Elder abuse of veterans

People who abuse seniors, either physically or financially, lack respect for elders – even those older men and women who had served in the U.S. armed forces.

But just like other people over the age of 65, elderly veterans are targeted by fakes and criminals because they appear to be easy targets, especially if they are ill and suffering from Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Veterans are often also at risk because they might additionally suffer from post traumatic stress disorder or other combat-related illnesses. They can experience fraud and other forms of abuse, according to the Nursing Home Abuse Guide, and it’s even worse because they often receive government benefits, including financial compensation, that makes them especially attractive victims.

Financial abuse is a big concern. About a fourth of instances of veteran financial abuse of veterans are committed by relatives. Family members usually have the most knowledge of a veteran’s financial situation as well as can access his or her money, investments and bank accounts.

But scammers have also targeted those who served our country. According to the Nursing Home Abuse Guide, they sometimes prey on veterans at nursing homes, assisted living facilities and VA hospitals, tricking them into investing their money into trusts and annuities in exchange for larger veterans’ pensions and benefits. Such scams can affect veterans’ eligibility for pensions and other government benefits.

Veterans are also targeted and tricked into donating money into fake charities they are told will benefit fellow service members, according to the Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse and Neglect at the University of California-Irvine. The university recommends people who are concerned about veterans financial abuse google the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force for provides tips on protection against fraud and information on how to submit complaints of specific types of suspected fraud to federal agencies.

In addition, the Federal Trade Commission operates the Consumer Sentinel Military Network, a database of consumer complaints from the military community and makes them available to law enforcement. The FTC doesn’t resolve individual disputes, but the agency tracks them and helps other agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense, shut down scammers and let service members know what scams to be aware of.

It’s a good idea to seek the advice of an experienced elder care attorney, who can help ensure your loved one’s finances are protected and that he or she has investment, long-term care and estate plan that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

Our experienced and trusted estate planning attorneys have been serving Treasure Coast families for decades, and Michael Fowler is one of only nine attorneys in the state of Florida who is double board-certified in wills trusts and estates and in elder law.  Contact us for your initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.

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