There is a growing scheme in our country, aimed at the people who served it, veterans. Pensions poachers are becoming more prevalent. Both the Federal Trade Commission and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs have issued recent warnings.
The scheme involves unscrupulous financial planners or insurance agents claiming to be veteran advocates. The poachers convince veterans to reposition their assets to try to qualify for the Aid and Attendance benefit, which has specific and strict qualifications. The poachers then sell veterans often-unneeded financial products or services to earn a commission or fee.
Problems arise because these brokers often fail to deliver on their promises, do not provide full information about other veterans benefits and do not reveal the potentially adverse consequences of the financial transactions such as loss of Medicaid eligibility.
The Attorney General's Pension Poacher Prevention Act will address these problems by prohibiting certain unfair and deceptive practices. The law will:
- Make it illegal to receive compensation for assisting with the preparation of a claim, except as allowed under the VA's rules for accreditation;
- Prohibit individuals from guaranteeing a specific benefit amount;
- Make it illegal to misuse personal and financial information gathered for the purposes of assisting an individual with a veterans claim; and
- Give the Attorney General's Office enforcement authority through the state's consumer protection laws.
Consumers can sign up for the Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or by calling 800-646-2283. By joining the Fraud Watch Network, consumers will receive alerts and notifications about new scams as they emerge.
File a consumer complaint with the Attorney General's Office at www.atg.wa.gov.
For more information about veterans' benefits and assistance contact the Washington State Dept. of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-562-2308 or visit the website at: http://www.dva.wa.gov/benefits.html