Links to case studies
Needed Veterans Legislation:
Five-year “look back” requirement for inclusion of veteran and surviving spouse assets when applying the net-worth test for non-service connected pension and death pension, respectively. Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs does not have a parallel five-year look back requirement to that applied during eligibility determinations for Medicaid. Both the VA pension programs and Medicaid were intended to benefit those most in need. Medicaid adjudication standards, while not perfect, do pretty well in excluding those who could pay. The VA pension programs do not. A wave of “pension poachers” [VA’s term for the borderline-legal attorneys and financial advisors who profit from twisting the intent of these needs-based pension programs] has scammed many veterans and surviving spouses by charging, directly and/or indirectly, for last-minute concealment of assets – often to inadvisable investments of poor quality but which pay high commissions to the financial advisors. Some pension poachers openly advertise that millionaire veterans who were their clients are drawing VA non-service connected pension.
An associated abuse: Some veterans are “enjoying an active life style” in retirement communities while considered by the VA as entitled to Aid and Attendance, the most severe and highest paying level of pension. “A&A” is intended for nursing home patients, Alzheimer’s patients, and other pension recipients who similarly must have the aid and attendance of others for the requirements of daily living. The same pension poachers who are paid to conceal assets also are involved in “creative” check lists and medical statements qualifying veterans and surviving spouses for A&A. The Department of Veterans Affairs needs an enforcement/compliance field staff to verify A&A eligibility. This could be done by increasing the staffing of the existing guardianship/fiduciary verification organizations within the regional offices. The increased staffing costs would by offset many, many times by savings in reduction in fraudulent pension awards. Please read VA Aid and Attendance Scam.
Needed VA procedural/organizational changes: Please read Proposals for the Department of Veterans Affairs (and two for the DoD which require coordination with the VA)