This project aims to help elder veterans, their survivors, and professionals that are assisting them. On this page, we hope to:
- Educate elders, family members, and professionals about pension poaching scams, including how to avoid them
- Connect elders who wish to apply for the Veterans Aid and Attendance benefit to the local County Veterans Service Office
- Direct elders who have been scammed to resources that can help
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.
- California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR)—Veterans Affairs Aid and Attendance Benefit Fact Sheet
- For further information about Veteran benefits and services, contact your local County Veterans Service Office (CVSO).
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.”
More information about the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit and Scam:
- Federal Trade Commission—Veterans’ Pensions, Protect Your Money From Poachers
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs—Don’t be a Victim: Be Aware of Pension Poaching Scams
- 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 to report online.
- Submit a complaint to the California Department of Insurance
- Submit a complaint to the California Attorney General’s Office
Recent News Articles:
- AARP, Money Consumer Protection: Taking Aim at Old Soldiers (October, 2010)
- The New York Times: Veterans Pension Program Is Being Abused, Report Says (June, 2012)
- Investment News: Vets’ Annuities Draw Scrutiny (October 2012)
- Cronkite News: ‘Pension Poachers’ Profit Off Benefits Meant for Elderly Veterans, Widows (December, 2013)
- The New York Times: Winning Veterans’ Trust, and Profiting from It (December, 2013)
- Consumers Union Policy and Action from Consumer Reports: Pension Poaching: The Latest Threat to Veterans’ Financial Security (April 2014)