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M21-1, Part X, Chapter 16 – Fugitive Felon Match

Overview


 In This Chapter

This chapter contains the following topics:
Topic
Topic Name
1
2
3
4

1.  Identification of Fugitive Felons 


Introduction

This topic contains information on the identification of fugitive felons, including

Change Date

December 26, 2017

X.16.1.a.  Definition: Fugitive Felon

fugitive felon, for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) purposes, is a person who is
  • fleeing to avoid prosecution, or custody or confinement after conviction, for an offense, or an attempt to commit an offense, which is a felony, or
  • considered a fugitive because he/she violated a condition of probation or parole imposed for commission of a felony.

X.16.1.b. Legal Basis for the Fugitive Felon Match

38 U.S.C. 5313B prohibits the payment of
  • VA benefits to
    • a beneficiary (including an apportionee) while he/she is a fugitive felon, and
    • the dependent(s) (including apportionees) of a Veteran while the Veteran is a fugitive felon, and
  • additional VA benefits to a beneficiary for a dependent who is a fugitive felon.
Exception:  The prohibition of payment under 38 U.S.C. 5313B does not apply to beneficiaries in receipt of Old Law Pension or Section 306 Pension.
Note:  Dependent children of a fugitive surviving spouse may continue to receive benefits in their own right.
Reference:  For more information on the prohibition of payment to fugitive felons, see

X.16.1.c.  Objectives of the Fugitive Felon Match

The objectives of the fugitive felon match are to
  • assist law enforcement agencies in the apprehension of fugitives, and
  • prevent payment of benefits to or for fugitive felons.

X.16.1.d.  OIG Responsibilities With Regard to the Match

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) is responsible for
  • entering into computer matching agreements with law enforcement agencies
  • matching lists of individuals with a felony arrest warrant, to which one of the offense codes shown in M21-1, Part X, 16.1.e has been assigned, against VA records to identify beneficiaries and dependents of beneficiaries that might be fugitive felons
  • investigating each matched case to determine whether the individual with the felony arrest warrant and the VA beneficiary or dependent are the same person
  • referring matched cases, electronically,  to the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), on Form FFP-3, VA Investigative Summary Form, and
  • providing VBA with ongoing advice, assistance, and investigative resources to help resolve issues concerning the legal status of any alleged fugitive felon.

X.16.1.e.  NCIC Offense Codes

The table below contains information about the offense codes referenced in M21-1, Part X, 16.1.d.  The National Crime Information Center (NCIC) assigns these codes, and they are an indicator that the individual with the felony arrest warrant
  • is/was fleeing, or
  • has violated the conditions of probation or parole.
Offense Code
What the Code Denotes
4901
escape
4902
flight to avoid prosecution
4999
flight-escape
5011
parole violation
5012
probation violation
8101
juvenile offender abscond (escape/flee) while on parole
8102
juvenile offender abscond while on probation
Important:  This list is not all-inclusive.

X.16.1.f.  VBA Responsibilities With Regard to the Match

VBA is responsible for
  • controlling each Form FFP-3 it receives from OIG
  • providing notice of proposed adverse action to the affected beneficiary
  • determining whether it is more likely than not that the individual named onForm FFP-3
    • fled from justice, or
    • violated a condition of probation or parole
  • stopping or reducing the beneficiary’s award (if the determination referenced in the above bullet is unfavorable) during the period(s) when the beneficiary or beneficiary’s dependent is/was in a fugitive-felon status
  • notifying the beneficiary of the decision, whether favorable or unfavorable, and
  • resuming benefits upon receipt of adequate evidence showing the beneficiary or beneficiary’s dependent is no longer a fugitive felon.
Reference:  For details regarding the responsibilities described in this block, seeM21-1, Part X, 16.2.

2.  Fugitive Felon Award Adjustments


Introduction

This topic contains information on fugitive felon award adjustments, including

Change Date

February 19, 2019

X.16.2.a.  Initial Stages of the Process for Handling Form FFP-3

The table below contains a description of the initial stages of the process for handling Form FFP-3.
Stage
Description
1
OIG routes to VBA batches of Forms FFP-3 that bear the names of individuals that are receiving benefits from VA or are dependents of VA beneficiaries.
2
  • For each fugitive felon case that meets the criteria for automated processing, a VBA computer application
    • establishes an end product (EP) 600
    • generates a notice of proposed adverse action, and
    • sends the notice to the affected beneficiary (and apportionee, if the individual named on Form FFP-3 is an apportionee).
  • For each fugitive felon case that does not meet the criteria for automated processing, the computer application generates an 840-series work item, labeled Fugitive Felon Batch Reject – Multiple Awards Found.
Examples:  Fugitive felon cases in which the following has occurred donot meet the criteria for automated processing:
  • arrest warrant was deemed invalid, or
  • individual named on Form FFP-3 has already been arrested.
3
VBA uploads the Forms FFP-3 to a SharePoint site, grouping them by station of origination.
Note:  VBA does not usually upload a Form FFP-3 to the SharePoint site if the warrant for which the form was generated was cleared within 30 days of issuance.
4
Regional offices (ROs) move the Forms FFP-3 that fall under their jurisdiction into the appropriate electronic claims folders (eFolders).
Notes:
  • Except as noted in M21-1, Part X, 16.2.c, no further RO action is required on fugitive felon cases that met the criteria for automated processing.
  • ROs must follow the instructions in M21-1, Part X, 16.2.b for each fugitive felon case that did not meet the criteria for automated processing (as indicated by the generation of an 840-series work item).

X.16.2.b.  Handling Fugitive Felon Cases That Must Be Processed Manually 

ROs must take the actions described in the table below when an 840-series work item appears in their inventory that represents a fugitive felon case that did notmeet the criteria for automated processing.
Step
Action
1
Does the name, date of birth, and Social Security number that is printed on Form FFP-3 match up with an individual (beneficiary or dependent) to or for whom VA has awarded compensation or pension?
  • If yes, proceed to Step 2.
  • If no, follow the instructions in the table below.
If …
Then …
a Veterans Service Center (VSC) is processing the case
  • notify Compensation Service of the finding by e-mail (VAVBAWAS/CO/212A), and
  • take no further action until Compensation Service responds to the e-mail.
a pension management center (PMC) is processing the case
  • notify Pension and Fiduciary (P&F) Service of the finding by e-mail (VAVBAWAS/CO/PENSION POL & PROC), and
  • take no further action until P&F Service responds to the e-mail.
Note:  If Compensation Service or P&F Service concur that the individual named on Form FFP-3 is neither a beneficiary nor a dependent,
  • clear the corresponding work item, and
  • take no further action.
2
  • Clear the 840-series work item.
  • Establish EP 600,
    • using the current date as the date of claim, and
    • adding Potential Under/Overpayment as a special issue.
3
Prepare and issue to the beneficiary (and apportionee, if the individual named on Form FFP-3 is an apportionee) the notice of proposed adverse action identified in Enclosure 1 to VBA Letter 20-14-09, New Fugitive Felon Policy and Procedures.
Important:
  • The notice to the beneficiary (and apportionee, if applicable) must cite the date VA proposes to reduce or stop benefits.  This date is the later of the following dates:
    • the date of the warrant (the warrant date appears near the top of Form FFP-3, under the headingWARRANT INFORMATION), or
    • December 27, 2001 (the date 38 U.S.C. 5313Bwent into effect).
  • If an arrest date or “warrant invalid date” is shown on Form FFP-3 (under the INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY heading), the notice to the beneficiary (and apportionee, if applicable) should also inform him/her that VA will resume his/her award effective that date.
Reference:  For more information about preparing and issuing a notice of proposed adverse action, see M21-1, Part I, 2.
4
Proceed to the next step after the earlier of the following occur:
  • the beneficiary (and/or apportionee, if applicable) responds to the notice of proposed adverse action, or
  • 65 days pass with no response to the notice of proposed adverse action.
Note:  Follow the instructions in M21-1, Part X, 16.4.c if a beneficiary (or apportionee, if applicable) requests a hearing.
5
Follow the instructions in M21-1, Part X, 16.2.d.

X.16.2.c.  RO Involvement With Fugitive Felon Cases That Initially Met the Criteria for Automated Processing 

VSCs and PMCs become involved in the processing of fugitive felon cases that initially met the criteria for automated processing under the following circumstances:
  • the beneficiary (and apportionee, if the individual named on Form FFP-3is an apportionee) responds to the notice of proposed adverse action referenced in Stage 2 of the process described under M21-1, Part X, 16.2.a, within 65 days, or
  • the beneficiary (and/or apportionee, if applicable) does not respond to the notice of proposed adverse action within 65 days, and
    • the beneficiary is currently receiving no benefits (because his/her award was stopped or suspended)
    • there is a history of an award override
    • an award withholding is in place (to include a withholding for an apportionment)
    • an award adjustment is pending authorization, or
    • new documents were recently uploaded into the beneficiary’s eFolder.
Under the circumstances described above,
  • an 840-series work item will automatically generate, and
  • the VSC or PMC to which the work item is assigned must take the actions described in M21-1, Part X, 16.2.d.

X.16.2.d.  Deciding Whether an Individual Is a Fugitive Felon and Notifying the Beneficiary of the Decision

Take the actions described in the table below after

  • giving the beneficiary (and apportionee, if the individual named on Form FFP-3 is an apportionee) 65 days to respond to the notice of proposed adverse action referenced in M21-1, Part X, 16.2.a and b, and
  • reviewing the evidence of record to determine whether or not the individual named on Form FFP-3 is or was a fugitive felon according to the definition in M21-1, Part X, 16.1.a.

If …

Then …

the beneficiary (or apportionee, if applicable)

  • acknowledges the validity of the warrant that resulted in generation ofForm FFP-3, or
  • fails to respond to the notice of proposed adverse action
  • stop (if the beneficiary is the fugitive felon) or reduce (if the beneficiary’s dependent is the fugitive felon) the beneficiary’s award under the pending EP 600 effective the date proposed in the notice of proposed adverse action, and
  • notify the beneficiary (and apportionee, if applicable) of the action taken, using the letter identified as Enclosure 2 to VBA Letter 20-14-09.
Note:  Concurrent with the actions described above, take the actions described in the table below, when applicable.

If …

Then …

an apportionee is the fugitive felon stop the apportionee’s award.
  • thebeneficiary is the fugitive felon, and
  • VA is paying benefits to (an) apportionee(s)
stop the corresponding apportionment(s).
the date on which the fugitive-felon status ended is known resume benefits from that date, according to the instructions inM21-1, Part X, 16.2.g.
the corporate record shows the fugitive felon is a Veteran in receipt of a clothing allowance from VA
  • inform the Prosthetics Department of the VA medical center that administers the allowance of the Veteran’s fugitive-felon status, and
  • document this action as a note in Modern Awards Processing – Development (MAP-D) or the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS).
the beneficiary (or apportionee, if applicable) submits one of the following:

  • a copy of a court order that clears or vacates the warrant within 30 days of issuance
  • evidence that a court specifically determined the warrant was void from its inception because of mistaken identity or a defect in the warrant
  • a certified copy of a court order that recalls the warrant from a specific effective date that is on or before the date of the warrant
  • a certified copy of a court order that states or uses the terminology “nunc pro tunc,” which means that the court order applies retroactively to correct an earlier court order, or
  • a police report or statement from the Social Security Administration or other government agency, a bank, or other reporting agency that supports a claim of identity theft.
  • clear the pending EP 600
  • leave a permanent note in MAP-D or VBMS that explains why no award adjustment was made, and
  • use the letter identified as Enclosure 3 toVBA Letter 20-14-09 to notify the beneficiary (and apportionee, if applicable) that no award adjustment will be made.
  • the beneficiary (or apportionee, if applicable) or the court that issued the warrant submits documentation that contradicts or is inconsistent with the information shown on FormFFP-3, and
  • the VSC/PMC is unable to resolve the contradictions and/or inconsistencies
Note:  Unless the fugitive-felon status is confirmed,
  • clear the pending EP 600, and
  • use the letter identified as Enclosure 3 toVBA Letter 20-14-09 to notify the beneficiary (and apportionee, if applicable) that no award adjustment will be made.

Note:  Follow the instructions in


X.16.2.e.  Handling Pending Claims, HLRs and Legacy Appeals After Stopping a Beneficiary’s Award

After stopping a beneficiary’s award because the beneficiary is a fugitive felon,
  • discontinue development on and cancel any pending claims or requests for higher-level review (HLR)
  • disallow any claims for increased benefits, but
  • continue processing any pending legacy appeals.

X.16.2.f.  EP Control of Correspondence Alleging Fugitive Status Has Ended

After VA has adjusted a beneficiary’s award (or an apportionee’s award, if applicable) because he/she or a dependent is a fugitive felon, use EP 290 to control and process correspondence VA subsequently receives from the beneficiary (or apportionee, if applicable) that alleges the beneficiary or his/her dependent is no longer a fugitive.

X.16.2.g.  Resuming a Beneficiary’s Award

Resume an award that was stopped or reduced because a beneficiary or a beneficiary’s dependent was a fugitive felon effective the date the fugitive-felon status ended, which is the earlier of the following dates:
  • the date of arrest for the particular warrant that resulted in the generation of Form FFP-3, or
  • the date the warrant is determined to be invalid by the warrant agency, a court, or OIG.
Important:
  • Typically, an “invalid” warrant is valid until the date it is declared invalid.  Therefore, it would be improper to retroactively resume a beneficiary’s award (or apportionee’s award, if applicable) from the date the award was originally stopped or reduced unless the evidence of record shows the warrant was
    • cleared within 30 days
    • issued in error
    • issued for a different person, or
    • vacated by the issuing court.
  • An individual named on Form FFP-3 might have multiple warrants.  Do not resume a beneficiary’s award (or apportionee’s award, if applicable) without determining that the warrant that was cleared is the same warrant for which the Form FFP-3 was generated.
  • Sometimes, the arrest date or “warrant invalid date” are printed on Form FFP-3.  Resume a beneficiary’s award (or apportionee’s award, if applicable) based on these dates without undertaking additional action to determine whether the warrant that was cleared is the same warrant for which the Form FFP-3 was generated.
  • Follow the instructions in
  • Do not defer resumption of a beneficiary’s award (or apportionee’s award, if applicable) until the first of the month following the date the fugitive-felon status ended.  The resumption of benefits described in this block is considered an adjustment under 38 CFR 3.31(c), which is an exception to the general provisions of 38 CFR 3.31.
Example:  If an individual’s fugitive-felon status ended on October 14, resume the corresponding award effective October 14, not November 1.
Exception:  The effective date policies described in this block apply only if a beneficiary (or apportionee, if applicable) notifies VA that his/her or a dependent’s fugitive-felon status ended
  • within one year of the date VA notified the beneficiary (or apportionee, if applicable) of a reduction in or termination of his/her benefits, or
  • within one year of the date the fugitive-felon status ended.
If VA does not receive notice within the one-year time frame, the effective date for resuming benefits is the first of the month following the date VA receives the notice, per 38 CFR 3.31.

X.16.2.h.  Handling Cases in Which the Warrant Has Been Cleared

The fact that a warrant has been dismissed, recalled, quashed (annulled or set aside), or otherwise cleared does not mean that no action is required on the corresponding Form FFP-3unless it has been established that the warrant was cleared effective on or before the warrant date shown on Form FFP-3.
In most cases in which a warrant is dismissed, recalled, or quashed, a valid warrant was still pending through the date the warrant was cleared.  VA benefits are subject to adjustment from the warrant date (or the effective date of 38 U.S.C. 5313B) until the date the warrant was recalled, dismissed, or quashed.

X.16.2.i.  Handling Cases in Which VA Is Withholding Disability Compensation to Recoup Separation Benefits

VA must make the adjustments described in this topic even if it is withholding all or part of a Veteran’s disability compensation for the purpose of recouping separation benefits he/she received.
Example:
Scenario:
  • In order to recoup separation benefits a Veteran received, VA is withholding the entire amount of disability compensation to which the Veteran is otherwise entitled.
  • VA obtains confirmation that the Veteran is a fugitive felon.
Result:  Although the Veteran is not currently receiving benefits from VA due to the withholding, VA must stop her award, which will terminate the withholding, until the Veteran’s status as a fugitive felon ends.
Reference:  For more information about the recoupment of separation benefits, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.B.

X.16.2.j.  Restoring Benefits That Were Adjusted Based on a Prior Policy

Prior to the release of VBA Letter 20-14-09 on June 23, 2014, it was VBA’s policy to adjust a beneficiary’s award (or apportionee’s award, if applicable) if the beneficiary or one of his/her dependents was the subject of any felony arrest warrant.  Evidence of fleeing was not a requirement prior to this date.
Reopen a beneficiary’s claim (or an apportionee’s claim, if applicable) for restoration of benefits if
  • benefits were adjusted based on the policy in effect prior to June 23, 2014, and
  • the beneficiary (or apportionee, if applicable) submits new and relevant evidence, including lay testimony, showing that the subject of the felony arrest warrant (the beneficiary or a dependent) is or was not fleeing.
After evidence is obtained that confirms the subject of the felony arrest warrant does not meet the definition of a fugitive felon, as provided in M21-1, Part X, 16.1.a, restore benefits from the effective date shown in the table below.

If the beneficiary (or apportionee) submitted new and relevant evidence …

Then …

before the prior decision to adjust benefits based on the old policy became final restore benefits as though the prior decision to adjust benefits had not been made. (This typically means benefits are restored effective the date they were previously stopped or reduced.)
after the prior decision to adjust benefits based on the old policy became final restore benefits effective the later of the following dates:

  • date of receipt of the new and relevant evidence, or
  • date entitlement to a restoration of benefits arose.
Note:  A decision becomes “final” at the expiration of the period in which to file a review option available under 38 CFR 3.2500 or disposition on judicial review where no such review option is available.

X.16.2.k.  Handling Documentation of an Individual’s Fugitive-Felon Status From Sources Other Than OIG

Upon receipt or discovery of documentation from a source other than OIG that suggests a beneficiary or a beneficiary’s dependent might be or might have been a fugitive felon,
  • document on VA Form 27-0820, Report of General Information, the circumstances surrounding receipt or discovery of the documentation
  • prepare and send an e-mail that describes the substance of the documentation to the local VSC or PMC Fugitive Felon Coordinator, and
  • take no further action until Compensation Service or P&F Service responds to the e-mail with instructions for handling the documentation.
Note:  Compensation Service and P&F Service consult with OIG to determine whether OIG should issue a Form FFP-3.

3.  Fugitive-Felon Status Issues


Introduction

This topic contains information on fugitive-felon status issues, including

Change Date

February 22, 2017

X.16.3.a.  Evidence Required to Establish That a Beneficiary or Beneficiary’s Dependent Is No Longer a Fugitive

A beneficiary (or apportionee, if applicable) may establish that he/she or a dependent is no longer a fugitive by
  • submitting official documentation such as a court order or letter from the warrant agency, or
  • providing the name, title, and address, or name, title, and telephone number, of an official who can verify that he/she is no longer a fugitive.
VA will make reasonable efforts to contact the official to establish that the beneficiary or dependent is no longer a fugitive, but it is ultimately the responsibility of the beneficiary (or apportionee, if applicable) to provide evidence that the fugitive status has been cleared.
Notes:
  • Evidence that the fugitive status has been cleared must originate with an official source at some level of government.
  • Uncorroborated statements by the beneficiary, an apportionee, a family member, or a private attorney may not be used to establish that a beneficiary or his/her dependent is no longer a fugitive.
Reference:  For information on contacting a warrant agency to confirm a warrant has been cleared, see M21-1, Part X, 16.3.b.

X.16.3.b.  Contacting a Warrant Agency to Confirm a Warrant Has Been Cleared

When contacting a warrant agency to confirm a warrant has been cleared
  • refer to the warrant by date, and
  • ask the agency whether any inactive or active warrants exist.
If the warrant agent denies the existence of the warrant, e-mail details of the case to VAVBAWAS/CO/212A (VSCs only) or VAVBAWAS/CO/PENSION POL & PROC(PMCs only).  Do not restore benefits until Compensation Service or P&F Service responds to the e-mail.  If OIG issued an FFP-3 form, it is unlikely there was never a warrant.
Note:  In most instances, benefits may be restored only from the date the warrant was cleared and not retroactively back to the date they were originally stopped or reduced, as explained in M21-1, Part X, 16.2.g.

X.16.3.c.Verifying an Individual Is No Longer a Fugitive

Use the table below to verify an individual is no longer a fugitive.
If …
Then …
the beneficiary (or apportionee, if applicable)
  • does not furnish acceptable documentary proof that the fugitive status has ended, but
  • does furnish the name and address or telephone number of an official, such as a parole officer, who can verify the fugitive status has ended
contact that official.
the official confirms the fugitive status has ended
document the official’s statement on VA Form 27-0820.
it is not possible to
  • contact the official using the information the beneficiary (or apportionee) provided, or
  • obtain a better address/telephone number from other sources
  • advise the beneficiary (or apportionee) of this fact, and
  • remind him/her that benefits may not be resumed until VA receives proof that the fugitive status has ended.
contact with the official is made, but the official is unwilling to release information to VA
contact the regional OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinator for assistance.
Reference:  For information about contacting an OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinator, see M21-1, Part X, 16.3.e.
Note:  If a fugitive presents himself/herself to law enforcement authorities in a jurisdiction other than the one that issued the warrant, it is the fugitive’s responsibility to get the warrant cleared in the event the warrant agency will not extradite, and the local agency does not arrest the fugitive on the warrant. The individual is considered to be in a fugitive status until the warrant is cleared by arrest or otherwise.

X.16.3.d.  When to Contact an OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinator

It is appropriate for a VSC or PMC to contact an OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinator for advice when
  • the VSC or PMC is experiencing difficulty
    • obtaining information from a law enforcement agency, or
    • making sense of information it received, or
  • a beneficiary (or apportionee, if applicable) admits there was a valid felony warrant but
    • reports he/she (or a dependent, if applicable) never received notice of the warrant, or
    • alleges there are other extenuating circumstances that prevented clearing of the warrant.

X.16.3.e.  How to Contact an OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinator

To request assistance from the OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinator, send an e-mail to

In the body of the e-mail,

  • request the name of the regional OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinator, and
  • specify the jurisdiction where the warrant was issued.
When Compensation Service or P&F Service provides the name of the OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinator, contact him/her (by e-mail) with a concise summary of the known facts and the issue to be resolved.

X.16.3.f.  Following the Recommendations of an OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinator

Follow the recommendations of the OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinator as to whether adjustment of a beneficiary’s award (or apportionee’s award, if applicable) is appropriate.  It is the policy of OIG and VBA to resolve reasonable doubt in favor of the beneficiary (and/or apportionee, if applicable).
The OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinator will generally recommend against award adjustment if the evidence establishes that the beneficiary (or his/her dependent, if applicable) was unaware of the warrant or made good faith attempts to clear the warrant as soon as he/she knew or should have known of the existence of the warrant.
A decision not to take action on a valid felony warrant may be made only if
  • a documented recommendation from OIG is of record, or
  • Compensation Service or P&F Service advises by e-mail that no action is required.
Notes:
  • A recommendation from OIG is not required if evidence from a court or a law enforcement agency establishes there was no valid felony warrant.
  • An OIG recommendation is required only if the warrant was valid but award action is not being taken because of extenuating circumstances.

X.16.3.g.  Determining Whether an Incarcerated Beneficiary or Beneficiary’s Dependent Is Still Considered a Fugitive

Do not assume a warrant is cleared when a beneficiary or the dependent of a beneficiary is incarcerated unless he/she is incarcerated by the agency that issued the warrant.
Example:  The evidence shows a beneficiary was incarcerated by the Michigan Department of Corrections, and the warrant was issued by the Michigan Department of Corrections.
A fugitive felon is often incarcerated for reasons unrelated to the warrant that was the subject of the fugitive felon referral.  In this situation, the warrant agency may file notice of the warrant at the prison facility.  This is referred to as “lodging” the warrant.
If there is documented evidence that a warrant was lodged at a prison facility, consider the warrant cleared and the beneficiary or dependent removed from fugitive status as of the date the warrant agency lodged the warrant at the prison facility.
Note:  Although VA considers that a warrant is cleared when it is lodged at the prison, the warrant is technically still valid until the warrant agency picks up the former fugitive from the prison and returns him/her to the jurisdiction that issued the warrant.
Reference:  For more information on award adjustments necessitated by

X.16.3.h.  Handling a Beneficiary’s Allegation of a Misdemeanor Warrant

VA benefits may be discontinued because of fugitive-felon status only if there is a valid felony warrant.  If a beneficiary (or apportionee, if applicable) alleges that the warrant in question was for a misdemeanor, undertake development to determine whether there was a valid felony warrant.  When undertaking development, keep in mind that
  • it is essential to distinguish between the warrant and resolution of the criminal case in a situation where an individual has been convicted of an offense
  • the fact that an individual was not convicted of a felony is not relevant to resolution of a fugitive felon issue, and
  • the fact that an individual was charged with a felony but later pleads down to a misdemeanor does not change the fact that the warrant was a felony warrant.
Note:  Some Forms FFP-3 involve beneficiaries or dependents of beneficiaries who were originally convicted of misdemeanors but who violated probation or parole, which resulted in issuance of a felony warrant.  It is the warrant agency’s characterization of the warrant as a felony warrant that is controlling.

X.16.3.i.  Expunged Records

In some instances, the record of a criminal case may be expunged.  This is normally done for first-time offenders to keep their records clean.  Expunging a record is done after the fact and normally does not affect the underlying validity of a warrant.
Note:  If an individual’s record was expunged at the individual’s request, that individual is responsible for requesting that the record be opened to establish that he/she is no longer a fugitive.

X.16.3.j.  Sealed Records

In some instances, a jurisdiction may seal the record of a criminal case.  Sealing the record does not necessarily affect the determination as to whether an award adjustment is required.  The issue is whether there was a valid felony warrant for some period of time on or after December 27, 2001.
Notes:
  • Request assistance from an OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinator if a sealed record is encountered.
  • If an individual’s record was sealed at the individual’s request, that individual is responsible for requesting that the record be unsealed to establish that he/she is no longer a fugitive.
Reference:  For instructions about contacting an OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinator, see M21-1, Part X, 16.3.e.

 4.  Fugitive Felons – Additional Information


Introduction

This topic contains additional information on fugitive felon cases, including

Change Date

July 3, 2018

X.16.4.a.  PMC Jurisdiction Over Fugitive Felon Cases

PMCs are responsible for processing Form FFP-3 if the beneficiary whose award is subject to adjustment is
  • in receipt of pension or DIC, or
  • entitled to compensation but is receiving pension as the greater benefit.
Use the table below to determine which PMC is responsible for processing Form FFP-3.
If the FOLDER LOCATION tab in Share shows the claims folder is currently located at …
Then …
an RO
the PMC under whose jurisdiction that RO falls is responsible for processing the form.
  • the Records Management Center (Fldr Loc 376), or
  • a Federal records center
determine which RO the corporate record shows has jurisdiction.  The PMC under whose jurisdiction that RO falls is responsible for processing the form.
Reference:  For more information on the jurisdiction of individual PMCs, see M21-1, Part V, Subpart iv, 1.2.b.

X.16.4.b.  Fugitive Felon Coordinators

Each VSC and PMC is required to designate a Fugitive Felon Coordinator.  Fugitive Felon Coordinators serve as
  • the local point of contact with VA Central Office (CO) for fugitive felon issues, and
  • the local subject-matter expert on fugitive felon issues.
Notes:
  • When a VSC designates a new employee to serve as its Fugitive Felon Coordinator, it must notify Compensation Service by sending an e-mail toVAVBAWAS/CO/212A.
  • When a PMC designates a new employee to serve as its Fugitive Felon Coordinator, it must notify P&F Service by sending an e-mail toVAVBAWAS/CO/PENSION POL & PROC.

X.16.4.c.  Handling Hearing Requests From Fugitive Felons

If a fugitive felon requests a hearing
  • schedule the hearing under normal procedures, and
  • send an e-mail to VAVBAWAS/CO/212A (VSCs only) orVAVBAWAS/CO/PENSION POL & PROC (PMCs only) that includes
    • information identifying the fugitive felon
    • the date and location of the hearing, and
    • the name of a point of contact at the VSC or PMC.
Compensation Service or P&F Service sends the information contained in the e-mail to OIG to coordinate with the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Notes:
  • If law enforcement authorities plan to attempt to apprehend the fugitive, they will notify the VSC or PMC involved.  Otherwise, the VSC or PMC should proceed with the hearing as usual.
  • If a hearing request is received during the 65-day response period that follows issuance of the notice of proposed adverse action referenced inM21-1, Part X, 16.2.a and b, take the action proposed in the notice of proposed adverse action unless the request was received within 30 days of the notice.
References:  For more information about
  • hearings, see M21-1, Part I, 4, and
  • hearing requests that VA receives during the 65-day response period that follows the issuance of a notice of proposed adverse action, see  M21-1, Part I, 2.C.3.

X.16.4.d.  Reporting Requirements and Completion of Form FFP-4

No recurring report is required on fugitive felon cases.  However, VSCs and PMCs must respond to requests from CO for information about specific fugitive felon cases.
If Form FFP-4, VA Feedback Form, was attached to Form FFP-3,
  • complete Form FFP-4
  • send an e-mail to VAVBAWAS/CO/212A (VSCs only) orVAVBAWAS/CO/PENSION POL & PROC (PMCs only) that requests the address to which Forms FFP-4 should be sent, and
  • send the form by regular mail to the address Compensation Service or P&F Service provides in response to the e-mail.
Note:  Form FFP-3 must remain in the claims folder, if a traditional claims folder exists.  (If no claims folder exists, a copy of the form should already exist in the beneficiary’s eFolder.)

X.16.4.e.  Where to Send Questions

Use the table below to determine where to send questions on fugitive felon issues.
If …
Then …
the question relates to procedures for fugitive felon issues
e-mail the question to
  • the question
    • relates to the facts of a specific case, and
    • cannot be resolved from the evidence of record, and/or
  • the VSC or PMC is having difficulty obtaining or understanding information from a court or law enforcement agency
  • e-mail a request toVAVBAWAS/CO/212A (VSCs only) orVAVBAWAS/CO/PENSION POL & PROC (PMCs only)  for the name of the OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinator in the state where the warrant was issued, and
  • upon receipt of the coordinator’s name, e-mail that person with a concise summary of the known facts and the issue to be resolved.
Note:  Because OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinators are Federal law enforcement agents, they can often get information that local authorities will only release to law enforcement.
there is uncertainty as to whether or not it would be appropriate to send a question to
  • Compensation Service
  • P&F Service, or
  • the OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinator
e-mail the question to
Reference:  For more information on when to address questions directly to the regional OIG Fugitive Felon Coordinator, see M21-1, Part X, 16.3.d.
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