Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) introduced the Protect Veterans from Financial Fraud Act, legislation that will help ensure that veterans who are unable to manage their own financial affairs 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,” said Congresswoman Brownley. “For far too long, a bureaucratic loophole has stopped the VA from helping some of our most vulnerable veterans recover their hard-earned benefits. I introduced this bill to correct this injustice and ensure that all veterans receive the benefits that they have earned and deserve and rely on to make ends meet.”
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, by appointing a fiduciary to assist the veteran in managing benefit payments. In 2016, the Fiduciary Program served more than 230,000 veterans, survivors, and dependents.
Under current law, if a fiduciary misuses a veteran’s benefits, the VA can remove the fiduciary, but it can only re-issue benefits to the veteran if the appointed fiduciary manages benefits for 10 or more veterans. Brownley’s legislation ends the “10 or more” requirement so that all veterans are able to recoup their benefits in cases of fiduciary abuse or fraud.
This bill is supported by the American Legion.
The text of the bill is available here.