CHAPTER 506
VETERANS

Table of Contents

Sec. 27-102l. Department of Veterans' Affairs. Veterans' Home to be within department. Veterans' advocacy and assistance unit. Staff. Powers and duties. Regulations.
Sec. 27-109a*. Veterans' health registry. Disclosure of registry information.
Sec. 27-118. Burial expenses.
Sec. 27-122b. Eligibility for burial in veterans' cemetery. Consecrated area designation.
Sec. 27-138. Custody and administration of Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund.
Sec. 27-138a. Regulations and applications to be available at town clerks' offices.
Sec. 27-140. Expenditure. Accounting.

PART I
DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS

      Sec. 27-102l. Department of Veterans' Affairs. Veterans' Home to be within department. Veterans' advocacy and assistance unit. Staff. Powers and duties. Regulations. (a) There shall be a Department of Veterans' Affairs. The Veterans' Home shall be within the department and shall be located in Rocky Hill. The department head shall be the Commissioner of Veterans' Affairs, who shall be appointed by the Governor in accordance with the provisions of sections 4-5 to 4-8, inclusive, with the powers and duties prescribed therein.

      (b) The commissioner may appoint a unit head to administer a veterans' advocacy and assistance unit for the aid and benefit of veterans, their spouses and eligible dependents and family members. The unit shall have a staff of not less than eight men and women, including six service officers, and clerical personnel. The unit head and the service officers shall be veterans, as defined in section 27-103, or veterans who were awarded the armed forces expeditionary medal for service by the armed forces. At least one of the service officers shall be a woman having a demonstrated interest in the concerns of women veterans, who shall be responsible for addressing those concerns, and, effective upon the next opening of a service officer position occurring on or after July 1, 2007, at least one of the service officers shall be an individual having bilingual proficiency in English and Spanish, within existing authorized positions. Each service officer shall successfully complete a course in veterans' benefits within one year of commencement of employment and shall be assigned to one of the five congressional districts of the state.

      (c) In addition to the powers and duties prescribed under section 4-8, the commissioner shall have the following powers and duties:

      (1) To prepare studies and collect information concerning facilities and services available to members of the armed forces, veterans, their spouses or eligible dependents, including facilities and services for veterans who may have been exposed to a Vietnam herbicide during their periods of military service;

      (2) To conduct interviews in the nursing homes or hospitals throughout the state to determine the number of veterans admitted and ascertaining which benefits such veterans are currently receiving and are entitled to receive;

      (3) To cooperate with service agencies and organizations throughout the state in disseminating and furnishing counsel and assistance of benefit to residents of this state who are or have been members of the armed forces, their spouses or eligible dependents, which will indicate the availability of: (A) Educational training and retraining facilities; (B) health, medical, rehabilitation and housing services and facilities; (C) employment and reemployment services; (D) provisions of federal, state and local laws affording financial rights, privileges and benefits; and (E) other matters of similar nature;

      (4) To assist veterans, their spouses and eligible dependents and family members in the preparation, presentation, proof and establishment of such claims, privileges, rights and other benefits accruing to them under federal, state and local laws;

      (5) To cooperate with all national, state and local governmental and private agencies securing or offering services or any benefits to veterans, their spouses or dependents;

      (6) To develop and prepare a long-range plan and mission statement for the Veterans' Home and the veterans' advocacy and assistance unit; and

      (7) To review all appeals made by veterans, their spouses or eligible dependents or family members and render the final decision thereon regarding the denial of admission to any program or the refusal to render any service or benefit which is administered by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, the discharge or transfer from any such program or any disciplinary action taken while participating in any such program.

      (d) The commissioner shall adopt, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, and enforce, such regulations and procedures for the operation, administration and management of the department and all programs and services under the jurisdiction of the department, including, but not limited to, procedures relating to admission and discharge or transfer of veterans in the Veterans' Home, a per diem fee schedule for programs, services and benefits provided by the Veterans' Home, and the participation of eligible family members in programs or services provided by the home.

      (P.A. 86-175, S. 1, 4; P.A. 87-155, S. 1; 87-543, S. 8, 9; P.A. 88-285, S. 1, 35; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 91-12, S. 37, 55; P.A. 03-170, S. 6; P.A. 04-169, S. 3; P.A. 07-97, S. 1.)

      History: P.A. 87-155 amended Subsec. (b) to permit veterans awarded the armed forces expeditionary medal to be service officers in the department; P.A. 87-543 amended Subsec. (c)(1) to authorize studies and the collection of information for facilities and services for veterans who may have been exposed to a Vietnam herbicide; P.A. 88-285 amended Subsec. (a) to provide that the veterans' home and hospital be within the department, amended Subsec. (b) to delete provision re location of offices, to require commissioner to appoint a deputy to administer a veterans' assistance unit which shall have a staff of at least eight persons and to make technical changes, added Subsec. (c)(6) and (7) re development of a long-range plan and mission statement for the home and hospital and the unit and review of appeals made by veterans or their family members, and added Subsec. (d) re adoption of regulations for the operation, administration and management of the department and all programs under its jurisdiction; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 91-12 in Subsec. (b) renamed the veterans' assistance unit the veterans' advocacy and assistance unit; P.A. 03-170 amended Subsec. (b) by changing number of congressional districts from six to five, effective June 26, 2003; P.A. 04-169 amended Subsec. (a) to require the Veterans' Home to be located in Rocky Hill, amended Subsec. (b) to authorize the commissioner to appoint a unit head in lieu of requiring appointment of a deputy to administer veterans' advocacy and assistance unit and to require the unit head to be a veteran, eliminating reference to department head and the deputy commissioner, changed the name of the Veterans' Home and Hospital to the Veterans' Home throughout and made technical changes, effective June 1, 2004; P.A. 07-97 amended Subsec. (b) to require at least one service officer position, upon an opening occurring on or after July 1, 2007, to be filled by an individual having bilingual proficiency in English and Spanish, effective July 1, 2007.

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PART Ia
GENERAL PROVISIONS

      Sec. 27-109a*. Veterans' health registry. Disclosure of registry information. (a) The Department of Veterans' Affairs may establish and maintain, within available resources, a registry of data on members of the armed forces, as defined in section 27-103, who have completed a period of active service. The department may develop surveys for members or their health care providers to voluntarily provide data during or after such active service. The surveys and data shall be collected and maintained in accordance with the requirements of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-191) (HIPAA), as amended from time to time, or regulations adopted thereunder.

      (b) The surveys and data shall be related to members' illnesses and potential correlations to environmental hazards, including, but not limited to, vaccinations, infections, chemicals, pesticides, microwaves, depleted uranium, pyridostigmine bromide, and chemical and biological warfare agents. Within available resources, the department may use the data in the registry to (1) study the potential short-term and long-term effects of such hazards on such members, and (2) inform, customize and coordinate the provision of health care services to such members.

      (c) No individually identifiable health information may be released by the department without the consent of the member to whom the information pertains in accordance with the requirements of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-191) (HIPAA), as amended from time to time, or regulations adopted thereunder.

      (d) The surveys and data in the registry shall be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, as defined in section 1-200, except that no individually identifiable health information may be disclosed.

      (June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-2, S. 46.)

      *Note: This section is effective July 1, 2008.

      History: June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-2 effective July 1, 2008.

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      Sec. 27-118. Burial expenses. When any veteran dies, not having sufficient estate to pay the necessary expenses of the veteran's last sickness and burial, as determined by the commissioner after consultation with the probate court for the district in which the veteran resided, the state shall pay the sum of one thousand eight hundred dollars toward such funeral expenses, and the burial shall be in some cemetery or plot not used exclusively for the burial of the pauper dead, and the same amount shall be paid if the body is cremated, but no amount shall be paid for the expenses for burial or cremation unless claim therefor is made within one year from the date of death, except that in cases of death occurring abroad, such claim may be made within one year after the remains of such veteran have been interred in this country. No provision of this section shall prevent the payment of the sum above named for the burial of any person, otherwise entitled to the same, on account of such burial being made outside the limits of this state. Upon satisfactory proof by the person who has paid or provided for the funeral or burial expense to the commissioner of the identity of the deceased, the time and place of the deceased's death and burial and the approval thereof by the commissioner, said sum of one thousand eight hundred dollars shall be paid by the Comptroller to the person who has paid the funeral or burial expense or, upon assignment by such person, to the funeral director who has provided the funeral. Whenever the Comptroller has lawfully paid any sum toward the expenses of the burial of any deceased veteran and it afterwards appears that the deceased left any estate, the Comptroller may present a claim in behalf of the state against the estate of such deceased veteran for the sum so paid, and the claim shall be a preferred claim against such estate and shall be paid to the Treasurer of the state. The commissioner, upon the advice of the Attorney General, may make application for administration upon the estate of any such deceased veteran if no other person authorized by law makes such application within sixty days after such payment has been made by the Comptroller.

      (1949 Rev., S. 2940; September, 1950, 1951, 1953, S. 1641d; 1957, P.A. 163, S. 31; 1961, P.A. 309; 1963, P.A. 610; 1967, P.A. 664; P.A. 88-285, S. 14, 35; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-2, S. 45.)

      History: 1961 act changed provision that municipality pay burial expense to requirement that an allowance of $150 be paid toward funeral expenses by municipality, reimbursable by the state; 1963 act deleted provisions for municipality to pay allowance toward expenses, added provision for determination by the commission in consultation with probate court that estate is insufficient to defray expenses and provided for payment of the allowance to the person who paid the funeral expenses; 1967 act amended latter provision to include whoever provided for the funeral and for payment to funeral director where assignment made to him; P.A. 88-285 replaced veterans' home and hospital commission with commissioner; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 07-2 increased burial expense from $150 to $1,800 and made technical changes, effective July 1, 2007.

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      Sec. 27-122b. Eligibility for burial in veterans' cemetery. Consecrated area designation. (a) As used in this section, "veteran" means any person (1) honorably discharged from, or released under honorable conditions from, active service in the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force or Coast Guard or any women's auxiliary branch thereof, organized pursuant to an Act of Congress; (2) who has completed at least twenty years of service in the Connecticut National Guard; or (3) who was killed in action, or who died as a result of accident or illness sustained while performing active service, in the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force or Coast Guard or any women's auxiliary branch thereof, organized pursuant to an Act of Congress, or in the Connecticut National Guard.

      (b) (1) Any veteran may, by letter or other communication addressed to the commissioner, or by will, request that upon his or her death his or her body be buried in a veterans' cemetery established pursuant to section 27-122a, or (2) the spouse or other next of kin may apply to the commissioner to have the body of such veteran buried in said veterans' cemetery, and in either case such request shall be granted.

      (c) The spouse of any veteran shall, upon similar request or application made to the commissioner, be buried in said veterans' cemetery provided only one such request or application shall be granted.

      (d) The commissioner shall designate an area in said veterans' cemetery for veterans who, for religious reasons, require burial in a consecrated area.

      (1971, P.A. 352, S. 2; P.A. 75-483, S. 5, 10; P.A. 81-65; P.A. 88-74; 88-285, S. 20, 33, 35; P.A. 04-169, S. 13; P.A. 07-13, S. 1.)

      History: P.A. 75-483 substituted "as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103" for language defining the service period for the Vietnam era; P.A. 81-65 added Subsec. (d) requiring the commission to designate a consecrated area within the veterans' cemetery; P.A. 81-65 effective at such time as the veterans' home and hospital commission declares that the establishment of said veterans' cemetery has been effected; P.A. 88-74 amended Subsec. (a)(3) to include service during invasion of Grenada and Lebanon in definition of "service in time of war", and amended Subsec. (c) to permit one spouse of a veteran to be buried in the cemetery, regardless of order of death; P.A. 88-285 amended Subsecs. (b) to (d), inclusive, to replace commission with commissioner and changed effective date of P.A. 88-74 from October 1, 1988, to July 1, 1988; P.A. 04-169 amended Subsec. (a) to eliminate from the definition of "veteran" reference to service in time of war and references to domiciled in this state and to delete the definition of "service in time of war", and made technical changes in Subsec. (b), effective June 1, 2004; P.A. 07-13 amended Subsec. (a) to delete definition of "armed forces" and redefine "veteran" and added "established pursuant to section 27-122a" and made a technical change in Subsec. (b), effective July 1, 2007.

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PART II
SOLDIERS, SAILORS AND MARINES FUND

      Sec. 27-138. Custody and administration of Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund. The Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund shall remain as established and shall be in the custody of the Treasurer as trustee of the fund and shall be administered by the treasurer of the American Legion. The Treasurer shall invest the fund and shall reinvest as much of the fund as is not required for current disbursement in accordance with the provisions of part I of chapter 32. The interest accumulations of the fund so held in trust or so much thereof as is found necessary to carry out the purposes hereinafter stated shall be paid, upon the order of the Comptroller, upon such statements as the Comptroller may require, to the treasurer of the American Legion, who shall disburse the same, and the balance of said accumulations, except for a reserve of one hundred thousand dollars held in custody of the trustee for contingent purposes, shall at the end of each fiscal year be added to the principal of the fund. If the interest accumulations of the fund, together with available appropriations, if any, of other funds, are insufficient to carry out the purposes of this part, the Finance Advisory Committee, upon recommendation of the Governor, shall make appropriations therefor from the state General Fund, limited, however, for any fiscal year to amounts which, together with said interest accumulations for such year, shall not exceed the annual interest on thirty-five million dollars at the average rate of the investment yield earned during the preceding fiscal year on the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund, provided, in case of disaster constituting an emergency, as declared by the Governor, the Finance Advisory Committee may make additional appropriations to the fund without regard to such limitation. Payments to the treasurer of the American Legion shall be made at such definite and stated periods as are necessary to meet the convenience of the American Legion and said trustee; but each payment shall be made upon the order of the treasurer of the American Legion, approved by at least two of its executive officers or of a special committee thereof thereunto specially authorized. No part of the interest accumulation of the fund shall be expended for the purpose of maintaining the American Legion.

      (1949, Rev., S. 2957; 1949, S. 1648d; 1961, P.A. 578, S. 14; February, 1965, P.A. 574, S. 33; 1969, P.A. 337, S. 1; P.A. 74-338, S. 58, 94; P.A. 76-411, S. 2; P.A. 81-343, S. 5, 7; P.A. 97-47, S. 50; P.A. 07-187, S. 2.)

      History: 1961 act provided for augmentation by finance advisory committee where funds were insufficient, with limitation; 1965 act deleted provision for augmentation of the fund by cigarettes taxes; 1969 act provided for reserve fund of $100,000; P.A. 74-338 substituted "investment advisory council" for "investment committee"; P.A. 76-411 deleted references to board of trustees and investment advisory council and qualified the treasurer "as trustee of said fund", providing that the treasurer, instead of the board, administer the fund; P.A. 81-343 allowed reinvestments of moneys not needed for current disbursement in accordance with part I of Ch. 32 rather than reinvestments "in such securities as may be legal investments for trust funds"; P.A. 97-47 substituted "trustee" for "board of trustees"; (Revisor's note: In 2005 the Revisors editorially deleted the apostrophe from "Marines" in name of fund); P.A. 07-187 provided that treasurer of the American Legion, instead of State Treasurer, shall administer the fund and that State Treasurer shall invest the fund, and made technical changes, effective June 6, 2007.

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      Sec. 27-138a. Regulations and applications to be available at town clerks' offices. The treasurer of the American Legion as administrator of the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Fund may make available at each town clerk's office a copy of the regulations of the fund and applications for aid from the fund.

      (1969, P.A. 347, S. 2; P.A. 97-47, S. 51; P.A. 07-187, S. 3.)

      History: P.A. 97-47 substituted "trustee" for "board of trustees"; (Revisor's note: In 2005 the Revisors editorially deleted the apostrophe from "Marines" in name of fund); P.A. 07-187 substituted "treasurer of the American Legion as administrator" for "trustee", "may make" for "shall make" and "the" for "said", effective June 6, 2007.

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      Sec. 27-140. Expenditure. Accounting. All money so paid to and received by the American Legion shall be expended by it in furnishing food, wearing apparel, medical or surgical aid or care or relief to, or in bearing the funeral expenses of, soldiers, sailors or marines who performed service in time of war, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103, in any branch of the military service of the United States, including the Connecticut National Guard, or who were engaged in any of the wars waged by the United States during said periods in the forces of any government associated with the United States, who have been honorably discharged therefrom or honorably released from active service therein, and who were citizens or resident aliens of the state at the time of entering said armed forces of the United States, including the Connecticut National Guard, or of any such government, or to their spouses who are living with them, or to their widows or widowers who were living with them at the time of death, or dependent children under eighteen years of age, who may be in need of the same. All such payments shall be made by the American Legion under authority of its bylaws, which bylaws shall set forth the procedure for proof of eligibility for such aid, provided payments made for the care and treatment of any person entitled to the benefits provided for herein, at any hospital receiving aid from the General Assembly unless special care and treatment are required, shall be in accordance with the provisions of section 17b-239, and provided the sum expended for the care or treatment of such person at any other place than a state-aided hospital shall in no case exceed the actual cost of supporting such person at the Veterans' Home, unless special care and treatment are required, when such sum as may be determined by the treasurer of such organization may be paid therefor. The treasurer of such organization shall account to the Governor and the General Assembly during the months of January, April, July and October for all moneys disbursed by it during the three months next preceding the first day of either of said months, and such account shall show the amount of and the name and address of each person to whom such aid has been furnished. Upon the completion of the trust provided for in section 27-138, the principal fund shall revert to the State Treasury.

      (1949 Rev., S. 2959; 1949, 1951, 1953, S. 1650d; 1957, P.A. 163, S. 34; 1967, P.A. 850; 1969, P.A. 347, S. 1; P.A. 73-395; P.A. 74-321, S. 19; P.A. 75-483, S. 6, 10; P.A. 91-2, S. 7, 8; 91-213, S. 7, 8; P.A. 97-47, S. 52; P.A. 00-131, S. 1; P.A. 04-169, S. 16; 04-195, S. 1; P.A. 07-187, S. 4.)

      History: 1967 act provided for use of termination date to be determined by the United States for the end of the Vietnam era and raised cutoff age for eligibility of dependent children from 16 to 18; 1969 act made slight change in wording; P.A. 73-395 substituted "December 31, 1955" for "October 27, 1953"; P.A. 74-321 substituted "spouses" for "wives" and added "or widowers" following "widows"; P.A. 75-483 deleted provisions concerning the dates for the Vietnam era and substituted "as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103"; P.A. 91-2 added provisions re service during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm; P.A. 91-213 changed the beginning of the period of service during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm from August 7, 1990, to August 2, 1990; P.A. 97-47 substituted "trustee" for "board of trustees"; P.A. 00-131 added "performed service in time of war, as defined in subsection (a) of section 27-103," and deleted provisions re service dates; P.A. 04-169 changed the name of the Veterans' Home and Hospital to the Veterans' Home, effective June 1, 2004; P.A. 04-195 included the Connecticut National Guard in any branch of the military service of the United States and in the armed forces of the United States, effective June 3, 2004; P.A. 07-187 deleted "and shall be approved by the trustee" re bylaws, substituted "the Governor and the General Assembly" for "said trustee" re quarterly accounting, and deleted "so held by said trustee" re principal fund, effective June 6, 2007.

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