Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) reintroduced the Veterans Care Financial Protection Act, legislation that would help protect veterans who receive Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) funded assistance from becoming the victims of financial scams. The bill directs the 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 and older veterans who require assisted care.
"It's terrible when anyone falls prey to scam artists who rob them of money, but it's especially despicable when our most vulnerable veterans are targeted by criminals pretending to help them receive federal benefits," said Rubio. "This legislation will help ensure more of these scammers are brought to justice, so our veterans are better protected and receive the proper assistance they need and deserve."
"Our men and women in uniform have all made sacrifices in service to our country. The Aid and Attendance program is a critical lifeline for the thousands of older veterans who just need a helping hand for basic daily activities," said Warren. "Unfortunately, the program is being undermined by scams, putting our veterans at even greater financial risk and wasting taxpayer dollars. This legislation will help put a stop to these financial scams and ensure that we honor our commitments to our veterans."
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. Some scammers even 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, and may disqualify the veteran from other assistance, like Medicaid.
The Veterans Care Financial Protection Act introduced by Rubio and Warren has been endorsed by the following organizations: The American Legion, The Association of the U.S. Army, The Association of the U.S. Navy, The Fleet Reserve Association, The Military Order of the Purple Heart, The Military Officers Association of America, and The Retired Enlisted Association.
The legislation was initially introduced by Rubio and Warren as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act and an omnibus veterans bill, as well as a standalone bill in 2014.