The Veterans Pension program provides compensation to wartime Veterans who meet certain age or disability requirements and have limited income and net worth. Pension benefits are also available to eligible survivors under the VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) program. Unfortunately, many recipients of this benefit are targets for fraudulent activity, known as pension poaching. Scammers use a variety of methods to either swindle Veterans out of earned benefits or convince them to apply for benefits they are not eligible for.

VA developed the following video to help Veterans and their families better understand how to avoid financial fraud.

 

Common scam tactics

Some pension poachers will try to sell fake financial products or charge a fee to restructure assets to make a Veteran or survivor meet income eligibility criteria. Others may attempt to sell in-home care that is either overpriced or never actually provided. Scams often start with a dishonest lawyer, financial planner or insurance agent cold-calling Veterans, sending mail solicitations or even showing up at a senior center or assisted living facility. Steer clear of individuals and organizations that:

  • Request the Veteran move money into different accounts or reallocate investments to qualify for a VA pension payment;
  • Ask for money to handle a claim or charge for application forms;
  • Guarantee eligibility for a particular benefit or a lump-sum payment upon approval for a benefit;
  • Seek personal information over the phone, to include credit card or other billing information;
  • Offer to send benefits directly to a caregiver’s account.

Avoid fraudulent fees

Veterans and their families should never pay for assistance to apply for VA benefits. Veterans Service Organization (VSO) representatives can provide free advice and support with filing claims.

Find the VSO office located in your local regional benefit office by visiting www.benefits.va.gov/vso/varo.asp.

Veterans can also receive assistance from their state’s non-federal Veterans Affairs office. A list of local offices can be found by visiting https://www.va.gov/about_va/state-dva-offices.asp.

Additionally, a list of VA-recognized organizations and VA-accredited individuals that are authorized to assist in the preparation and filing of VA benefit claims can be found at https://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp.

For more information

To learn more about whether you are eligible for certain VA pension benefits, visit www.va.gov/pension.

If a potential scammer approaches you, please report them to the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) by calling 800-488-8244. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumercomplaints.fcc.gov.

By Christine Ortiz

Public Affairs Specialist with the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Office of Strategic Engagement

Share this story

Published on Nov. 7, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.1 min.

Views to date: 863

Leave A Comment

More Stories

  • VA and the FCC are helping Veterans with qualifying VA pensions access the internet for video telehealth visits.

  • Financial scammers often target Veterans, especially those who may be isolated, physically or mentally disabled, unfamiliar with handling their finances, or have recently lost a spouse. They may try to exploit you or your family to steal money, property, or personal information.

  • VA is launching a new life insurance program for service-connected Veterans called Veterans Affairs Life Insurance (VALife).