The San Francisco Veterans Benefits Protection Project is a coalition that fights pension poaching scams targeting older veterans. This form of elder financial abuse threatens the health, safety, and financial freedom of thousands of elder veterans across the country. This project hopes to educate veterans about where to turn for help.
The Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit and Related Scam
Background on the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit
Aid and Attendance is a benefit paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to senior veterans, veteran spouses, or surviving spouses. It is a benefit for low wealth veterans who need financial help to pay for in-home or assisted living facility care. It is a non-service connected disability benefit, meaning the disability does not have to be a result of service. The VA Aid and Attendance Benefit was never intended to be for every senior veteran who served during a time of war—it is not an entitlement. It was meant only for those veterans, or their spouses, who were financially struggling at the end of their lives.
A Scam Related to the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit
Financial predators have been making large commissions by selling medium-and-high wealth seniors unnecessary or unsuitable financial products or services. They tell the seniors that in order to get the benefit, they need to “appear impoverished,” and they can accomplish that by converting their assets into their “veteran-friendly estate plan.” Seniors who follow their advice end up with irrevocable trusts or financial products that tie up their money so they cannot access it for the rest of their lives, while the predators walk away with large commissions or service fees for their “help.”
Project Goals: Developing a strong, collaborative communication system to:
- Detect fraud at early stages
- Respond effectively to complaints
- Stop scammers
- California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR)
- California Department of Insurance
- California Office of the Attorney General
- Institute on Aging
- San Francisco Adult Protective Services
- San Francisco Department of Adult and Aging Services
- San Francisco County Veterans Services Office
- San Francisco Ombudsman
- San Francisco Veterans Affairs Commission
Veterans and caregivers can find more information here.
Professionals that work with veterans & their families can find more information here.
More information about the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit and Scam:
- Fact sheets:
- Veterans Aid and Attendance Scam Flowchart
To file a complaint about the scam or scammers:
- If you suspect elder abuse, please call your local Adult Protective Services agency.
- San Francisco Adult Protective Services: 415-355-6700, or report online.
- Submit a complaint to the California Department of Insurance
- Submit a complaint to the California Attorney General’s Office
- California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) lawyer referral services
- For further information about Veteran benefits and services, contact your local County Veterans Service Office (CVSO).
- San Francisco County Veterans Service Office
- Find your local County Veterans Service Office in California by entering your zip code: 1-844-737-8838
KALW Local Public Radio
November 2, 2016