Additional Veterans Benefits
In this scam unscrupulous investment sales agents promise older veterans that they can get them additional benefits by overhauling their investments. This usually involves the transfer of a veteran’s retirement assets to an irrevocable trust to make the family appear impoverished so the veteran can qualify for a pension and related programs that pay additional benefits for everyday living expenses. The investments are either completely bogus, in which case the veteran loses all his or her assets, inappropriate for older retirees, or ones that generate a high commission for the agent. While the Veterans Administration does not examine veterans’ asset histories for determining pension eligibility, Medicaid does and its benefits can be jeopardized by such asset transfers. Veterans can avoid this scam by doing the following:
- Don’t be fooled by agents who say they represent official-sounding veterans’ organizations.
- Be wary of sales pitches made at free-meal seminars sponsored by nursing homes, community centers, assisted-living facilities, etc. They often receive a fee to let sales people make so-called educational presentations. (See the section on high-pressure sales of financial products at free-meal seminars above.)
- Contact the California Department of Veterans Affairs at (800) 952-5626 for official information about veterans benefits. Or see an overview of the benefits administered by the Department at www.calvet.ca.gov/veteran-services-benefits.
- Contact the Financial Services Division of the California Department of Corporations at (866) 275-2677 to find out if the sales agent is licensed. Or get license information directly at http://www.dre.ca.gov/gen_lic_info.html.