I've seen so many stories about the abuse disabled vets and their families have suffered at the hands of their VA Fiduciary Officer. As a veteran I am sensitive to this issue. Does anyone know the steps to take in becoming a VA Fiduciary Officer? You can post answers here and/or send me an email at <<MOD Note - answer here >>
Thank you.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Dave_M,
|Facilitator, Veterans Issues|
Most abuse is from family members - daughters and sisters seem to often be an issue with the money. My understanding is that they appoint accountants and lawyers to these positions. I have friends that do it, and their took over from their father who was a public accountant. The VA does not pay you. You receive a small pecentage of thier monthly check to manage the money.
Ditto to what DAVE_M said.
VA retains accounting firms, CPA's OR Attorneys..ONLY.
Exception as DAVE_M would tell you..is that often it is 1st "Family" that the VA will "try" to assign,nearly always because the veteran "prefers" that assignment to remain a family issue. Mostly then, they (VA) will assign a spouse, daughter, son as a "Payee" for the benefit of...the veteran. The VA is really good at trying their best to care for the veteran, so a "Fiduciary is NOT their 1st choice, since the payment for the service must come from the Vet's disability comp, and a vet who needs looking after financially is usually also one that is catastrophically disabled anyway and can least afford it.
UNFORTUNATELY...studies have shown, and I think Dave_M mentioned this in prior post, that abuse happens more often than you hear about. MANY times, it is unintentional..called lousy book keeping..SOMETIMES, though..it is also "easy money" if you happen to be a daughter (number 1 in abuse) who has (X) income...sees (X) money in account she has access to, then life stress sometimes overwhelmes, and it starts with a few dollars here...there..and before you know it..Well, I think you know what happens.
A payee, if anyone happens to be one..need to remember..the standard the VA will impose on you will be no less than the one they hold against a Fiduciary..and that simply means..You better keep a Black book. All accounts listed, monthly payments (including utilities) and amounts spent on the vet..receipt!! for everything. It sounds tough, but it isn't really, but you have to do good book keeping. Doesn't have to be perfect, but it has to pass the smell and common sense audits.
A tell tale sign: Expenses add up to _
Veteran comp payments over 12 months add up to_
Audit...question..savings account for vet?
Answer..yes he has one...Audit can I see the amount?..Yes, Audit $10 dollars?..IT IS POSSIBLE...but you gotta be able to explain why only 10..If you can't. Then you either have a problem keeping book..or, you're stealing.
P/S some of the post may be extreme for illustration purposes.
|Sr. Benefits Liaison|
Former U.S. Army, SGT (Combat Infantry)
Sad but true...just helped stonewall an attorney (who did not hold POA) who was trying to help a vet's interested "nephew" maintain control over a vet's account who should have been deemed incompetent for over 10 years now, was found to have had longstanding alzheimers and dementia and was proposed to be rated incompetent after an inpatient stint.
Attorney Joe thought DAV was VA and "demanded a hearing" for this "preponderous assertion" denoting the nephew and the veteran had struck a "fine balance" etcetera, after reviewing the case and about 59 days (1 day before due process expired) we wrote him letting him know who we are and what we do, that we are not the VA and to contact the Regional Office with questions on accreditdation.
A Fiduciary will be assigned after a field examiner vists vet, which has been arranged in short order...moral of the story
Sometimes the Administration is an unknowing ally.
In all cases a VSO discuss with the Fiduciary unit questions or concerns of their clients to ensure equitable treatment is being rendered.
How did we know that there was questionable motive of the "nephew"? The veteran lost his apartment which is why he was an inpatient.
My dad is 93. He served in the Navy for 4 years during WW2 and had an honorable discharge. He is in a total-care nursing facility after 3 strokes. My sister is his POA. She has spent so much time and money with attorneys trying to do things right to qualify him for Medicaid. After reading an article in AARP, we learned that as a veteran, he can be paid another monthly sum which would help with the deficit that the nursing home wants paid each month. This would be the difference between staying in a mediocre nursing home, or being moved to rat hole. So my sister came to this site, went to Aid and Assistance, and started printing forms for the pension benefits. One of these hundred forms says it must be signed by a fiduciary, not a POA. Each form that is supposed to take 5 minutes, requires another three forms. It is going to take a year to fill out this paperwork, and another year before the VA is satisfied with it (according to a man who went thru it and actually wrote about it). We don't have a fiduciary, we have already wasted $K's on attorneys to make sure every i was dotted for Medicaid. There is no money except my father's pension and supplimental insurance, both of which go straight to the nursing home. So, bottom line - Dad can't read, write, doesn't know us, and made my sister POA in 1996. Why does the person signing the form HAVE to be a fiduciary? I can't tell you the number on the form - but someone must know what I'm talking about.
|Facilitator, Veterans Issues|
The VA appoints fiduciaries. If you sister has the POA, they should appoint her. The other alternative is to get a Probate court to appoint her the guardian and the guardian of the estate. Call a Veterans Service Officer (like DAV, AMVETS, VFW or American Legion) for FREE help.
Thanks - OK - I will tell her to be careful. Those forms requiring a fiduciary are: 21-4138 & 21-0845. What is your estimate (best guess)at actually accomplishing getting him enrolled and get payments coming?
|Facilitator, Veterans Issues|
You need to talk to a VSO. I am not a VSO.
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