My mother was inquiring about the Aid and Attendance program with the local Area of Aging, and she was contacted by a company that helps with the paperwork promising a push through. Is this a scam? - AgingCare.com

My mother was inquiring about the Aid and Attendance program with the local Area of Aging, and she was contacted by a company that helps with the paperwork promising a push through. Is this a scam?

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My mother was inquiring about the Aid and Assist program with the local AoA, and she was contacted by a company that helps with the paperwork promising a push thru, and having required paperwork filled out so as no delays, getting approval in 3 months instead of 6 months etc. my mother was visited and asked questions to establish eligibility and they visited my father to see his condition was legitament, then they told her they needed 750.00 to proceed with the paperwork etc., which she paid, they did send her the receipt for deposit and stay in contact we are still waiting on the doctors portion...my question is on the Aid and Assist portion of the VA site it says it is illegal to charge for these services, when is it not illegal to charge? I don't want them taking advantage of my elderly mother whom is trying to get help to hire an nighttime nurse for my father, and help with his personal over the counter needs....she doesn't want me to ask them directly or make waves for fear they are ligit and then decide not to help her because there is tons of paperwork involved and it has to be prepared correctly or you have to start over, my mother is 79 and my father is 89, they also told her that when my father passes they can then transfer the A&A to her but only charge her 450.00 for that paperwork, I don't understand if the A&A program is trying to help elderly strapped for cash, how or why if it is legal that they would charge so high a fee for paperwork...any advice will be appreciated....my mother does not want me to say anything because she is desperate for the help but something does not feel right....thank u

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What makes me suspicious here is that the company contacted HER. It's better to check with AoA and ask if there are companies that can help with the paperwork. I don't like the feel of this. I agree that checking with the BBB is a good idea. I'd also ask the Area Agency on Aging.
I know the paperwork for Federal agencies can be a nightmare, but it's nearly always better to research legitimate ways to find help. As noted above, you could contact a local Assisted Living facility if one uses a company and ask who they use. The key is that YOU (or your mom) establish contact first.
I'm hoping this is not a scam. She may get help, but it may or may not be done correctly. I just seems a bit fishy - sorry to say.
Take care,
Carol
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Reply to Carol Bradley Bursack
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It's illegal to charge to complete VA forms for applicants. These scam artists make their money either by steering the applicants toward poor investments/financial arrangements allegedly to meet the VA needs-based pension criteria, but actually to where the agent gets a kick-back; or from the retirement residence people who provide a kick-back. A sharp 8th grade student could complete the VA forms required for the Aid and Attendance level of non-service connected pension: VA 21-2680, VA 21-526 [for vets] or VA 21-534 for [surviving spouse or child], and either a VA 21-8416a or a statement from a nursing home to show paid medical expenses. Add guardianship papers for Alzheimer's patient applicants, honorable discharge/separation documentation, and you're about done. I've done all the above in less than an hour. VFW, American Legion, county Veterans Service Officers, etc. all help with these forms for free.
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Reply to usmc2122722
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First, yes, it is illegal for anyone to charge a fee to complete VA forms.

Second, we attended a seminar at a retirement home where folks were advised to transfer their funds to an irrevocable trust to conceal them from the VA in order to qualify for the aid and attendance benefit. While this may be legal we do not feel this is honest. The presenters also said that many VA workers were ignorant of the benefit and inept at helping folks fill out the paperwork. Smelling a fraud, we did sign up for this and further checking showed that many of these companies will subsequently try to sell annuities that are inappropriate for seniors and carry high sales commissions.

Third, we applied for aid and attendance benefits for our mother directly with the VA and found the VA extremely knowledgeable and helpful. The notion that the VA is unaware of the aid and attendance benefit or is somehow hard to deal with is incorrect and part of a high pressure sales tactic.
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Reply to joeuser
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"The Center for Elder Veterans Rights, PC is an independent law office. CFEVR is solely focused on assisting elderly and disabled ..." and blah blah blah.

I went and checked their website, it's not a Veteran's Service Organization, it's a Law Office. All they can do is tell you that you are or are not qualified, and for which benefits. I suppose of course, all of that will be based on paperwork that you will be required to bring in, or acquire from the government for them?

I have to say that I feel it's ridiculous for anyone to PAY hard earned money for a service that can be handled by Service Offices at Any of the Veteran's Service Organizations Recognized by VA for Claim Processing, FOR FREE. (see my list in another post above)

Not only that, Service Officers at Veteran's Service Organizations Recognized by VA for Claim Processing can do something that this fee collecting law office cannot. Service Officers *CAN* HELP YOU FILL OUT THE CORRECT FORMS AND PAPERWORK.

MY two cents of course.
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Reply to moonchild
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The only people who should be dealing with Veterans Administration information and paper work is the VA. Aid and Attendance paperwork can be taken care of through your local Veterans Service Organization Officer. I would say what your parents are involved is a scam. No one needs to hand over money to complete any paper work for the VA. In fact, attorneys are not even allowed by to complete paperwork that comes from the VA. Call your local VA Administration and report this.
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Reply to riverleigh2bzy
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The VA made it illegal because of scam artists just like this one. They don't want their veterans being ripped off, it was easier to just make the scam artists illegal to use. Only Service Officers of Veteran's Service Organization, VSOs are allowed to help you out, no fee involved.

Please please contact the police and one of the Veteran Service Organizations below immediately and see if they can help you get your money back. You many not have known that it was illegal, but the scam artist certainly knows that it is and he needs to be stopped now before he harms others!

Do you happen to live in a town or city with a VA administrative or medical center? There will be several VSO's there and you can make an appointment or possibly walk in. If not, check your phone book for one of the VSOs below You can call the VFW Hall in town, Veteran's of Foreign Wars. Everyone has one of those; right? Or maybe an American Legion Hall. Maybe one of them will have a Service Officer around sometimes.

Here is a list of those that the VA allows to help you fill out forms for claims.

I found it at this government website on page 14 of 108 pages. http://www1.va.gov/vso/VSO-Directory_2012-2013.pdf


LIST OF RECOGNIZED ORGANIZATIONS
By virtue of authority contained in title 38, United States Code, the organizations listed below have been
granted recognition in the presentation of claims under the statutes administered by VA. This listing is not
intended to reflect on the quality of services rendered by other
Veterans service organizations:
Service Organizations Recognized by VA for Claim Processing:

African American PTSD Association (Not congressionally chartered)

American Ex-Prisoners of War, Inc.

American GI Forum of the United States

The American Legion

American Red Cross

AMVETS

Army and Navy Union, U.S.A., Inc.

Blinded Veterans Association

Catholic War Veterans of the U.S.A., Inc.

Disabled American Veterans

Fleet Reserve Association

Gold Star Wives of America, Inc.

Italian American War Veterans of the United States, Inc

Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A.

Legion of Valor of the United States of America, Inc.

Marine Corps League

Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)

Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A., Inc.

National Amputation Foundation, Inc.

National Association for Black Veterans, Inc.

National Association of County Veterans Service Officers, Inc.

National Veterans Legal Services Program

National Veterans Organization of America, (NVOA)
(Not congressionally chartered)

Navy Mutual Aid Association

Non Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S.A

Paralyzed Veterans of America

Polish Legion of American Veterans, U.S.A.

Swords to Plowshares, Veterans Rights Organization

The Retired Enlisted Association

United Spinal Association, Inc. (Not congressionally chartered)

Veterans Assistance Foundation, Inc. (Not congressionally chartered)

Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States

Veterans of the Vietnam War, Inc. & The Veterans Coalition
(Not congressionally chartered)

Veterans of World War I of the U.S.A., Inc.

Vietnam Veterans of America

Wounded Warrior Project


Any time a person company offers to help you fill out government paperwork for any kind of fee, RUN IN THE OTHER DIRECTION AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!! Remember that you would be giving them sensitive information including your social security number. Never do this!
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Reply to moonchild
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A federal law (passed in June 2012) prohibits anyone from representing a veteran in preparing, presenting, or prosecuting a claim for veteran benefits unless the person is accredited by the VA. Accreditation is not to be used for marketing financial services. A person or organization cannot charge a fee for assisting a veteran in preparing an application or presenting claims to the VA.” Cited from WA State Senate Bill, SB- 6208, passed on Feb. 12, 2014 which was intended to put more muscle into the laws preventing the exploitation of veterans and their families
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Reply to Thom91C
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never mind, this is an old topic. *facepalm*
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Reply to moonchild
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My mother used this and paid 1100.00 to fill out papers for aid and attendence. They told us stories about 2 weeks to two monthes. Well they fooled around for 6 weeks telling how to fill out all the paper work and how to get papers. I didn't need any but they had me get another DD214 so I could keep Daddy's original. We started all this Feb 13th, 2013 and send in package March 29,2013. Now we are waiting and they tell us it could take 8 months to a year. I should have went to the VA in the first place, this did not save me any time. Now I owe my credit card $1100.00 and interest. I had to quit work to take care of my mother totally. She is wheelchair bound now. Now I'm going deep in debt. I will be the care giver and sheis going to pay me with the money from the VA pension to stay home and take care of her. I am happy to do this, I am her only child. Just need money now!
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Reply to College
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Thank you College for proving my point! I think that you might want to check with a local VA Service Officer and find out if you are being defrauded. Perhaps you can get some or all of your money back. Check one of my posts here and look for a service officer in your area.
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Reply to moonchild
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