Thursday, January 24, 2013

Clennan v. Shinseki

Clennan v. Shinseki, docket no. 10-1375 (Vet. App. Jan. 24, 2013) In this case, a VA regional office determined that a veteran was incompetent to manage his own funds and placed him in their supervised direct pay program. In this program, disability benefits are paid directly to the incompetent veteran who is subjected to periodic VA field examinations. Five years after being declared incompetent by VA, the veteran was awarded 100% service-connected disability benefits, resulting in a large retroactive award. Shortly thereafter, VA appointed a fiduciary to manage the veteran’s funds and authorized payment to the fiduciary of 4% of the veteran’s disability benefits. The veteran argued that VA’s decision that he was incompetent was nullified based on VA’s payments to him under the supervised direct pay program for so many years. The Court rejected this argument, finding that participation in the supervised direct pay program does not void or negate a competency determination.

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