminated, 
the annuities of any remaining dependent child or children, 
based upon the service of the same judge, shall be recomputed 
and paid as though the child whose annuity was so terminated 
had not survived the judge.
  (5) If a judge dies as a result of an assassination and 
leaves a survivor or survivors who are otherwise entitled to 
receive annuity payments under this section, the 18-month 
requirement in the matter in paragraph (1) preceding 
subparagraph (A) shall not apply.
  (g) Questions of family relationships, dependency, and 
disability arising under this section shall be determined in 
the same manner as such questions arising under chapter 84 of 
title 5 are determined.
  (h)(1) If--
          (A) a judge making an election under subsection (b) 
        of this section dies while in office (i) before having 
        rendered 5 years of civilian service computed as 
        prescribed in subsection (l) of this section, or (ii) 
        after having rendered 5 years of such civilian service 
        but without a survivor entitled to annuity benefits 
        provided by subsection (f) of this section; or
          (B) the right of all persons entitled to an annuity 
        under subsection (f) of this section based on the 
        service of such judge terminates before a claim for 
        such benefits has been established,
the total amount credited to the individual account of such 
judge (with interest at 3 percent per year, compounded on 
December 31 of each year, to the date of the death of such 
judge) shall be paid in the manner specified in paragraph (2) 
of this subsection.
  (2) An amount payable under paragraph (1) of this subsection 
shall be paid, upon the establishment of a valid claim 
therefor, to the person or persons surviving at the date title 
to the payment arises, in the following order of precedence:
          (A) To the beneficiary or beneficiaries whom the 
        judge designated in writing filed before death with the 
        chief judge (except that in the case of the chief judge 
        such designation shall be filed before death as 
        prescribed by the Court).
          (B) To the surviving spouse of the judge.
          (C) To the child or children of the judge (and the 
        descendants of any deceased children by 
        representation).
          (D) To the parents of the judge or the survivor of 
        them.
          (E) To the executor or administrator of the estate of 
        the judge.
          (F) To such other next of kin of the judge as may be 
        determined by the chief judge to be entitled under the 
        laws of the domicile of the judge at the time of the 
        judge's death.
  (3) Determination as to the surviving spouse, child, or 
parent of a judge for the purposes of paragraph (2) of this 
subsection shall be made without regard to the definitions in 
subsection (a) of this section.
  (4) Payment under this subsection in the manner provided in 
this subsection shall be a bar to recovery by any other person.
  (5) In a case in which the annuities of all persons entitled 
to annuity based upon the service of a judge terminate before 
the aggregate amount of annuity paid equals the total amount 
credited to the individual account of such judge (with interest 
at 3 percent per year, compounded on December 31 of each year 
to the date of the death of the judge), the difference shall be 
paid, upon establishment of a valid claim therefor, in the 
order of precedence prescribed in paragraph (2) of this 
subsection.
  (6) Any accrued annuity remaining unpaid upon the termination 
(other than by death) of the annuity of any individual based 
upon the service of a judge shall be paid to that individual. 
Any accrued annuity remaining unpaid upon the death of an 
individual receiving an annuity based upon the service of a 
judge shall be paid, upon the establishment of a valid claim 
therefor, in the following order of precedence:
          (A) To the executor or administrator of the estate of 
        that person.
          (B) After 30 days after the date of the death of such 
        individual, to such individual or individuals as may 
        appear in the judgment of the chief judge to be legally 
        entitled thereto.
Such payment shall be a bar to recovery by any other 
individual.
  (i) When a payment under this section is to be made to a 
minor, or to a person mentally incompetent or under other legal 
disability adjudged by a court of competent jurisdiction, the 
payment may be made to the person who is constituted guardian 
or other fiduciary by the law of the State of residence of such 
claimant or is otherwise legally vested with the care of the 
claimant or the claimant's estate. If no guardian or other 
fiduciary of the person under legal disability has been 
appointed under the laws of the State of residence of the 
claimant, the chief judge shall determine the person who is 
otherwise legally vested with the care of the claimant or the 
claimant's estate.
  (j) Annuities under this section shall accrue monthly and 
shall be due and payable in monthly installments on the first 
business day of the month following the month or other period 
for which the annuity has accrued. An annuity under this 
section is not assignable, either in law or in equity, or 
subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other 
legal process.
  (k)(1) The annuity of the surviving spouse of a judge making 
an election under subsection (b) of this section shall be an 
amount equal to the sum of the following:
          (A) The product of--
                  (i) 1.5 percent of the judge's average annual 
                pay; and
                  (ii) the sum of the judge's years of judicial 
                service, the judge's years of prior allowable 
                service as a Member of Congress, the judge's 
                years of prior allowable service performed as a 
                member of the Armed Forces, and the judge's 
                years, not exceeding 15, of prior allowable 
                service performed as a congressional employee 
                (as defined in section 2107 of title 5).
          (B) Three-fourths of 1 percent of the judge's average 
        annual pay multiplied by the judge's years of allowable 
        service not counted under subparagraph (A) of this 
        paragraph.
  (2) An annuity computed under this subsection may not exceed 
50 percent of the judge's average annual pay and may not be 
less than 25 percent of such average annual pay. Such annuity 
shall be further reduced in accordance with subsection (d) of 
this section (if applicable).
  (3) For purposes of this subsection, the term ``average 
annual pay'', with respect to a judge, means the average annual 
pay received by the judge for judicial service (including 
periods in which the judge received retired pay under section 
7296(d) of this title) or for any other prior allowable service 
during the period of three consecutive years in which the judge 
received the largest such average annual pay.
  (l) Subject to subsection (d) of this section, the years of 
service of a judge which are allowable as the basis for 
calculating the amount of the annuity of the judge's surviving 
spouse shall include the judge's years of service as a judge of 
the Court, the judge's years of service as a Member of 
Congress, the judge's years of active service as a member of 
the Armed Forces not exceeding 5 years in the aggregate and not 
including any such service for which credit is allowed for the 
purposes of retirement or retired pay under any other provision 
of law, and the judge's years of any other civilian service 
within the purview of section 8332 of title 5.
  (m) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to 
prevent a surviving spouse eligible therefor from 
simultaneously receiving an annuity under this section and any 
annuity to which such spouse would otherwise be entitled under 
any other law without regard to this section, but in computing 
such other annuity service used in the computation of such 
spouse's annuity under this section shall not be credited.
  (n) A judge making an election under subsection (b) of this 
section shall, at the time of such election, waive all benefits 
under the civil service retirement laws except section 8440d of 
title 5. Such a waiver shall be made in the same manner and 
shall have the same force and effect as an election filed under 
section 7296(d) of this title.
  (o) Each survivor annuity payable from the retirement fund 
shall be increased at the same time as, and by the same 
percentage by which, annuities payable from the Judicial 
Survivors' Annuities Fund are increased pursuant to section 
376(m) of title 28.
  (p)(1) A covered judge who makes an election under subsection 
(b) may purchase, in three-month increments, up to an 
additional year of service credit for each year of Federal 
judicial service completed, under the terms set forth in this 
section.
  (2) In this subsection, the term ``covered judge'' means any 
of the following:
          (A) A judge in regular active service.
          (B) A retired judge who is a recall-eligible retired 
        judge pursuant to subsection (a) of section 7257 of 
        this title.
          (C) A retired judge who would be a recall-eligible 
        retired judge pursuant to subsection (a) of section 
        7257 but for--
                  (i) meeting the aggregate recall service 
                requirements under subsection (b)(3) of such 
                section; or
                  (ii) being permanently disabled as described 
                by subsection (b)(4) of such section.

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                      TITLE 36, UNITED STATES CODE



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SUBTITLE I--PATRIOTIC AND NATIONAL OBSERVANCES AND CEREMONIES

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PART A--OBSERVANCES AND CEREMONIES

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             CHAPTER 1--PATRIOTIC AND NATIONAL OBSERVANCES

Sec.
101. American Heart Month.
     * * * * * * *
145. Veterans Day.

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Sec. 145. Veterans Day

  The President shall issue each year a proclamation calling on 
the people of the United States to observe two minutes of 
silence on Veterans Day in honor of the service and sacrifice 
of veterans throughout the history of the Nation, beginning 
at--
          (1) 3:11 p.m. Atlantic standard time;
          (2) 2:11 p.m. eastern standard time;
          (3) 1:11 p.m. central standard time;
          (4) 12:11 p.m. mountain standard time;
          (5) 11:11 a.m. Pacific standard time;
          (6) 10:11 a.m. Alaska standard time; and
          (7) 9:11 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian standard time.

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