PDT Staff Writer
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio-6 (which includes part of Scioto County) has introduced H.R. 5948, the Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act of 2012. Johnson was one of several congressmen who issued a statement on the bill that seeks to end veterans becoming victims of unethical practices by those who have been charged with their care and protection.
“For too long, VA fiduciaries have abused the system and subverted the rights of the veterans they were entrusted to protect, in some cases for personal gain,” Johnson said. “This program has long been in need of reform. Our veterans and their families must trust VA and its agents to act lawfully and ethically on their behalf, and yet time and again, that trust has been broken, despite VA’s claims to the contrary.”
Johnson said the bill would mandate that all VA fiduciaries go through a background and credit check.
“This legislation also institutes an appeals process to ensure that veterans and their families have recourse should they lose confidence in a VA-appointed fiduciary,” Johnson said. “Furthermore, this bill will add a layer of protection to a veteran’s savings, and in cases of misfeasance, VA will ensure monies are returned to the veteran.”
“As Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I am dedicated to ensuring VA is responsible to the very people it serves,” stated Rep. Jeff Miller. “VA has ignored these problems for far too long and has allowed reckless behavior to pervade the system, and we have yet to see any meaningful reforms. Therefore, the Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act will require VA to clean up its fiduciary program by implementing new accounting practices and increasing transparency to the veteran. This legislation, the result of years of oversight, will better protect our veterans and their earned benefits.”
“Too many veterans have been poorly treated under this program by the very people entrusted to protect them,” said Rep. Phil Roe. “It is clear that VA has lost control of the program, its employees, and there is no accountability or leadership. This begs the question, who is manning the ship? We will not, and cannot, tolerate any veteran being mistreated by VA-appointed fiduciaries. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to pass this legislation quickly and begin enactment immediately.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com.