Incompetency & Guardianship Issues
Many veterans receiving monthly compensation and pension benefits from the VA have mental impairments that prevent them from managing their finances. VA’s Fiduciary Program selects and oversees third parties, called fiduciaries, to help manage and protect these veterans’ funds. Unless there are special circumstances, the person appointed as fiduciary should be a family member or the person who cares for the veteran. In many instances, the assignment of a fiduciary is entirely necessary and appropriate to protect the veteran. Unfortunately, however, these fiduciaries are not family members and do not always have the veteran’s best interests at heart. VA fiduciaries must afford veterans the following rights:
- Continuing to receive monthly benefit payments until the VA has completed the fiduciary appointment process;
- The right to appeal a fiduciary appointment;
- Being informed of the fiduciary’s contact information;
- Obtaining a copy of the fiduciary’s annual accounting;
- Being reissued benefits misused by a fiduciary;
- Submitting a request for the appointment of a new fiduciary.
There is a growing consensus that the VA fiduciary system is broken. Senator Charles Schumer stated, “The VA fiduciary system . . . lacks sufficient oversight and is full of bad actors, needless delays, fraud and theft. . . To put it simply, enough is enough.” Representative Bill Johnson noted that, although “VA policy is that they prefer family members and friends to serve as fiduciaries it is obvious to me that this policy is just lip service and that needs to change.
Dealing with the VA fiduciary system can be aggravating, let the Law Office of Edward M. Farmer help you through the process. Contact us today.