The United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) cares for, serves and honors America’s veterans. The VA’s “fiduciary program” provides oversight of benefits for the most vulnerable veterans—those who cannot manage their benefits on their own, due to age, injury or disease. Through this program, fiduciaries can be appointed to manage the benefits of a veteran. In such cases, the fiduciary is generally required to have a “VA Fiduciary Bond” to prevent fraud or misuse of the benefits.
Who Can Be Appointed as a VA Fiduciary?
When the VA appoints a fiduciary to receive benefits on behalf of a beneficiary, the benefits must be used to support the beneficiary or their dependents. If a fiduciary is needed, the VA works “to select the most effective and least restrictive fiduciary arrangement.” A fiduciary could be an individual chosen by the beneficiary, a spouse, relatives, friends, qualified caregivers, officers of public or private institutions, or a bonded officer of an Indian reservation. In the case no such individuals are available, the VA may appoint a paid fiduciary.
Download the VA’s fact sheet about the fiduciary program here https://benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/factsheets/fiduciary/FiduciaryFactSheet.pdf.
How Are VA Fiduciaries Screened and Bonded?
Prior to appointing a fiduciary, the VA conducts an intensive screening, including a criminal background check, credit history and interviews with character witnesses. In most cases, before assuming fiduciary duties, fiduciaries are required to get a VA Fiduciary Bond. This is to safeguard the beneficiaries in the event a fiduciary commits fraud or misuses funds.
A VA Fiduciary Bond is reasonably priced. Colonial Surety Company offers a low rate for your bond. Our premium is based on the bond amount required by the Veteran’s Administration.
Colonial Surety Company can help you secure a VA Fiduciary bond quickly and directly, online! Our I-bonds®, or instant surety bonds, are available for direct quote, purchase, print, and e-file on your mobile device, tablet or desktop. Whether you are a lawyer assisting a VA appointed fiduciary or a fiduciary yourself, you will find our simple, direct, online approach quick and efficient. Learn more—and get a quote right now ( https://www.colonialsurety.com/surety-bonds/va-fiduciary-bond/).
Good To Know: What Are The Duties of a VA Fiduciary
VA appointed fiduciaries to have many responsibilities and are charged with executing them with the utmost integrity, to safeguard beneficiaries’ rights and benefits. AARP provides a helpful guide to the proper execution of the duties: https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/home-and-family/caregiving/2014-10/guide-for-va-fiduciaries-aarp.pdf.
Some of the important advice AARP details for VA Fiduciaries include:
- Avoiding even the appearance of conflicts of interest
- Protecting unspent funds
- Keeping the beneficiaries’ funds separate
- Managing money to meet basic needs first (e.g. food, housing…)
- Providing accurate and timely reports