(1) Veterans administration records and separation documents.
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in subs. (4)
separation documents and copies thereof evidencing service in the armed forces of the United States and records and papers in the possession of the department or service office which are released to the department or service office by or from the veterans administration or which contain information provided by the veterans administration are confidential. Release of information from such documents, records or papers may be made only as provided in s. 45.04 (2)
, Stats. The department may, however, confirm the veteran status of a person where such confirmation will assist the person in obtaining benefits.
(2) Personnel records.
Employee personnel records and information contained therein, the release of which would affect the morale, efficiency or discipline of members of the department will not be released.
(3) Records are confidential.
Records pertaining to any application for benefits, whether pending or adjudicated, will be deemed confidential and no disclosure therefrom will be made except in the circumstances and under the conditions set forth in subs. (4)
, and any person making application for benefits shall hereinafter be referred to as the applicant.
(4) Disclosure of information to an applicant or duly authorized representative.
An applicant may not have access to department records concerning himself or herself pertaining to an application for benefits from the department, but information from official records may be disclosed to an applicant or his or her duly authorized representative as to matters concerning the applicant.
(5) Persons authorized to represent applicants.
“Duly authorized representative" shall be defined as any person authorized in writing by the applicant to act for him or her, or his or her legally constituted representative if the applicant is incompetent or deceased. Where for proper reason no representative has been or will be appointed, his or her spouse, an adult child or if the applicant is unmarried, either of his or her parents shall be recognized as the duly authorized representative of the applicant.
VA 1.10(6)(a)(a) To veterans.
Information contained in medical records pertaining to applications for benefits from the department which are on file with the department or service office may be released to the veteran upon request, except information contained in the medical record which would prove injurious to his or her physical or mental health, in which case information will be released only to a duly authorized representative.
(b) To physicians and hospitals.
Information contained in medical records of veterans and beneficiaries pertaining to medical history, diagnosis, findings, or treatment contained in applications for benefits from the department may be disclosed directly to physicians and hospitals upon written request and the submission of a written authorization from the veteran or beneficiary, or, in the event he or she is incompetent, from his or her duly authorized representative. This information will be released only with the consent of the patient and on the condition that it is to be treated as a privileged communication. However, the information may be released without the consent of the veteran or his or her representative when a written request for the information is received from the United States department of veterans affairs, the United States public health service, the superintendent of a state hospital, a commissioner or head of a state department of mental hygiene, or head of a state, county or city health department.
(7) Disclosure of loan information.
Information contained in loan files, information pertaining to action taken by the department on loan applications, or loan status information may be made available to any party having a security interest in the property securing such loans or any party under contract with either the department or the department of administration to pursue collection of delinquent department loans. Any party receiving information shall maintain the confidentiality of the information. Loan status information that is readily accessible from current department computer tapes on any loans on which balances are due and owing the department may be made available to a consumer reporting agency, as defined in 15 USC 1681a
(8) Disclosure to governmental agencies and schools.
Information contained in department or service office files pertaining to applications for benefits from the department which is required for official use by any agency of the United States government, by any agency of the state of Wisconsin, by any law enforcement or social service agency of any Wisconsin county or municipality, or by any school participating in the department's grants programs, may be furnished in response to official requests in accordance with the provision of pars. (a)
. Such requests must include information as to the purpose for which the information is to be used.
Information relevant to a determination of the amount of benefits, if any, for which veterans and their eligible dependents may be entitled, information which is requested on their behalf or information which is requested for the purpose of assisting them in obtaining rights and benefits to which they may be entitled, may be released in response to official written or oral requests.
Information which identifies individual veterans or their dependents, and which is requested for purposes other than those set forth in par. (a)
, may be released only upon receipt of an official written request. Within 5 working days after response to such a written request, the department or service office will make a reasonable effort to contact the individual concerning whom the request has been made and notify the individual of the request for information and provide the individual with a statement of the action taken on such request.
The department may routinely furnish information to other agencies which does not identify individual veterans or dependents.
(9) Disclosure to state legislators.
Individual members of the senate and assembly may be furnished such information contained in department or service office files which pertains to applications for benefits from the department as may be requested, orally or in writing, on behalf of the veterans or their dependents or for the purpose of assisting them to obtain the rights and benefits to which they may be entitled. Committees of the senate and assembly may be furnished such information contained in department or service office files which pertains to applications for benefits from the department as may be requested for official use.
(10) Disclosure to county veterans service officers.
A county veterans service officer may be permitted to inspect records pertaining to any application for benefits in which such office may be involved or may be furnished information or exhibits from such an application or the payment status or the payment history pertinent to department loans upon the condition that only such information contained therein or furnished therefrom as may be properly disclosed will be disclosed to the applicant only or, if the applicant is incompetent, the applicant's legally constituted representative. The department shall inform a county veterans service officer whose office is involved in an application for benefits of information necessary to complete such application and of action taken by the department thereon.
(11) Disclosure to auditors.
Department records and files shall be made available for inspection by, and information contained in department files shall be made available to, the legislative audit bureau or the legislative fiscal bureau in accordance with ss. 13.94 (1)
and 13.95 (1)
, Stats., or to independent auditors only for statistical or audit reporting purposes upon the condition that information reported by such auditors or bureaus will not identify any specific individual by name or be reported in such manner as to clearly identify a specific individual.
(12) Application status information.
Information on the status of an application for a department benefit, or for the establishment of eligibility for a department benefit, may be released to a party having an interest in the veteran or dependent obtaining the benefit applied for or establishing eligibility to apply for a specific department benefit, or to a person who is calling on behalf of an applicant for a department benefit.
(13) Release of information to authorized lenders.
All information and exhibits in the possession of the department pertaining to primary mortgage loan applications or primary mortgage loans may be released to authorized lenders servicing, closing or processing the applications or loans involved.
(15) Judicial proceedings.
When records pertaining to any application for benefits are requested for use in any judicial proceedings, they will be released only upon service of a proper subpoena and upon the condition that they will be returned upon conclusion of such proceedings.
(16) Addresses of applicants.
Addresses of applicants for benefits from the department which are contained in department or service office records will not be furnished, except as provided in subs. (5)
. When an address is requested by a person to whom it may not be furnished, the person making the written request will be informed that correspondence enclosed in an unsealed envelope showing no return address, with the name of the addressee thereon and bearing sufficient postage to cover mailing costs, will be forwarded by the department or service office to such addressee's last known address. At the time the correspondence is forwarded, the return address of only the department or service office will be placed on the envelope. If such forwarded mail is returned to the department or service office as not deliverable, the original sender will be notified thereof, but the envelope will be retained by the department or service office. In no case will letters be forwarded for the purposes of debt collection, canvassing, or harassment. This section shall not apply to the furnishing of addresses by service officers to the department or vice versa.
VA 1.10 History
Cr. Register, March, 1965, No. 111
, eff. 4-1-65; am. intro. par., r. and recr. (1), am. (4), (6), (7), (8), (9), (12), r. (13), Register, October, 1967, No. 142
, eff. 11-1-67; am. (7), Register, June, 1970, No. 174
, eff. 7-1-70; am. (7) and (10), Register, November, 1971, No. 191
, eff. 12-1-71; am. (1), (3), (6) (b), (9) and (10), r. and recr. (8), renum. (11) and (12) to be (15) and (16), cr. (11), (12) and (13), am. (16), Register, November, 1980, No. 299
, eff. 12-1-80; am. (7), Register, September, 1990, No. 417
, eff. 10-1-90; am. (4), (5), (6) (b), (13), Register, August, 1993, No. 452
, eff. 9-1-93; correction in (intro.) and (6) (a) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 5., Stats., Register, August, 1993, No. 452
; am. (7), Register, May, 1999, No. 521
, eff. 6-1-99;
correction in (1) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register April 2003 No. 568
VA 1.11 Duties and responsibilities of the secretary.
The administrative and executive duties of the department shall be vested in the secretary to be administered under the rules and regulations of the department. The secretary shall:
Employ a commandant for each Wisconsin veterans home, designate an employee of the department as deputy secretary, and appoint such persons as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the department. A person who is employed as a commandant or as an administrator of the division of homes on or after January 1, 2011, shall be licensed as a nursing home administrator under ch. 456, Stats.
, or shall obtain that licensure within 90 days of beginning employment as a commandant or an administrator.
Administer and supervise all programs of the department.
Coordinate the activities of the department with all state agencies performing functions relating to services available to veterans so as to make the benefits available as promptly and effectively as possible.
Administer the program for temporary emergency grants to prevent want and distress and the program for educational grants for veterans.
Administer the economic assistance and housing loan programs for veterans.
Compile a record of the burial places within the state of persons who served in the armed forces of the United States in time of war, who were called into service in the 1961 Berlin crisis call-up, whose service entitled them to receive either the armed forces expeditionary medal, the navy expeditionary medal, the marine corps expeditionary medal or the Vietnam service medal, or who served in Lebanon, Grenada, Panama or a Middle East Crisis under s. 45.01 (11)
Direct the operation of the Wisconsin veterans museum so as to make the memorial collection instructive and attractive to visitors to the state capitol and shall directly supervise the curator of the museum.
Formulate and present the department's budget to the legislature.
Present to the legislature all proposed legislation and shall make such reports to and appearances before the legislature on such other matters as it may request.
Supervise all funds of the department, see that proper records are kept, and account for all funds disbursed for any reason whatsoever.
Conduct an adequate program of public relations for the department.
Make and establish rules and regulations necessary to carry out the statutes pursuant to the policies established by the department, and make such publication and distribution of these rules and regulations as the secretary may deem necessary.
Attempt to obtain full collection of all loans and may take all available legal steps to effect collection provided, however, that the secretary shall have the authority to approve compromise settlements in appropriate cases and write-off loans which the department deems uncollectible.
Administer the functions of the department in a careful and businesslike manner.
VA 1.11 History
Cr. Register, March, 1965, No. 111
, eff. 4-1-65; am. intro. par., (4), (5), r. (6), am. (7), Register, October, 1967, No. 142
, eff. 11-1-67; am. (9), Register, November, 1971, No. 191
, eff. 12-1-71; am. Register, January, 1984, No. 337
, eff. 2-1-84; am. (1), (2) and (7), Register, April, 1986, No. 364
, eff. 5-1-86; am. (9), Register, June, 1992, No. 438
, eff. 7-1-92; am. (7), Register, August, 1993, No. 452
, eff. 9-1-93; CR 09-092
: am. (1), r. (8) Register June 2010 No. 654
, eff. 7-1-10; 2013 Wis. Act 189: am. (intro.), (2), (11), r. (13), am. (15), r. (18) Register April 2014 No. 700, eff. 5-1-14.
VA 1.12 Applicant and income limitations. VA 1.12(1)
Number of applicants.
The department will not accept more than 2 applicants for any department loan and will not accept more than 2 signers as makers on credit instruments to be executed in connection with such loans. Guarantors will not be accepted by the department for the purpose of making housing loan applications creditworthy.
(2) Inclusion of income.
A person's income shall not be deemed to be available as regular and dependable for the purposes of s. 45.31 (10)
, Stats., unless such person is the veteran applicant or is a co-applicant who is either residing with the veteran applicant or who will jointly own and occupy the homestead to be purchased or constructed by the veteran applicant with the assistance of a department loan.
Subject to the provisions of subs. (1)
, the department shall consider the income, assets and debts of any applicant who is willing to sign all required credit instruments to be executed in connection with the loan for which application has been made and upon whom a complete application has been submitted to the department for the purposes of ss. 45.31 (10)
, Stats., for the purpose of determining the creditworthiness of the application and for the purpose of determining its compliance with the provisions of s. 45.33 (2) (a) 1.
, Stats. An application must always be completed on the veteran applicant.
Notwithstanding the provisions of subs. (1)
, if a veteran applicant is married and not separated or in the process of obtaining a divorce, such applicant's spouse shall be a co-applicant for any department loan and must complete and sign the loan application and all credit instruments required to be executed in conjunction with the loan. If a veteran applicant is separated or in the process of obtaining a divorce, such veteran's spouse shall not be required to be a co-applicant for loan under subch. III of ch. 45
, Stats., and such spouse's income, assets and debts shall not be considered by the department. In order to be considered “separated" for the purposes of this subsection, a veteran and spouse must either be legally separated or must have been living in different dwellings for at least 3 months immediately next preceding the veteran's application for a loan. In order to be considered in the process of obtaining a divorce for the purposes of this subsection, a petition for a divorce of the veteran and spouse must have been filed with a court.
VA 1.12 History
Cr. Register, October, 1976, No. 250
, eff. 11-1-76; r. (4), Register, December, 1979, No. 288
, eff. 1-1-80; cr. (4), Register, February, 1981, No. 302
, eff. 3-1-81; correction in (3) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, April, 1986, No. 364;
r. (5), Register, July, 1998, No. 511
, eff. 8-1-98; corrections in (2) to (4) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, July, 2000, No. 535
; correction in (3) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, June, 2001, No. 546
VA 1.13 Discrimination prohibited.
Discrimination against properly qualified persons in the provision of veterans assistance under ch. 45, Stats.
, on the basis of age, race, creed, color, disability, sex, national origin or ancestry, sexual orientation, political affiliation or beliefs or arrest or conviction records, is prohibited, and except that all persons employed by the department shall if possible be veterans as defined in s. 45.01 (12)
, Stats., and that preference shall be given to disabled veterans, discrimination against qualified persons in the employment of staff on the basis of age, race, creed, color, disability, sex, national origin or ancestry, sexual orientation, political affiliation or beliefs or arrest or conviction records is prohibited.
VA 1.13 History
Cr. Register, October, 1976, No. 250
, eff. 11-1-76; r. and recr., Register, December, 1979, No. 288
, eff. 1-1-80; am, Register, August, 1993, No. 452
, eff. 9-1-93;
correction made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register April 2003 No. 568
VA 1.14 Lebanon withdrawal.
The date of withdrawal of U.S. armed forces from Lebanon is established as August 1, 1984 for the purposes of s. 45.01 (11)
VA 1.14 History
Cr. Register, April, 1986, No. 364
, eff. 5-1-86.
VA 1.15 Definitions.
For the purposes of this chapter and chs. VA 2
“Board" means the board of veterans affairs.
“Department" means the department of veterans affairs.
“Secretary" means the secretary of the department of veterans affairs.
VA 1.15 History
Cr. Register, April, 1986, No. 364
, eff. 5-1-86; cr. (3), Register, February, 1989, No. 398
, eff. 3-1-89; correction made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 1., Stats., Register, June, 2001, No. 546
; correction in (intro.) made under s. 13.92 (4) (b) 7., Stats., Register April 2014 No. 700.
VA 1.16 Veteran-owned business.
Upon the written request of an owner, the department shall certify as a veteran-owned business a small business, as defined in s. 16.75 (4) (c)
, Stats., whenever the business is at least 51% owned by one or more veterans, as defined in s. 45.01 (12)
, Stats. An owner shall submit evidence of the ownership interest and veteran status of each owner with the written request for certification.
VA 1.16 History
Cr. Register, June, 1994, No. 462
, eff. 7-1-94; correction made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register April 2003 No. 568
VA 1.17 Economic assistance loans. VA 1.17(1)
Satisfaction of loan upon veteran's death.
If a veteran who has obtained a loan under s. 45.351 (2)
, 1995 Stats., dies before completing repayment, the department shall satisfy the loan.
(2) Subordination agreement and partial release of mortgage.
The department may execute a subordination agreement or release a portion of the property providing security for its mortgage on a loan under s. 45.351 (2)
, 1995 Stats., if the mortgagor's equity in the property secured by the mortgage is greater than 10% of the property's value after the execution of the subordination agreement or partial release, the applicant is current on the loan and the repayment history for the 6 months immediately preceding the request has been satisfactory.
(3) Deferment of payments.
Where a veteran who is enrolled in a full-time course of instruction, as verified by the educational institution in which the veteran is enrolled, or in a part-time course of instruction only in cases described in this subsection, applies for deferment of the obligation to commence or continue to make payments on a loan, under s. 45.351 (2)
, 1995 Stats., the department may grant a deferment if the installments on such loans are less than 90 days delinquent at the time of approval of the deferment and, in the case of a guaranteed loan, if the guarantors consent in writing to the deferment. A deferment may not exceed one year and may not extend more than 3 months beyond the anticipated completion date of the veteran's educational objective but a veteran may qualify for additional deferments if eligible for such deferments under the provisions of this subsection at the time of application. The department may grant deferments to a veteran enrolled in a part-time study course of instruction because such veteran is disabled or unable due to physical or mental disability to enroll in a full-time course of instruction, is a graduate student who has completed the course of work required for a degree but must complete a thesis requirement, or is in the final semester or term of an educational program and needs less than full-time study to meet graduation requirements. Participation in a medical internship program shall be deemed to be enrollment in a full-time course of instruction for the purposes of this subsection.
VA 1.17 History
Cr. Register, July, 1998, No. 511
, eff. 8-1-98.
VA 1.18 Trust fund stabilization loans.
The department may execute a subordination agreement or release a portion of the property providing security for its mortgage on a loan under s. 45.356
, 1995 Stats., if the mortgagor's equity in the property secured by the mortgage is greater than 15 percent of the property's value after the execution of the subordination agreement or partial release, the applicant is current on the loan and the repayment history for the 6 months immediately preceding the request has been satisfactory.
VA 1.19 Cancellation of indebtedness. VA 1.19(1)
The department may cancel indebtedness and forego collection action on a loan provided under s. 45.356
, 1995 Stats., s. 45.80
, 1981 Stats., and s. 45.42
, Stats., if any of the following apply:
The obligated parties on the note are deceased and claims on the estates have failed to produce any payments.
The obligated parties on the note are unlocatable as documented by non-productive skip tracing efforts.
The obligated parties on the note are discharged in bankruptcy and have not reaffirmed the debt.
The obligated parties on the note have established through the submission of adequate documentation that the parties are unable to pay or that continued collection activity would jeopardize collection of other department loans.
The financial benefit to the department of pursuing collection activity does not exceed the cost of pursuing the debt.
Except as provided in s. VA 1.17 (1)
, the department may reinstate the indebtedness and collection activity based upon a change in the circumstances of an obligated party.
(3) Administrative review.
Any department decision under this section is subject to appeal under s. VA 1.03
VA 1.19 History
Cr. Register, May, 1999, No. 521
, eff. 6-1-99; correction in (1) (intro.) made under s. 13.93 (2m) (b) 7., Stats., Register, July, 2000, No. 535