November 21, 2013

Senators Warren, Rubio Propose Stronger Financial Protections For Veterans

Introduce Amendment to Crack Down on Scams Targeting VA's Aid and Attendance Benefit


WASHINGTON, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today introduced a bipartisan amendment to the  National Defense Authorization Act that would help protect older veterans from financial scams. The legislation directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to work with other federal agencies and states to crack down on scam artists who are diverting federal funds intended to support low-income older veterans.

"For thousands of our oldest veterans who need help with basic daily activities, the Aid and Attendance program is a critical lifeline," said Senator Warren. "Unfortunately, scams are turning the program into something that can actually undermine the financial security of our older veterans and waste federal funds. This bipartisan proposal will help put an end to these financial scams and ensure that we honor our veterans' commitment, sacrifice, and service to the nation."

"Our veterans have courageously defended our country and protected our freedoms, and they deserve the utmost respect after their service," said Senator Rubio. "That's why it is necessary to stop older veterans from being the target of scams and predatory practices. These heroes deserve better, and we will always appreciate their brave service and sacrifice."

The VA offers an Aid & Attendance benefit (A&A) to help 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. Even worse, they often 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, creating significant financial strain. Moving assets this way may also disqualify the veteran for other assistance, like Medicaid.