H.R. 5538, a bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for the inclusion of certain additional periods of active-duty service for purposes of suspending charges to veterans’ entitlement to educational assistance under the laws administered...
As ordered reported by the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on July 12, 2018
Veterans with service-connected disabilities that limit or prevent them from being employed can receive vocational rehabilitation services such as education, job training, and physical therapy from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The costs of those services are paid from mandatory appropriations. Generally, veterans can receive up to 48 months of such benefits, but VA has broad authority to provide such benefits after that limit has been reached.
Under that program, if veterans are unable to complete a course of education because they are called to active duty under any of six authorities that are listed in 38 U.S.C. § 3105, the uncompleted course does not count towards the limit on their benefits. H.R. 5538 would add active-duty service to participate in certain preplanned training operations or in response to natural disasters to the list of orders specified in section 3105.
CBO expects that few veterans who are receiving vocational rehabilitation would be mobilized for those operations and that VA would likely extend the availability of benefits under current law if the veteran needed more time to complete a program of education. However, under this provision, a very small number of veterans could receive more benefits than they would have gotten under current law. The costs for those veterans who receive additional benefits under the bill would be insignificant over the 2019-2028 period, CBO estimates.
Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting H.R. 5538 would affect direct spending. However, CBO estimates that the effects would be insignificant for each year. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues.