Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a measure last week that directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to collaborate with other agencies to protect older veterans from financial scams.
“For thousands of our oldest veterans who need help with basic daily activities, the Aid and Attendance program is a critical lifeline,” Warren said. ”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.”
The A&A program is designed to help pay for assisted living or in-home care for veterans who qualify for a Veterans Affairs pension and are housebound or require the help of another person. Scam artists have targeted veterans by charging fees for obtaining the benefit, though the application process is free.
Scammers often take control of the veteran’s assets and put them into an irrevocable trust or annuity, which the veteran is usually unable to access for many years, contributing to financial strain and possibly disqualifying the veteran for other assistance programs.
“Our veterans have courageously defended our country and protected our freedoms, and they deserve the utmost respect after their service,” Rubio said. “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.”