Many veterans are unaware of the Aid and Attendance benefit, a component of the Veteran’s Administration Improved Pension that was designed to provide much-needed financial help to elderly veterans and their spouses. Even veterans who know about this pension benefit, however, are frequently targeted by scam artists attempting to take advantage of elderly or infirm veterans and their families.
By educating yourself about the Aid and Attendance benefit and learning how to recognize a scam, you can ensure your family gets the help it deserves without falling prey to veteran’s pension fraud.
What is the Aid and Attendance benefit?
The Aid and Attendance benefit provides additional financial benefits to veterans and their surviving spouses, over and above any other veteran’s pension they receive. The benefit is available if the veteran or surviving spouse requires a regular attendant to accomplish daily living tasks such as eating, bathing, dressing, taking medications, and toileting. The benefit is also available to veterans and their surviving spouses who are blind, who are patients in a nursing home due to physical or mental incapacity, or who are living in an assisted care facility.
The Aid and Attendance benefit is not limited to veterans with service-related injuries. Furthermore, it provides assistance to a veteran who is independent but has a sick spouse. In these situations, the pension benefit provides financial assistance to compensate for the income depletion caused by the care needs of the sick spouse.
How to avoid Aid and Attendance benefit scams
The most common scams target veterans through seminars and other types of outreach programs about the Aid and Attendance benefit. Usually, they promise to file a claim with the Veteran’s Administration on behalf of the veteran, for a fee, but the claim is never filed or is filed incorrectly. Not only does this type of scam harm the veteran financially, an incorrectly filed claim could damage the veteran’s ability to get approval of a correctly filed application.
Another type of scam targets homeless veterans. The scam artist promises to file an Aid and Attendance benefit application for the veteran, in exchange for a monthly fee taken out of the veteran’s benefit check. The veteran agrees to have the check mailed to the scam artist’s home or business address, and the scam artist takes the entire check or continues to take a monthly fee without performing any work for the vet.
If you or a family member has questions about the Aid and Attendance benefit or any other aspect of veteran’s pensions, find a qualified veteran’s pensions attorney or accredited service officer to give you the answers you and your family deserve.