We understand that a word like “Fiduciary”, with its heavy coating of legalese can be very intimidating, but in this case it’s being used for the good of all. The VA Fiduciary Program has its origins in the desire to protect Veterans who, due to injury, disease, or due to age, are unable to manage their financial affairs.
The VA must have medical documentation or a court has to have already made a competency determination in order for VA to decide that a veteran is unable to manage his or her own financial affairs
Upon determining that a veteran beneficiary is unable to manage his or her financial affairs, VA will appoint a fiduciary. The fiduciary, normally chosen by the veteran beneficiary, must submit to an investigation of their suitability. This investigation includes a criminal background check, review of credit report, personal interview, and recommendations of character references. Only after a complete investigation is a fiduciary appointed to manage a veterans VA benefits.
The fiduciary is responsible to the beneficiary and oversees financial management of VA benefit payments. Generally, family members or friends serve as fiduciaries for veteran beneficiaries; however, when friends and family are not able to serve, VA looks for qualified individuals or organizations to serve as a fiduciary. The fiduciary’s responsibility and authority does not extend to matters outside of those related to VA benefits.
The determination that a veteran is unable to manage their VA benefits does not affect non-VA finances. The VA decision can be appealed. Individuals also have the right to appeal VA’s selection of the fiduciary. If you disagree with the VA on either of these matters you may:
- appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) by telling them you disagree with their decision and want the Board to review it, or
- submit evidence that the VA does not already have that may lead them to change their initial decision.