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VA Fiduciary Abuse: Almost $1 Million in Payments for Veterans Misused

VA Fiduciary

Indianapolis, IN – VA OIG concluded the VA Fiduciary Program stood by while fiduciaries misused at least $944,000 and possibly more in beneficiary funds. These funds were intended to pay for the support desperately needed by many vulnerable veterans in the program.

For those unfamiliar, a VA fiduciary is an individual or organization appointed to manage a veteran’s finances when that veteran is deemed to be financially incompetent by a court or the VA. The fiduciary is a paid position, and they have control over a veteran’s financial affairs.

Over the past two years, the VA Fiduciary Program has been rife with fraud stemming from fiduciaries funneling money away from these vulnerable veterans.

In this instance, VA OIG found that the Eastern Area Fiduciary Hub (EAFH), located in Indianapolis, did not properly investigate most complaints against fiduciaries. The VA OIG investigation verified the Fiduciary Program was not processing the following in a timely manner:

  • Allegations of misuse of beneficiary funds
  • Conducting field examinations
  • Processing incoming mail

Specifically, VA OIG found that the VA Fiduciary Program failed to properly review 89% of the allegations of misuse of funds (190 of 214). Alternatively, this means the VA Fiduciary Program properly reviewed only 11% of allegations of misuse. The Fiduciary Program also improperly conducted 70% of the investigations it did initiate (17 of the 23).

It is curious to note that VA OIG chose to not include percentages in its summary of the scope of the problem.

In addition, VA OIG found that in the 12 determinations that were in fact made, VA fiduciaries misused $944,000 funds intended for to support these veterans. This means that the total dollar amount of misuse and potential fraud against vulnerable veterans was likely well over $1 million had VA properly investigated the matter.

Making matters worse, when the VA Fiduciary Program confirmed the problems indicated above, it did not act swiftly to fix them. VA can fix these problems by simply replacing the fiduciary or requirement repayment from the fiduciary. As a result of this failure, VA may now be obligated to pay back $944,000 to the beneficiaries who were wronged.

Sadly, here, those vulnerable veterans were wronged by both the malfeasance of the fiduciary and the institutional incompetence of the VA Fiduciary Program.

Do you think anyone will get fired? Was this offered up to take a little heat off the VA Wait List Scandal?

Read More: https://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-13-03018-159.pdf

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30 thoughts on “VA Fiduciary Abuse: Almost $1 Million in Payments for Veterans Misused”

  1. The VA is a lost cause, especially for the ones being ran in the larger cities. Corruption is rampant in the VA system. There is tons of embezzling going on by the employees and malpractice is going on with incompetent doctors. The VA is being used as a patsy now for the political agenda. It’s just a bureaucracy now. I stopped going to that place 3 years ago. The higher ups are in bed with each other. No matter how much money congress allows to the VA, it will just be embezzled or will just be wasted on bs projects just to line the pockets of crook politicians, va employees, and “friends”. This isn’t going to stop. This is just going to get worse. No matter how much money congress allows towards the VA it will never be used to better the system or go to our veterans. The VA ruined my life but ever since I left I have never been better and now own and operate a business. Please don’t trust the VA. Get out while you can. They are a bunch of bureaucraps now and they are only there to screw you over in the end.

  2. My husband’s Claim was just put on hold because the are trying to find him mentally incompetent to handle his finances. Mind you he has great credit so obviously can handle his finances just fine. I get on this blog and see these poor people who have had their money stolen. It is an utter shame. I am at a loss for words…….

    1. I hope you are appealing this. go to vets . yuku. com you can search “incompetent” and will find a number of posts on how vets successfully beat this. However, you must act within 30 days of his award letter, otherwise it can be almost impossible.

  3. I have a question. SO where and why in the fiduciary process is there a need to change the Vet’s address in the VA system, block them from VA correspondence, THEN the fiduciary gets to open/read the Vet’s mail, and then decided if they want to send the contents to the Vet? That can’t be shouldn’t be right. When was the Vet ever notified and given consent to these terms?

      1. I created an ad on CL in your city. w4m- Looking for Mr. H.. reply to that and we don’t have to put our info here and unable to take it off. 🙂 Hope to chat with you soon.

  4. I was appointed a va payee suggested by lincoln hub field examiner saying we believe shes the best qualified to pay my bills yeah she stold 35000 plus from me been investigated now Oig now im struggling to pay bills i am my own payee wish i had someone to help me get my funds and get that status off my back all because of one dr. At houston va

    1. The people behind the desk dont care about veterans and the lincoln is worried bout finding the oayee not worried bout what im going thru i need help from some one

    2. I am the spouse of a disabled veteran. We were married 3 years ago. I had a 6 month old baby when we were married my husband applied for dependency income for me and my daughter. Since then we have had 2 children. My husband has been found financial incompetent and his father became his fiduciary. The retroactive payment was received last year we have not received any additional funds. Due to marital problems my husband is no longer in the home. He has no problem with paying child support however his fiduciary refuses. I know have an eviction notice. My husband has asked his father to pay rent however he still will not. My husband receives 3200$ per month plus 780$ social security. Why does he have to rent a room from someone who is in my opinion unsafe for my husband to be around. Who do I call to report this fraudulent misappropriation of funds. His dad has been taking money out of his account and putting it into an unauthorized account that my husband has no access to. There is a conflict of him turning his father in. So what can I do to help

      1. File an apportionment claim by calling 1-800-827-1000. You can also make a misuse allegation by calling the same number or by calling the VA Fiduciary Office.

  5. I am an Iraq war veteran recently placed under the VA’s fiduciary program.
    Before January 2015, I received 100%/homebound automatic bank deposit of $3,221.17 (after life insurance) a month. Now, under the VA’s fiduciary program, I have no money, food and none of my bills have yet to be paid. When I called the phone number in the paperwork to ask why, the fiduciary (who’ve I never spoke to before) said she resigned and the Indianapolis VA Fiduciary Hub was supposed to reassign one to me, but failed to. Upset, I called the hub and told them that I had to use non-VA funds (SSDI benefit and a high interest cash advance) to pay my bills. The hub representative said since the fiduciary resigned, they have to reassign another fiduciary and it can take up to 45 days for the field examiner to set up another appointment with me and to assign a new fiduciary. After that, it will take an additional 2-3 weeks until the money is distributed. That means, despite receiving a $3,221.17 benefit, I will have no money for food, rent, travel, electric, oil heat, and other bills for two months. This also means two months of late fees and bad credit. Plus the VA appointed fiduciary automatically takes a fee of $130.15 out of my benefit.
    The fiduciary program preys on veterans who can’t defend themselves. We are already vulnerable.
    Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the VA’s financial benefit. I am strong, but suffer from depression, PTSD, anxiety and stress-related mental issues that affect every aspect of my life.
    Two days ago, I was so stressed over this, I chose to end my life. Somehow, I didn’t. I cry all the time over this.
    Sadly, I predict this to get worse. Watch for my obituary and remember what you are reading here.

    1. As a Veteran who just went through a divorce because my former spouse couldn’t take the BS that came with it. I understand though and am greatful for the 15 years she did spend with me. I am currently in a battle with my VA Field Examiner appointed Fiduciary that seems to not want to take care of my financial affairs in a timely manner as outlined in my Budget submitted to the VA and approved by them. I am supposed to be paying child support and spousal support by the 3rd of every month. I have informed my fiduciary located at the Rescue Mission of Utica, and it seems that he still hasnt taken care of my financial obligations. My phone was shut off on the 3rd for failure to pay the bill, I’m awaiting my car note to be paid and my insurance. How can Fiduciaries that are appointed by the VA not be held liable for late fees and such for bills they signed up to pay. I guarantee they took their pay from my benefits immediately. My kids will not go hungry though, I will sale my ass to provide for them. I will however see to it that this “fiduciary” is fired and brought to justice. I will be sueing him and the VA over this since they appointed this individual to take care of my financial affairs. I am done being nice and pleasant. I have called him several times, emailed him 17 times in 1 month and very few responses back but all extremely unprofessional. If you are paid to be a fiduciary for a Veteran, do you damn job. You accepted the job and was paid for it from our benefits that we busted our ass for. You need to bust your ass to help us. If anyone has any questions comments or concerns please email me at [email protected]

      1. Contact your local FBI field office, take proof of bills being unpaid. FBI can intervene to assist with VA matters. If that does not work…visit your State Reps office and get a congressional started ASAP.

  6. There is now an Investigative Reporter on this story,

    The truth of this scam, will be brought out in the open.

  7. I forgot about this blog and I would like to put in something about the Indianapolis VA. I moved here in Aug. this year and the Indy VA will not look at my last 10 years of VA healthcare at the Puget Sound VA (Seattle). I have a service connected disability for my knees and was awarded an increase from 20% to 40%. They have now taken away my chronic pain meds and replaced them with Tylenol and tell me that they see no reason for me to be taking that kind of medicine for my knees when they can’t find anything wrong with them (it’s all in my records from the Seattle VA). I had to stop the medicine cold turkey and I am in so much pain that I can barely stand it. I also am taking anxiety medicine and they have stopped it as well for the same reason (they can’t find anything if they don’t look back into my last 10 years). I have contacted the Patient Advocate and I am getting the same response from them. They (the Indy VA) wants me to start over from square one and see a physical therapist and go up from there. I have done this at the Seattle VA and I have seen the pain clinic at the Seattle VA and went to all of the classes, got checked out, signed the pain contract, understood the part about the medicine is part of the whole picture, and the Seattle VA was OK with me taking this medicine as it helped me be able to be active and get through the day. I have been taking this for just over two years before coming to the Indy VA and now I feel terrible. I have contacted Allison Hickey and she has sent this to a couple of people at the Indy VA to see if they can help. I always thought that the VA is the VA and it doesn’t matter if you are seen in one part if this country or another. The VA should and can look at your records from another VA and see what has been done and what need addressed. I am ready to move back to Washington State (and I have nothing to go back to that state for. Nothing against WA, it is a nice place but just not for me) to get back on these meds so I can be a functioning part of society again and not a hermit that is in so much pain that I get no sleep and hate the days. I know this is not really part of this blog but it shows that the Indy VA has more problems than what is mentioned in this blog. I am at my breaking point and do not know where to turn. I have been off of my pain and anxiety meds for a month and a half and I lost my job due to not being able to do it because of the pain and anxiety. I stay in my place and hurt and do not want to be around anyone. I am fed up with this VA and the not caring attitude. Any suggestions? Sorry for putting this in this blog but I wanted to share my experience with the Indy VA.

  8. I myself have been a victim of this broken system and am still fighting for my freedom as I right this. The VA medical care has been great for me, but the administrative side is another story. It ruined my life. It all started when the VA failed to do an evaluation before placing a fiduciary in control of my finances simply because of a TBI rating, despite my cognitive functions being fully intact. Problems were immediate. I was not getting paid the budget the VA had approved for me. I ended up only having access to $100 a week for food, gas, etc. (1/3 of the personal allowance I was supposed to have) out of my $3,300 a month compensation from the VA and $1,200 a month from Social Security. I had no access to the rest of my disability payments. I also saw that my disability money was being spent to benefit my parents who did volunteer work for my VA appointed fiduciary. I began reporting these problems to the VA with no response, and when my claims were finally looked at after nearly three years of constantly pushing them through, (contacting the OIG’s office, the DOJ, and the FBI) the VA realized it’s mistake and returned control of my finances to me. But not before my parents and fiduciary used the VA’s appointment of a fiduciary as an excuse to obtain Guardianship over me without any other evidence (I am currently fighting that in court :/ ). When I asked where the investigation was at to recover what I had lost to fraud ($50-70,000.00), it was suggested to me that I forget about it and move on with my life. Really? I am fighting this not only to reclaim what was taken from me, but to raise awareness and prevent what happened to me from ever happening to someone else. Veterans do not deserve this. I never thought that after fighting for liberty for others, mine would be taken away from me and trampled on so easily. Lack of oversight, failure to prosecute, and sweeping the problem under the table to avoid bad publicity is precisely why this is such a huge problem. Disgraceful that our government still has not fixed this.

  9. It is good to see that there are other things they are finding. Maybe this will make the VA better (I said maybe). I do think that anyone involved should be fired, plain and simple. No bonus or what ever they want to call it now, no retirement, NOTHING! If they have done something worthy of criminal charges then charge them, fine them and put them in jail. They are not above the law and should be held accountable. Even the clerk who knows he/she is doing something wrong. I know that in one hearing they stated that it was almost if not impossible to fire these people because they had some type of contract with the VA. Time to redo the contract to add in a clause that if you do something like what is happening now or wrong, you will be fired, no retirement, no separation package, not one thing but bye and we may see you in court. Shinseki was a start (if a private Co. is not producing then a change at the top is usually the first thing to happen) but I am sure he will get a huge separation package and will live the rest of his life without a worry. He will get a yearly dollar amount, better healthcare than the VA and have no worries. So did it really help for him to step down? No, he should have been fired without any benefits and if he wanted healthcare, he is a veteran so he should apply to get into the VA Healthcare System and see how it really is and what he was covering up. Good luck with that appointment, I hope you don’t have to wait very long. I think the only way to get this system back to being a very good system is to hold people (all of them) accountable and simply run this as if it was a private company. If you do something wrong, you are let go, plain and simple. Punishment and harsh punishment is needed to right this ship and I think that things will get better. The other thing is the correct amount of money put in the right places for updated medical equipment or Departments for special things we vets need. That might help with getting rid of the “we only can see you for that problem on the first Wed. of the month”. The other problem that is coming and needs to be addressed now is the possibility of an influx of new vets entering the system (there is approximately 6 million in the system now and there is approximately 22 million vets) and the VA needs to be able to handle these or we are back to this again and we don’t want that.

  10. J. Edward Vernon jr.

    MACDOODLE/SGM, YOU BOTH HAVE A “KEEN” EYE FOR WHAT THE GOVT IS UP TO NOW. IS PRAYER TOO MUCH TO ASK FOR ? AS I SAID BEFORE, PROGRAMS AND POLITICS BEGET MORE PROGRAMS/POLITICS, WE NEED GOD’S, NOT MAN’S SOLUTIONS.
    I REPLIED ON THIS A FEW WEEKS AGO, AND I STILL HAVE THE FAITH THAT THE “DAY OF TRUTH”, IS A COMIN’ !!!!!!!!! I’LL CONTINUE TO PRAY AND DO WHAT I CAN, BUT IN THE END IT WILL BE GOD’S WILL BE DONE.

  11. I think a lot of people at the VA are going to prison, including Shinseki and even a presidential pardon won’t help him when it comes out what he has been doing. Hint: Think illegal organ harvesting and sales of healthy veterans body parts that the VA fraudulently diagnosis with a terminal illness, makes them sick enough to make it look good, then kills them. That and embezzling $100’s of millions, so yes, $944,000 is just the tip of the iceberg; it is in every department everywhere throughout the VA AND with their contractors some of whom have been caught but many more are to come. A large hospital in Redding, California down the street from the VA hospital in Redding was caught a few years ago killing several dozen patients with unneeded heart surgery. The doctor leading the program had ties to the VA hospital was sent to prison.

    1. Dear Fellow Veteran, i have recently read you post and can relate personally to what you are saying. However, I disagree with your view point regarding Retired General Shinseki and most recently terminated VA Director. In my opinion, I think the VA had problems before Shinseki became director of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Secondly, He did not have the authority or power to Fire Civil Service Employees at will. I am a past employee with the Federal Government and it takes almost an act of congress to fire a substandard employees. Please note that Shinseki was a soldier just like you and I, unfortunately he was used as a scapegoat for the VA current problems. I do not consider him a criminal, and I do not think he should go to jail. The VA now has a New Director but little has been accomplished.The problems that were identified during Shinseki terms appear to be minimal as compared to all the corruptions, Long Delays, Lies, Deception and stall tactics currently being exposed. As tomorrow ends, a new day will begins at the Department of Veterans Affairs. revealing its self like the skin of a onion revealing with a new and more egregious act.

  12. LOCAL problems need to be addressed locally. Hold these LOCAL and system MSWS and Directors who allow people to be harmed accountable. Dont fall for the politccs of the day to balme the one person at the top who IS TRYING to get repairs started and instead fire him for a fast easy fake fix. KNOW what you are asking for if you fall for that. Please also comment here.https://ww w.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/05/27/us/27veteranscallout.html

    1. I agree with macdoodle.I worked at a VA under a very good Director- who was fired by the Bush Admin, because he was performing too well! SO, lets try and get a perspective. This is a ongoing deeply problematic long term issue, and is very localized.
      Scapegoating the top guy in washington is not going to fix the issue at the local VA hospital.

      1. I would suggest you two read the IG’s report regarding the audit this article is about. This was a Hub office which handles 8 states. The fiduciary program was taken away from local Regional Offices and placed in larger “HUBS.” This office handles tens of thousands of fiduciary beneficiaries. That is a BIG problem, especially since, the IG had a previous inspection and they did not correct the issues from the previous time.

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