Veterans who are elderly or on the lower end of the income spectrum would have greater protection from unscrupulous persons or businesses, under a proposed law now pending before the House. Under H.R. 3122, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would be required to reach out to state and other federal  agencies to craft a plan to protect these veterans from scammers.

Specifically, the legislation focuses upon enhancement of VA’s existing Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefit, under which veterans who get in-home care or are in assisted living can receive financial help and counseling. The bill would take aim at scammers who have been targeting veterans who receive the counseling. According to the measure’s sponsor, Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., some of these veterans have been targeted by persons who charged them fees to obtain these benefits. In some cases, the predators have been able to take control of these veterans’ assets and move them into irrevocable trusts or annuities. Veterans who are taken in by this activity, in some instances, stand at risk to lose their eligibility to Medicaid or other federal programs.
“Scam artists are turning the well-deserved A&A benefit into a financial nightmare for those who can least afford it. There needs to be greater safeguards for our veterans,” said Cartwright.

The bill cleared the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Oct. 18.