38 CFR § 13.400 - Misuse of benefits.
(a) Definition of misuse. Misuse of benefits by a fiduciary occurs in any case in which the fiduciary receives payment of benefits for the use and benefit of a beneficiary and the beneficiary's dependents, if any, and uses any part of such payment for a use other than the use and benefit of the beneficiary or the beneficiary's dependents. For the purpose of this section, use and benefit means any expenditure reasonably intended for the care, support, or maintenance of the beneficiary or the beneficiary's dependents. Such expenditures may include the fiduciary's efforts to improve the beneficiary's standard of living under rules prescribed in this part.
(b) Misuse determinations. Upon receipt of information from any source regarding possible misuse of VA benefits by a fiduciary, the Hub Manager may, upon his or her discretion, investigate the matter and issue a misuse determination in writing. This decision will:
(1) Identify the beneficiary,
(2) Identify the fiduciary,
(4) Identify the source of the information,
(5) Describe in detail the facts found as a result of the investigation,
(c) Notice. The Hub Manager will provide written notice of the misuse determination prescribed in paragraph (b) of this section, including a copy of the Hub Manager's written decision, an explanation regarding the reconsideration procedure prescribed in paragraph (d) of this section, and the beneficiary's right to appeal under § 13.600, to:
(1) The fiduciary;
(2) The beneficiary or the beneficiary's legal guardian, and the beneficiary's accredited representative, attorney, or claims agents;
(3) The court of jurisdiction if the fiduciary is also the beneficiary's court-appointed guardian and/or conservator; and
(4) The Director of the Pension and Fiduciary Service.
(d) Finality and reconsideration of misuse determinations.
(1) The Hub Manager's misuse determination is a final decision, unless:
(i) The Hub Manager receives a written request for reconsideration from the fiduciary or the beneficiary not later than 30 days after the date that the Hub Manager mailed notice of his or her misuse determination; or
(2) The fiduciary or the beneficiary may submit additional information pertinent to reconsideration of the misuse determination and not previously considered by the Hub Manager, provided that the additional information is submitted with the written reconsideration request.
(3) The Hub Manager will close the record regarding reconsideration at the end of the 30-day period described in paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section and furnish a timely request submitted by the fiduciary or the beneficiary, including any new information, to the Director of the VA Regional Office with jurisdiction over the fiduciary hub for a final decision.
(4) In making the misuse determination on reconsideration, the Regional Office Director's decision will be based upon a review of the information of record as of the date of the Hub Manager's misuse determination and any new information submitted with the request. The decision will:
(i) Identify the beneficiary,
(ii) Identify the fiduciary,
(iii) Identify if the fiduciary is also the beneficiary's court-appointed guardian or conservator,
(iv) Identify the date of the Hub Manager's prior decision,
(v) Describe in detail the facts found as a result of the Director's review of the Hub Manager's decision and any new information submitted with the reconsideration request, and
(vi) State the reasons for the Director's final decision, which may affirm, modify, or overturn the Hub Manager's decision.
(i) The fiduciary,
(ii) The beneficiary or the beneficiary's legal guardian, and the beneficiary's accredited representative, attorney, or claims agent;
(iii) The court, if the fiduciary is also the beneficiary's court-appointed guardian or conservator; and
(iv) The Director of the Pension and Fiduciary Service.
(e) Reporting of misuse. Except as prescribed in § 1.204 of this chapter, which requires VA management officials to promptly report possible criminal matters involving felonies to the VA Office of Inspector General, reporting of misuse cases will occur as follows:
(1) Not later than 30 days after a final determination is made under paragraph (d) of this section that a fiduciary has misused VA benefits, the Director of the VA Regional Office who has jurisdiction over the fiduciary hub will notify the VA Office of Inspector General for purposes of any further action that the Inspector General deems appropriate under separate authority, and the court of jurisdiction if the fiduciary is also the beneficiary's court-appointed legal guardian and/or conservator.
(2) For purposes of application of § 13.410 regarding reissuance and recoupment of benefits, the Office of Inspector General will advise the Director of the Pension and Fiduciary Service of any final decision regarding prosecution of a fiduciary who misused VA benefits and any final judgment of a court in such a prosecution not later than 30 days after the decision is made or judgment is entered.