Does the VA recognize Power of Attorney?

Unfortunately the VA does not recognize Power of Attorney (POA) or Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA). If your loved is capable of managing their own affairs, and you hold POA of DPOA for emergency purposes, it will be easier for them to sign and handle the appropriate correspondence.

If your loved one is not capable of managing their own affairs due to diminished mental capacity as in dementia or Alzheimer's, the VA is going to rule that they are in need of a fiduciary. Holding POA or DPOA does not grant this authority to you. Once you receive notification from the VA that they find it necessary for a fiduciary to be appointed you should submit Form 21-4138 and include the following statement:

Please be advised that (parent's name) and I have no issue with the VA finding of incompetence and wish to proceed with the appointment of a fiduciary. We wish to appoint myself (her/his insert your relationship to the veteran) as fiduciary. I understand that I must be interviewed prior to that appointment and would appreciate such an interview be scheduled as soon as possible.

At this point both you (or whoever is asking to be appointed) and the applicant will have to be interviewed by a VA Field Agent who will determine if you are an appropriate person to assign fiduciary to.

Note: Due to the overwhelming needs for interviews such as this, it can take months before you are contacted to schedule an appointment. You may need to be proactive in calling and "requesting" that an appointment be scheduled. You should allow at least 30 days before following up with contact.

If your situation is one that the delay in payments will create an extreme financial hardship, you can include the following statement as a way of expediting payment:

I respectfully question the withholding of my (parent's name) benefits, pending the appointment of a fiduciary. Referencing a VA policy: Pursuant to VA Manual M21-1, Section 17.15: Procedure Upon Receipt of Evidence of Incompetency, your manual states "Do not routinely suspend direct payments to a beneficiary pending development of an issue of incompetency or certification of a fiduciary." The manual further states: "If entitlement to benefits has been established but no payment has been made or if increased benefits are payable, make a determination as to whether or not benefits should be paid directly pending certification. The determination should consider if delaying the payment of the benefits would cause undue hardship for the beneficiary. If the evidence of record shows that delaying payment would create a hardship, properly annotate the award, referencing the evidence reviewed and the justification for paying benefits directly to the beneficiary." I think if you reference (parent's name) claim, you will see that withholding his/her payment does constitute a hardship for him/her. I would like to request that he/she receive payments during the fiduciary appointment process.