Des Moines, Iowa, November 1, 2010 ‐ In recent months, the Insurance Division has become
aware of a number of individuals making presentations in nursing homes, assisted living
facilities and similar locations where older veterans may be in residence. The story told follows
a familiar path. A person professing expertise in veterans’ concerns urges veterans to shift their
assets into areas not among those considered by the Veterans Administration when benefit
determinations are made by that agency. The presenter may attempt to sell annuities or other
financial products to Veterans for the purpose of qualifying for pension by reducing a claimant’s
net worth. In some cases, it has been reported an attorney accompanies the presenter to draft
agreements. As a result, The VA benefits start to flow in a way that would have been
impossible when the veteran still has too many assets to be eligible.
The presenters charge a fee for the advice. The Insurance Division and other agencies have
learned that in some cases several thousands of dollars have been charged for this service.
The presenters may gloss over the fact that many of the filings can be made without cost
through the services of the Veterans Administration itself. There may be adverse tax
consequences, or create future situations that could put the person shifting assets at risk for
Medicaid eligibility due to stringent ‘look‐back’ provisions.
State agencies including the Insurance Division would prefer that consumers take their time
and make money decisions only after making sure that they have all the facts. In addition to
regulatory agencies, a person’s own tax advisor or attorney can help avoid mistakes being
made. It is strongly recommended that veterans and their interested family members consult
with persons that will look out for their own best interests, such as state regulators, the
families’ attorneys or their tax advisers. If veterans see activity of behavior that appears to be
illegal or unethical, they can report their observations at the following Veterans Administration
web site: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beyond being prudent, the Insurance Division encourages anyone hearing such a presentation
to contact the Division if the advice turns to the topic of buying or selling insurance or securities
products held by consumers. This advice can only be provided by properly licensed individuals.
The Iowa Insurance Division (IID) has general control, supervision and direction over all insurance and
securities business transacted in the state, and enforces Iowa’s laws and regulations. The IID investigates
consumer complaints and prosecutes companies, agents and brokers engaging in unfair trade practices.
Consumers with insurance or securities‐related questions or complaints may contact the IID toll free at
877‐955‐1212 or visit the division on the web at www.iid.state.ia.us.