LVMAC Tidbit — Poaching Veterans’ Pensions

Veterans Are Being Preyed Upon Again

David M. Dubois, Deputy Director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of the Federal Trade Commission,  has put out this alert to various veterans groups: “Veterans and their families are a target for some dishonest advisers who are claiming to offer free help with paperwork for pension claims.”

“The scheme involves attorneys, financial planners, and insurance agents trying to get veterans to make decisions about their pensions, without giving them the whole truth,” according to Dubois.

The game hunt often begins in advertisements, on the website and in free seminars or in one-on-one conversations with statements like these: “We’ll show you – for free ­ how to qualify for your benefits and stay in your home.” or “We guarantee you’ll get your Aid and Attendance pension.” or “As a veteran, you’re entitled to these benefits.”

These unscrupulous individuals then try to convince you to transfer your assets to a trust or to invest in insurance products. What they don’t reveal is that these transactions could mean the loss of eligibility for Medicaid services or loss of access to your money for a long time.  And as Dubois says, insult to injury is added because these advisers charge fees that range from hundreds to thousands of dollars for their services.

While your best defense against someone who wants to poach your pension to get you a better deal, is a firm “no, thanks”, how do you determine whether or not you are being preyed upon?  You or your loved ones should learn for a little more about the rules on transferring assets and annuities; how to properly apply for a VA disability pension and its aid and attendance and housebound supplements and how to find those who will help you at no cost to you (as the VA requires) — and how to file a complaint — we need to cage these poachers.  Fortunately, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has put the starter information all in one place: click here.

Editor’s comment: We have reported on this before at Council meetings and elsewhere.  A year or two ago it had gotten to the point the Office of Veterans Affairs brought up similar concerns.  Our state, among others, seems to do poorly in regulating and, moreover, following up on this sort of dishonest commerce — or it would be rarer and also these announcements.

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 As of 20 February 2013
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