Alert
Close

Top the Treasure Hunt leaderboard by 5 p.m. Friday to win a $100 gift card! Learn more

Highlights

Open

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming Money webinar or find materials from a past session. 

Jobs You Might Like

most popular
articles

Viewed

Scam Targets Washington Veterans

A scam targeting veterans is picking up steam in Washington state. According to a group of consumer and veterans’ advocates dubbed the Aid & Attendance Project (A&AP), organizations with patriotic names but questionable aims are springing up all across the state.

These so-called patriotic financial advisors are offering to help veterans and/or their widows become eligible for Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) pensions and related programs such as Aid and Attendance. They promise to do so by repositioning a claimant’s assets, making the veteran appear to be impoverished and eligible for VA benefits. But the financial products and advice they’re hawking do little more than scramble the veterans’ financial worth and nest egg, while lining the advisors’ pockets with lucrative commissions.

In addition to purchasing financial instruments that are frequently not in their best interests, repositioning or hiding assets can often lead to trouble when veterans later consider applying for Medicaid benefits. Unlike the VA, Medicaid has a look-back period of 5 years and can impose a penalty or deny benefits after the transfer of assets through means such as gifting, trusts or the purchase of irrevocable annuities.

As if that wasn’t enough trouble, remember that the VA considers its pension program and its higher-level benefit of Aid and Attendance to be a need-based program for wartime veterans or their widows whose financial worth is $80,000 or less. As such, the VA considers it fraud if a person repositions or hides their assets to make themselves appear eligible for a program that was not intended for them. As a result, the veteran/widow can be left with significant legal issues.

According to the A&AP, these organizations also give out false information, suggesting they can speed things up with the VA process. But by its very nature, using the services of these organizations will prolong the claim, and in too many cases, the claim isn’t even filed.

To help combat this problem, accredited veteran service officers and members of A&AP in Washington state are reaching out to adult care facilities, veterans, and widows with information about the real benefits of these programs and the eligibility requirements. Unfortunately, they have described finding senior citizens on the verge of eviction from their homes when their promised benefits did not materialize in time. In several cases, seniors were billed for legal fees, which usually turned up after the veteran/widow did not purchase any products. If you had any problems like this, email the A&AP at VeteranFraud@gmail.com.

For more information or questions, call the VA hotline at 877-294-6380 or contact a national veteran service organization. The VA has an online application which is relatively easy to access, and you can contact the VA, American Legion, The Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs or the VFW directly for help. And best of all, remember their services are usually free.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

AARP Financial Services

Info on saving for education from AARP® College Savings Solutions from TIAA-CREF.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.