Code of the District of Columbia

§ 49–1003. Purposes of the Office of Veterans Affairs.

The primary purpose of the Office is to provide advocacy support, as appropriate, and information services to veterans, their dependents, and their survivors concerning federal and District laws and regulations affecting benefits and claims as defined in this chapter. The Office shall:

(1) Provide assistance to veterans, their dependents and survivors that augments, and is not be duplicative of, assistance already provided to District residents by other District agencies;

(2) Assist veterans, their dependents and survivors receive all benefits to which they are entitled from the District and federal governments;

(3) In addition to its annual appropriation, endeavor to secure support for its operations from outside the District government, including the solicitation and receipt of donations, grants, and volunteer services in accordance with District law;

(4) Satisfy the unmet needs of veterans, their dependents and survivors through federal benefits insofar as practicable instead of through District government benefits;

(5) Assist unemployed and under-employed veterans in finding suitable employment;

(6) Partner with federal and state governments, veterans service organizations, community groups, corporations, and other organizations to identify the needs of veterans, their dependents and survivors, and design and implement programs and services to meet these needs;

(6A) Have the authority to issue grants to support the provision of services to veterans, their dependents, and their survivors;

(7) Educate the public, including District residents and employers, about the rights and needs of veterans, their dependents and survivors;

(8) Obtain recognition of the Office by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as the “State organization” for the District of Columbia;

(9) Employ and train, as needed, individuals who are accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs;

(10) Establish a database on veterans, including an archive of DD-214’s and other documents required in the adjudication of veterans’ claims, and linkages with federal databases;

(11) Research the demographics of veterans and analyze their needs and priorities;

(12) Inform and counsel veterans, their dependents and survivors concerning benefits, procedures for filing claims, and status of claims when the Office is assisting in the claims process;

(13) Provide, or assist in securing representation for appeals by veterans, their dependents and survivors to the federal Board of Veterans Appeals;

(14) Liaison with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, other federal agencies, state and local government agencies, community groups, veteran service organizations, other organizations, and individuals to promote veterans issues;

(15) Pursue opportunities through public-private partnerships with veterans service organizations, businesses, labor organizations, religious organizations, private charities, and others to serve veterans more effectively;

(16) In collaboration with the Mayor, initiate, review, and support legislation beneficial to veterans, their dependents, and their survivors;

(17) Propose programs and services that are specific to meet the changing needs of veterans, from all service periods, and their dependents and survivors;

(18) Engage volunteers to assist the Office, including from veterans service organizations and the work-study and work therapy programs of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs;

(19) Prepare the Office’s annual budget for use by the Mayor and the District’s Chief Financial Officer;

(20) Prepare an annual report for the Mayor and the Council on the Office’s activities and recommendations;

(21) Monitor and evaluate the quality of services that the District and federal governments furnish to veterans, their dependents and survivors;

(22) In accordance with District law, solicit, receive, and use donations of money and services from individuals and organizations, including funds and services to assist in maintaining and repairing the D.C. Veterans War Memorial and surrounding flora;

(23) Coordinate with and, on request, advise the Mayor and other agencies of the District government concerning veteran-related issues;

(24) At the Mayor’s request, represent the District government at veteran-related events and programs;

(25) Engage in other activities as needed to carry out the purposes of this chapter; and

(26) Subject to the availability of funding, provide a free on-demand transportation or public transportation option to veterans who reside in a household with an annual household income of less than or equal to 80% of area median income as defined in § 47-1806.09(1)(A), which, at a minimum:

(A) Offers 15 one-way trips per month for each eligible veteran in the program;

(B) Operates 6 days a week; and

(C) Does not restrict the point of origin or destination of each trip; except, that trips must begin and end within the District.