Veterans trust fund, 14.4
VETERANS AFFAIRS, IOWA DEPARTMENT OF
Notice of Intended Action
Proposing rule making related to veterans trust fund and providing an opportunity for public comment
The Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs hereby proposes to amend Chapter 14, "Veterans Trust Fund," Iowa Administrative Code.
Legal Authority for Rule Making
This rule making is proposed under the authority provided in Iowa Code section 35A.13.
State or Federal Law Implemented
This rule making implements, in whole or in part, Iowa Code section 35A.13.
Purpose and Summary
The Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs is cleaning up Chapter 14 rules related to the Veterans Trust Fund, making all areas of assistance consistent for eligibility requirements. The rules have not been changed since the program began in 2007.
This rule making has no fiscal impact to the State of Iowa.
After analysis and review of this rule making, no impact on jobs has been found.
Any person who believes that the application of the discretionary provisions of this rule making would result in hardship or injustice to that person may petition the Department for a waiver of the discretionary provisions, if any.
Any interested person may submit written comments concerning this proposed rule making. Written comments in response to this rule making must be received by the Department no later than 4:30 p.m. on September 4, 2018. Comments should be directed to:
Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs
Camp Dodge, Bldg. #3465
7105 NW 70th Avenue
Johnston, Iowa 50131
No public hearing is scheduled at this time. As provided in Iowa Code section 17A.4(1)"b," an oral presentation regarding this rule making may be demanded by 25 interested persons, a governmental subdivision, the Administrative Rules Review Committee, an agency, or an association having 25 or more members.
Review by Administrative Rules Review Committee
The Administrative Rules Review Committee, a bipartisan legislative committee which oversees rule making by executive branch agencies, may, on its own motion or on written request by any individual or group, review this rule making at its regular monthly meeting or at a special meeting. The Committee's meetings are open to the public, and interested persons may be heard as provided in Iowa Code section 17A.8(6).
The following rule-making action is proposed:
Amend rule 801—14.4(35A) as follows:
801—14.4(35A) Benefits available. Applications may be approved for any of the following purposes. By a majority vote, the commission may suspend some or all of these benefits for payment.
14.4(1) Travel expenses for wounded veterans, and their spouses, directly related to follow-up medical care. Travel expenses under this subrule include the unreimbursed cost of airfare, lodging, and a per diem of $25 per day for required out-of-state medical travel that exceeds 125 miles from the veteran's home. Spouses may be reimbursed for in-state lodging and a per diem of $25 per day when visiting a veteran who is in a hospital for medical care related to a service-connected disability. The distance from the veteran's home to the hospital must exceed 100 miles. The veteran or the veteran's spouse shall provide such evidence as the commission may require, which includes but is not limited to evidence the injury or disability is service-connected, the necessity of treatment in a particular facility, and documentation of expenses. The maximum amount for lodging reimbursement shall be $90. The maximum amount of aid payable in a consecutive 12-month period under this subrule is $1,000. The commission may waive the income threshold for this benefit.
14.4(2) Job training or college tuition assistance for job retraining.
a. The commission may pay a veteran not more than $3,000 for retraining or postsecondary education to enable the veteran to obtain gainful employment. The commission may provide aid under this subrule if all of the following apply:
(1)The veteran is enrolled in a training course in a technical college or school, is enrolled in an accredited postsecondary institution, or is engaged in a structured on-the-job training program.
(2)The veteran is unemployed, underemployed, or has received a notice of termination of employment.
(3)The commission determines that the veteran's proposed program, or current program, will provide retraining or initial training that could enable the veteran to find gainful employment. In making its determination, the commission shall consider whether the proposed program, or current program, provides adequate employment skills and is in an occupation for which favorable employment opportunities are anticipated.
(4)The veteran requesting aid has not received full reimbursement or payment from any other retraining or education scholarship programs and the veteran does not have other assets or income available to meet retraining or initial training expenses. Applicants requesting aid under this subrule will only be granted the unpaid portion of their tuition statement, and the payment will be made directly to the institution.
b. The veteran shall provide such evidence as the commission may require to satisfy the requirements of this subrule.
14.4(3) Unemployment or underemployment assistance during a period of unemployment or underemployment due to prolonged physical or mental illness resulting from military service or disability resulting from military service (must be physically and mentally able to return to work). The commission may provide subsistence payments only to a veteran who has suffered a loss of income due to prolonged physical or mental illness resulting from military service or disability resulting from military service. The commission may provide subsistence payments of up to $500 per month of unemployment or underemployment to a veteran. A veteran must provide documentation of assistance from Iowa workforce development and vocational rehabilitation, if eligible. No payment may be made under this subrule if the veteran has other assets or income available to meet basic subsistence needs. A period of unemployment implies that it is possible for the veteran to be employed in the future. A rating from the VA of 100 percent due to individual unemployability (IU) rated permanent and total indicates that a veteran is unemployable and will not qualify for assistance under this subrule. The veteran shall provide such evidence as the commission may require, which includes but is not limited to evidence that the mental illness or disability is service-connected and evidence that the veteran is unemployed or underemployed for the period of payments. To qualify as underemployed, the applicant must be currently working at an income that is below 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines due to limitations caused by the applicant's service-connected disability or illness. The maximum amount of aid payable in a consecutive 12-month period under this subrule is $3,000 and a lifetime maximum of $6,000.
14.4(4) Expenses related to hearing care, dental care, vision care, or prescription drugs.
a. The commission may provide health care aid to a veteran, to the veteran's spouse or dependents, or to the unremarried spouse of a deceased veteran for dental care, including dentures; vision care, including eyeglass frames and lenses; hearing care, including hearing aids; and prescription drugs that are not covered by the Veterans Affairs medical center.
b. The maximum amount that may be paid under this subrule for any consecutive 12-month period may not exceed $2,500 for dental care, $500 for vision care, $1,500 per ear for hearing care, and $1,500 for prescription drugs. Lifetime maximum benefit: $10,000.
c. The commission shall not provide health care aid under this subrule unless the aid recipient's health care provider agrees to accept, as full payment for the health care provided, the amount of the payment; the amount of the recipient's health insurance or other third-party payments, if any; and the amount that the commission determines the veteran is capable of paying. Payment under this subrule will be provided directly to the health care provider. The commission shall not pay health care aid under this subrule if the available liquid assets of the veteran are in excess of $5,000 $15,000.
d. Applicants for assistance under this subrule will be required to provide the commission with an unpaid bill for service or an estimated cost of service from the health care provider and documentation of the need for the service. For prescription drugs, the applicant must produce documentation of the need for the prescribed drug and documentation stating whether a generic drug is available or appropriate. The commission payment will not exceed an estimated cost of service by a health care provider.
14.4(5) Expenses relating to the purchase of durable equipment or services to allow a veteran, the veteran's spouse or dependents, or the unremarried spouse of a deceased veteran to remain in their home.
a. The commission may make reimbursement payments to a veteran or to the unremarried spouse of a deceased veteran for the purchase of durable equipment that allows the veteran, the veteran's spouse or dependents, or the unremarried spouse of a deceased veteran to remain in their home or allows them the ability to utilize more of their home.
b. Individuals requesting reimbursement under this subrule will be required to provide verification of the purchase and installation of the equipment and information relating to the need for the equipment. Individuals may also provide a product and installation cost estimate to the commission for approval, with the understanding that the commission will pay no more than the cost estimate to the supplier or installer. Applicants needing durable equipment as a medical necessity should provide information from a physician.
c. Assistance under this subrule cannot duplicate assistance from other entities, and the maximum amount that may be paid may not exceed $2,500.
d. The commission shall not pay a reimbursement under this subrule if the available liquid assets of the veteran are in excess of $5,000 $15,000.
14.4(6) Individual counseling or family counseling programs.
a. The commission may make mental health, substance abuse, and family counseling available to veterans and their families. Individual family members are eligible for counseling.
b. The assistance may include appropriate counseling and treatment programs for veterans and their families in need of services.
c. Any assistance provided under this subrule shall not duplicate other services readily available to veterans and their families. Veterans who are eligible for VA mental health services must initially visit their nearest VA medical facility for initial consultation and continued psychiatric treatment. Payment under this subrule will be made for additional services for the veteran in a location closer to the veteran's home and at a greater frequency than the VA medical center can accommodate.
d. The commission may provide up to $150 per hour and $75 per half-hour for outpatient counseling visits to providers who will accept as full payment for the counseling services the amount provided. Counseling and substance abuse services provided in a group setting may be paid up to $40 per hour. Counseling and substance abuse services may also be provided in an inpatient setting, subject to the maximum amount eligible under 14.4(6)"f."
e. The maximum amount that may be paid under this subrule for any consecutive 12-month period shall not exceed $5,000. Individuals seeking counseling services are eligible for up to $2,500, individuals seeking substance abuse treatment and counseling combined are eligible for up to $3,500, and families seeking counseling services that may also include individual counseling and substance abuse services are eligible for up to $5,000.
f. The commission may not provide counseling under this subrule unless the aid recipient's counseling service provider agrees to accept, as full payment for the counseling services provided, the amount of the payment; the amount of the recipient's health insurance or other third-party payments, if any; and the amount that the commission determines the veteran is capable of paying. The commission will make payment directly to the entity providing counseling and substance abuse services. The commission shall not pay for counseling under this subrule if the available liquid assets of the veteran are in excess of $5,000 $15,000.
14.4(7) Expenses relating to ambulance and emergency room services for veterans and emergency lodging for immediate family members.
a. The commission may provide assistance to veterans for expenses related to ambulance trips, including air ambulance transportation, and emergency room visits for emergency care patients or VA health care patients that who cannot indicate to emergency personnel that they are to be presented to a VA medical center.
b. Funding through this subrule shall be paid directly to the entity providing the emergency service or transportation after the commission is provided with an unpaid bill. All efforts should be made to utilize all other methods of payment prior to accessing assistance under this subrule.
c. The maximum amount that may be paid under this subrule may not exceed $5,000 $7,500.
14.4(8) Emergency expenses related to vehicle repair, housing repair, or temporary housing assistance.
a. The commission may provide assistance to a veteran or to the unremarried spouse of a deceased veteran for emergency vehicle repair, emergency housing repair, and temporary housing.
b. Assistance for vehicle repair is limited to expenses that are required for continued use of the vehicle. This assistance will only be granted in cases where the vehicle is needed for travel to and from work-related activities, the applicant is over the age of 65, or substantial hardship will occur if the vehicle is not repaired. Assistance may be provided in situations where the applicant does not have sufficient means to pay an insurance deductible. Assistance may be paid directly to the entity performing the maintenance or the insurance company owed the deductible. In certain circumstances, reimbursement may be made to the veteran or to the unremarried spouse of a deceased veteran in order for the vehicle to be released from the entity providing the service. Assistance will not be provided for damage caused during the commission of a crime, for cosmetic needs, for damage resulting in an auto accident when automobile insurance has not been purchased, or for routine maintenance.
c. Assistance for home repair is limited to repairs that are required to improve the conditions and integrity of the home and are necessary for the safety and security of the residents. Applicants with homeowners insurance may request assistance for payment of a deductible. Assistance may be provided for applicants in disaster situations, home accidents, vandalism, or other situations as determined by the commission. In situations where a home is damaged beyond repair, assistance under this subrule is available to assist the applicant in purchasing a new home.
d. Assistance for transitional housing may be provided to applicants who are displaced from their home during a period of repairs related to a disaster, vandalism, home accident, or other reason that makes staying in the home hazardous to the health of the residents. Any refunded security deposits paid for under this subrule shall be returned to the Iowa veterans trust fund.
e. The maximum amount that may be paid under this subrule for any consecutive 12-month period may not exceed $2,500 for vehicle repair, $3,000 for housing repair, and $1,000 for transitional housing. Lifetime maximum benefit for housing repair and vehicle repair: $10,000 each.
f. The commission shall not pay a reimbursement under this subrule if the available liquid assets of the veteran are in excess of $3,000 $15,000.
14.4(9) Expenses related to establishing whether a minor child is a dependent of a deceased veteran.
a. The commission may provide assistance to the family of veterans who are killed while serving on active federal service, for expenses related to paternity or maternity tests or the cost of procuring additional DNA samples from the deceased veteran. This assistance is available to determine whether a child is eligible for United States Department of Veterans Affairs war orphan benefits.
b. Applicants are required to provide the results of the paternity or maternity examinations to the commission upon completion of the tests. Where the deceased veteran is not the parent of the child, the applicant will be required to repay the assistance received as provided in 801—14.6(35A).
c. The maximum amount that may be paid under this subrule is $2,500.
d. The commission may waive the income threshold for this benefit.
14.4(10) Family support group programs or programs for children of members of the military.
a. The commission may award grants to unit family readiness/support groups, family support offices, and other such organizations providing support and programs to families and children of family members.
b. The grant shall be only for projects or programs which are not funded from any other source. The commission shall determine if the applicant's proposed project or program will provide the intended support. In making its determination, the commission shall consider whether the proposed program will provide anticipated favorable results.
c. The maximum amount of aid payable in a consecutive 12-month period under this subrule to a family readiness/support group is $500.
14.4(11) Honor guard services.
a. The commission may reimburse veterans organizations for providing military funeral honors as follows:
(1)If a single veterans organization provides basic honors, $25.
(2)If a single veterans organization provides full honors, $50.
(3)If two or more veterans organizations participate in providing full honors and one of the organizations provides a firing detail, $50. The organizations may request that the commission split the reimbursement.
(4)If two or more veterans organizations participate in providing basic honors, $25. Payment shall be to one veterans organization, as determined by the commission.
b. Notwithstanding paragraph 14.4(11)"a," the commission shall not reimburse a veterans organization if federal funding is available to reimburse the veterans organization for providing military funeral honors. The veterans organization shall request reimbursement from federal sources. If a veterans organization receives federal funding for providing military funeral honors at the reimbursement rate of one funeral per day, the department shall reimburse the organization for the provision of military funeral honors at any additional funerals on that day.
c. The maximum amount of aid payable in a calendar year under this subrule to a veterans organization is $1000.
d. Veterans service organizations that are not currently providing honor guard services may apply for a $500, up-front grant, for the use of creating a new honor guard within their organization. Applicants must present the commission with an estimated cost for purchasing uniforms and firearms for providing military honors and an estimated number of members who will be available to perform honor guard services. Organizations should also provide information regarding how they plan to pay for additional expenses that may occur outside of trust fund assistance. Applicants will be eligible for reimbursements under paragraphs 14.4(11)"a" to "c" 12 months after the receipt of their original $500 grant.
14.4(12) Matching funds to veterans service organizations to provide for accredited veteran service officers.
a. The commission may provide matching funds to veterans service organizations for maintaining accredited veteran service officers located at the Des Moines Veterans Affairs Regional Office.
b. Funding for all service organizations combined is available in an amount of up to 20 percent of the interest and earnings on the trust fund balance during the fiscal year or $150,000, whichever is less.
c. Service organizations requesting funding from the trust fund must provide financial data on the level of organizational funding for the staffing and operation of an office in the Des Moines Veterans Affairs Regional Office. Of the available amount outlined in this subrule, assistance will be split evenly among the service organizations eligible for the trust fund assistance. If the service organization's expenditures are less than their its share of the grant, the grant amount will be reduced to the amount of their the organization's previous fiscal year's expenditures.
d. Service organizations will be required to maintain the same level of expenditures in the year they receive funding as in the previous year. Funding will be recaptured by the treasurer of the state of Iowa if this funding is used to supplant funding from an individual veterans service organization. Trust fund assistance will not be included in future fiscal year maintenance of effort requirements. A report on the previous fiscal year's expenditures will be required to determine the maintenance of effort for the organization.