|Matthew Hill:||Hello and welcome to another Hill and Ponton Veterans Video Blog. I’m Matthew Hill.|
|Carol Ponton:||Carol Ponton.|
|Matthew Hill:||Today we’d like to talk to you about incompetence and what that means in the VA service connect disability sphere. Essentially the bottom line on that is, it’s a fiduciary incompetence. It’s the VA saying that you as the veteran are not able to handle your benefits, meaning you’re not responsible enough to handle your benefits. Once they make that decision, then it goes from there.|
|Carol Ponton:||A number of things happen that we don’t like for our veterans. One, the VA picks somebody else to handle your money. It could be somebody in your family, or it could be a total stranger you have to pay to handle your money.|
|The second thing is they take away, or make sure you have no possession of guns. This is something you don’t want to have happen if there’s any way possible, okay. When this usually happens is, if someone has a VA exam by compensation and pension exam, and the doctor checks “you can’t handle your own funds.”|
|When you go to the VA they’re going to ask you if you’ve had a compensation and pension exam, a mental one. Do you know how much your bills are? Are you able to pay them? Now, if you know, but say you can’t physically write because of your hand, then you say, “Yes, I know how much and my wife helps me because of my hand.”|
|Don’t set yourself up for being found incompetent, if you really are competent. If you’re found incompetent, what they’ll do is they’ll propose that they’re going to find you incompetent, and they give you time to submit evidence.|
|What you need to do, is you need to get statements from your wife, your daughter, your husband, to you show that you have been competent all along. If you have a treating VA doctor, that helps a lot for them just to write a statement that says, “I’ve been treating this person for so long, and I feel they are competent to handle their own funds.”|
|Matthew Hill:||Going back to watch Carol just said there, on the C&P exam, and when veterans get tripped up … It’s very common that one person in the marriage is the one who handles all the money, handles all the bills. A lot of times that can be the wife.|
|What we see a lot is that a veteran says, “My wife handles all the money,” and then the VA doctor on the C&P exam right there, just checks that box, and says “Oh, he can’t handle his funds.” It’s just not true. Just be aware of that when you go in. Don’t fall in the trap. Make sure you tell them,” Look my wife handles the funds because it’s the arrangement we have, but I’m fine with money.”|
|If you get farther down the line, like Carol was talking about, where they propose incompetency … At that point, what I like to do with our veterans, is to start preparing a record. Either have them go see an outside doctor, to examine him on what he is able to do, or look in their day-to-day bills. Who’s paying the bills? Look at the bank statements. Are there overdraft fees or are there charges that shouldn’t be there?|
|Carol Ponton:||Is their credit good?|
|Matthew Hill:||Yeah. Is their credit good, looking at all that stuff to show, “Well, no, I am competent. There’s no problem with our finances here.”|
|Carol Ponton:||“I submit the credit report. I submit a letter from the family saying who pays the bills, and who’s competent to do that. Usually, we don’t have a problem.” You really don’t want to be found incompetent if you can help it.|
|Matthew Hill:||We’ll say, on the flip side, if you’re just struggling with paying the money … If that’s too much, or just too overwhelming, that’s what the fiduciary is in place for. At that point, you need to decide if there’s somebody in your family that you want to promote to the VA, that should be able to handle your funds, or you just want to go to a professional.|
|If you can’t handle your funds, what becomes a problem is, is that, people could steal from you. Banks can charge you ridiculous fees. Credit cards could do the same thing. If you need it, it’s there, but that’s something you want to be thinking about going in, versus the VA come at you and say, ” You’re not competent.”|
|Matthew Hill:||Well thank you for joining us on the Hill and Ponton Veterans Video Blog. We look forward to seeing on the space further down the line.|
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