Veterans and retirees – Target of pension predators

Another form of pension poaching involves lawyers, financial planners and insurance agents trying to persuade veterans over 65 who have pensions to invest in insurance products so that they can benefit. VA assistance and assistance benefits that help pay for assistance with tasks of daily living. Such actions prompted a stern warning from the Federal Trade Commission last year.

“What they don’t reveal is that these transactions could mean the veteran loses his eligibility for Medicaid services or loses the use of his money for an extended period of time. Adding insult to injury, the advisers charge fees ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars for their services, ”the FTC warned.

Beverly Walsh was a retired teacher in Lynnwood, Washington, who had served in the Navy during World War II. In 2006, an insurance agent specializing in senior finance sold Walsh, then 81, a 10-year annuity valued at $ 215,000. In 2009, she purchased a second annuity valued at $ 100,000. The agent also persuaded her to create a trust so that she and her husband, an army veterinarian with Alzheimer’s disease, could benefit from Medicaid and the Aid and Assistance allowance. , in addition to obtaining a veteran’s pension.

No claims for pensions, Medicaid, or aid and assistance benefits were ever made, and no arrangements were made for her husband’s care.

Walsh’s niece, Holly Beuthin of Renton, Wash., Spent two years unraveling the details and complaining to state agencies.

The insurance agent “earned her trust for several years and then forced her to make those financial decisions that she was not able to understand,” said Beuthin, who had the pleasure of seeing the State fine the officer for financial misconduct in the case of his aunt. and revoke his license.

Beuthin was able to get all of his aunt’s money back, but his aunt didn’t live to see him. Beverly Walsh died last year at age 88.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) only proposes a few laws each year. This year, one of the five he proposed was to protect veterans from what he calls “pension poachers.”

“Aid and assistance scams involve hawkers posing as investment ‘advisers’ preying on vulnerable elderly veterans or their surviving spouses with the lure of an untapped federal benefit.” said a summary of the legislation prepared by his office.

In March, the Washington legislature passed a law, approved by the AARP, that prohibits insurance agents from providing assistance to veterans for benefits that could result in financial gain for the agent.

“We hope this will serve as a deterrent,” said Ferguson, whose father and uncles served in World War II. “We see a lot of crime, but few are more egregious than those that try to rip off our veterans.”

What is done

Over the past year, officials in several other states and on Capitol Hill have begun to focus on pension poaching.

In Vermont, State Senator Kevin Mullin (R) worked with AARP Vermont on a bill that was passed unanimously in both houses of the legislature and was enacted by Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) in April. It requires pension lenders to comply with the same banking and consumer protection regulations as other lenders, including the requirement to be licensed.

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