Today's Law As Amended

PDF |Add To My Favorites | print page

AB-171 Department of Veterans Affairs: veterans’ services. (2015-2016)



SECTION 1.

 Section 972.1 of the Military and Veterans Code, as amended by Section 2 of Chapter 401 of the Statutes of 2012, is repealed.

972.1.
 (a) The sum of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) is hereby appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Veterans Affairs for allocation, during the 1989–90 fiscal year, for purposes of funding the activities of county veterans service officers pursuant to this section. Funds for allocation in future years shall be as provided in the annual Budget Act.
(b) Funds shall be disbursed each fiscal year on a pro rata basis to counties that have established and maintain a county veterans service officer in accordance with the staffing level and workload of each county veterans service officer under a formula based upon performance that shall be developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs for these purposes, and that shall allocate county funds in any fiscal year for county veterans service officers in an amount not less than the amount allocated in the 1988–89 fiscal year.
(c) The department shall annually determine the amount of new or increased monetary benefits paid to eligible veterans by the federal government attributable to the assistance of county veterans service officers. The department shall, on or before October 1 of each year, prepare and transmit its determination for the preceding fiscal year to the Department of Finance and the Legislature. The Department of Finance shall review the department’s determination in time to use the information in the annual Budget Act for the budget of the department for the next fiscal year.
(d) (1) The Legislature finds and declares that 50 percent of the amount annually budgeted for county veterans service officers is approximately eleven million dollars ($11,000,000). The Legislature further finds and declares that it is an efficient and reasonable use of state funds to increase the annual budget for county veterans service officers in an amount not to exceed eleven million dollars ($11,000,000) if it is justified by the monetary benefits to the state’s veterans attributable to the effort of these officers.
(2) It is the intent of the Legislature, after reviewing the department’s determination in subdivision (c), to consider an increase in the annual budget for county veterans service officers in an amount not to exceed five million dollars ($5,000,000), if the monetary benefits to the state’s veterans attributable to the assistance of county veteran service officers justify that increase in the budget.
(e) This section shall become operative January 1, 2016.

SEC. 2.

 Section 972.1 is added to the Military and Veterans Code, to read:

972.1.
 (a) The Department of Veterans Affairs shall, no later than July 1, 2016, develop an allocation formula based upon performance standards that encourage innovation and reward outstanding service by county veterans service officers. Upon appropriation by the Legislature of moneys for this purpose, the moneys shall be allocated each fiscal year in accordance with that formula among only those counties that, in the discretion of the secretary, comply with the following requirements:
(1) Establish and maintain a county veterans service officer, pursuant to Section 970.
(2) Collect and report all information required by the department in accordance with departmental regulations.
(3) Comply with the training and accreditation standards for county veterans service officers and veteran service representatives as may be set by the department.
(4) Require county veterans service officers and veteran service representatives to become accredited with the department for the purpose of providing representation services to claimants before the United States Department of Veterans Affairs within 18 months of the commencement of his or her employment, or on or before June 1, 2017, whichever date is later.
(b) The department shall annually report to the Legislature the efficacy, return on investment, work volume, and regional impact of the subvention funds on each county that receives those funds. The department shall, in addition to the requirements of Section 974, annually determine information including, but not limited to, the following:
(1) The amount of new or increased monetary benefits paid to eligible veterans by the federal government attributable to the assistance of county veterans service officers and the basis for that determination.
(2) The amount paid to each county, including the amounts paid to each county for each category of workload unit included in the allocation formula.
(3) An evaluation as to each county’s use of subvention funds, including recommendations for improvement of each county’s use of subvention funds.
(c) The department shall, on or before October 1 of each year, prepare and transmit its determination for the preceding fiscal year to the Department of Finance and the Legislature. The Department of Finance shall review the department’s determination in time to use the information in the annual Budget Act for the budget of the department for the next fiscal year. The department may combine this report with the report required by Section 974.
(d) For the purposes of this section, “workload unit” means a specific claim activity that is used to allocate subvention funds to counties, which is approved by the department, and performed by county veterans service officers.
(e) It is the intent of the Legislature that the department revise the allocation formula pursuant to this section on a regular basis to adjust for changes in veteran demographics and veteran needs.