WHAT IS VETERAN PENSION POACHING?*
Pension poaching is financial exploitation targeting veterans and beneficiaries who are potentially eligible for VA pension benefits. Pension poaching comes in several forms but is always an attempt to de-fraud America’s heroes.
Some poachers sell financial products of questionable value or charge a fee to restructure assets in order to make the veteran or beneficiary meet income eligibility criteria. Other scams include the promise of pension eligibility for a fee or an offer of a lump sum or advanced loan against a future awarded pension. Other scammers will sell in-home care that is overpriced or is never actually provided to the veteran, while others will cold call veterans and try to sell them assistance in applying for benefits. The scammers request credit card, bank account or other personally identifying information over the phone or through email.
AVOID SCAMMERS AND POAHCERS BY ALWAYS USING AN ACCREDITED VETERAN SERVICE OFFICER (VSO)
Veterans and their advocates should never pay for assistance to apply for veterans’ benefits. Federal and state laws make provisions for accredited veteran service officers (VSO) to provide free advice and assistance for veterans to apply for their veterans’ benefits. This includes assistance with completing and filing applications. These experienced men and women are certified professionals who are well-trained and provide great advice to veterans.
Veterans and their beneficiaries should never pay…
- For forms or to submit applications
- To restructure assets in order to “qualify”
- For the promise of eligibility for a pension
- To receive a lump sum payment on a pension
HOW CAN YOU HELP VETERANS AVOID PENSION POACHING?
Be sure that a veteran you advocate for always uses assistance from a County Director of Veterans Affairs or another Accredited Veteran Services Officer (VSO) when applying for veteran benefits. A VSO will help explain, complete and submit federal or state veteran benefits applications for free, so veterans should never pay to apply for benefits they earned thanks to service to our nation.
Contact information for County Director of Veterans Affairs and other accredited Veterans Services Officers can be found at dmva.pa.gov/vetconnect.
SUSPECT VETERAN PENSION POACHING OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO EXPERIENCED IT?
Victims of pension poaching should file a report immediately with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office via one of the following:
- Call 717-783-1944
- Email: PAvets@attorneygeneral.gov
- File a complaint online by clicking the “Submit a Complaint” tab from any page of the attorneygeneral.gov website.