When a veteran is declared “incompetent”, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) appoints fiduciaries to manage his or her money on the veteran’s behalf.
The theory behind the VA’s fiduciary program is to protect not only veterans, but their families. Unfortunately, the program has met with its fair share of problems. The program is seen as a “mismanaged and poorly regulated bureaucracy” by some who say it is harming the very veterans it was established to protect.
The VA’s fiduciaries oversee 111,407 accounts (totaling more than $3.2 billion) on which the fiduciaries earn a 4% commission. With this amount of money at stake. Beneficiaries and family members claim the process of appointing fiduciaries itself is flawed. The VA claims due process is served prior to appointments, that the fiduciaries are well inspected, and priority is always given to family members who would like the role.
Despite the VA’s claims to safety, however, the VA’s own inspector general came to the conclusion the VA isn’t protecting veterans from unsound fiduciaries the way it should. The VA is simply not providing oversight at the level appropriate for the situation. This can be evidenced as there were 315 fraud investigations from October 1998 to March 2010, which resulted in 132 arrests and financial recoveries and fines to the tune of $7.4 million.
Nevertheless, the VA insists they are looking out for the best interests of the veterans and the instances of fraud are minimal. Family-member requested reviews of fiduciaries are always accepted, according to the VA.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact Veterans Help Group. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.