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

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Title

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

Creator

  • Author: United States. Government Accountability Office.
    Creator Type: Organization

Publisher

  • Name: United States. Government Accountability Office.
    Place of Publication: Washington D.C.

Date

  • Creation: 2012-06-06

Language

  • English

Description

  • Content 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."

Subject

  • Library of Congress Subject Headings: Government accountability -- United States.
  • Keyword: retirement security
  • Keyword: veterans' pension benefits
  • Keyword: testimony

Coverage

  • Place Name: United States

Collection

  • Name: Government Accountability Office Reports
    Code: GAORT

Institution

  • Name: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
    Code: UNTGD

Rights

  • Rights License: pd

Resource Type

  • Text

Format

  • Text

Identifier

  • Report No.: GAO-12-784T
  • Accession or Local Control No: 591411
  • URL: http://gao.gov/products/GAO-12-784T
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc302897