Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would help protect older veterans from financial scams. The bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs 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 legislation was previously introduced by Senators Rubio and Warren as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
“Our veterans have courageously defended our country and protected our freedoms, and they deserve the utmost respect after their service,” said 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.”
“For thousands of our oldest veterans who need help with basic daily activities, the Aid and Attendance program is a critical lifeline,” said 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.”
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.