P.L. 95–588, Approved November 4, 1978 (92 Stat. 2497)

Veterans’ and Survivors’ Pension Improvement Act of 1978

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SAVINGS PROVISIONS FOR PERSONS ENTITLED TO PENSION AS OF DECEMBER 31, 1978

Sec. 306. [38 U.S.C. 1521 note] (a)(1)  (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B), any person who as of December 31, 1978, is entitled to receive pension under section 521, 541, or 542 of title 38, United States Code, may elect to receive pension under such section as in effect after such date, subject to the terms and conditions in effect with respect to the receipt of such pension. Any such election shall be made in such form and manner as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “Secretary”) may prescribe. If pension is paid pursuant to such an election, the election shall be irrevocable.

(B)  Any veteran eligible to make an election under subparagraph (A) who is married to another veteran who is also eligible to make such an election may not make such an election unless both such veterans make such an election.

(2)  Any person eligible to make an election under paragraph (1) who does not make such an election shall continue to receive pension at the monthly rate being paid to such person on December 31, 1978, subject to all provisions of law applicable to basic eligibility for and payment of pension under section 521, 541, or 542, as appropriate, of title 38, United States Code, as in effect on December 31, 1978, except that—

(A)  pension may not be paid to such person if such person’s annual income (determined in accordance with section 503 of title 38, United States Code, as in effect on December 31, 1978) exceeds $4,038, in the case of a veteran or surviving spouse without dependents, $5,430, in the case of a veteran or surviving spouse with one or more dependents, or $3,299, in the case of a child; and

(B)  the amount prescribed in subsection (f)(1) of section 521 of such title (as in effect on December 31, 1978) shall be $1,285;

as each such amount is increased from time to time under paragraph (3).

(3)  Whenever there is an increase under section 3112[158] of title 38, United States Code (as added by section 304 of this Act), in the maximum annual rates of pension under sections 521, 541, and 542 of such title, as in effect after December 31, 1978, the Secretary shall, effective on the date of such increase under such section 3112, increase—

(A)  the annual income limitations in effect under paragraph (2); and

(B)  the amount of income of a veteran’s spouse excluded from the annual income of such veteran under section 521(f)(1) of such title, as in effect on December 31, 1978;

by the same percentage as the percentage by which such maximum annual rates under such sections 521, 541, and 542 are increased.

(b)(1)  Effective January 1, 1979, section 9 of the Veterans’ Pension Act of 1959 (Public Law 86-211) is repealed.

(2)(A)  Except as provided in subparagraph (B), any person who as of December 31, 1978, is entitled to receive pension under section 9(b) of the Veterans’ Pension Act of 1959 may elect to receive pension under section 521, 541, or 542 of title 38, United States Code, as in effect after such date, subject to the terms and conditions in effect with respect to the receipt of such pension. Any such election shall be made in such form and manner as the Secretary may prescribe. If pension is paid pursuant to such an election, the election shall be irrevocable.

(B)  Any veteran eligible to make an election under subparagraph (A) who is married to another veteran who is also eligible to make such an election may not make such an election unless both such veterans make such an election.

(3)  Any person eligible to make an election under paragraph (2) who does not make such an election shall continue to receive pension at the monthly rate being paid to such person on December 31, 1978, subject to all provisions of law applicable to basic eligibility for and payment of pension under section 9(b) of the Veterans’ Pension Act of 1959, as in effect on December 31, 1978, except that pension may not be paid to such person if such person’s annual income (determined in accordance with the applicable provisions of law, as in effect on December 31, 1978) exceeds $3,534, in the case of a veteran or surviving spouse without dependents or in the case of a child, or $5,098, in the case of a veteran or surviving spouse with one or more dependents, as each such amount is increased from time to time under paragraph (4).

(4)  Whenever there is an increase under section 3112 of title 38, United States Code (as added by section 304 of this Act), in the maximum annual rates of pension under sections 521, 541, and 542 of such title, as in effect after December 31, 1978, the Secretary shall, effective on the date of such increase under such section 3112, increase the annual income limitations in effect under paragraph (3) by the same percentage as the percentage by which the maximum annual rates under such sections 521, 542, and 543 are increased.

(c)  Any case in which—

(1)  a claim for pension is pending in the Veterans’ Administration on December 31, 1978;

(2)  a claim for pension is filed by a veteran after December 31, 1978, and within one year after the date on which such veteran became totally and permanently disabled, if such veteran became totally and permanently disabled before January 1, 1979; or

(3)  a claim for pension is filed by a surviving spouse or by a child after December 31, 1978, and within one year after the date of death of the veteran through whose relationship such claim is made, if the death of such veteran occurred before January 1, 1979;

shall be adjudicated under title 38, United States Code, as in effect on December 31, 1978. Any benefits determined to be payable as the result of the adjudication of such a claim shall be subject to the provisions of subsection (a).

(d)  In any case in which any person who as of December 31, 1978, is entitled to receive pension under section 521, 541, or 542 of title 38, United States Code, or under section 9(b) of the Veterans’ Pension Act of 1959, elects (in accordance with subsection (a)(1) or (b)(2), as appropriate) before October 1, 1979, to receive pension under such section as in effect after December 31, 1978, the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs shall pay to such person an amount equal to the amount by which the amount of pension benefits such person would have received had such election been made on January 1, 1979, exceeds the amount of pension benefits actually paid to such person for the period beginning on January 1, 1979, and ending on the date preceding the date of such election.

(e)  Whenever there is an increase under subsections (a)(3) and (b)(4) in the annual income limitations with respect to persons being paid pension under subsections (a)(2) and (b)(3), the Secretary shall publish such annual income limitations, as increased pursuant to such subsections, in the Federal Register at the same time as the material required by section 215(i)(2)(D) of the Social Security Act is published by reason of a determination under section 215(i) of such Act.

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[Internal Reference.—SSAct §1133(a) cites the Veterans’ and Survivors’ Pension Improvement Act of 1978.]



[158]  P.L. 102-40, §402(d)(2) provides that references to section 3112 be deemed references to the redesignated section 5312.