— SCHUMER: THOUSANDS OF NEW YORK’S DISABLED & ELDERLY

SCHUMER: THOUSANDS OF NEW YORK’S DISABLED & ELDERLY VETS’ FINANCES ARE AT RISK IN VA FIDUCIARY PROGRAM – FEDS’ DISREGARD FOR WHOM THEY APPOINT TO MANAGE BENEFITS, LACK OF OVERSIGHT, HAS LED TO WIDESPREAD DELAYS, THEFT & FRAUD

For Decades, the VA Fiduciary Program, In Which Feds Appoint Family, Friends & Often Strangers to Handle Disabled & Elderly Vets’ Finances, Has Been Plagued With Theft, Fraud & Countless Delays

Schumer Calls on OMB & VA to End Needless Foot Dragging and Finalize Draft Rules That Have Sat Awaiting Approval for Months – Plan Would Increase VA Staffing Levels & Improve Training to Catch Fraud, Require Background Checks of Fiduciaries & Expedite Delivery of Benefits

Schumer: Vets Have Survived Battle, Shouldn’t Have To Fight Crooks

Today, November 28th during a conference call at 12:30 pm, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer will launch his push to safeguard thousands of elderly and disabled New York veterans from widespread fraud and inefficiency in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) fiduciary program. Specifically, Schumer will urge the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the VA to swiftly enact regulations that have sat awaiting approval for months, and will work to protect this group of veterans from often fraudulent and irresponsible managers who are appointed by the VA to oversee their finances and VA benefits. The VA often assigns strangers to these positions, and sometimes even criminals and documented gamblers, and the program is plagued with theft and endless delays in payments and fiduciary placements. The VA itself has admitted that the system is outdated, and has drafted new regulations to overhaul the system. Those draft rules are now awaiting review at the OMB, and Schumer will demand that they be swiftly approved so that the VA can immediately begin implementing improvements. These rules will address flaws in the fiduciary appointment process; better explain VA beneficiary rights to recipients and their families; impose stricter fiduciary appointment qualifications, including the potential use of background checks; and better oversee that fiduciaries are meeting responsibilities and following reporting requirements once assigned to a veteran. Schumer will also call on the VA to better identify and report non-compliance and increase staffing to support the heightened oversight of a reformed fiduciary program. Schumer’s push comes after a recent Hearst Newspaper investigation documented a widespread trend of fiduciary fraud that has caused veterans across the country millions of dollars in hard-earned income and veterans benefits.

During the call, Schumer will reveal a county-by-county report of elderly and mentally disabled veterans who have already been assigned fiduciaries and those who are eligible and awaiting the appointment of a fiduciary. Although not all such managers are bad actors in this system, the accounts of this abuse of veterans are widespread and will only continue to grow as more heroes return from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bazzo 11/28/12

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