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The Michigan Attorney General recently released an alert for veterans applying for Aid & Attendance benefits. Aid & Attendance is a federal program for veterans who need home care or care provided in an assisted living or nursing facility. Unfortunately, some dishonorable advisors are preying on veterans seeking benefits.

What's Happening

The Federal Trade Commission has seen an increase in the number of financial planners and insurance agents selling insurance products or advising veterans to transfer assets to trust in order to financially qualify for Aid & Attendance benefits. In many cases, the veteran doesn't qualify for the benefits, but the agent makes a large commission by selling a product, such as an annuity, which removes the veteran's control over the asset for many years, or has a very high surrender cost. Even if this practice is not an outright scam, it does not help veterans. In fact, it could later prevent veterans from qualifying for Medicaid, which penalizes applicants for moving funds before applying for coverage.

What You Can Do

The Attorney General recommends several tips for veterans to protect themselves:

  • Contact the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency for reliable information about benefits available to veterans.
    • Consult only with legitimate advisors, who must be accredited with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
      • Before making any changes to your financial portfolio, check with an elder law attorney to make sure that any insurance policy, annuity, or trust will actually qualify you for benefits and will not compromise your Medicaid eligibility later.