The battle in the Senate over the National Defense Authorization Act or NDAA—the bill which sets the budgets for the military and veterans agency, among other things—has stalled over a number of amendments.
These debates aren’t your typical bipartisan battles. For example, Senators Kristen Gillibrand and Rand Paul are facing off against Claire McCaskill and Kelly Ayotte over an amendment about how to best deal with sexual assault in the military.
Another bipartisan amendment—and one decidedly less controversial—has been introduced by Democratic Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren and Republican Senator from Florida Marco Rubio.
The Veterans Care Financial Protection Act, or VCFPA, allows the Department of Veterans Affairs or VA to work directly with local agencies to ensure that veterans are protected from scams. According to a report from The Republican, “scammers have targeted veterans by charging them for [their aid & attendance benefit] even though the application process is free,” also preventing scammers from taking control of “a veteran’s assets potentially compromising their eligibility for other programs, like Medicaid.”
Scams against veterans are nothing new. Recent stories all over the country describe myriad scams where individuals exploit veterans through the guise of helping them. The Wayne County Journal-Banner reports of a phone scam that attempts to gain personal and financial information from veterans who were trying to reach VA call centers. Florida Today reports about a local couple who posed as attorneys and medical professionals charging veterans to help them obtain benefits. US News & World Report warns of marketing strategies that target veteran students for substandard for-profit degree programs.
While the VCFPA does not regulate against all of these scams, it takes an important step in protecting the aid and assistance benefit, which serves many poor or elderly vets. It is unclear whether or not this is one of the contested amendments or if the NDAA will even pass this week.