The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) seeks to raise awareness of a particular type of financial exploitation that primarily targets the elderly Veteran population: pension poaching.
Pension Poaching is a term used when an unethical advisor (financial planner, attorney, or even a caregiver) profits by making financial maneuvers (such as hiding assets) in advance of the completion of an application for pension benefits, especially the aid and attendance benefit, to artificially qualify the claimant.
As you are aware, VA’s pension program exists to support our most vulnerable war-time Veterans and their families. For pensioners who need a higher level of care, additional monetary payments are available for those who are housebound or require the aid and attendance of another person to assist them with the activities of daily living.
Financial exploitation happens when assets are hidden in trusts or annuity products to qualify the applicant when they otherwise would not qualify. Since VA has a three-year look-back period, if the Veteran gets caught falsely qualifying, they could be penalized. If payments were made, they will have to repay the money. However, if they paid fees for assistance to move their assets, they likely will not be able to recover that money from the pension poacher.
With your assistance, VA wants to inform Veterans and their families to be wary of organizations or individuals that contact them out of the blue to assist with a VA claim. Veterans and family members should be aware that requests for payments of money up front for assistance with filing a VA claim may be a sign of a scam, and that no one can guarantee “an enhanced VA pension.”
Thank you for your continued support of VA and our joint partnerships.