38 U.S. Code § 6303 - Outreach services

§ 6303.
Outreach services
(a)Requirement To Provide Services.—
In carrying out the purposes of this chapter, the Secretary shall provide the outreach services specified in subsections (b) through (d). In areas where a significant number of eligible veterans and eligible dependents speak a language other than English as their principal language, such services shall, to the maximum feasible extent, be provided in the principal language of such persons.
(b)Individual Notice to New Veterans.—
The Secretary shall by letter advise each veteran at the time of the veteran’s discharge or release from active military, naval, or air service (or as soon as possible after such discharge or release) of all benefits and services under laws administered by the Department for which the veteran may be eligible. In carrying out this subsection, the Secretary shall ensure, through the use of veteran-student services under section 3485 of this title, that contact, in person or by telephone, is made with those veterans who, on the basis of their military service records, do not have a high school education or equivalent at the time of discharge or release.
(c)Distribution of Information.—
(1) The Secretary
shall distribute full information to eligible veterans and eligible dependents regarding all benefits and services to which they may be entitled under laws administered by the Secretary; and
may, to the extent feasible, distribute information on other governmental programs (including manpower and training programs) which the Secretary determines would be beneficial to veterans.
Whenever a veteran or dependent first applies for any benefit under laws administered by the Secretary (including a request for burial or related benefits or an application for life insurance proceeds), the Secretary shall provide to the veteran or dependent information concerning benefits and health care services under programs administered by the Secretary. Such information shall be provided not later than three months after the date of such application.
(d)Provision of Aid and Assistance.—
The Secretary shall provide, to the maximum extent possible, aid and assistance (including personal interviews) to members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and eligible dependents with respect to subsections (b) and (c) and in the preparation and presentation of claims under laws administered by the Department.
(e)Assignment of Employees.—
In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall assign such employees as the Secretary considers appropriate to conduct outreach programs and provide outreach services for homeless veterans. Such outreach services may include site visits through which homeless veterans can be identified and provided assistance in obtaining benefits and services that may be available to them.
(Added Pub. L. 109–233, title IV, § 402(a), June 15, 2006, 120 Stat. 408.)
Prior Provisions

Provisions similar to those in this section were contained in section 7722 of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 109–233.

Outreach Program to Veterans in Rural Areas

Pub. L. 109–461, title II, § 213, Dec. 22, 2006, 120 Stat. 3422, provided that:

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall conduct an extensive outreach program to identify and provide information to veterans who served in the theater of operations for Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom and who reside in rural communities in order to enroll those veterans in the health-care system of the Department of Veterans Affairs during the period when they are eligible for such enrollment.
“(b)Features of Program.—
In carrying out the program under subsection (a), the Secretary shall seek to work at the local level with employers, State agencies, community health centers located in rural areas, rural health clinics, and critical access hospitals located in rural areas, and units of the National Guard and other reserve components based in rural areas, in order to increase the awareness of veterans and their families of the availability of health care provided by the Secretary and the means by which those veterans can achieve access to the health-care services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Information To Assist Veterans Receiving Education Benefits

Pub. L. 101–237, title IV, § 421, Dec. 18, 1989, 103 Stat. 2088, provided that:

“(a)In General.—
For the purpose of assisting individuals receiving education benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall prepare, and update periodically, a document containing a detailed description of the benefits, limitations, procedures, requirements, and other important aspects of the education programs administered by the Department.
“(b)Distribution.—The Secretary shall, beginning in fiscal year 1990 but not before July 1, 1990, distribute copies of such document—
to each individual applying for benefits under an education program administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs and to each such individual at least annually in the years thereafter in which the individual receives such benefits;
to education and training institution officials on at least an annual basis; and
upon request, to other individuals significantly affected by education programs administered by the Secretary, including military education personnel.
The Secretary shall use funds appropriated to the readjustment benefits account of the Department to carry out this section.”

Outreach Services

Pub. L. 100–687, div. B, title XII, § 1204, Nov. 18, 1988, 102 Stat. 4125, as amended by Pub. L. 102–4, § 4, Feb. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 15; Pub. L. 102–83, § 6(k)(2), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 409, provided that:

“(a)Ongoing Outreach Program.—
(1) The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall conduct an active, continuous outreach program for furnishing to veterans of active military, naval, or air service who served in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam era information relating to—
the health risks (if any) resulting from exposure during that service to dioxin or any other toxic agent in herbicides used in support of United States and allied military operations in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam era; and
services and benefits available to such veterans with respect to such health risks.
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall annually furnish updated information on health risks described in paragraph (1)(A) to veterans referred to in paragraph (1).
“(b)Information in Agent Orange Registry.—
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall take reasonable actions to organize and update the information contained in the Department of Veterans Affairs Agent Orange Registry in a manner that enables the Secretary promptly to notify a veteran of any increased health risk for such veteran resulting from exposure of such veteran to dioxin or any other toxic agent referred to in subsection (a) during Vietnam-era service in the Republic of Vietnam whenever the Secretary determines, on the basis of physical examination or other pertinent information, that such veteran is subject to such an increased health risk.”


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