[USC02] 38 USC PART II, CHAPTER 19, SUBCHAPTER IV: GENERAL
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38 USC PART II, CHAPTER 19, SUBCHAPTER IV: GENERAL
From Title 38—VETERANS' BENEFITSPART II—GENERAL BENEFITSCHAPTER 19—INSURANCE

SUBCHAPTER IV—GENERAL

Amendments

1965Pub. L. 89–214, §1(a), Sept. 29, 1965, 79 Stat. 880, redesignated "SUBCHAPTER III—GENERAL" as "SUBCHAPTER IV—GENERAL".

§1981. Replacement of surrendered and expired insurance

(a) Any person who surrendered a policy of National Service Life Insurance or United States Government life insurance on a permanent plan for its cash value while in the active service after April 24, 1951, and before January 1, 1957, who was entitled on December 31, 1958, to reinstate or replace such insurance under section 623 of the National Service Life Insurance Act of 1940, may, upon application in writing made while on continuous active duty which began before January 1, 1959, or within one hundred and twenty days after separation therefrom, be granted, without medical examination, permanent plan insurance on the same plan not in excess of the amount surrendered for cash, or may reinstate such surrendered insurance upon payment of the required reserve and the premium for the current month. Waiver of premiums and total disability income benefits otherwise authorized under this chapter shall not be denied in any case of issue or reinstatement of insurance on a permanent plan under this section or the prior corresponding provision of law in which it is shown to the satisfaction of the Secretary that total disability of the applicant began before the date of application. The cost of the premiums waived and total disability income benefits paid by virtue of the preceding sentence and the excess mortality cost in any case where the insurance matures by death from such total disability shall be borne by the United States and the Secretary shall transfer from time to time from the National Service Life Insurance appropriation to the National Service Life Insurance Fund and from the military and naval insurance appropriation to the United States Government Life Insurance Fund such sums as may be necessary to reimburse the funds for such costs.

(b) Any person who had United States Government life insurance or National Service Life Insurance on the five-year level premium term plan, the term of which expired while such person was in the active service after April 25, 1951, or within one hundred and twenty days after separation from such active service, and in either case before January 1, 1957, who was entitled on December 31, 1958, to replace such insurance under section 623 of the National Service Life Insurance Act of 1940, shall, upon application made while on continuous active duty which began before January 1, 1959, or within one hundred and twenty days after separation therefrom, payment of premiums and evidence of good health satisfactory to the Secretary, be granted an equivalent amount of insurance on the five-year level premium term plan at the premium rate for such person's then attained age.

(Pub. L. 85–857, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1164, §781; Pub. L. 99–576, title VII, §701(44), Oct. 28, 1986, 100 Stat. 3294; renumbered §1981 and amended Pub. L. 102–83, §§4(b)(1), (2)(E), 5(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 404–406.)

References in Text

Section 623 of the National Service Life Insurance Act of 1940, referred to in subsecs. (a) and (b), is section 623 of act Oct. 8, 1940, ch. 757, title VI, pt. I, as added Aug. 1, 1956, ch. 837, title V, §501(a)(4), 70 Stat. 880, which enacted section 824 of former Title 38, Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief, and which was repealed and the provisions thereof reenacted as this section by Pub. L. 85–857, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1105.

Amendments

1991Pub. L. 102–83 renumbered section 781 of this title as this section and substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator" wherever appearing.

1986—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 99–576 substituted "such person" for "he" and "such person's" for "his".

§1982. Administrative cost

Except as provided in sections 1920(c), 1923(d), and 1955(c) of this title, the United States shall bear the cost of administration in connection with this chapter, including expenses for medical examinations, inspections when necessary, printing and binding, and for such other expenditures as are necessary in the discretion of the Secretary.

(Pub. L. 85–857, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1165, §782; renumbered §1982 and amended Pub. L. 102–83, §§4(b)(1), (2)(E), 5(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 404–406; Pub. L. 104–99, title II, §201(b), Jan. 26, 1996, 110 Stat. 36.)

Codification

Amendment by Pub. L. 104–99 is based on section 107(4) of H.R. 2099, One Hundred Fourth Congress, as passed by the House of Representatives on Dec. 7, 1995, which was enacted into law by Pub. L. 104–99.

Amendments

1996Pub. L. 104–99 substituted "Except as provided in sections 1920(c), 1923(d), and 1955(c) of this title, the United States" for "The United States".

1991Pub. L. 102–83 renumbered section 782 of this title as this section and substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator".

§1983. Settlements for minors or incompetents

When an optional mode of settlement of National Service Life Insurance or United States Government life insurance heretofore or hereafter matured is available to a beneficiary who is a minor or incompetent, such option may be exercised by such beneficiary's fiduciary, person qualified under the Act of February 25, 1933 (25 U.S.C. 14), or person recognized by the Secretary as having custody of the person or the estate of such beneficiary, and the obligation of the United States under the insurance contract shall be fully satisfied by payment of benefits in accordance with the mode of settlement so selected.

(Pub. L. 85–857, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1165, §783; Pub. L. 99–576, title VII, §701(45), Oct. 28, 1986, 100 Stat. 3294; Pub. L. 102–54, §14(b)(19), June 13, 1991, 105 Stat. 284; renumbered §1983 and amended Pub. L. 102–83, §§4(b)(1), (2)(E), 5(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 404–406.)

Amendments

1991Pub. L. 102–83 renumbered section 783 of this title as this section and substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator".

Pub. L. 102–54 substituted "the Act of February 25, 1933 (25 U.S.C. 14)" for "section 14 of title 25".

1986Pub. L. 99–576 substituted "such beneficiary's" for "his".

§1984. Suits on insurance

(a) In the event of disagreement as to claim, including claim for refund of premiums, under contract of National Service Life Insurance, United States Government life insurance, or yearly renewable term insurance between the Secretary and any person or persons claiming thereunder an action on the claim may be brought against the United States either in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia or in the district court of the United States in and for the district in which such person or any one of them resides, and jurisdiction is conferred upon such courts to hear and determine all such controversies. All persons having or claiming to have an interest in such insurance may be made parties to such suit, and such as are not inhabitants of or found within the district in which suit is brought may be brought in by order of the court to be served personally or by publication or in such other reasonable manner as the court may direct. In all cases where the Secretary acknowledges the indebtedness of the United States upon any such contract of insurance and there is a dispute as to the person or persons entitled to payment, a suit in the nature of a bill of interpleader may be brought at the request of the Secretary in the name of the United States against all persons having or claiming to have any interest in such insurance in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia or in the district court in and for the district in which any such claimant resides; however, no less than thirty days before instituting such suit the Secretary shall mail a notice of such intention to each of the persons to be made parties to the suit. The courts of appeals for the several circuits, including the District of Columbia, shall respectively exercise appellate jurisdiction and, except as provided in section 1254 of title 28, the decrees of such courts of appeals shall be final.

(b) No suit on yearly renewable term insurance, United States Government life insurance, or National Service Life Insurance shall be allowed under this section unless the same shall have been brought within six years after the right accrued for which the claim is made. For the purposes of this section it shall be deemed that the right accrued on the happening of the contingency on which the claim is founded. The limitation of six years is suspended for the period elapsing between the filing with the Secretary of the claim sued upon and the denial of the claim. However, if a claim is timely filed the claimant shall have not less than ninety days from the date of mailing of notice of denial within which to file suit. After June 28, 1936, notice of denial of the claim under a contract of insurance shall be by registered mail or by certified mail directed to the claimant's last address of record. Infants, insane persons, or persons under other legal disability, or persons rated as incompetent or insane by the Secretary shall have three years in which to bring suit after the removal of their disabilities. If suit is seasonably begun and fails for defect in process, or for other reasons not affecting the merits, a new action, if one lies, may be brought within a year though the period of limitation has elapsed. No State or other statute of limitations shall be applicable to suits filed under this section.

(c) In any suit, action, or proceeding brought under the provisions of this section subpenas for witnesses who are required to attend a court of the United States in any district may run into any other district. However, no writ of subpena shall issue for witnesses living out of the district in which the court is held at a greater distance than one hundred miles from the place of holding the same without the permission of the court being first had upon proper application and cause shown. The word "district" and the words "district court" as used in this section shall be construed to include the District of Columbia and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

(d) Attorneys of the Department, when assigned to assist in the trial of cases, and employees of the Department when ordered in writing by the Secretary to appear as witnesses, shall be paid the regular travel and subsistence allowance paid to other employees when on official travel status.

(e) Part-time and fee-basis employees of the Department, in addition to their regular travel and subsistence allowance, when ordered in writing by the Secretary to appear as witnesses in suits under this section, may be allowed, within the discretion and under written orders of the Secretary, a fee in an amount not to exceed $50 per day.

(f) Employees of the Department who are subpenaed to attend the trial of any suit, under the provisions of this section, as witnesses for a party to such suit shall be granted court leave or authorized absence, as applicable, for the period they are required to be away from the Department in answer to such subpenas.

(g) Whenever a judgment or decree shall be rendered in an action brought under the provisions of this section, the court, as a part of its judgment or decree, shall determine and allow reasonable fees for the attorneys of the successful party or parties and apportion same if proper, said fees not to exceed 10 per centum of the amount recovered and to be paid by the Department out of the payments to be made under the judgment or decree at a rate not exceeding one-tenth of each of such payments until paid; except that, in a suit brought by or on behalf of an insured during the insured's lifetime for waiver of premiums on account of total disability, the court, as part of its judgment or decree, shall determine and allow a reasonable fee to be paid by the insured to the insured's attorney.

(h) The term "claim" as used in this section means any writing which uses words showing an intention to claim insurance benefits; and the term "disagreement" means a denial of the claim, after consideration on its merits, by the Secretary or any employee or organizational unit of the Department heretofore or hereafter designated therefor by the Secretary.

(i) The Attorney General of the United States is authorized to agree to a judgment to be rendered by the chief judge of the United States court having jurisdiction of the case, pursuant to compromise approved by the Attorney General upon the recommendation of the United States attorney charged with the defense, upon such terms and for sums within the amount claimed to be payable, in any suit brought under the provisions of this section, on a contract of yearly renewable term insurance, and the Secretary shall make payments in accordance with any such judgment. The Comptroller General of the United States shall allow credit in the accounts of disbursing officers for all payments of insurance made in accordance with any such judgment. All such judgments shall constitute final settlement of the claim and no appeal therefrom shall be authorized.

(Pub. L. 85–857, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1165, §784; Pub. L. 86–507, §1(32), June 11, 1960, 74 Stat. 202; Pub. L. 97–295, §4(32), Oct. 12, 1982, 96 Stat. 1307; Pub. L. 99–576, title VII, §701(46), Oct. 28, 1986, 100 Stat. 3294; renumbered §1984 and amended Pub. L. 102–83, §§4(a)(2)(A)(iii)(VII), (VIII), (D)(ii), (3), (4), (b)(1), (2)(E), 5(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 403–406.)

Amendments

1991Pub. L. 102–83, §5(a), renumbered section 784 of this title as this section.

Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(2)(A)(iii)(VII), substituted "Secretary" for "Veterans' Administration" wherever appearing.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(2)(D)(ii), substituted "with the Secretary" for "in the Veterans' Administration".

Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(2)(A)(iii)(VIII), substituted "Secretary" for "Veterans' Administration" before "shall".

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator".

Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), substituted "Department" for "Veterans' Administration" in two places.

Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator" in two places.

Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), substituted "Department" for "Veterans' Administration".

Subsecs. (f), (g). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), substituted "Department" for "Veterans' Administration" wherever appearing.

Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator" in two places.

Pub. L. 102–83, §4(a)(3), (4), substituted "Department" for "Veterans' Administration".

Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator".

1986—Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 99–576 substituted "the insured's" for "his" in two places.

1982—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 97–295, §4(32)(A), substituted "the claim. However, if" for "said claim: Provided, That in any case in which".

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 97–295, §4(32)(B), substituted "district. However," for "district: Provided, That", and substituted "in this section" for "herein" after "as used".

1960—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 86–507 inserted "or by certified mail" after "registered mail".

§1985. Decisions by the Secretary

Except in the event of suit as provided in section 1984 of this title, or other appropriate court proceedings, all decisions rendered by the Secretary under the provisions of this chapter shall be final and conclusive on all questions of law or fact, and no other official of the United States shall have jurisdiction to review any such decisions.

(Pub. L. 85–857, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1167, §785; renumbered §1985 and amended Pub. L. 102–83, §§4(b)(1), (2)(E), 5(a), (c)(1), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 404–406.)

Amendments

1991Pub. L. 102–83, §5(a), renumbered section 785 of this title as this section.

Pub. L. 102–83, §5(c)(1), substituted "1984" for "784".

Pub. L. 102–83, §4(b)(1), (2)(E), substituted "Secretary" for "Administrator" in section catchline and in text.

§1986. Deposits in and disbursements from trust funds

All cash balances in the United States Government Life Insurance Fund and the National Service Life Insurance Fund on January 1, 1959, together with all moneys thereafter accruing to such funds, including premiums, appropriated moneys, the proceeds of any sales of investments which may be necessary to meet current expenditures, and interest on investments, shall be available for disbursement for meeting all expenditures and making investments authorized to be made from such funds.

(Pub. L. 85–857, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1167, §786; renumbered §1986, Pub. L. 102–83, §5(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 406.)

Amendments

1991Pub. L. 102–83 renumbered section 786 of this title as this section.

§1987. Penalties

(a) Any person who shall knowingly make or cause to be made, or conspire, combine, aid, or assist in, agree to, arrange for, or in anywise procure the making or presentation of a false or fraudulent affidavit, declaration, certificate, statement, voucher, or paper, or writing purporting to be such, concerning any application for insurance or reinstatement thereof, waiver of premiums or claim for benefits under National Service Life Insurance, United States Government life insurance, or yearly renewable term insurance for any person, shall be fined not more than $1,000, or be imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

(b) Whoever in any claim for National Service Life Insurance, United States Government life insurance, or yearly renewable term insurance makes any sworn statement of a material fact knowing it to be false, shall be guilty of perjury and shall be fined not more than $5,000, or be imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.

(Pub. L. 85–857, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1167, §787; Pub. L. 99–576, title VII, §701(47), Oct. 28, 1986, 100 Stat. 3294; renumbered §1987, Pub. L. 102–83, §5(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 406.)

Amendments

1991Pub. L. 102–83 renumbered section 787 of this title as this section.

1986—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 99–576 substituted "any" for "himself or any other".

§1988. Savings provision

Nothing in this title or any amendment or repeal made by the Act enacting this title shall affect any right, remedy, liability, authorization or requirement pertaining to Government insurance, the respective insurance funds, or the insurance appropriations, authorized or prescribed under the provisions of the War Risk Insurance Act, the World War Veterans' Act, 1924, the National Service Life Insurance Act of 1940, or any related Act, which was in effect on December 31, 1958.

(Pub. L. 85–857, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1167, §788; renumbered §1988, Pub. L. 102–83, §5(a), Aug. 6, 1991, 105 Stat. 406.)

References in Text

The War Risk Insurance Act, referred to in text, is act Sept. 2, 1914, ch. 293, 38 Stat. 711, as amended. Sections 600 and 601 of the World War Veterans' Act, 1924 (act June 7, 1924, ch. 320, 43 Stat. 607, 629) repealed the War Risk Insurance Act subject to certain limitations provided in section 602 thereof.

The World War Veterans' Act, 1924, referred to in text, is act June 7, 1924, ch. 320, 43 Stat. 607, as amended, which was classified generally to chapter 10 (§§421 to 574) of former Title 38, Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief, and which was repealed by Pub. L. 85–857, §14(51), Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1271. For distribution of sections 421 to 574 of former Title 38 in this title, see Table preceding section 101 of this title.

The National Service Life Insurance Act of 1940, referred to in text, is act Oct. 8, 1940, ch. 757, title VI, part I, 54 Stat. 1008, as amended, which was classified generally to chapter 13 (§801 et seq.) of former Title 38, Pensions, Bonuses, and Veterans' Relief, and which was repealed and the provisions thereof reenacted as this subchapter by Pub. L. 85–857, Sept. 2, 1958, 72 Stat. 1105.

Prior Provisions

A prior section 2000 was renumbered section 4100 of this title.

Amendments

1991Pub. L. 102–83 renumbered section 788 of this title as this section.