“Taking advantage of Veterans”

Unfortunately, I hear stories about this all the time in Maryland, it does not just happen in some other state.

A recent article in the Des Moines Register a 94-year-old was taken advantage of a "certified senior advisor." This advisor held a meeting at the senior community where he was informing elderly veterans and their spouses about a Veteran’s  Benefit, called Aid and Attendance, to help pay for medical, home care, and assisted-living costs.

THE CON IS “I WILL NOT CHARGE A FEE FOR FILING THE VA APPLICATION, BUT LET ME HELP PURCHASE THIS ANNUITY OR INSURANCE PRODUCT THAT HELP YOU QUALIFY.”

ADDITIONALLY, THE CON MEN HAVE OFFICIAL SOUNDING COMPANY NAMES – LIKE – VETERANS FINANCIAL …, VETERANS BENEFITS SPECIALISTS … OR OTHER VA SOUNDING NAMES.

It is illegal to charge a fee for filing a VA application. These firms do not work for the VA but are insurance and annuity peddlers. Additionally, you must be VA certified to help veterans with applications, otherwise it is illegal.

The advisor formulated a financial plan: for an estimated fee to help the widow of a veteran: $3,000.

The daughter stated that her mother did not need the financial assistance and did not sign up for the benefit. Additionally, transferring assets can have dangerous consequences – namely, later preventing seniors from qualifying for Medicaid to pay for long-term care.

"Like 98 percent of the people (at the meeting) made the assumption he was with the VA."

He wasn't. And what happened with her mother is not an isolated incident.

The Register reported the story of a man offering the same type of "help" to seniors in an independent living community. He is facing numerous legal and regulatory problems and does not have a broker's license.

Everyone understands sales people, including those in finance and insurance, make money when people buy their products or services. But residents of senior living communities – such as the 94-year-old mother – can be especially vulnerable targets.

Seniors and their families need to be aware of the risks involved, and of agents peddling insurance policies, financial services or medical products to the elderly.

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