The U.S. Special Committee on Aging on Wednesday heard testimony on the exploitation of senior veterans by “pension poachers”—unscrupulous lawyers, financial planners and others. The VA Aid and Attendance program is designed to help veterans and their spouses pay for needed LTC services that they cannot afford.
Problems in the program have created a cottage industry of predators that target vulnerable seniors to convince them that they are entitled to a pension. The predators then sell them inappropriate financial products to make the senior appear in need of this assistance.
Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) President and CEO Richard P. Grimes said, “It is our view that if a financial advisor to a veteran in any way misleads a veteran and misrepresents the Aid and Attendance program to his or her advantage at the expense of the veteran, it is an insidious form of elder abuse.”
Among the recommendations to reduce exploitation offered:
- Set clear eligibility standards for the VA benefit
- Require a look-back period
- Simplify a complex application process
The Government Accountability Office has released a report outlining problems with the VA pension program.