Veterans' Pension Benefits: Improvements Needed to Ensure Only Qualified Veterans Receive Benefits

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Description

Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In summary, we identified over 200 organizations that market financial and estate planning services to help pension claimants with excess assets qualify for pension benefits. These organizations consist primarily of financial planners and attorneys who offer products such as annuities and trusts. All 19 organizations our investigative staff contacted said a claimant can qualify for pension benefits by transferring assets before applying, which is permitted under the program. Two organization representatives said they helped pension claimants with substantial assets, including millionaires, obtain VA’s approval for benefits. Some products ... continued below

Creation Information

United States. Government Accountability Office. June 6, 2012.

Context

This text is part of the collection entitled: Government Accountability Office Reports and was provided by UNT Libraries Government Documents Department to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. More information about this text can be viewed below.

Who

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this text or its content.

Provided By

UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Serving as both a federal and a state depository library, the UNT Libraries Government Documents Department maintains millions of items in a variety of formats. The department is a member of the FDLP Content Partnerships Program and an Affiliated Archive of the National Archives.

Contact Us

What

Descriptive information to help identify this text. Follow the links below to find similar items on the Digital Library.

Description

Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In summary, we identified over 200 organizations that market financial and estate planning services to help pension claimants with excess assets qualify for pension benefits. These organizations consist primarily of financial planners and attorneys who offer products such as annuities and trusts. All 19 organizations our investigative staff contacted said a claimant can qualify for pension benefits by transferring assets before applying, which is permitted under the program. Two organization representatives said they helped pension claimants with substantial assets, including millionaires, obtain VA’s approval for benefits. Some products and services provided, such as deferred annuities, may not be suitable for the elderly because they may not have access to their funds within their expected lifetime without facing high withdrawal fees. Also, such asset transfers may result in ineligibility for Medicaid coverage for long-term care for a period of time. The majority of the 19 organizations contacted charged fees, ranging from a few hundred dollars for benefits counseling to $10,000 for establishment of a trust. In our report we asked Congress to consider establishing a look-back and penalty period for pension claimants who transfer assets prior to applying for pension benefits, similar to other federally supported means-tested programs, such as Medicaid. We also recommended that VA obtain timely information on asset transfers, strengthen income and asset verification processes, and provide clearer guidance to claims processors. VA concurred with our recommendations and agreed that a look back and penalty period for asset transfers was needed."

Language

Item Type

Identifier

Unique identifying numbers for this text in the Digital Library or other systems.

Collections

This text is part of the following collection of related materials.

Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

What responsibilities do I have when using this text?

When

Dates and time periods associated with this text.

Creation Date

  • June 6, 2012

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

Usage Statistics

When was this text last used?

Yesterday: 0
Past 30 days: 0
Total Uses: 3

Where

Geographical information about where this text originated or about its content.

Place Name

Publication Place

Map Information

  • map marker Automatically generated Place Name coordinates.
  • map marker Automatically generated Publication Place coordinates.
  • Repositioning map may be required for optimal printing.

Mapped Locations

Interact With This Text

Here are some suggestions for what to do next.

Start Reading

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Citations, Rights, Re-Use

United States. Government Accountability Office. Veterans' Pension Benefits: Improvements Needed to Ensure Only Qualified Veterans Receive Benefits, text, June 6, 2012; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc302897/: accessed January 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.