Washington, DC – Today, the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs (DAMA) held a hearing on the Protect Veterans from Financial Fraud Act (H.R. 592), authored by Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village). This legislation will ensure that veterans are better protected from fraud and abuse.
“It is simply heartbreaking and unacceptable that there are hundreds of cases each year where veterans — through no fault of their own — have their benefits stolen by a fiduciary appointed by VA, to help manage their finances,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “My bill will ensure the VA can reissue stolen benefits for all veterans, ensuring they receive the benefits they have earned and deserve. I appreciate the strong support my bill received from the VA and from our Veterans Service Organizations, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to move this important legislation forward.”
The VA’s Fiduciary Program was established to protect veterans and other beneficiaries who, due to injury, disease, or age, are unable to manage their own financial affairs. Under the program, VA appoints a fiduciary to assist the veteran in managing VA benefits payments. The Fiduciary Program serves more than 177,000 veterans, survivors, and dependents.
Under current law, if a fiduciary misuses a veteran’s benefits, VA can remove the fiduciary, but it can only re-issue benefits to the veteran if the appointed fiduciary manages benefits for at least 10 or more veterans. Brownley’s legislation ends the so-called “10 or more” loophole so that all veterans are able to recoup their benefits in cases of fiduciary abuse or fraud.
This bill is supported by VA, the American Legion, Disabled Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Wounded Warrior Project.
The text of the bill is available here.