View all text of Part 13 [§ 13.10 - § 13.600]

§ 13.30 - Beneficiary rights.

Except as prescribed in this part, a beneficiary in the fiduciary program is entitled to the same rights afforded any other VA beneficiary.

(a) General policy. Generally, a beneficiary has the right to manage his or her own VA benefits. However, due to a beneficiary's injury, disease, or infirmities of advanced age or by reason of being less than the age of majority, VA may determine that the beneficiary is unable to manage his or her benefits without VA supervision or the assistance of a fiduciary. Or a court with jurisdiction might determine that a beneficiary is unable to manage his or her financial affairs. Under any of these circumstances, VA will apply the provisions of this part to ensure that VA benefits are being used to maintain the well-being of the beneficiary and the beneficiary's dependents.

(b) Specific rights. The rights of beneficiaries in the fiduciary program include, but are not limited to, the right to:

(1) Receive direct payment of recurring monthly benefits until VA appoints a fiduciary if the beneficiary reaches the age of majority or older;

(2) Receive written notice regarding VA's appointment of a fiduciary or any other decision on a fiduciary matter that affects VA's provision of benefits to the beneficiary;

(3) Appeal to the Board of Veterans' Appeals VA's appointment of a fiduciary;

(4) Be informed of the fiduciary's name, telephone number, mailing address, and email address;

(5) Contact his or her fiduciary and request a disbursement of funds for current or foreseeable needs or consideration for payment of previously incurred expenses, account balance information, or other information or assistance consistent with the responsibilities of the fiduciary prescribed in § 13.140;

(6) Obtain from his or her fiduciary a copy of the fiduciary's VA-approved annual accounting;

(7) Have VA reissue benefits misused by a fiduciary if VA is negligent in appointing or overseeing the fiduciary or if the fiduciary who misused the benefits meets the criteria prescribed in § 13.410;

(8) Appeal to the Board of Veterans' Appeals VA's determination regarding its own negligence in misuse and reissuance of benefits matters;

(9) Submit to VA a reasonable request for appointment of a successor fiduciary. For purposes of this paragraph, reasonable request means a good faith effort to seek replacement of a fiduciary, if:

(i) The beneficiary's current fiduciary receives a fee deducted from the beneficiary's account under § 13.220 and the beneficiary requests an unpaid volunteer fiduciary who ranks higher in the order of preference under § 13.100(e);

(ii) The beneficiary requests removal of his or her fiduciary under § 13.500(a)(1)(iii) and supervised direct payment of benefits under § 13.110; or

(iii) The beneficiary provides credible information that the current fiduciary is not acting in the beneficiary's interest or is unable to effectively serve the beneficiary due to a personality conflict or disagreement and VA is not able to obtain resolution;

(10)(i) Be removed from the fiduciary program and receive direct payment of benefits without VA supervision provided that the beneficiary:

(A) Is rated by VA as able to manage his or her own benefits; or

(B) Is determined by a court with jurisdiction as able to manage his or her financial affairs if the beneficiary is in the fiduciary program as a result of a court order and not a decision by VA's rating agency; or

(C) Attains the age of majority;

(ii) Have a fiduciary removed and receive direct payment of benefits with VA supervision as prescribed in § 13.110 regarding supervised direct payment and § 13.500 regarding removal of fiduciaries generally, provided that the beneficiary establishes the ability to manage his or her own benefits with limited and temporary VA supervision; and

(11) Be represented by a VA-accredited attorney, claims agent, or representative of a VA-recognized veterans service organization. This includes the right to have a representative present during a field examination and the right to be represented in the appeal of a fiduciary matter under § 13.600.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501) (Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 2900-0017)