Lack of VA Oversight Puts Disabled Veterans at Risk
This year, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) became embroiled in another controversy impacting disabled veterans receiving VA benefit payments. This time, the issue is the fiduciary program operated by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). VBA appoints fiduciaries for Veterans who are unable to manage their financial affairs due to their disabilities.
Veterans can request a spouse or family member be named as fiduciary by VBA. However, VBA often appoints an unknown fiduciary to oversee the Veteran’s finances, often over the objections of the family. And that’s where the trouble starts. According to the Houston Chronicle, VBA’s fiduciary program places some disabled Veterans at risk of losing their disability payments.
A lack of VBA oversight, combined with unscrupulous fiduciaries, resulted in the loss of millions of dollars from disabled Veterans. News articles reveal VA appointed fiduciaries with gambling problems, bankruptcies, and even criminal records; then VBA gave those fiduciaries full access to Veterans’ finances.
The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC) investigated VBA’s troubled fiduciary program at a hearing four months ago. The situation became so serious and significant that Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), who sits on HVAC, introduced legislation this month beefing up VBA oversight and protecting Veterans from unscrupulous fiduciaries.