VA's Fiduciary Program was established to protect veterans and other beneficiaries who, due to injury, disease or age, are unable to manage their financial affairs. VA will only determine an individual to be unable to manage his or her financial affairs after receipt of medical documentation or if a court of competent jurisdiction has already made the determination.
Upon determining a beneficiary is unable to manage their financial affairs, VA will appoint a fiduciary. The fiduciary, normally chosen by the beneficiary, must undergo an investigation of their suitability to serve. 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. The fiduciary is responsible to the beneficiary and oversees financial management of VA benefit payments.
Generally, family members or friends serve as fiduciaries for beneficiaries; however, when friends and family are not able to serve, VA looks for qualified individuals or organizations to serve as a fiduciary.
Appointing a Fiduciary
A VA field examination will be scheduled for the purpose of appointing a fiduciary to assist you in managing your VA benefits.
During the selection process, the VA will first seek to qualify the individual you desire to serve as your fiduciary.
The fiduciary selection is based on an assessment of the qualifications of the proposed fiduciary. When seeking a fiduciary the following individuals may be considered:
- A spouse or family member
- Court-appointed fiduciaries
- Another interested party, or
- A professional fiduciary
Some of the things the VA considers when appointing a fiduciary includes:
- The willingness to serve and abide by all agreements
- An interview with a VA representative
- Credit report review
- An inquiry into the criminal background, and
- Interviews with character witnesses
You may request to have your ability to manage your VA benefits be re-evaluated, or to have a new fiduciary appointed, at any time. If you wish a re-evaluation, please submit your request in writing with any supporting medical evidence to the VA.
The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act prohibits you from purchasing, possessing, receiving or transporting a firearm or ammunition if you have “been adjudicated as a mental defective or been committed to a mental institution.” In compliance with this act, VA reports the names of incompetent beneficiaries to the FBI which then adds the names to a database called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Gun dealers must check NICS for the name of a potential buyer before selling any firearms. You may be fined and/or imprisoned if you knowingly violate this law. You can ask VA to remove your name from this list.
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