Compendium of Budget Information for the 2010 General Session
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During the 2007 General Session the Legislature enacted House Bill 426, 'Change to Department of Veterans' Affairs'. This legislation created the Department of Veterans' Affairs and removed responsibility of the Utah National Guard to oversee the budgets and administration of Veterans' Affairs, Veterans' Cemetery, and Veterans' Nursing Home.
The Utah Department of Veterans Affairs is the agency responsible for Utah's 160,000 veterans. The primary mission of the agency is to assist former and present members of the United States Armed Forces, both active and reserve, and their families in preparing claims for and securing compensation, health services, education and other federal and state veterans' benefits for service connected conditions.
These services are performed via outreach efforts around the state; information and benefit fairs; workshops and briefings. The Department also conducts veterans benefit briefings for returning National Guardsmen and Reservists. The Department is also the repository of military discharge documents verifying military service required to receive veteran's benefits. The Department responds to complaints from individual veterans, veterans' groups, the Governor's office, and state and federal congressional offices.
The Departments's mission includes overseeing operation of the Utah State Veterans' Nursing Homes in Salt Lake City and in Ogden. This entails management of a contractual arrangement for the operation of the nursing homes and assuring that all federal and state regulations for the provision of nursing home health care services are met.
The Department also operates and manages the Utah Veterans' Cemetery in Bluffdale, coordinating burials, arranging services, assisting families in obtaining burial benefits from the VA, and all related services that are provided in the normal operation of a cemetery. The cemetery handles between 250-300 funeral arrangements each year.
The Department is also the State Approving Agency (SAA) responsible for approving and supervising programs in educational institutions and training establishments in Utah, which offer education and training to veterans and other eligible persons under provisions of the Veterans Education Assistance Program. These programs must have SAA approval before veterans and other eligible persons may receive educational benefits (GI Bill) from US Department of Veterans Affairs under the authority of Title 38, U.S. Code and Chapter 1606 Title 10.
The Department of Veterans' Affairs is governed by UCA Title 71-8.
Under terms of Section 63J-1-402-(3)(a) Utah Code Annotated, item 224 of Chapter 2 Laws of Utah 2008 is made non-lapsing with the use of any non-lapsing funds limited to the following: Veterans' Outreach $130,000; Veterans' Cemetery $20,000; and Veterans' Nursing Home $15,000.