Oklahoma is home to thousands of disabled veterans, many without family or friends to help them with their finances, healthcare and other personal matters. Senate Bill 931, by Sen. Paul Rosino, creates the Veterans Volunteer Guardianship Act to provide Oklahoma’s heroes with guardians to look out for their financial and physical well-being.
“So many of our disabled veterans don’t have family or friends to help them with issues that the rest of us might take for granted. When they don’t have someone to help them with the management of their finances, personal matters or medical decisions or simply don’t have the legal capacity to make such decisions, it leaves them vulnerable to financial scams and dangerous health decisions,” said Rosino, R-Oklahoma City. “This outreach program will provide training to volunteers who care about the well-being of our disabled veterans and will protect their best interests. Our veterans deserve nothing less, and I want to thank the ODVA for bringing forward this important issue.”
SB 931 was a request bill from the Department of Veterans Affairs (ODVA). According to ODVA, approximately ten percent of veterans in Oklahoma’s seven Veterans Centers do not have interested family members or friends willing to serve as their guardians when they become incapacitated or partially incapacitated. The bill pertains to disabled veterans both inside and out of the state’s Veterans Centers.
“There is significant need among Oklahoma veterans for court-appointed guardians. With passage of Senate Bill 931, we are moving towards a truly workable method of connecting volunteer guardians with veterans who have no one to help them with their medical decisions or personal affairs,” said Joel Kintsel, ODVA Deputy Director. “We are deeply grateful for Senator Rosino’s sponsorship of this legislation.”
Under SB 931, 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. The bill requires a guardian to have a bond if he or she is managing a veteran’s property. The measure outlines requirements under which the guardian’s bond may be provided or reimbursed.
The measure will next be considered by the House.