Veterans Administration Does Not Recognize State Guardians


I’ve been at the North Carolina Guardianship Association conference for the last couple of days.  One issue that I never really gave much thought to is that the Veterans Administration, as a federal agency, does not recognize state guardianships.  Neither the adjudication of incompetency under state law nor the appointment of a guardian is given credence by the VA.

Thus, a guardian has no authority to deal with VA benefit payments, and must initiate a federal proceeding to attempt to gain that right.  The VA will make its own determination of incompetency, based on different standards than state law.  Then, if the veteran or spouse is determined to be incompetent, a federal fiduciary is appointed.  This may or may not be the same person as the guardian.

The federal fiduciary deals only with the VA payments, and must use the money in accordance with a strict spending plan set by the VA.  There is virtually no discretion involved.

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