Being a representative payee means taking on the duties of administering the benefits given to a protected person by an organization like the Social Security Administration (SSA) or The Department of Veteran’s Affairs. When you are appointed as a representative payee for a person’s VA funds, you can also be called a VA Fiduciary. While there are certain challenges that come with being a representative payee, working with VA assets presents a few additional issues that representative payees should be aware of.
These are a few of the challenges associated with being a representative payee who administers VA benefits on behalf of a protected person.
Challenges with existing Conservatorships/Guardianships
While the federal agency (in this case, the VA) appoint representative payees to administer the benefits of their program, the state courts reserve the right to play a role in the conservatorship and guardianship appointments in their respective states. This can create a bit of a conflict between the roles, which can often be performed by the same people. This is because there is generally little coordination between the VA and the state courts.
Whether you are only performing the duties of a representative payee or combining that role with either a conservator or guardian, it’s important to understand the duties and responsibilities of each role and how they come together to help a protected person in your state.
Challenges of Working with Both Federal and State Entities
Since the VA is a federal agency and conservatorships and guardianships are overseen by the states, there can at times be disconnects and gaps of information between the state and federal courts when overseeing the cases. State and federal courts generally work together on these on a case-by-case basis, and the results aren’t always the same. Some state courts will send notifications of guardianships to the VA, but there is no set-in-stone system of notification between the two levels of government. This can create additional roadblocks that representative payees should be ready to confront.
If you are having issues as a representative payee or as a guardian or conservator, you should direct your questions towards the VA, or respective state court or your attorney.
Disclaimer: this is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. If you need legal counsel, please contact an attorney directly.