Chapter 1. Department Of Veterans Affairs of California Military And Veterans Code >> Division 4. >> Chapter 1.
As used in this division, "department" means the Department of
The department constitutes a public corporation and may on
behalf of the State hold property, request and receive donations,
contract, sue and be sued, and has all other rights and powers
provided by the Constitution and laws of the State as belonging to
The department may cooperate and contract with the duly
authorized representative of the United States Government in carrying
out the provisions of this division.
All State and county officials shall furnish all required
information to the department, upon request, and shall further assist
the department in any manner in accordance with law and without
(a) The processing of claims for veterans and their
dependents and survivors shall include the filing of the initial
claim, the representation of the claimant before boards and offices
of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and the filing
of appeals related to the claims.
(b) The claims may include the following types of benefits and
(1) Disability compensation benefits.
(2) Disability pension benefits.
(3) Dependents' indemnity compensation.
(4) Widow's death pension.
(5) Burial benefits.
(6) Confirmed and continued claims.
(7) Vocational rehabilitation and education.
(8) Waivers of indebtedness.
(9) Other benefits that result in monetary awards to the claimant.
(a) The department may assist every veteran of the United
States and the dependent or survivor of every veteran of the United
States in presenting and pursuing the claim as the veteran,
dependent, or survivor may have against the United States arising out
of military service and in establishing the veteran's, dependent's,
or survivor's right to any privilege, preference, care, or
compensation provided for by the laws of the United States or of this
state. The department may cooperate and, with the approval of the
Department of Finance, contract with any veterans service
organization, and pursuant to the contract may compensate the
organization for services within the scope of this section rendered
by it to any veteran or dependent or survivor of a veteran. The
contract shall not be made unless the department determines that,
owing to the confidential relationships involved and the necessity of
operating through agencies that the veterans, dependents, or
survivors involved will feel to be sympathetic toward their problems,
the services cannot satisfactorily be rendered otherwise than
through the agency of the veterans organization and that the best
interests of the veterans, dependents, or survivors involved will be
served if the contract is made.
(b) (1) The Legislature finds and declares that services provided
by veterans service organizations play an important role in the
department's responsibilities to assist veterans and their dependents
and survivors in presenting and pursuing claims against the United
States, and that it is an efficient and reasonable use of state funds
to provide compensation to veterans service organizations for these
(2) The Legislature further finds and declares that paragraph (1)
shall not be implemented by using the General Fund until the annual
budget for county veterans service officers reaches a minimum of five
million dollars ($5,000,000). This subdivision shall not be
construed to preclude the use of federal funding in implementing
(c) Veterans service organizations that elect to contract with the
department in accordance with this section shall document the claims
processed each year by the veterans service officers employed by the
veterans service organization at offices located in California. The
documentation shall be in accordance with procedures established by
(d) The department shall determine annually the amount of monetary
benefits paid to eligible veterans and their dependents and
survivors in the state as a result of the work of the veterans
service officers of the contracting organizations. Beginning on
January 1, 2006, the department shall, on or before January 1 of each
year, prepare and transmit its determination for the preceding
fiscal year to the Department of Finance and the Legislature. The
department shall also identify federal sources to support the efforts
of veterans service organizations pursuant to this section. 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.
(e) For purposes of this section:
(1) "Survivor" means any relation of a deceased veteran who may be
entitled to make a claim for any privilege, preference, care, or
compensation under the laws of the United States or this state based
upon the veteran's war service.
(2) "Veterans service officer" means an individual employed by a
veterans service organization and accredited by the United States
Department of Veterans Affairs to process and adjudicate claims and
other benefits for veterans and their dependents and survivors.
(3) "Veterans service organization" means an organization that
meets all of the following criteria:
(A) Is formed by and for United States military veterans.
(B) Is chartered by the United States Congress.
(C) Has regularly maintained an established committee or agency in
a regional office of the United States Department of Veterans
Affairs in California rendering services to veterans and their
dependents and survivors.
The department may make rules and regulations to carry out the
provisions of this division.
In the event that the provisions of the Servicemen's
Readjustment Act of 1944 are amended in such manner as to make the
guarantees by the United States of loans to veterans for farms and
homes applicable to purchases of farms and homes from the Department
of Veterans Affairs pursuant to Chapter 3 and Article 3 of Chapter 6,
the State of California hereby accepts the benefits of such federal
act, and agrees to comply with all the requirements of said act.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is hereby designated as the
official agency of the State to apply to the United States for such
guarantees and to do all acts required in connection therewith. The
board is authorized to adopt such rules and regulations and standards
as may be required by the federal act and are not in conflict with
the provisions of this division.
All salaries and expenses of the Division of Farm and Home
Purchases shall be paid out of the Farm and Home Building Fund of
1943 and no part thereof shall be paid from the General Fund.
(a) The Department of Veterans Affairs may establish a pilot
project for the purpose of establishing a cooperative housing
(b) The Department of Veterans Affairs shall work in conjunction
with the Department of Housing and Community Development to implement
the pilot project.
(c) The Department of Veterans Affairs may use existing home loan
funds to establish the pilot project. These funds shall be used in
accordance with all laws and regulations governing the use of the
(d) The Department of Veterans Affairs shall prescribe the rules,
regulations, and conditions necessary to implement this section.
(e) Any cooperative housing project established pursuant to this
section shall be restricted for use and occupancy by military
veterans and their families for a period of at least 55 years.
(a) The department shall publicize information pertaining to
benefit programs that are available to qualified homeless veterans,
including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(1) The veterans pension programs administered by the United
States Department of Veterans Affairs (38 U.S.C. Sec. 1501 et seq.),
especially the eligibility for those veterans who are 65 years of age
or older or are permanently and totally disabled.
(2) The Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program
(Public Law 110-161), and any programs that assist homeless veterans
in securing rental housing with that information including, to the
extent possible, the information that veterans not eligible for loans
under the Veterans' Farm and Home Purchase Act of 1974, and
subsequent acts, may be eligible for housing assistance under the
Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program.
(3) CalFresh (Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 18900) of Part 6
of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code).
(b) The department shall publicize this information using any of
the following methods:
(1) Printed material, including, but not limited to, flyers and
posters, with the information that can be provided to county veterans
service offices, homeless shelters, Veterans Affairs hospitals, and
other public and private entities that come into contact with
(2) On the department's Internet Web site.
(3) Any other method that the department determines would
publicize and create awareness to homeless veterans about the benefit
programs available to them.
(c) The information shall also state that veterans may receive
assistance from a county veterans service office in applying for any
benefits that they may be qualified to receive.
(a) If the federal government acts to reinstate benefits to
discharged veterans, regardless of their discharge classification,
who were denied those benefits solely on the basis of sexual
orientation pursuant to any federal policy prohibiting homosexual
personnel from serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, the
state shall reinstate to those veterans any state-offered benefits
they were denied due to those federal policies.
(b) To the extent practicable, the department shall do the
(1) On the department's Internet Web site, provide Internet
resources or links to Internet resources that provide information
regarding veterans' legal services organizations that specialize in
military discharge upgrades.
(2) In the department's offices and walk-in locations, provide
printed resources, to the extent available, created by veterans'
legal services organizations that specialize in military discharge
The department shall do both of the following:
(a) Make available to family members of veterans returning from
active duty both of the following:
(1) (A) User-friendly Internet resources that provide information
on the signs of pertinent ailments from various conflicts,
including, but not limited to, all of the following:
(i) From the Vietnam War, exposure to Agent Orange and
post-traumatic stress disorder.
(ii) From Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm,
exposure to depleted uranium and Gulf War Syndrome.
(iii) From Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom,
traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
(B) The Internet resources shall provide links to the appropriate
agency or person that may help the family members of the veteran
address any issues arising from the ailments specified in
(2) Printed material regarding the ailments specified in
subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) at any public function of the
(b) Update its Internet Web site to prominently display a link to
the Network of Care for Veterans and Service Members site, which is
an online educational tool for municipal employees and
community-based organizations that allows for easier access to
information and resources relating to veterans.
(a) By July 1, 2016, the department shall do both of the
(1) Create a list of unused or underutilized nonresidential real
property owned by the department, including property on or near the
premises of existing department facilities.
(2) Propose one or more potential uses of those properties that
will benefit California veterans and make a preferred recommendation
for use of each property, and in doing so, consider uses including,
but not limited to, the following services for veterans:
(B) Supportive services.
(C) Health care and mental health care.
(b) When identifying the unused or underutilized nonresidential
real properties, the department shall consider its inventory of
properties as an integrated system, and shall address how prospective
uses of the properties could complement each other.
(c) The list of options shall be structured as a prioritized list
of projects determined by the department to constitute appropriate
uses for the properties identified in the plan.
(d) The Legislature finds and declares that after a use option for
a given location is identified pursuant to this section, further
study and evaluation may be necessary in order to fully determine the
feasibility of that use option and take steps toward its