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JAN 16 1998 The Honorable Patsy T. Mink U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

20515-1102 Dear Congresswoman Mink: I am replying to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, Mr. XXX of Honolulu, Hawaii, who believes there is a discrepancy in the nature of his military pension. Please excuse our delay in responding. Staff of the Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, have reviewed the issues raised by Mr. XXX and determined they are not matters that the Civil Rights Division is able to address. Mr. XXX implies that because there is a distinction between veterans' disability compensation, which he receives, and regular pension benefits for military service, which he apparently does not receive, this pension status possibility violates the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Our understanding of military pensions is that a veteran or service retiree is eligible for either one or the other type of pension for military service, but not both. The ADA does not apply to the executive branch of the Federal government. A similar statute, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs that receive Federal financial assistance or that are conducted by the Federal government itself. Primary jurisdiction to investigate allegations about possible section 504 violations resides with the Federal agency that conducts or funds the program. If Mr. XXX believes that he was denied services or access to a VA program or activity based on his disability, he may file a section 504 claim with the following office: Mr. Gerald K. Hinch, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Equal Opportunity, Department of Veterans Affairs, 1425 K Street N.W., Washington, D.C. 20420, telephone (202) 233-2012. Cc: Records, Chrono, Wodatch, McDowney, Talian, FOIA h:\talian\myfiles\congress\mink XXX va\sc. YOUNG-PARRAN -2-

Claims about the denial of disability compensation and/or receipt of improper medical treatment concerning the VA are primarily under the jurisdiction of the program office at the VA that oversees administration of such services. Therefore, if Mr. XXX disputes determinations by the VA about his eligibility for benefits, he should file his allegations with the following office: Mr. Newell Clinton, Director, Veterans Assistance Service (27), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20420, telephone (202) 275-5451. We note that disagreements by a claimant with determinations by the VA concerning a benefits claim, or for changing the status of one's discharge for military service, must ultimately be resolved through the VA's administrative appeal process involving the Board of Veterans' Appeals. The VA regional staff that processed any claim by Mr. XXX can provide information about procedures to appeal the VA's determination in his case, or he may write to the Department of Veterans Affairs, (01C1), Board of Veterans' Appeals, Washington, D.C. 20420. Mr. XXX may find it useful to enlist the assistance of a veterans' service organization such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars or the American Legion to assist in his VA claims and appeals. He also may consult with a private attorney to determine what other options are available to him. For his review we have enclosed a copy of the VA's benefits directory. It describes in detail the names and locations of veterans' assistance services and proper appeal authorities at the VA. I hope this information is useful in responding to your constituent. Sincerely, Bill Lann Lee Acting Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosure