Veterans, CYA – Cover Your Assets!

If you’re a veteran over 65 — or related to one, you are a target for a particularly ugly type of scam that involves “poaching” your pension. Unscrupulous “advisers” — attorneys, financial planners, and insurance agents — are trying to sell you financial or legal products to move your assets around without giving you the whole truth about the long-term consequences.

These less-than-honest advisers sometimes rent space at assisted living facilities, senior centers, or other places in the community with the pitch that they’ll help you with your pension paperwork. They often try to gain your trust by touting their own veteran status. They almost always appeal to your emotions to create anxiety and apprehension about your future. 

Then they go to work to try to convince you to transfer your assets to a trust — or to invest in insurance products — so you can qualify for (or at least appear to qualify for) Aid and Attendance benefits (A&A). They don’t let on that restructuring your assets through these transactions could have serious consequences. If the way you moved around funds doesn’t pass muster with Medicaid’s rules, you could lose eligibility for Medicaid services. Plus, if you’re subsequently disqualified, you would have to return the A&A benefits already paid to you. On top of all that, the “advisers” are charging fees that range from hundreds to thousands of dollars for their so-called services.

As the old song says, you must remember this: Applying for veterans’ benefits is free — and so are the forms. If you need help with the paperwork for your claims, use someone accredited through VA. The accreditation means the person is trained to help you fill out the papers and file them. It doesn’t mean the VA endorses the person’s products, advice, or ethics. But people with VA accreditation are not allowed to charge you for their help. That’s a solid tip-off to a shameful rip-off.   

Learn how to avoid getting your pension poached and how to apply for A&A benefits.

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Comments

I am not a veteran and I've never been in the military. This is insane.

Has anyone used Veterans Financial?

Five years ago we quit claimed our mother’s house to remove it from her living trust since she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at 80 years old, and the house wouldn't sell. She could not afford her care facility and the house bills. We were told to start Medicaid planning since she could live ten or fifteen years with her brain declining rapidly and that she could NEVER return to her house.

Three years later we applied for Aid and Attendance benefit and she qualified since she didn’t own the house any longer and her income was exhausted by care bills. She died at the end of last year; and as soon as she died, my brother started raising a fuss and said he HAD to reinstate the house (worth $200,000 five years ago when the market plunged but now worth $500,000) in the trust since the quit claim deed was invalid–-not true either. His intention was to then pull out an old amendment our mother had drafted during her earlier periods of undiagnosed dementia, stating the he alone should receive the house from the trust.

This is self-dealing and all those other misdeeds, but isn’t this OBVIOUS VA fraud? We qualified our mother for the A&A pension and took over $50,000 till her death based on her NOT owning that house. How in the world can it be reinstated for my brother’s CONVENIENCE and self gain? This would also be intent to defraud the IRS, I would imagine, since the basis of the house would then go from ZERO to over $500,000, the value on the date of our mother’s death.

Please, can someone confirm this, so I have the facts to stop this travesty. My husband is a retired Army officer; he is SICK over this. We would NEVER be party to any kind of fraud against the VA. I am incensed. And how should I stop this or report this? The OIG?

Please verify my contentions, if possible, and I thank you in advance.

Laura
Chicago

Because probate laws vary by state, and because they can be very complicated, you'll almost certainly need a lawyer to help you sort this out. Our advice about how to find a lawyer might be helpful.

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