The veterans pension program is being abused due to oversight failures by the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a forthcoming report.
According to the New York Times, the conclusion of a year long investigation has concluded that the Veterans Pension Program has weak oversight and unclear rules. The oversight failure of the pension program has created a system ripe for abuses.
For example, financial planners and lawyers have been reported to help well-off retirees qualify for benefits by hiding or transferring assets.
The report by the Government Accountability Office, to be released on Wednesday, found that more than 200 firms have been involved across the country. The firms help veterans “restructure” assets so they can appear poor. When a veteran is poor, they are eligible for tax-free pensions. These pensions can pay more than $20,000 a year.
While not illegal, transferring assets to qualify for veterans pension violates the spirit of th program. Congressional officials and veterans groups claim the practice undermines the purpose of the program. The purpose of the veterans pension program is to aid poor veterans.
Instead, crafty veterans with the help of skilled legal and financial professionals are increasing the burden of veterans benefits beyond what lawmakers intended.
By abusing the spirit of programs like this, these veterans do a diservice to the veteran community as a whole. It erodes our credibility within the overall conversation of the economy. When veterans in need approach the government for funding, it will lessen the goodwill veterans and veterans groups have gained over the past decades.
Right now, the country is in a state of dire straits financially. These culpable veterans should rethink overusing systems like this that will increase taxpayer burdens.
And this conversation should not be limited to just veterans. Corporations and other individuals have taken advantage of the goodwill of the taxpayer for years. All parties should consider their part in helping dial back the country’s obligations. This is especially true in instances where people and entities take when there is no need.