February 26, 2014

Veterans Groups Endorse Bipartisan Warren-Rubio Effort to Crack Down on Financial Scams Targeting Older Veterans

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Measure as Amendment to Omnibus Veterans Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) announced today that their bipartisan legislative effort to protect veterans from financial scams has gained the support of more than a dozen national veterans' service organizations. The Senators introduced the Veterans Care Financial Protection Act on Tuesday as an amendment to S. 1982, the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014.

The amendment directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) 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. The proposal was previously introduced by Senators Warren and Rubio as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act and as standalone legislation.

"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.

The Veterans Care Financial Protection Act introduced by Senators Warren & Rubio has been endorsed by the following organizations: Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Association of the United States Navy (AUSN), The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA), Marine Corps Reserve Association (MCRA), Air Force Women Officers Associated (AFWOA), The American Legion, Association of the United States Army (AUSA), Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA), Fleet Reserve Association (FRA), Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), National Association for Uniformed Services (NAUS), Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), United States Army Warrant Officers Association (USAWOA), and Military Chaplains Association (MCA).

A copy of the endorsement letter signed by these organizations is available here.