February 20, 2018

Congress Passes Bipartisan Warren-Cartwright Legislation to Protect Veterans from Financial Scams

Senate Follows House Passage of Modified Veterans Care Financial Protection Act

Washington, DC - Last Thursday evening, the United States Senate passed by unanimous consent the Veterans Care Financial Protection Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Representatives Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.). A modified version of the bill previously passed the House of Representatives unanimously and now heads to the President for his signature.

The Veterans Care Financial Protection Act seeks to crack down on scam artists who are diverting federal funds from the Veterans Affairs (VA) Aid and Attendance program intended to support low-income and older veterans who require assisted care. The Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefit helps pay for assisted living or in-home personal care for veterans who qualify for a VA pension, and are housebound or require the aid and attendance of another person.

Scam artists have targeted veterans, charging them fees for obtaining the benefit even though the application process is free. Some scammers even take control of the veteran's assets and move them into an irrevocable trust or an annuity, which the elderly veteran often cannot access again for many years, and may disqualify the veteran from other assistance, like Medicaid.

"All three of my brothers served in the military, and they taught me about the sacrifices our veterans have made to keep us safe. We need to make sure when our servicemembers return home, they get the care they need and deserve," said Senator Warren. "But the Aid and Attendance program has been targeted by scams, putting our veterans at even greater financial risk and wasting taxpayer dollars. Our legislation can help put a stop to this financial fraud and honor the promises we made to our veterans."

"It's our responsibility to protect our nation's heroes and ensure they receive their earned benefits. The A&A benefit is crucial for veterans who need help with in-home care or assisted living. Unfortunately, predatory scam artists exploit veterans by turning the well-deserved A&A benefit into a financial nightmare. I'm thrilled the Senate passed our bipartisan, commonsense proposal to safeguard veterans from these scams. I thank my colleagues in the Senate for their hard work on this bill," said Representative Matt Cartwright.

The Veterans Care Financial Protection Act would:

  • Direct the VA Secretary to post an online warning to veterans on the VA's website related to dishonest, predatory, or otherwise unlawful practices in the Aid and Attendance program.
  • Direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to complete a study on the financial exploitation of veterans eligible for the Aid and Attendance program, including an analysis of the standards used by federal and state agencies to protect these and other vulnerable populations from financial exploitation, and any gaps in efforts to address these exploitation issues.
  • Require the GAO to submit a preliminary report to Congress on the study of financial exploitation of veterans within 12 months, and submit the final report within 18 months.