Code Section Group

Military and Veterans Code - MVC

DIVISION 4. VETERANS' AID AND WELFARE [690 - 1008.5]

  ( Division 4 enacted by Stats. 1935, Ch. 389. )

CHAPTER 5. Local Aid [920 - 975.5]

  ( Chapter 5 enacted by Stats. 1935, Ch. 389. )

ARTICLE 4. Administration [970 - 974.5]
  ( Article 4 added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 429. )

970.
  

(a) The board of supervisors of each county may, but is not required to, appoint, prescribe the qualifications of, and fix the compensation of an officer to be titled “county veterans service officer.” The appointee shall be a veteran.

(b) It shall be the duty of the county veterans service officer to administer the aid provided for in this chapter, to investigate all claims, applications, or requests for aid made pursuant to the terms of this chapter, and to perform any other veteran related services as requested by the county board of supervisors.

(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), two or more counties may jointly establish a single county veterans service office which shall serve all the counties that agree to the joint establishment of that office.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 186, Sec. 5. (SB 815) Effective January 1, 2014.)

971.
  

(a) The county veterans service officer shall assist every veteran of any war of the United States and every qualified former member, and the dependents of every deceased veteran and every qualified former member, in presenting and pursuing any claim the veteran or the qualified former member may have against the United States and in establishing the veteran’s or qualified former member’s right to any privilege, preference, care, or compensation provided for by the laws of the United States or of this state.

(b) The county veterans service officer shall present and pursue claims against the United States referred by any public agency pursuant to Section 721.

(c) For purposes of this section, “qualified former member” means any former member of the United States Armed Forces, who is eligible under federal law to receive any veterans benefit from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or any other agency of the federal government.

(Amended by Stats. 2013, Ch. 186, Sec. 6. (SB 815) Effective January 1, 2014.)

972.
  

(a) The board of supervisors may provide the county veterans service office with any assistance and facilities that it determines to be necessary.

(b) If the position of veterans service officer is created and filled, the compensation and expenses of the county veterans service office shall be a county charge, but the Department of Veterans Affairs, out of state moneys available therefor, shall pay each county a portion of those costs in an amount determined by the department, conditioned upon the observance of standards and regulations adopted by, and in compliance with the direction of, the department and its authorized representatives.

(c) State money available for paying counties any portion of the cost of the compensation and expenses of county veterans service offices shall not include any funds of the Veterans’ Farm and Home Building Fund of 1943.

(Amended by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1274, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 1993.)

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.

(Amended (as amended by Stats. 2009, Ch. 183, Sec. 2) by Stats. 2012, Ch. 401, Sec. 2. (AB 2198) Effective January 1, 2013. Section operative January 1, 2016, by its own provisions.)

972.2.
  

(a) There is in the State Treasury the Veterans Service Office Fund.

(b) Commencing January 1, 1995, the Veterans Service Office Fund shall be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to the Department of Veterans Affairs for allocation and disbursement to counties for the operation of county veterans service offices.

(c) It is the intent of the Legislature, in enacting this section, that revenues from the special interest license plate fees for license plates issued pursuant to Article 8.1 (commencing with Section 5025) of Chapter 1 of Division 3 of the Vehicle Code, and deposited in the Veterans Service Office Fund, shall be used to expand the support of county veterans service offices.

(Added by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1274, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 1993.)

972.5.
  

(a) The Department of Veterans Affairs may enter into an agreement with the State Department of Health Services and the State Department of Social Services for purposes of obtaining federal matching funds for the Department of Veterans Affairs to contribute toward the salaries and expenses of county veteran service officers for their activities which are reasonably related to the programs of the State Department of Health Services and the State Department of Social Services which are benefited, or realize cost avoidance, as a result of the services of those officers.

(b) At such time as the United States Department of Health and Human Services makes available additional federal financial participation, the State Department of Social Services may enter into an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs for those county veteran service officers’ activities specified in subdivision (a). Such an agreement shall have no adverse impact on the General Fund.

(c) The sums obtained each fiscal year pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be disbursed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to counties for payment of salaries and expenses of county veteran service officers. The Department of Veterans Affairs shall make the disbursement to a county on a pro rata basis in accordance with the actual workload of each county veteran service officer under a formula based on performance to be developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs for these purposes.

(Amended by Stats. 1989, Ch. 474, Sec. 1.)

973.
  

The county veteran service officer shall have power to administer and certify oaths and affirmations, take and certify affidavits and acknowledgments, and exercise any other power of a notary public, as a part of his duties under the provisions of this chapter in assisting veterans with respect to their affairs. The county veteran service officer shall not charge any fee for such service.

(Amended by Stats. 1965, Ch. 436.)

974.
  

(a) The Department of Veterans Affairs shall annually prepare a report of the activities of county veterans service officers, and may require each county veterans service officer to submit information required to prepare the report. The report shall include the following:

(1) The number of veterans and their family members who have contacted or utilized the services of the county veterans service offices during the fiscal year.

(2) The number of claims filed to achieve benefits such as pension, disability compensation, and health care on behalf of veterans and their dependents.

(3) The annualized monetary value of benefits received by veterans and their dependents as a result of the efforts of county veterans service offices, broken down by type of benefit.

(4) A summary of other services provided by county veterans service offices and special events and activities in which county veterans service offices participated, such as veterans outreach events, homeless veteran “Stand Downs,” and job fairs for veterans.

(b) The information required to be included in paragraphs (1) to (3), inclusive, of subdivision (a) shall be set forth for each county together with a statewide total.

(c) The department shall transmit a copy of the report to the Department of Finance, the State Department of Health Care Services, the California Veterans Board, and to each Member of the Legislature.

(Amended by Stats. 2012, Ch. 401, Sec. 4. (AB 2198) Effective January 1, 2013.)

974.5.
  

(a) The purpose of this section is to provide a mechanism to facilitate the delivery of complete, efficient, information and other services to veterans in a convenient setting.

(b) By July 1, 1999, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Employment Development may enter into interagency agreements with individual counties that elect to participate in the program pursuant to this section, after a determination that services to be provided pursuant to this section are not otherwise being provided and would, thus, not be duplicated. Services provided pursuant to this section shall not be contrary to the purposes of, nor shall they be in conflict with, any one-stop service program provided under federal guidelines. Pursuant to the agreements the departments may agree to provide resources and staff, or both, as necessary to locate within a single facility owned by the participating county, under the coordination of the county veteran service director, a more complete and convenient local service program for veterans.

(c) The veteran service center shall be staffed with persons knowledgeable in employment and veterans benefits issues, and shall contain all necessary resources, information, forms, and other materials necessary for a veteran to receive full employment assistance and a complete assessment of veterans benefits to which he or she is entitled.

(d) The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Employment Development, after consulting with participating counties, shall jointly report to the Legislature by January 1, 2002, regarding the progress of the program.

(Added by Stats. 1997, Ch. 316, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1998.)

MVCMilitary and Veterans Code - MVC4