38 CFR § 13.120 - Field examinations.

§ 13.120 Field examinations.

(a) Authority. The Hub Manager will order a field examination regarding fiduciary matters within the Hub Manager's jurisdiction for any of the reasons prescribed in paragraph (c) of this section. For purposes of this section, field examination means the inquiry, investigation, or monitoring activity conducted by designated fiduciary hub or other qualified VA personnel who are authorized to:

(1) Interview beneficiaries, dependents, and other interested persons regarding fiduciary matters;

(2) Interview proposed fiduciaries and current fiduciaries regarding their qualifications, performance, or compliance with VA regulations;

(3) Conduct investigations and examine witnesses regarding any fiduciary matter;

(4) Take affidavits;

(5) Administer oaths and affirmations;

(6) Certify copies of public or private documents; and

(7) Aid claimants and beneficiaries in the preparation of claims for VA benefits or other fiduciary or claim-related material.

(b) Scope of field examinations. Field examinations may include, but are not limited to:

(1) Assessing a beneficiary's and the beneficiary's dependents' welfare and physical and mental well-being, environmental and social conditions, and overall financial situation, based upon visiting the beneficiary's current residence and conducting a face-to-face interview of the beneficiary and the beneficiary's dependents, when practicable;

(i) The Hub Manager will waive the requirements of paragraph (b)(1) of this section if the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has approved the fiduciary as the beneficiary's family caregiver, and VHA's status report regarding the beneficiary indicates the beneficiary is in an excellent situation.

(ii) The provisions of paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section do not apply when the Hub Manager has information that a fiduciary, who is also the beneficiary's VHA-designated family caregiver, is misusing a beneficiary's VA funds under management, is neglecting a beneficiary, or has failed to comply with the requirements of § 13.140, or there is insufficient evidence to determine the beneficiary's well-being.

(2) Assessing the beneficiary's ability to manage his or her own VA benefits with only limited VA supervision (see § 13.110 regarding supervised direct payment);

(3) Collecting and reviewing financial documentation, including income and expenditure information;

(4) Providing any necessary assistance to the beneficiary with issues affecting current or additional VA benefits, claims, and non-VA matters that may affect or conflict with VA benefits;

(5) Making appropriate referrals in cases of actual or suspected physical or mental abuse, neglect, or other harm to a beneficiary;

(6) Investigating, when necessary, allegations that a beneficiary's fiduciary has engaged in misconduct or misused VA benefits to include but not limited to allegations regarding:

(i) Theft or misappropriation of funds,

(ii) Failure to comply with the responsibilities of a fiduciary as prescribed in § 13.140,

(iii) Other allegations of inappropriate fund management by a fiduciary, and

(iv) Other special circumstances which require a visit with or onsite review of the fiduciary, such as a change in an award of benefits or benefit status, or non-fiduciary program matters.

(c) Reasons for conducting field examinations. A Hub Manager will order a field examination to:

(1) Determine whether benefits should be paid directly to a beneficiary under § 13.110 or to a fiduciary appointed for the beneficiary under § 13.100;

(2) Determine whether benefit payments should continue to be made directly to a beneficiary under § 13.110 or to a fiduciary on behalf of a beneficiary; or

(3) Ensure the well-being of a beneficiary in the fiduciary program or to protect a beneficiary's VA benefit funds.

(Authority: U.S.C. 501, 512, 5502, 5506, 5507, 5711)
(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control numbers 2900-0815 and 2900-0803)