Consumer Discounts & Fraud Protection for Military Members
LSS Financial Counseling thanks military members for their service and recognizes the unique financial challenges and needs of active duty personnel, veterans and their family members. July is Military Consumer Month; therefore, we want to share information about military consumer discounts and about financial scams targeted at military members and their families.
Military & Veteran Discounts
Vantage Point has a full listing of military and veteran discounts available. They include the following and much more:
- Eye wear
- Financial and insurance
- Health and beauty
- Home and garden
- Online and retail stores
- Sporting goods and equipment
Protection from Scams and Fraud
Military members and their families are common targets for scammers and fraudsters who know that military personnel receive a steady paycheck and valuable government benefits.
AID AND ATTENDANCE BENEFIT
One such benefit that can draw scammers’ attention is the Aid and Attendance Benefit. This provides an increased monthly pension for veterans or their surviving spouses who are: 1) eligible for a Veterans Administration (VA) pension, and 2) need help with activities of daily living, are bedridden, are patients in a nursing home or have certain vision limitations.
- Offer to file an application claiming it will help the individual get their benefits or increase their pension for a fee.
- Claim they can get benefits faster for a fee.
- Offer advice to move the individual’s money to qualify for benefits.
No one should ever have to pay to receive this benefit. For more information, call 800.827.1000. If you have been a victim of a scam targeting your benefits, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ftc.gov/complaint.
EDUCATION / G.I. BILL
Tricksters also know that making the move to civilian life creates additional opportunities to take advantage of service personnel. Military members are eligible for several educational benefits, including the G.I. Bill, Veterans Readiness and Employment and educational and career counseling.
- Educational institutions can give special deals on tuition, books and housing to individuals eligible for the G.I. Bill. Some institutions use unethical practices to lure unsuspecting military members to enroll. They falsely advertise that they have special partnerships with major corporations to provide job opportunities to graduates or have tailored their curricula for that company’s jobs.
- Military personnel who have federal student loans and believe a school deceived them or performed an illegal act can apply for loan forgiveness through the U.S. Department of Education’s Borrower Defense to Loan Repayment program. They can also file a complaint against the school with the VA’s feedback tool.
LSS Financial Counseling is uniquely positioned to provide additional support to military personnel and their families in achieving and maintaining financial wellness. Our experienced, certified financial counselors have undergone PsychArmor training to better understand and meet the needs and circumstances of service members and their families. Call 888.577.2227, or get all your support online. Our services are free and confidential.
Author Julie Zachariason is Senior Program Manager for LSS Financial Counseling, with a special interest in the financial wellness of military members and their families.