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By The Numbers - How This Works-What To Do


1) You receive notice that VA is proposing to appoint a fiduciary.You are shocked and you do not agree. This is only a proposal, not a decision. You have the right to appeal.


2) DON'T PANIC! Sit down and read the letter very carefully. Read it again. There is valuable information in the letter you received.

Contact A Veterans Law Attorney For Help


3) Complete a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) form. 


4) Mail the form using Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested. Do not use anything other than Certified Mail!


5) Do not delay! Don't run around asking everyone what to do. Don't try to collect statements from anyone like family or friends. Don't do anything but get the letter in the mail.


6) Once VA gets the NOD form, they will reply to tell you that you can't file a NOD yet because no decision has been made. Don't worry about that.  Your NOD has notified them that they have made a mistake.  You are now on record with the disagreement.


7) Wait patiently. After VA receives your NOD they will probably  schedule you for another C & P exam. During this C & P exam you will
be asked about how you manage your finances. Answer truthfully and completely.


8) You're done. That wasn't hard, was it?


Contact A Veterans Law Attorney For Help

VA will ask to set up a meeting with you in your residence.


This meeting will be with a VA Field Agent (or examiner) who will ask you about your finances, do background checks on people in your home, perform credit rating checks and so on. He/she will tell you that as an incompetent veteran you can not have guns

in your house and you will not have the right to purchase firearms.
Ostensibly, the VA field agent will try to determine who in your family may be appointed
as your fiduciary. Many times the agent will find that nobody in your family has a good enough credit record so he/ she will appoint a  paid fiduciary.
In either case, you will lose control of the money you have earned from VA.
The paid fiduciary will take their cut of the money each month and if you want any of it, you must go through a complex process of asking for it.
Often, your request for money is ignored or denied.

If you have a fiduciary today and you're unhappy about it or if you have just been notified that VA is thinking of appointing a fiduciary, you may appeal.

We urge every veteran who is unhappy with their fiduciary appointment to talk with a veterans law attorney.

The veterans law attorney will provide a free case assessment and let you know what can be done.

If you're having issues with a fidu appointment talk with an accredited veterans law attorney today!!!​

Far too many veterans get this sort of notice and then they don't respond appropriately.


This Is Not A Spectator Sport

You Must Act NOW!!!


If the appropriate response doesn't happen in a timely manner, the VA will act on the proposal and appoint a fiduciary. The fiduciary is then free to act to control the
finances and the result is often a major problem for the veteran. The following will apply to actions the veteran must take when he/she is first notified that a fiduciary appointment is being considered. These steps must be done as soon as possible after the letter arrives.

Time spent calling a Congressperson, consulting a VSO and so on is usually time wasted. Note that all these steps must be conducted in writing. There should be no phone calls and no emails. Faxes are not a good idea This is a very serious matter and the veteran must initiate a strong defensive plan of action.

Letters must be as brief as possible and state all the facts. Mailing must be done via USPS Certified Mail with Return Receipt

Requested. When you write to VA you must not display anger or emotion. Ultimately, you must get involved quickly if you do not believe that appointing a fiduciary for you is warranted.​

What to do when the fiduciary letter arrives


Most veterans do not understand the VA fiduciary appointment process. When a letter
arrives telling the veteran he or she is incompetent to handle their VA award money, it's usually a shock. Very few Veterans Service Officers or advocates within a

Congressional Representatives office are usually of little help.
VA will often try to appoint a fiduciary when the veteran is rated at 100% for a mental
health problem and there will be an award of retroactive pay that is greater than $20,000.00. There is often no particular reason for the proposal to appoint a fiduciary.
VA should always try to appoint a close family member although that doesn't usually happen.
In any case, whoever is appointed will be required to complete paperwork and clear any expenditures by the veteran through the VA.
If the appointment of a fiduciary can be avoided, it should be.

The process usually works like this:


(1) The veteran has a C & P exam where the topic of finances is brought up. The examiner may write a brief note that "Veteran is incompetent to manage his finances." This may or may not be true. I've observed cases where the veteran said "My wife handles our checkbook" and that has been interpreted by VA as enough to declare the veteran incompetent.


(2) A letter will arrive that is a "proposal" to begin an investigation and to appoint a fiduciary.


(3) If the veteran does not properly and timely respond to this proposal, an appointment is made for a VA Field Examiner (or Agent) to come to the veterans home to discuss the proposal to appoint a fiduciary.


(4) If the Field Examiner does come to the home they will soon after begin to run credit reports and other background checks to determine whether the spouse, parent or perhaps a sibling may act as fiduciary.


(5) If no approval is made for a family member, the FE will see that a VA appointed "professional" fiduciary is appointed. That person may be a banker, lawyer or other VA approved person and they will then take over the veterans VA money.


The veteran will then have to seek any funds through the appointed fiduciary.

To get notice that the VA is proposing to appoint a fiduciary is always an unpleasant, unwelcome surprise.


The veteran may or may not need help and guidance with the award money he or
she has earned. The VA fiduciary appointment program is one of the more mismanaged and poorly understood problems of your VA.

If you disagree with the appointment of a fiduciary in your case, you must act in your own interests and you must act quickly.


Read this page carefully. Then proceed to help yourself.​

Fiduciary Appointments


Overall, many of the processes at your VA are badly broken. The fiduciary
appointment system is mismanaged and often abusive to the targeted veteran.
While many veterans do need help to manage their financial affairs, there are a lot
of you who get caught up in the process through a series of errors. Once you are in this quagmire, it is often very difficult to get out.
In 2011 there was a major decision by the CAVC  that is beginning to help change
things. That's usually called The Freeman Decision and you should read it now. This is a complex legal document but it will help to to develop your appeal. In VA terms, a fiduciary is a legal guardian who will manage the money that VA has awarded to you for your service connected condition(s).
VA may attempt assign a fiduciary to manage your financial affairs if you are determined to
be incompetent to do that for yourself. In theory the VA fiduciary will only have authority to manage VA funds but if you have other income mixed with the money from VA, they will often seize it all.

Many veterans aren't aware that they're being examined for incompetence. During a routine C & P exam the examiner may ask you

"How do the bills get paid around your house?" or a similar question. There are a lot of us who would innocently reply; "My spouse writes all the checks. We find it easier to let her do all the banking stuff and she's better at it than I am. It works for us."

To most C & P examiners that means you can not handle your own finances.  They will make a brief note, "Veteran is not competent to manage his finances."
Once that little remark is in your record, you have a world of
problems coming your way. You will then be notified that there is a "proposal" to appoint a fiduciary for you. The first contact may be by mail or by telephone.​

No-Cost Flu Shot Options for Veterans

This year, enrolled Veterans of the VA health care system have several options to get a flu shot. VA now offers more options, easy access, and seamless records.


​ When and Where to get your flu shot today

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If you’ve filed a claim for disability compensation, you can continue uploading more evidence for up to one year to support your claim. Evidence may include supporting documents like medical test results, doctor’s reports, and other records. Upload your evidence online now.

An IMO by an expert  often makes the difference!

Overpayment? VA proposing to claw back

money from your benefits? Submit a Compromise Offer to the Debt Management Center. 

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Jim's Mailbag

Jim Strickland is a Vietnam era Army veteran and nationally recognized expert on VA disability benefits

and a member of the Stateside Legal Website Advisory BoardJim's Mailbag, is a regular column where veterans,

servicemembers, and family members can  ask Jim their questions about VA and Social Security disability benefits.  

You can browse all of these Q&As here, and search the Jim's Mailbag archives for helpful answers.

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Key findings about America’s military veterans

​​The experiences of post-9/11 veterans differ from

those who served in previous eras. Post-9/11

veterans more likely to have been deployed,

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Military Records DD 214

Official Military Personnel Files (OMPFs)
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Can VA Disability Compensation Be Used

to Calculate Child Support or Income?


​Veterans' disability benefits are compensation for

the veteran's impaired earning capacity and are intended to "provide reasonable and adequate compensation for disabled veterans and their families." They are not supposed to be for the sole support of the veteran, but can be counted in child support calculations to provide for the veteran's dependents as well. If the veteran wasn't disabled, he would be earning an income upon which the court would base child support; since disability benefits replace that income, child support can be based upon it.

Hey Jim...

Can you offer me some advice about;

​Discharge upgrade from "general under honorable", a Statement in Support of Claim, Hypertension and aortic stenosis, Total Knee Replacement, Married only one year and now divorcing, Endoscopic sinus surgery before separation from the USAF, Heart diseases and Agent Orange, Facing eviction from home of 20 years, TDIU and DOD disability, Can't get medical because supposedly get ChampVa, Korean vet and Agent Orange, Mother is VA fiduciary but won't give vet $$, Bad paper discharge for smoking pot, Becoming guardian for son with TBI, Getting service-connected rating for injury, SSDI denial even though 100% P & T for PTSD...

and many other topics that affect your life.


Yes...I'll answer just about any question you have, I'm privileged to have resources that I can ask when I don't know the answer...often enough as it happens.

We publish the messages we get from you anonymously, we won't use your name or give up your email address. We publish your emails exactly as they arrive here otherwise and we share the answer with other vets and their families so we all benefit.

We'll be around...ask us.​

Why You Need An IMO!

Accuracy of Claims Decisions Involving

Conditions of the Spine

​The OIG determined that VBA incorrectly

processed more than half

of the 62,500 veterans’ claims.

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We've been keeping veterans informed of news and events important to them since 2005.
You'll find all you need to file your claim and referrals to professionals who can help you when things don't go well. 
What you won't find here is unending chat or opinions from strangers who like to think of themselves as experts. 
Our goal is to ensure that you are awarded the benefits you earned with your service to our country. 

We're here to help you take charge of your benefits, and that is all.

Extra Schedular Rating

​Extra schedular ratings under 38 C.F.R. § 3.321(b)

​How can I get an extra schedular rating?

​To receive an extra schedular rating the veteran must first show that the veteran’s conditions result in a disability picture that is not covered by the schedule of ratings. 

Wounded Warrior Project Veterans Benefits

​C&P Service Clinician’s Guide
Scheduled For A C & P???    Filing A Claim?
This is a must read for you!!!​
I've been posting this again and again over the years 
and it's still one of the best ways I know to win 
your case. Published in 2002 the principles and much of 
the verbiage still applies and is in daily use at the VA. 

The VA fiduciary program is the most dangerous and corrupt offering from a dangerous and corrupt system. If VA approaches you about a fidu appointment, call a lawyer...quickly!

VA Identifies Additional Beneficiaries in Need of Fiduciary Assistance 

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that an information technology system that it deployed in 2014 and enhanced in 2015, the Beneficiary Fiduciary Field System, allowed it to identify claim processing errors affecting approximately 14,000 Veterans and survivors.  These Veterans’ and survivors’ claims were initially filed over many years, with some going back
as far as 2000. The errors concern cases in which VA had proposed that due to disability or age the beneficiary was unable to manage his or her VA benefits without assistance, but did not complete the action by transferring it within VA for appointment of a fiduciary.  These cases represent approximately four percent of such proposals since 2000.

GOP targets veterans gun ban
​The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has reported more than 257,000 former members of the military who cannot manage their finances to the FBI’s list of people who are not allowed to own guns, Republicans claim, even though "it has nothing to do with regulating firearms.”
​The VA is responsible for appointing a fiduciary to help veterans who it determines cannot manage their own finances, but the agency
is also taking the additional step of reporting these veterans to the “mental defective” category of the FBI’s background check system, even if they do not pose a danger to society, the senators allege.​

Fiduciary Appointment Questions???


These accredited veterans law attorneys will answer your questions for free.


Talk with one or all of them right now!


Department of Veterans Affairs Fiduciary Appointments

Veterans PTSD Assessments
Independent Medical Opinions    PTSD DBQs​


​Thomas Grieder, MD, PhD


​Twenty five years service as a VA psychiatrist
Assistant Professor and Associate Clinical Professor
UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
​Lead psychiatrist for the East Los Angeles PTSD Clinical Team​

Contact Dr. Grieder

If you have received notice that VA is considering the appointment of a fiduciary that means they believe you are incompetent to manage your own finances. This probably came about because during a C & P exam you were asked some leading questions about your money management skills and you flunked.

There is little on this page or anywhere else that will help you once VA begins to investigate you. Background checks may be run on family members to see if they have a criminal history. Credit reports are standard for anyone you suggest who may be appointed as your fiduciary. The process isn't at all friendly.


If you want to be rid of the VA fiduciary process, you must stop it BEFORE the fidu is appointed. Once the VA has completed the process and the fidu is a reality, the task of getting rid of the fidu becomes almost impossible.


You MUST take immediate action...right now.


Talk with any or all of the lawyers you'll find on this web site for free. They're waiting to hear from you...this is what they do.


Do not delay. If you want to stop the VA from running and maybe ruining your life...talk with your attorney today!

Field Examination Analysis

​Purpose
This article provides field examiners (FEs) guidance on the documentation of fiduciary specific information within the Beneficiary Fiduciary Field System (BFFS) FELux, the generation of field examination FElux letters and forms, and work item FElux documentation requirements. 

​CREDIT AND CRIMINAL BACKGROUND REVIEW
COMMISSION AND ESTATE PROTECTION (BOND)
ADMIN AND ACCOUNTING
DIARY
NOTES
GENERATING FELUX LETTERS AND FORMS
DOCUMENTATION REQUIREMENTS BY WORK ITEM TYPE

November 19th 2019

Training book used for VA

'How To Lie With Statistics'

Forms

Nothing happens until

you complete the

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Submit your claim ​21-526EZ


Other-than-honorable discharge?

You’re still eligible for VA mental health care​

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New technologies enable Russia and China

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How Much Can I Earn Without Losing

My Social Security?
The amount you can earn will depend on your

age and through which program you're

getting Social Security benefits.

Veteran Disability Claims: Nexus and IMO Letters

To meet the nexus requirement, the veteran must have an evaluation by a physician that will establish that the veteran is indeed disabled and also that his disability is as likely as not caused by his military service.  There are two methods used to establish such a nexus; one is independent medical examination and the other is independent medical opinion.

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Why Getting a Diagnosis Matters

​A diagnosis does so much more than get noted in your medical history. It also can help you apply for programs like Social Security Disability and medical marijuana cards. And maybe even more importantly, it can help you explain yourself to friends, colleagues and family.

Veterans Benefits on Reddit

VA Launchpad for Veterans

​The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Launchpad

App for Veterans (VA Launchpad) contains select VA applications (apps) for Veterans and their Caregivers.

New apps will automatically appear in the VA Launchpad when they become available. Organizing VA health information and resources into five categories, it quickly accesses and launches the VA app of your choice. With VA Launchpad, VA intends to save you time and help you better integrate available VA apps into your life.

The Schedule For Rating Disabilities

If you're thinking of filing a claim or initiating an appeal of a denied claim, this is your new best friend. The details of exactly what you need to meet a rating are here and in use every day. Yes, it's complex. Yes, it's cumbersome. Yes, knowing how to use The Schedule is a necessity if you want to file a successful claim. Go for it!

Social Security and You

Vets being duped by Social Security rumor mill

Owe VA Money??? 

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Untreated Hearing Loss Linked

To Loneliness And Isolation For Seniors

Did you know that hearing loss and tinnitus are the

most commonly rated veterans disabilities? Did you

know that hearing loss and tinnitus can cause

other secondary conditions, particularly mental

health problems like depression and loneliness?

AT WAR
40 Stories From Women About

Life in the Military​   

"Not Many Women Get to

Do What I Do"

Everything you ever wanted to know about how

the VA benefits system works but were afraid to ask.
Welcome to the

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Google Tracks You

and we don't.
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Google's hidden trackers.
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Robert Wilkie  <robert.wilkie@va.gov>  ​855-948-2311

How to download VA benefit letters
To receive some benefits, Veterans need a letter proving their status. Access and download your VA Benefit Summary Letter (sometimes called a VA award letter) and other benefit letters and documents online.

The Google IT Support Professional Certificate
The IT Support Professional Certificate, developed by Google and hosted on Coursera, can help you become ready for an entry-level job in IT support in under six months. No experience is necessary.

VA Releases Survivors Quick Start Guide
Reference guide to help during final

arrangements planning

What You Should Know about Disability and Debt

There Are Protections...When it comes to debt collection, disability income enjoys special status.

Should You Get Medicare

Supplement Plan F?

How about  Medicare Parts A and B?

Maybe Part F+? Part D? 

​Oh, unless you live in

Massachusetts, Minnesota or Wisconsin.

​Confused? Just wait until you hear about 

programs such as Medicare

Part C or a Medicare Advantage policy.

Jim's Mailbag

Presumptive Benefits...what are they?

When you claim that a disabling condition is caused by military service, you have to prove that allegation.

Or do you?