A warning for veterans and their families

  

No one deserves to be taken advantage of, and our disabled veteran population is no exception. This article discusses the Aid & Attendance (A&A) benefit, the annuity being sold in combination with the application for it, and why this is a concern to our veterans and their families.


The A&A Benefit: This is a special pension through the Department of Veterans Affairs. It offers monthly financial assistance to eligible veterans (or their spouses) who are unable to adequately attend to their basic daily needs (i.e., tasks associated with eating, toileting, bathing, dressing, and ambulating). The Veteran Administration pays the eligible applicant a monthly income in 2020 of up to $2,266 for a veteran with a dependent (usually a spouse), up to $1,911 for a veteran living alone, and up to $1,228 for a widowed un-remarried surviving spouse of a veteran. 


The Indexed Deferred Annuity: This is a particular type of insurance product that certain insurance agents, sharing a propensity for moral flexibility, sell in combination with the promise of completing the A&A application. To purchase one, an entirely unsuitable product for our older Americans, a prospective A&A applicant need only be introduced to the right insurance agent. An agent who either does not care, or does not care to know, about this product's unfitness for our aging and disabled population. A trusting and unsuspecting group who have no reason to second-guess what they hear from clever, quick-talking, buzz-word-using insurance agents at their so-called free educational seminar. Seminars ostensibly marketed as if the presenter's motives were altruistic—educating our veterans as if it were a form of public service. Because these insurance agents are not lawyers, they lack the sophisticated understanding how these products effect complicated issues regarding an elder's income-taxes, estate-planning, and long-term-care medicaid benefits.


The Concern: Veterans attend the seminar excited to learn about the A&A benefit but without knowing the insurance agent's real underlying motive—the sale of indexed deferred annuities. The seminar is a means to determine the veteran's net worth. In the days that follow, they more actively target the wealthier ones, as the wealthiest have the means to purchase a larger annuity—generating a bigger commission. Our veterans and their families are viewed as dollar signs, and the seminar helps ferret out whose dollar signs are larger. Motivated by greed, the sale of these products pay huge commissions going undisclosed. And marketing their endeavor as some kind of public service is their clever ruse filling the seminar seats.


These annuities are entirely unsuitable. AND A VETERAN CAN OBTAIN THE BENEFIT WITHOUT IT. But unscrupulous agents push this high-commissioned insurance product on trusting and unsuspecting seniors and their families. The agents (or the outfits for which they work) do, in fact, prepare and file the application. But federal law prohibits them or anyone else from charging the veteran or the spouse a fee; of course, this is no burden if it leads to an annuity sale. Big financial pay-outs await these agents on the soon-to-be purchased indexed deferred annuity, and to the detriment of our veterans and their families.