According to an article in The Tampa Bay Times, The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) financial guardian program, specifically designed to help aging veterans, veterans with disabilities, and surviving spouses, needs improvement.
The program appoints guardians to veterans in need to manage their finances. The scope of the position can be very limited, or can involve overseeing a great range of topics, depending on the situation. The appointed guardian is often a family member, but certain situations dictate the person be “a professional, such as an accountant or attorney.”
The VA’s regional benefits office for Florida has a current backlog of about 800 veterans and surviving spouses awaiting interviews. This is where the VA is lacking, according to the article: appointing financial guardians for “qualified military families.”
The office only employs 18 field examiners, who are responsible for conducting all the interviews with “wards and potential guardians;” they’re simply understaffed. It’s conceivable older veterans and surviving spouses could pass away waiting to have a guardian appointed, which could threaten their estate.
The VA has stated that they’re “reviewing staffing levels” and comparing them to local case loads. They’re also looking into changing the procedure they currently use in favor of a faster process.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from Veterans Help Group is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veterans disability rights firm today – 1-855-855-8992.