Many of Oklahoma’s disabled veterans do not have anyone to help them make critical decisions concerning their finances, health and other personal affairs. Now these heroes will have court-appointed, trained volunteers available to assist them thanks to legislation signed into law Thursday.
Sen. Paul Rosino is the author of Senate Bill 931 creating the Veterans Volunteer Guardianship Act, which went into effect upon being signed.
“Sadly, many of Oklahoma’s disabled heroes are falling victim to financial scams or are making dangerous health decisions because they don’t have anyone to depend on for help,” said Rosino, R-Oklahoma City. “This program will provide trained volunteers who will be appointed by the courts to meet the special needs of each veteran. They will now be able to rest easy knowing they have someone looking out for their best interests. I want to thank my colleagues in both chambers and Governor Stitt for supporting this important bill and showing our military heroes we truly care and want the best for them.”
Under the new law, veteran-specific guardians will be appointed under the existing provisions of the Oklahoma Guardianship and Conservatorship Act. Guardianships may be general or limited to the specific needs of the veteran. Each guardian will be required to have a bond if managing a veteran’s property.
The measure was requested by the Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA). Approximately ten percent of Oklahoma’s fully or partially incapacitated veterans do not have family members or friends to serve as their guardians.
“With passage of Senate Bill 931, we now have a tool to help the neediest ten percent of Oklahoma veterans,” said Joel Kintsel, ODVA Deputy Director. “Senator Rosino’s bill opens the way to better healthcare and life decisions for veterans who have no one else to help them.”
The new law applies to disabled veterans both inside and out of the state’s seven veterans centers.