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Highlights

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pays billions of dollars in compensation and pension benefits to disabled veterans and their dependents. For those beneficiaries who are unable to manage their own affairs, VA appoints a third party, called a fiduciary, to manage their VA funds. Congress, VA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) and GAO have noted that VA does not always have, or adhere to, effective policies for selecting and monitoring fiduciaries and therefore, does not fully safeguard the assets of beneficiaries in the Fiduciary Program. GAO was asked to discuss the Fiduciary Program and possible ways that it could be improved to better serve veterans, their families, and survivors. This statement is based on GAO's February 2010 report (GAO-10-241), which examined (1) VA policies and procedures for monitoring fiduciaries and safeguarding beneficiary assets and (2) challenges VA faces in improving program performance and oversight. To conduct that work, GAO reviewed program policies and relevant federal laws and regulations, analyzed a nationally representative random sample of case files, interviewed Central Office managers and staff, and conducted three site visits to Fiduciary Program offices, which accounted for 25 percent of program beneficiaries.

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