38 U.S.C. § 101 - Definitions

Cite as:38 U.S.C. § 101
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-135 (03/26/2020)
 
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For the purposes of this title-

(1) The terms "Secretary" and "Department" mean the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Veterans Affairs, respectively.

(2) The term "veteran" means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.

(3) The term "surviving spouse" means (except for purposes of chapter 19 of this title) a person of the opposite sex who was the spouse of a veteran at the time of the veteran's death, and who lived with the veteran continuously from the date of marriage to the date of the veteran's death (except where there was a separation which was due to the misconduct of, or procured by, the veteran without the fault of the spouse) and who has not remarried or (in cases not involving remarriage) has not since the death of the veteran, and after September 19, 1962, lived with another person and held himself or herself out openly to the public to be the spouse of such other person.

(4)

(A) The term "child" means (except for purposes of chapter 19 of this title (other than with respect to a child who is an insurable dependent under subparagraph (B) or (C) of section 1965(10) of such chapter) and section 8502(b) of this title) a person who is unmarried and-

(i) who is under the age of eighteen years;

(ii) who, before attaining the age of eighteen years, became permanently incapable of self-support; or

(iii) who, after attaining the age of eighteen years and until completion of education or training (but not after attaining the age of twenty-three years), is pursuing a course of instruction at an approved educational institution;

and who is a legitimate child, a legally adopted child, a stepchild who is a member of a veteran's household or was a member at the time of the veteran's death, or an illegitimate child but, as to the alleged father, only if acknowledged in writing signed by him, or if he has been judicially ordered to contribute to the child's support or has been, before his death, judicially decreed to be the father of such child, or if he is otherwise shown by evidence satisfactory to the Secretary to be the father of such child. A person shall be deemed, as of the date of death of a veteran, to be the legally adopted child of such veteran if such person was at the time of the veteran's death living in the veteran's household and was legally adopted by the veteran's surviving spouse before August 26, 1961, or within two years after the veteran's death; however, this sentence shall not apply if at the time of the veteran's death, such person was receiving regular contributions toward the person's support from some individual other than the veteran or the veteran's spouse, or from any public or private welfare organization which furnishes services or assistance for children. A person with respect to whom an interlocutory decree of adoption has been issued by an appropriate adoption authority shall be recognized thereafter as a legally adopted child, unless and until that decree is rescinded, if the child remains in the custody of the adopting parent or parents during the interlocutory period. A person who has been placed for adoption under an agreement entered into by the adopting parent or parents with any agency authorized under law to so act shall be recognized thereafter as a legally adopted child, unless and until such agreement is terminated, if the child remains in the custody of the adopting parent or parents during the period of placement for adoption under such agreement. A person described in clause (ii) of the first sentence of this subparagraph who was a member of a veteran's household at the time the person became 18 years of age and who is adopted by the veteran shall be recognized as a legally adopted child of the veteran regardless of the age of such person at the time of adoption.

(B) For the purposes of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, in the case of an adoption under the laws of any jurisdiction other than a State (as defined in section 101(20) of this title and including the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands)-

(i) a person residing outside any of the States shall not be considered to be a legally adopted child of a veteran during the lifetime of such veteran (including for purposes of this subparagraph a Commonwealth Army veteran or new Philippine Scout, as defined in section 3566 of this title) unless such person-

(I) was less than eighteen years of age at the time of adoption;

(II) is receiving one-half or more of such person's annual support from such veteran;

(III) is not in the custody of such person's natural parent, unless such natural parent is such veteran's spouse; and

(IV) is residing with such veteran (or in the case of divorce following adoption, with the divorced spouse who is also an adoptive or natural parent) except for periods during which such person is residing apart from such veteran (or such divorced spouse) for purposes of full-time attendance at an educational institution or during which such person or such veteran (or such divorced spouse) is confined in a hospital, nursing home, other health-care facility, or other institution; and

(ii) a person shall not be considered to have been a legally adopted child of a veteran as of the date of such veteran's death and thereafter unless-

(I) at any time within the one-year period immediately preceding such veteran's death, such veteran was entitled to and was receiving a dependent's allowance or similar monetary benefit under this title for such person; or

(II) for a period of at least one year prior to such veteran's death, such person met the requirements of clause (i) of this subparagraph.

(5) The term "parent" means (except for purposes of chapter 19 of this title) a father, a mother, a father through adoption, a mother through adoption, or an individual who for a period of not less than one year stood in the relationship of a parent to a veteran at any time before the veteran's entry into active military, naval, or air service or if two persons stood in the relationship of a father or a mother for one year or more, the person who last stood in the relationship of father or mother before the veteran's last entry into active military, naval, or air service.

(6) The term "Spanish-American War" (A) means the period beginning on April 21, 1898, and ending on July 4, 1902, (B) includes the Philippine Insurrection and the Boxer Rebellion, and (C) in the case of a veteran who served with the United States military forces engaged in hostilities in the Moro Province, means the period beginning on April 21, 1898, and ending on July 15, 1903.

(7) The term "World War I" (A) means the period beginning on April 6, 1917, and ending on November 11, 1918, and (B) in the case of a veteran who served with the United States military forces in Russia, means the period beginning on April 6, 1917, and ending on April 1, 1920.

(8) The term "World War II" means (except for purposes of chapters 31 and 37 of this title) the period beginning on December 7, 1941, and ending on December 31, 1946.

(9) The term "Korean conflict" means the period beginning on June 27, 1950, and ending on January 31, 1955.

(10) The term "Armed Forces" means the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard, including the reserve components thereof.

(11) The term "period of war" means the Spanish-American War, the Mexican border period, World War I, World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam era, the Persian Gulf War, and the period beginning on the date of any future declaration of war by the Congress and ending on the date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or concurrent resolution of the Congress.

(12) The term "veteran of any war" means any veteran who served in the active military, naval, or air service during a period of war.

(13) The term "compensation" means a monthly payment made by the Secretary to a veteran because of service-connected disability, or to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of a veteran because of the service-connected death of the veteran occurring before January 1, 1957.

(14) The term "dependency and indemnity compensation" means a monthly payment made by the Secretary to a surviving spouse, child, or parent (A) because of a service-connected death occurring after December 31, 1956, or (B) pursuant to the election of a surviving spouse, child, or parent, in the case of such a death occurring before January 1, 1957.

(15) The term "pension" means a monthly or other periodic payment made by the Secretary to a veteran because of service, age, or non-service-connected disability, or to a surviving spouse or child of a veteran because of the non-service-connected death of the veteran.

(16) The term "service-connected" means, with respect to disability or death, that such disability was incurred or aggravated, or that the death resulted from a disability incurred or aggravated, in line of duty in the active military, naval, or air service.

(17) The term "non-service-connected" means, with respect to disability or death, that such disability was not incurred or aggravated, or that the death did not result from a disability incurred or aggravated, in line of duty in the active military, naval, or air service.

(18) The term "discharge or release" includes (A) retirement from the active military, naval, or air service, and (B) the satisfactory completion of the period of active military, naval, or air service for which a person was obligated at the time of entry into such service in the case of a person who, due to enlistment or reenlistment, was not awarded a discharge or release from such period of service at the time of such completion thereof and who, at such time, would otherwise have been eligible for the award of a discharge or release under conditions other than dishonorable.

(19) The term "State home" means a home established by a State (other than a possession) for veterans disabled by age, disease, or otherwise who by reason of such disability are incapable of earning a living. Such term also includes such a home which furnishes nursing home care for veterans.

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