Rosen Joins Push Urging FTC to Investigate Predatory Practices Targeting Veterans Who File for VA Benefits

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) joined Senate colleagues in a letter urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate entities that may be violating federal law by charging veterans excessive fees when helping them file for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits.

“Filing for benefits through the VA can be a time-consuming and complex process. Veterans often seek help in trying to obtain benefits, and unscrupulous people can prey on veterans by charging very high fees or demanding a percentage of the increase in benefits,” wrote the Senators. “In February 2023, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the VA said “there has been an influx of predatory advertisements, which purport to help Veterans—often through the guise of “medical consulting” or “benefits coaching”—submit their initial claims to the VA for a fee.” The CFPB and VA noted that “unauthorized assistance in claim preparation is illegal” and said that “[w]e have heard reports that unscrupulous actors have misled some veterans into paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal fees.” 

“We believe the actions of unaccredited coaches luring veterans into paying excessive fees for assistance may violate a number of federal statutes, including Section 5 of the FTC Act that bars unfair and deceptive practices,” the Senators continued. “Given the limitations of the VA’s authority to regulate effectively this market and gaps in state enforcement, we believe other agencies must step in and use their authority to protect veterans from unaccredited coaches and consultants filing claims for benefits.”

Rosen and the Senators are calling on the FTC to:   

  • Use its authority and relevant statutory powers to investigate the VA benefits coaches and consultants market and assess the practices of benefits consultants, coaches, and others claiming to help veterans obtain benefits from the VA.  
  • Publish a report that includes findings and legislative and regulatory recommendations at the conclusion of the investigation.  
  • Work with the VA, Department of Justice (DOJ), CFPB, and other relevant federal stakeholders on any other means to protect veterans.

The full text of the letter can be found HERE. 

Senator Rosen has been leading efforts to protect our nation’s veterans from predatory practices. Last year, she joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in calling on the VA to enforce all existing protections for veterans filing initial claims for disability benefits, and requesting information on additional tools the VA needs to hold bad actors accountable for scamming veterans. Senator Rosen also recently backed the bipartisan Governing Unaccredited Representatives Defrauding (GUARD) VA Benefits Act to protect veterans from predatory practices by reinstating criminal penalties for unaccredited claims representatives who charge unauthorized fees while helping veterans file VA claims.