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U.S. CONGRESSMAN BILL JOHNSON Proudly Representing Eastern and Southeastern Ohio

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Bill Johnson Introduces Legislation to Protect Vulnerable Veterans

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Washington, June 12, 2015 | Ben Keeler (330.337.6951) | comments
Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) has introduced H.R. 2605, the Veterans Fiduciary Act of 2015, an important piece of legislation designed to help America’s vulnerable veterans.
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Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) has introduced H.R. 2605, the Veterans Fiduciary Act of 2015, an important piece of legislation designed to help America’s vulnerable veterans.

Johnson introduced similar legislation in 2013, which passed the House as a part of a broader bill, but was not acted on by the Senate. The Veterans Fiduciary Act of 2015 has a similar aim: to increase protections for vulnerable veterans who must rely on others to manage their finances.

Johnson first learned of issues within the VA Fiduciary program from an investigation performed by his subcommittee (Oversight & Investigations) on the House Veterans Affairs Committee in 2012. Some fiduciaries were caught withholding funds, embezzling veterans’ money, and other egregious actions. As a result of this subcommittee hearing, it became clear to Johnson that the VA’s Fiduciary program policies do not correspond with actual practices, including giving family members preference to serve as a veteran’s fiduciary.

“Yesterday, I participated in a House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee hearing on the VA’s Fiduciary Program. It is disheartening and unacceptable that many of the same issues we brought to the VA’s attention three years ago are still ongoing.  We must protect our veterans – who were willing to sacrifice everything to serve our nation – from falling victim to deceitful and criminal fiduciaries. I strongly encourage my colleagues in the House to once again support vital legislation, in this case H.R. 2065, which will address many of these issues and provide much-needed reform,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s legislation allows a veteran to appeal incompetent status at any time, allows veterans to name a preferred fiduciary, or to remove a fiduciary at any time. It also requires the VA to perform face-to-face interviews and criminal and credit background checks each time a fiduciary is appointed. Importantly, it also reduces the maximum fee a fiduciary can receive to the lesser amount of 3 percent or $35 a month.

Information on the legislation: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2605

 

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