Except as provided in par. (b)
, the department shall be the state approval agency for the education and training of veterans and other eligible persons. The department shall approve and supervise schools and courses of instruction for the training of veterans and eligible persons under 38 USC 3670
, and may enter into and receive money under contracts with the U.S. department of veterans affairs or other appropriate federal agencies.
The governor may designate the following agencies for approval and supervision of special phases of the program of veterans education:
On-the-job and apprenticeship training program, the department of workforce development.
On-the-farm training program, the technical college system board.
Funeral directors apprentices, the funeral directors examining board.
The department may receive gifts and bequests in its name for the benefit of Wisconsin veterans and their dependents in accordance with policies adopted by the board. Moneys received shall be credited to the veterans trust fund.
The department may receive moneys or other gifts and bequests in its name for the benefit of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. Moneys received shall be credited to the veterans trust fund and used, as far as practicable, in accordance with the wishes of the donors and in accordance with the board's policies.
(13) Additional duties.
The department shall do all the following:
Assist in the coordination of the state, county, municipal, and private activities relating to veterans housing.
Cooperate with any federal departments, agencies, and independent establishments relating to veterans housing, benefits, priorities, and finances.
Assist any housing authority, municipality, or private enterprise engaged in supplying veterans housing in the acquisition of materials, finances, legal aid, and compliance with federal regulations.
Utilize the services and facilities of state agencies and county veterans service officers, including legal services furnished to the department by the department of justice.
Provide county veterans service officers with the information provided to the department by the adjutant general under s. 321.04 (1) (o)
and may provide county veterans service officers with information on all necessary military points of contact and general deployment information for reserve units of the U.S. armed forces.
Provide services related to post-traumatic stress disorder to service members and veterans, which shall include at least one of the following services:
Outreach services to service members and veterans who may be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.
Information on the availability of post-traumatic stress disorder medical services and referrals to those services.
Provide grants to eligible persons who administer a program to identify, train, and place volunteers at the community level who will assist national guard members, members of the U.S. armed forces or forces incorporated in the U.S. armed forces, and their spouses and dependents, who return to this state after serving on active duty. The department shall make available to the volunteers, veterans, and their spouses and dependents, a packet of information about the benefits that they may be eligible to receive from the state or federal government. The annual amount that may be expended under this paragraph may not exceed $201,000. This paragraph does not apply after June 30, 2011.
Provide $117,300 in 2005-06 and $117,300 in 2006-07 to a housing authority in a 1st class city in a county with a population of at least 750,000 to supplement the housing costs of chronically homeless veterans and their families if the housing authority does all of the following:
Provides evidence that the money will be used to provide multi-family housing for individuals and families that contain at least one veteran who has been chronically homeless.
Uses at least 50 percent of the money for supplementing temporary privately owned rental housing costs and the remainder for subsidizing public rental housing costs.
In coordination with the department, submits reports to the legislature under s. 13.172 (2)
and to the governor by August 15, 2006, and August 15, 2007, that contain the following information related to the money received in the previous fiscal year:
The amount of the supplement and time that the supplement was provided to each veteran's household.
The housing status of the assisted veteran's household at the time the supplement ended.
Any other information that the department considers necessary to evaluate the program.
Before September 15 of each even-numbered year, submit to the joint committee on finance a report describing the condition of the veterans trust fund. The report shall include information regarding all of the following:
The projected revenues and expenditures of the veterans trust fund for the current fiscal year and each fiscal year of the following fiscal biennium.
The actual revenues and expenditures of the veterans trust fund for the previous fiscal year.
Any changes in the programs administered by the department that have been implemented after the enactment of the most recent biennial budget act and that are expected to affect the projected revenues, expenditures, or balances of the veterans trust fund.
(14) Liberal construction intended.
This chapter shall be construed as liberally as the language permits in favor of applicants.
(15) Deferral of payments and interest on loans.
When a veteran or a member of the veteran's family makes application for deferment of payment of monthly installments and waiver of interest charges on veterans loans made under this chapter, showing that the ability of the veteran to make payment is materially and adversely affected by reason of military service, the department may, with the approval of the board, defer payment of monthly installments and waive interest charges on veterans loans made under this chapter for the duration of any period of service in the armed forces of the United States during a national emergency or in time of war or under P.L. 87-117
and 6 months from date of discharge or separation and the time for payment may be extended for the same period.
(16) Application requirements and penalties. 45.03(16)(a)(a)
If the department finds that an applicant for benefits from the department has willfully made or caused to be made, or conspired, assisted in, agreed to, arranged for, or in any way procured the making of a false or fraudulent affidavit, declaration, certificate, statement, or other writing, it may suspend all benefits available to the applicant from the department under this chapter.
Any person who, with the intent to secure any benefits under this chapter for personal benefit or for others, willfully makes or causes to be made, or conspires, assists in, agrees to, arranges for, or in any way procures the making or presentation of a false or fraudulent affidavit, declaration, certificate, statement, or other writing, may be fined not more than $500 or be imprisoned for not more than 6 months, or both. The fine or imprisonment may be imposed in addition to the penalty provided in par. (a)
As used in this paragraph, “fair consideration" means the exchange of property, assets, or obligations for a fair equivalent, in an amount not disproportionately small or large compared to the value of the property, assets, or obligations, as reflected in similar market transactions.
The department shall declare immediately due and payable any loan made after July 29, 1979, under a program administered by the department under s. 45.40
, if it finds that the loan was granted to an ineligible person due to any of the following circumstances:
The applicant did not report income amounts as required on the loan application.
The applicant did not make the disclosures required under subd. 3. a.
, or c.
on the loan application.
The applicant transferred assets or liabilities or incurred liabilities for less than fair consideration with the intent to qualify for and secure the loan.
Loan application forms processed by the department for programs administered under s. 45.40
shall do all of the following:
Require disclosure of any asset with a value over $500 transferred by the applicant for less than fair consideration, within one year immediately prior to the loan application date. In determining the applicant's need for a loan, the department shall consider those transferred assets to be assets of the applicant.
Require disclosure of any liability of more than $500 incurred by the applicant for less than fair consideration, within one year immediately prior to the loan application date. In determining the applicant's need for a loan, the department shall not consider these liabilities to be liabilities of the applicant.
Require disclosure of all liabilities transferred by the applicant within one year immediately prior to the loan application date. The liabilities transferred for less than fair consideration shall be considered by the department to be liabilities of the applicant to the extent he or she is liable for their payment or for reimbursement of the transferee.
Contain notification of the penalties provided for in this subsection.
The department shall incorporate the payment acceleration requirements of subd. 2.
in all loan documents for programs administered by the department under s. 45.40
(17) Loan repayments.
The department shall deposit all repayments of loans and payments of interest made on loans under s. 45.351 (2)
, 1995 stats., s. 45.356
, 1995 stats., or s. 45.80
, 1989 stats., in the veterans trust fund.
The department may enter into contracts to collect delinquent loan payments owed to the department. The department may allocate a portion of the amounts collected under the contracts to pay contract costs. Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 45.04
, the department may release information contained in its files pertaining to applications for benefits to contractors providing collection services to the department.
(19) Loan guarantee.
The department may provide a loan guarantee for multifamily transitional housing for homeless veterans.
(21) Depleted uranium; assistance to veterans.
The department shall do all of the following for veterans who may have been affected by exposure to depleted uranium while on active duty:
Assist veterans who may have been exposed to depleted uranium to obtain the best practice health screening test from the federal department of veterans affairs to test for exposure to depleted uranium using a bioassay procedure involving methods sufficiently sensitive to detect depleted uranium at low levels.
With the assistance of the department of military affairs, provide information to veterans upon their discharge from active duty regarding the health and safety issues concerning depleted uranium exposure, including the types and efficacy of tests to detect depleted uranium exposure, the treatments available for veterans affected by exposure to depleted uranium, and the federal and state benefits that are available for veterans exposed to depleted uranium.
Provide information to departmental staff, interested veterans organizations, health care providers, and county veterans service officers regarding the effects of depleted uranium exposure, the detection programs that are available to determine if a veteran has been exposed to depleted uranium, the federal treatment programs that are available to veterans who may have been exposed to depleted uranium, and the federal and state benefits that are available to veterans who have been exposed to depleted uranium.
Create information on the Internet about the health effects of depleted uranium exposure, the detection programs that are available to determine if a national guard member or veteran has been exposed to depleted uranium, the federal treatment programs that are available to those who may have been exposed to depleted uranium, and the federal and state benefits that are available to those national guard members or veterans who have been exposed to depleted uranium.
Release of information and records. 45.04(1)(1)
In this section:
“Duly authorized representative" means any person authorized in writing by the veteran to act for the veteran, the veteran's guardian if the veteran is adjudicated incompetent, or a legal representative if the veteran is deceased. Where for proper reason no representative has been or will be appointed, the veteran's spouse, an adult child, or, if the veteran is unmarried, either parent of the veteran shall be recognized as the duly authorized representative.
“Service office" means a county veterans service office.
(2) Separation documents.
Separation documents and copies of separation documents evidencing service in the armed forces of the U.S. are confidential and privileged. Examination of these records in the possession of the department or service office is limited to authorized employees of the department or service office and information entered in these records may be disclosed only to veterans and their duly authorized representatives or to interested governmental agencies for the purpose of assisting veterans and their dependents to obtain the rights and benefits to which they may be entitled.
(3) U.S. department of veterans affairs records.
Records and papers in the possession of the department or service office that are released to the department or service office by the U.S. department of veterans affairs or that contain information provided by the U.S. department of veterans affairs are confidential. Release of information from these records or papers may be made only under regulations of the U.S. department of veterans affairs.
All reports of investigation made by employees of the department or at the direction of the department for official departmental purposes are only for the use of the secretary and staff. Materials and information that disclose the investigative techniques of the department or the identity of confidential informants and material received in confidence by representatives of the department may not be released.
(5) Vital records.
The service office may obtain a copy of a vital record under s. 69.30 (2)
and may transmit the copy to the department or to the U.S. department of veterans affairs to assist a veteran or his or her dependent in obtaining a benefit.
(6) Disclosure of monetary benefits.
The department shall disclose, to any person who requests, the amount of any payment, grant, or loan made by the department to any applicant. A person seeking this information shall be required to sign a statement setting forth the person's name and address and the reason for making the request and certifying that the person will not use the information obtained for commercial or political purposes.
(7) Disclosure of loan status information.
The department may disclose to a consumer reporting agency, as defined in 15 USC 1681a
(f), the current repayment status of, the balances due on, and other relevant information pertaining to department loans that is readily accessible on any loans on which balances are due and owing the department. The department may charge consumer reporting agencies an amount sufficient to cover all the costs of preparation and delivery of the information.
(8) Disclosure of other information.
Except as provided in subs. (2)
, all files, records, reports, papers, and documents pertaining to applications for benefits from the department, and information contained in them, may be released by the department or service office only under rules of the department. The rules shall provide for the furnishing of information required under sub. (7)
and for official purposes by any agency of the U.S. government, by any agency of this state, by any law enforcement, social services, or human services agency of any Wisconsin county, or by members of the state senate and assembly. The rules shall otherwise provide for release of personal information pertaining to or contained in any application for benefits, whether pending or adjudicated, only when authorized in writing by the applicants or when necessary to assist applicants in securing veterans benefits that the applicants may be entitled to or when necessary for the efficient management of loans made by the department.
History: 2005 a. 22
The department shall establish a voluntary statewide registry that will collect information from veterans and inform veterans on health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, Agent Orange, and Gulf War syndrome.
History: 2007 a. 20
Registration of certificate of discharge.
Every person who has served in the U.S. armed forces at any time, and who has been honorably discharged or given a certificate of service or relieved from active service may record with the register of deeds of any county, in a suitable book provided by the county for that purpose, a certificate of discharge or release. The certificate shall be accessible only to the discharged person or that person's dependents or duly authorized representative, as defined in s. 45.04 (1) (a)
, the county veterans service officer, the department, or any person with written authorization from the discharged person or that discharged person's dependents. The register of deeds may not charge for recording, except that in counties where the register of deeds is under the fee system and not paid a fixed salary, the county shall pay the fee specified in s. 59.43 (2) (ag)
. The record of any certificate of discharge or release made prior to July 6, 1919, is legalized.
History: 2005 a. 22
It shall be unlawful for any person to receive or accept as a security or to withhold from a veteran or a person who was honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces any discharge paper, citation, warrant, medal, badge, or evidence upon which the veteran is entitled to certain rights, as a veteran under the laws of the United States or of this state, and any transfer of the item during the life of the veteran upon a consideration or otherwise shall be null and void, and the refusal or willful neglect of any person to return or deliver upon demand the discharge paper, citation, warrant, medal, badge, or evidence is punishable as provided in sub. (2)
Any person who violates this section shall be fined not more than $100 or imprisoned for not more than 6 months, or both.
History: 2005 a. 22
Wisconsin Veterans Museum. 45.07(1)(1)
The department of administration shall provide suitable space for the purpose of a memorial hall, designated as the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, dedicated to the veterans of Wisconsin and to the men and women of Wisconsin who served in the armed forces of the United States during the civil war of 1861 to 1865 and during any subsequent period. The department of veterans affairs shall operate the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. The mission of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum is to acknowledge, commemorate, and affirm the role of Wisconsin veterans in the United States of America's military past by means of instructive exhibits and other educational programs.
The battle flags of Wisconsin units serving in the nation's wars and all relics and mementos of the nation's wars donated to or otherwise acquired by the state for display in the Wisconsin Veterans Museum shall constitute the memorial collection. The department shall do all of the following:
Catalog and identify all war relics and mementos of the memorial collection.
Restore, preserve, and safeguard the relics and mementos of the memorial collection.
Procure additions to the memorial collection.
Provide proper display equipment and display the memorial collection to make it instructive and attractive to visitors.
History: 2005 a. 22