Elizabeth Warren: Let’s Stop Scamming Our Vets

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/41612846@N08/6146760219/in/photolist-anaKEt-93NfMD-dqn8HG-a5w6qY-a5wjYu-bJqYqr-eNdCnw-8Cyo2t-8Cyo2e-aT5Qya-dqn8CA-auAHGJ-aT5Qyv-aT5Qyr-aT5Qyc-aT5Qyi-aT5Qy4-auAHHY-auAHJE-81arkx-djED2x-djEAjV-djEzrv-djECKF-djECuH-djEBH8-djEBr7-djEB1e-djEzQ8-djEA3Y-djEAwu-djEBbZ-djEC8L-djEDj2-dqmZMH-6XeYH8-8F98bg-9eFHFY-d1397E-bMjRp6-aQm2UK-aQm2Ng-aQm3ez-aQm2Ca-aQEEsV-aQm3kg-aQprje-aQEEqg-aQm3WH-aQm4J4-aQpr8P">Courtney Sacco</a>/Flickr

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This week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced legislation along with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) that would protect elderly veterans from financial scams and sketchy financial advisers.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) funds an assisted living program for certain low-income veterans, and for years scammers and faux investment consultants have preyed on elderly vets enrolled in it. Warren and Rubio’s bill, introduced Tuesday, would require the VA to crack down on these shady dealers.

“For thousands of our oldest veterans who need help with basic daily activities, the…program is a critical lifeline,” Warren said. “Unfortunately, scams are turning the program into something that can actually undermine the financial security of our older veterans and waste federal funds.”

Swindlers calling themselves “veteran’s advisers” often charge vets fees to help them obtain assisted living benefits, even though the application is free, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). “Investment advisers” also profit off the assisted living program. These advisers will counsel veterans who have too many assets to qualify for the program to stow some of their money in a trust or account that cannot be accessed for years, so that it appears the vets are poor enough to qualify. The result is that vets cannot access their savings, and investment advisers earn a healthy commission for their “advice.”

Warren and Rubio initially proposed the legislation in November as an amendment to the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The amendment did not make it into the final annual defense bill, prompting Warren and her Republican colleague to introduce a stand-alone bill.

“This bipartisan proposal will help put an end to these financial scams and ensure that we honor our veterans’ commitment, sacrifice, and service to the nation,” Warren said.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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