How to Avoid Scams When Applying for VA Retirement Benefits


The veterans pension provides compensation to wartime veterans who meet certain age or disability requirements and who have limited income and net worth. Retirement benefits are also available to eligible survivors under the VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) Program. Unfortunately, many recipients of this benefit are the target of fraudulent activities, known as pension poaching. Scammers use a variety of methods to defraud veterans of benefits they have earned or convince them to apply for benefits to which they are not entitled.

VA has developed the following video to help veterans and their families better understand how to avoid financial fraud.

Common scam tactics

Some pension poachers will try to sell bogus financial products or charge fees to restructure assets so that a veteran or survivor meets income eligibility criteria. Others may try to sell home care that is either too expensive or never provided. Scams often start with a dishonest lawyer, financial planner, or insurance agent cold-calling veterans, mailing solicitations, or even showing up at a seniors’ center or assisted living facility. Avoid individuals and organizations who:

  • Asking the veteran to transfer money to different accounts or reallocate investments to qualify for a VA pension payment;
  • Request money to process a claim or charge claim forms;
  • Ensure eligibility for a particular benefit or lump sum payment when approving a benefit;
  • Look up personal information over the phone, including credit card information or other billing information;
  • Offer to send benefits directly to a caregiver’s account.

Avoid fraudulent charges

Veterans and their families should never pay assistance to apply for VA benefits. Veterans Service Organization (VSO) representatives can provide free advice and assistance with filing claims.

Find the VSO office located in your local Regional Benefit Office by visiting www.benefits.va.gov/vso/varo.asp.

Veterans may also receive help from their state’s non-federal veterans office. A list of local offices can be found by visiting https://www.va.gov/about_va/state-dva-offices.asp.

Additionally, a list of VA-recognized organizations and VA-accredited individuals who are authorized to assist in the preparation and filing of VA benefit claims can be found at https://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp.

For more information

To find out if you are eligible for certain VA retirement benefits, visit www.va.gov/pension.

If a potential scammer approaches you, please report them to the VA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) by calling 800-488-8244. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumercomplaints.fcc.gov.

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