The Office of Public Guardian (OPG), acting under court authority, provides public guardianship where there is no friend or family member to serve as guardian, and the individual needs a public guardian to protect his or her rights or welfare.
Vermont law provides public guardianship for:
- People age 60 or older with mental disabilities
Note: There is no public guardianship in Vermont for individuals between the ages of 18 and 60 with mental disabilities other than a developmental disability.
The mission of the program is to assist and empower people under guardianship in making decisions and taking actions in critical life areas. Public guardians seek to diminish the need for public guardianship by identifying, training, and assisting private guardians; by encouraging and preparing individuals to make their own decisions; and by developing supportive community resources.
The Office of Public Guardian offers representative payee services to approximately 300 individuals who receive Social Security, SSI, Railroad Retirement, or Veteran's benefits.
Office of Public Guardian (OPG) Contact Information
The Director and Administrative Services Coordinator are located in Montpelier. Twenty-four (24) full time Public Guardians are located in offices throughout Vermont, and a Representative Payee is located in Rutland.
Administrative Office Phone: (802) 828-2143
Fax Number: (802) 828-0243
If you have guardianship emergency, please call the OPG Answering Service for emergency assistance.
Public Guardian 24-Hour Emergency Number: 1-800-642-3100 [Toll Free]
Resources for Guardians
- How to Petition for Guardianship - Information about different types of guardianship with separate and distinct petition processes.
- Guardian's Handbook - A Guide to the Responsibilities of Guardians of Adults with Mental Disabilities
- How to be a Good Guardian - Sources of information about the duties and responsibilities of guardians.
- Alternatives to Guardianship - Independence and self-determination are important to all people. Because guardianship for adults is intrusive and involves the removal of rights from an individual, it should be considered only after reasonable alternatives have been considered. Some alternatives are easier and less costly than court procedures; others are not.
- The American Bar Association has published a booklet to guide guardians and health care agents in Making Medical Care Decisions for others