As the saying goes, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” The idea, of course, is that having something of value now is better than the promise of something in the future, even if the promise is technically for more. However, there are a number of cases in which this is not true. For example, lottery winners who choose the annuity option over a lump sum payout have a steadier stream of income and lower tax bills when they choose the annuity. For many winners, the annuity may be the better option. The question is, really, how many birds are in that bush? If it’s only two, maybe one in hand is better, but what if there are nine?
The same is true for VA benefits. Hidden fees, uneven trade-offs, and other considerations often make hiring these people very risky. As tempting as it may be to get that bird in your hand, you could be unwittingly transferring more than two-thirds of your VA pension to an independent company that is only interested in lining investors’ pockets. If this seems wrong, there are several courts who will happily agree with you. However, there are other courts who have not found a basis in the current law for throwing out these types of arrangements.
Last Monday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that it would begin looking into pension buy-out schemes. Litigation about these arrangements is ongoing throughout the country arguing that the buy-out programs are either usurious loans or illegal assignments of benefits to third parties. Either way, it is likely that the lump sum cash offers advertised in military journals are misleading. For military pensioners in a financial bind, there may be other programs that could help.
If you are facing financial strain due to medical expenses for a very ill veteran or spouse, VA Aid and Attendance non-service connected disability benefits may be part of the answer. This benefit exists to help cover the cost of medical expenses for veterans and their spouses who are unable to care for themselves. Although the process may be more time-consuming than the quick-fix of a lump sum, the veteran will be much better off with potentially over $24,000 in Aid & Attendance benefits per year! Speaking with a VA.accredited attorney can ensure that your claim process goes smoothly. The attorney may also be able to offer other benefits by suggesting options to help you qualify, such as a QVap Trust.
For veterans facing hard times due to the employment market, the new Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) may also be a good option. Veterans in this program may receive up to $1,400 while participating in the training for in demand jobs. Other options and programs may also be available through the VA and other services. Don’t get swindled by hucksters who will give you a small payout and then leave you high and dry.
VA Aid & Attendance–How Can I Correctly Choose Help for my Application Process? FREE REPORT: This complimentary report focuses on the various kinds of people one can consult when applying for the Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit. Who one chooses can mean the difference between success and failure. Remember, if you are denied, you may not be able to reapply for up to a year or longer. Download our complimentary report for a behind the scenes look at the different types of people you can consult and the dirty underbelly of the veterans aid & attendance industry.