California Laws - Military and Veterans Code
DIVISION 4. VETERANS' AID AND WELFARE
CHAPTER 5. LOCAL AID

CHAPTER 5. LOCAL AID (1297)(1-click HTML)

Article 1. Indigent Veterans (920-931) (1298)(1-click HTML)

920. As used in this article, unless the context otherwise indicates, "veteran" means a person who has been honorably discharged from the United States Army, United States Navy, United States Air Force, United States Marine Corps, United States Coast Guard, the Merchant Marine, or the American Red Cross, and who has served in any war. (1299)

921. The board of supervisors of any county may grant financial assistance, relief, and support to indigent veterans. Such assistance, relief, and support shall be administered through and by any military, naval, or marine organization created for the purpose of aiding, relieving and supporting such veterans under the terms and conditions set forth in this article. (1300)

922. Any organization desiring to assist indigent veterans shall first file with the board of supervisors of the county in which it is operating or intending to operate, a verified statement setting forth the following: (1301)

(a) Name, objects, and purposes of the organization. One of the purposes shall be that mentioned in section 921. (1302)

(b) Date of organization. (1303)

(c) Names and addresses of officers and relief committee. (1304)

(d) Name and address of the treasurer or financial officer in charge of the receipt and disbursement of funds. (1305)

(e) Number of members. (1306)

(f) Financial condition, showing total assets and liabilities. (1307)

(g) That financial assistance for indigent veterans to be administered in accordance with the provisions of this article will be requested. (1308)

923. Upon the filing of the statement the board of supervisors shall set a day for its consideration not more than ten days after the date of filing. At least five days' notice of the hearing shall be given by mail to the clerk or secretary of the organization. (1309)

924. On the day set, the board of supervisors shall, after hearing any evidence presented, determine by resolution entered upon its minutes whether the organization is qualified to carry out this article. The resolution shall be effective for a period of one year only and may be revoked at any time. (1310)

925. (a) No money shall be transferred to any person under this article except to the treasurer or financial officer whose name is given in the statement required by Section 922. (1311)

(b) The treasurer or financial officer shall, before receiving any money hereunder, file with the board of supervisors a bond or undertaking in an amount fixed by the board of supervisors. The bond shall inure to the benefit of the county and shall be conditioned upon the faithful and honest administration of the funds intrusted to the officer. (1312)

926. Upon receipt of a request from any organization qualified under this article, giving the names of all indigent veterans for whom relief is desired, together with the branch of service, division, regiment, and company, or other unit or designation by which each of such veterans may be identified, and a further statement that the circumstances of each of such veterans has been personally investigated by the relief committee of the organization, and that each is in all respects worthy and entitled to relief hereunder, the board of supervisors may direct the county auditor to draw his warrant upon the county treasurer for the amount specified in the request, or a lesser amount. Such warrant shall be delivered to the treasurer or financial officer of the organization. (1313)

927. All money paid out by any county under this article shall be used by the organization receiving it exclusively for the relief of indigent veterans and no part of it shall ever be used for administration or overhead expenses. (1314)

928. The indigent and dependent widow, minor child, father, or mother of any indigent veteran may be granted relief by the organization out of the money available under this article. (1315)

929. The necessary expenses, not to exceed three hundred fifty dollars ($350), for burial or cremation of any indigent veteran may be paid out of the money available under this article. (1316)

930. The money necessary to carry out this article may be taken from the general fund of the county. (1317)

931. Any municipal corporation may extend assistance to any organization under this article. In such case all proceedings required to be had before the board of supervisors of the county shall be had before the legislative body of the city. The words "board of supervisors," "county," "county auditor" and "county treasurer" wherever used in this article shall mean "legislative body," "city," "city auditor" and "city treasurer." (1318)

Article 2. Burial of Veterans and Veterans' Dependents (940-954) (1319)(1-click HTML)

940. As used in this article, unless the context otherwise indicates, "veteran" means a person honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States, including, but not limited to, the Philippine Commonwealth Army, the Regular Scouts ("Old Scouts"), and the Special Philippine Scouts ("New Scouts"). (1320)

940.5. As used in this article, the terms "burial" and "interment" include cremation, except that the election of the form of interment as between burial and cremation shall be made pursuant to the first paragraph of Section 7100 of the Health and Safety Code. (1321)

941. This article shall not apply to soldiers, sailors, or marines who die in the national or State soldiers' homes in this State. (1322)

942. The board of supervisors of each county shall designate an honorably discharged veteran of the United States military or a member of a veterans' remains organization, as defined in Section 951, who shall cause to be decently interred the body of any veteran or spouse or eligible dependent of a veteran as defined by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for compensation purposes who dies in the county. This section shall apply to all indigent, abandoned, or unclaimed veterans and dependents of veterans, including those deceased veterans and dependents of veterans without sufficient means to defray the expenses of burial, other than moneys paid or due and payable by the United States, pursuant to the World War Adjusted Compensation Act. (1323)

943. Such burial shall not be made in any cemetery or burial ground, or any portion thereof, used exclusively for the burial of the pauper dead. (1324)

944. In the event a deceased veteran or a widow of a veteran has been interred other than by the person designated by the board of supervisors, the person so designated may pay the sum of three hundred fifty dollars ($350) toward the burial expenses of the person who would have been entitled to interment by the person designated by the supervisors. (1325)

945. The expenses to the county of each burial or contribution shall not exceed the sum of three hundred fifty dollars ($350). Claims therefor are governed by Part 3 (commencing with Section 900) and Part 4 (commencing with Section 940) of Division 3.6 of Title 1 of the Government Code. (1326)

946. Such claims shall be paid by the county in which the veteran or widow dies. If the decedent was a resident of any other county than the one paying the claim, the county of the decedent's residence shall refund the money advanced by the county where such person died. Such claims shall be audited and paid by the county as other accounts. (1327)

947. The person appointed under section 942, before he assumes the charge and expenses of any burial, shall first satisfy himself by a careful inquiry into and examination of all the circumstances in the case that the family of the decedent, if any, residing in the county, is unable for want of means to defray the expenses of the burial. If he finds such inability he shall cause the decedent to be buried as provided in this article. He shall immediately report his action to the clerk of the board of supervisors of the county, stating all the facts and that he found the family of the decedent in indigent circumstances and unable to pay the expenses of the burial. He shall also report the name, rank, and command of the veteran, the date of death, place of burial, occupation, and an itemized statement of the expenses of such burial. (1328)

948. The clerk of the board of supervisors, upon receiving the report and statement of expenses, shall transcribe in a book kept for that purpose all the facts contained in the report respecting such decedent. The clerk, upon the burial of any honorably discharged soldier, sailor, or marine, shall make application to the proper authorities of the United States, for a suitable headstone, as provided by act of Congress, and cause the same to be placed at the head of the grave of such soldier, sailor, or marine. The expenses shall not exceed ten dollars ($10) for cartage and properly setting each stone. (1329)

949. The board of supervisors shall perpetually maintain the grave of any such honorably discharged soldier, sailor, or marine. The expenses thus incurred shall be audited and paid as provided in section 946 for burial expenses. (1330)

950. The person appointed under section 942 shall receive no compensation for any duties he may perform in compliance with this article. (1331)

951. (a) "Veteran status information" means the data required by the Department of Veterans Affairs to verify the status of a decedent as either a veteran or the dependent of a veteran for purposes of eligibility for burial in a national or state cemetery, including the person's name, service number, social security number, date of birth, date of death, place of birth, branch of the service, and military rank. (1332)

(b) "Veterans' remains organization" means any entity recognized by the Veterans Administration and the National Personnel Records Center as an organization authorized to verify and inter unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans, including a member or employee of that entity. (1333)

952. (a) A cemetery corporation or association, or other entity in possession of the cremated remains of a veteran or dependent of a veteran, shall, upon request of a veterans' remains organization and after verifying the status of the veterans' remains organization as an organization currently authorized by the Veterans Administration and the National Personnel Records Center or as an organization authorized by the local county board of supervisors to verify and inter unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans, release veteran status information to the veterans' remains organization. (1334)

(b) The use or disclosure of veteran status information obtained by a veterans' remains organization pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be permitted only for the purpose of verifying veteran interment benefits of the deceased veteran or a dependent of a veteran with the Department of Veterans Affairs and shall not be used or disclosed for any other purpose. (1335)

(c) The cemetery authority, cemetery corporation or association, or other entity in possession of the cremated remains of a veteran or dependent of a veteran may, upon request of a veterans' remains organization and after verifying the status of the veterans' remains organization as an organization currently authorized by the Veterans Administration and the National Personnel Records Center or as an organization authorized by the local county board of supervisors to verify and inter unclaimed cremated remains of American veterans, release the cremated remains of the veteran or dependent of a veteran to a veterans' remains organization for the sole purpose of interment, subject to Section 943 and Sections 7110 and 7208 of the Health and Safety Code, when all of the following conditions have been met: (1336)

(1) The veterans' remains organization has verified the interment benefits of the deceased veteran or dependent of a veteran with the Department of Veterans Affairs and provided documentation of the verification to the cemetery authority, cemetery corporation or association, or other entity that the decedent is a veteran or a dependent of a veteran eligible for burial in a national or state cemetery. (1337)

(2) The veterans' remains organization has made a reasonable effort to locate the agent or family member who has the right to control the cremated remains of the veteran or dependent of a veteran. (1338)

(3) The veterans' remains organization has provided notice to all known agents or family members who have the right to control the cremated remains of the veteran or dependent of a veteran of the veteran's remains organization's intent to claim the cremated remains of the veteran or dependent of a veteran for the purpose of providing a proper burial of the cremated remains of the veteran or dependent of a veteran in accordance with Section 943 and Sections 7110 and 7208 of the Health and Safety Code. (1339)

(4) An agent or family member who has the right to control the cremated remains of the veteran or dependent of a veteran has made no attempt to claim the cremated remains. (1340)

(5) The cremated remains have been in the possession of the cemetery authority, cemetery corporation or association, or other entity for a period of at least one year. (1341)

(d) The cemetery authority, cemetery corporation or association, or other entity that releases veteran status information or cremated remains of the veteran or dependent of a veteran pursuant to this section shall not be subject to civil liability, except for gross negligence, if all of the conditions of this section are met. (1342)

953. (a) A veterans' remains organization shall take all reasonable steps to inter the cremated remains of a veteran or dependent of a veteran received in accordance with this article. (1343)

(b) A veterans' remains organization that receives and inters the cremated remains of a veteran or dependent of a veteran pursuant to this article shall not be liable for negligence if the veterans' remains organization does not know or have reason to know that the cremated remains of the veteran or dependent of a veteran were not released by the cemetery authority, cemetery corporation or association, or other entity in compliance with subdivisions (a) and (c) of Section 952. (1344)

954. The board of supervisors of each county is encouraged to designate personnel from a veterans' remains organization, as defined in Section 951, to fulfill the role created in Section 942. (1345)

Article 3. Care of Veterans' Graves (960-962) (1346)(1-click HTML)

960. Whenever in any cemetery or place of burial of human remains, which is established or organized under the authority of the board of supervisors of any county or the governing body of any city, there is any known grave of a former soldier, sailor, or marine of the United States who was not dishonorably discharged from the service, the officers who manage such cemetery or place of burial shall keep such grave properly marked and identified, and free from weeds and rubbish, and keep in decent order and repair and free from defacement, injury, and unlawful markings any tomb, monument, gravestone, wall, or other appurtenance to such grave. (1347)

960.5. Whenever in any cemetery or place of burial of human remains there is any known grave of a former soldier, sailor, or marine of the United States who was not dishonorably discharged from the service, the board of supervisors of any county as to territory, whether incorporated or not, within it, and the governing body of the city as to territory within it, with the consent of the officers who manage such cemetery or place of burial, if any may keep such grave properly marked and identified, and free from weeds and rubbish, and keep in decent order and repair and free from defacement, injury, and unlawful markings any tomb, monument, gravestone, wall, or other appurtenance to such grave. (1348)

961. Any fraternal or benevolent organization which maintains a plot in a place of burial mentioned in section 960, which is devoted exclusively to the burial of soldiers, sailors, or marines of the United States, may apply under this article to the board of supervisors of the county in which the plot is maintained. Upon a showing of need, the board may keep the plot free from weeds and rubbish, and keep in decent order and repair and free from defacement and injury any tomb, monument, gravestone, wall, or other appurtenance to the graves in the plot. (1349)

962. The officers who are charged by law with raising money by taxation for maintaining any such cemetery or place of burial shall fix the tax levy at an amount sufficient to comply with the requirements of this article. (1350)

Article 4. Administration (970-974.5) (1351)(1-click HTML)

970. (a) The board of supervisors of each county may, but is not required to, appoint, prescribe the qualifications of, and fix the compensation of an officer to be titled "county veterans service officer." The appointee shall be a veteran. (1352)

(b) It shall be the duty of the county veterans service officer to administer the aid provided for in this chapter, to investigate all claims, applications, or requests for aid made pursuant to the terms of this chapter, and to perform any other veteran related services as requested by the county board of supervisors. (1353)

(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), two or more counties may jointly establish a single veterans service office which shall serve all the counties that agree to the joint establishment of that office. (1354)

(d) This section shall become operative January 1, 1995. (1355)

971. (a) The county veteran service officer shall assist every veteran of any war of the United States and the dependents of every deceased veteran in presenting and pursuing any claim the veteran may have against the United States and in establishing the veteran's right to any privilege, preference, care, or compensation provided for by the laws of the United States or of this state. (1356)

(b) The county veteran service officer shall present and pursue claims against the United States referred by any public agency pursuant to Section 721. (1357)

972. (a) The board of supervisors may provide the county veterans service office with any assistance and facilities that it determines to be necessary. (1358)

(b) If the position of veterans service officer is created and filled, the compensation and expenses of the county veterans service office shall be a county charge, but the Department of Veterans Affairs, out of state moneys available therefor, shall pay each county a portion of those costs in an amount determined by the department, conditioned upon the observance of standards and regulations adopted by, and in compliance with the direction of, the department and its authorized representatives. (1359)

(c) State money available for paying counties any portion of the cost of the compensation and expenses of county veterans service offices shall not include any funds of the Veterans' Farm and Home Building Fund of 1943. (1360)

972.1. (a) The sum of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) is hereby appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Veterans Affairs for allocation, during the 1989-90 fiscal year, for purposes of funding the activities of county veteran service officers pursuant to this section. Funds for allocation in future years shall be as provided in the annual Budget Act. (1361)

(b) Funds shall be disbursed each fiscal year on a pro rata basis to counties that have established and maintain a county veteran service officer in accordance with the staffing level and workload of each county veteran service officer under a formula based upon performance that shall be developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs for these purposes. (1362)

(c) The department shall annually determine the amount of new or increased monetary benefits paid to eligible veterans by the federal government attributable to the assistance of county veteran service officers. 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 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. (1363)

(d) (1) The Legislature finds and declares that 50 percent of the amount annually budgeted for county veteran service officers is approximately eleven million dollars ($11,000,000). The Legislature further finds and declares that it is an efficient and reasonable use of state funds to increase the annual budget for county veteran service officers in an amount not to exceed eleven million dollars ($11,000,000) if it is justified by the monetary benefits to the state's veterans attributable to the effort of these officers. (1364)

(2) It is the intent of the Legislature, after reviewing the department's determination in subdivision (c), to consider an increase in the annual budget for county veteran service officers in an amount not to exceed five million dollars ($5,000,000), if the monetary benefits to the state's veterans attributable to the assistance of county veteran service officers justify that increase in the budget. (1365)

(e) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2016, and as of that date is repealed. (1366)

972.1. (a) The sum of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) is hereby appropriated from the General Fund to the Department of Veterans Affairs for allocation, during the 1989-90 fiscal year, for purposes of funding the activities of county veteran service officers pursuant to this section. Funds for allocation in future years shall be as provided in the annual Budget Act. (1367)

(b) Funds shall be disbursed each fiscal year on a pro rata basis to counties that have established and maintain a county veteran service officer in accordance with the staffing level and workload of each county veteran service officer under a formula based upon performance that shall be developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs for these purposes, and that shall allocate county funds in any fiscal year for county veteran service officers in an amount not less than the amount allocated in the 1988-89 fiscal year. (1368)

(c) The department shall annually determine the amount of new or increased monetary benefits paid to eligible veterans by the federal government attributable to the assistance of county veteran service officers. 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 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. (1369)

(d) (1) The Legislature finds and declares that 50 percent of the amount annually budgeted for county veteran service officers is approximately eleven million dollars ($11,000,000). The Legislature further finds and declares that it is an efficient and reasonable use of state funds to increase the annual budget for county veteran service officers in an amount not to exceed eleven million dollars ($11,000,000) if it is justified by the monetary benefits to the state's veterans attributable to the effort of these officers. (1370)

(2) It is the intent of the Legislature, after reviewing the department's determination in subdivision (c), to consider an increase in the annual budget for county veteran service officers in an amount not to exceed five million dollars ($5,000,000), if the monetary benefits to the state's veterans attributable to the assistance of county veteran service officers justify that increase in the budget. (1371)

(e) This section shall become operative January 1, 2016. (1372)

972.2. (a) There is in the State Treasury the Veterans Service Office Fund. (1373)

(b) Commencing January 1, 1995, the Veterans Service Office Fund shall be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to the Department of Veterans Affairs for allocation and disbursement to counties for the operation of county veterans service offices. (1374)

(c) It is the intent of the Legislature, in enacting this section, that revenues from the special interest license plate fees for license plates issued pursuant to Article 8.1 (commencing with Section 5025) of Chapter 1 of Division 3 of the Vehicle Code, and deposited in the Veterans Service Office Fund, shall be used to expand the support of county veterans service offices. (1375)

972.5. (a) The Department of Veterans Affairs may enter into an agreement with the State Department of Health Services and the State Department of Social Services for purposes of obtaining federal matching funds for the Department of Veterans Affairs to contribute toward the salaries and expenses of county veteran service officers for their activities which are reasonably related to the programs of the State Department of Health Services and the State Department of Social Services which are benefited, or realize cost avoidance, as a result of the services of those officers. (1376)

(b) At such time as the United States Department of Health and Human Services makes available additional federal financial participation, the State Department of Social Services may enter into an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs for those county veteran service officers' activities specified in subdivision (a). Such an agreement shall have no adverse impact on the General Fund. (1377)

(c) The sums obtained each fiscal year pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be disbursed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to counties for payment of salaries and expenses of county veteran service officers. The Department of Veterans Affairs shall make the disbursement to a county on a pro rata basis in accordance with the actual workload of each county veteran service officer under a formula based on performance to be developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs for these purposes. (1378)

973. The county veteran service officer shall have power to administer and certify oaths and affirmations, take and certify affidavits and acknowledgments, and exercise any other power of a notary public, as a part of his duties under the provisions of this chapter in assisting veterans with respect to their affairs. The county veteran service officer shall not charge any fee for such service. (1379)

974. (a) The Department of Veterans Affairs shall annually prepare a report of the activities of county veteran service officers, and may require each county veteran service officer to submit information required to prepare the report. The report shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following: (1380)

(1) The number of monthly federal benefit payments obtained on behalf of veterans. (1381)

(2) The total value of those monthly benefit payments. (1382)

(3) The average value of those monthly benefit payments. (1383)

(4) The number of one-time benefit payments obtained, including both single-payment benefits and retroactive payments. (1384)

(5) The total value of one-time benefit payments obtained. (1385)

(6) The average value of these one-time benefit payments obtained. (1386)

(b) The information required to be included in paragraphs (1) to (6), inclusive, of subdivision (a) shall be set forth for each county together with a statewide total. (1387)

(c) The department shall transmit a copy of the report to the Department of Finance, the State Department of Health Services, the California Veterans Board, and to each Member of the Legislature. (1388)

974.5. (a) The purpose of this section is to provide a mechanism to facilitate the delivery of complete, efficient, information and other services to veterans in a convenient setting. (1389)

(b) By July 1, 1999, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Employment Development may enter into interagency agreements with individual counties that elect to participate in the program pursuant to this section, after a determination that services to be provided pursuant to this section are not otherwise being provided and would, thus, not be duplicated. Services provided pursuant to this section shall not be contrary to the purposes of, nor shall they be in conflict with, any one-stop service program provided under federal guidelines. Pursuant to the agreements the departments may agree to provide resources and staff, or both, as necessary to locate within a single facility owned by the participating county, under the coordination of the county veteran service director, a more complete and convenient local service program for veterans. (1390)

(c) The veteran service center shall be staffed with persons knowledgeable in employment and veterans benefits issues, and shall contain all necessary resources, information, forms, and other materials necessary for a veteran to receive full employment assistance and a complete assessment of veterans benefits to which he or she is entitled. (1391)

(d) The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Employment Development, after consulting with participating counties, shall jointly report to the Legislature by January 1, 2002, regarding the progress of the program. (1392)

Article 5. Veterans' Affairs Commissions (975-975.5) (1393)(1-click HTML)

975. The board of supervisors of any county may create and appoint members to a veterans' affairs commission either as an independent agency or in conjunction with a California National Guard members' commission or a veterans' memorial commission, or in any combination of these commissions. (1394)

975.5. (a) The Department of Veterans Affairs shall provide for one paid veterans assistant position within the office of the county veteran service officer for the County of Los Angeles. The department shall establish one similar position for the County of San Diego and one similar position for the City and County of San Francisco. (1395)

(b) The veterans assistants employed under subdivision (a) shall conduct outreach programs in order to make veterans aware of readjustment counseling services and alcohol and drug abuse programs offered by community-based organizations and city, county, and federal agencies. The veterans assistants shall advise and counsel veterans concerning readjustment counseling programs and refer veterans to appropriate community-based or city, county, or federal counseling programs. (1396)

  

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