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VA INSURANCE HOAX REVIVED BY GROUPS OFFERING HELP FOR PAY

 WASHINHGTON, July 12 /PRNewswire/ -- An insurance hoax that has returned time and again for more than 40 years to create administrative problems for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been revived by groups asking veterans to pay for assistance in collecting a nonexistent life insurance dividend.
 "In the past, the insurance hoax caused only administrative problems for VA. Now there are those who are trying to make a profit at the expense of veterans, and we are resolved to stopping them," said VA Secretary Jesse Brown. "I have instructed the VA Inspector General to work with the Postal Service to do everything possible to put an end to this latest version of the hoax and to alert all veterans," he added.
 VA's Regional Office and Insurance Center in Philadelphia reports veterans and active duty personnel throughout the country have received flyers, including return forms, from groups or individuals offering veterans assistance in applying for the dividends or in answering questions they may have for fees ranging from $2 to $15 for each request.
 The flyers falsely claim that dividends from veterans' life insurance policies are available to any veteran who applies. For veterans who served at least two years in the military, the flyers claim the dividends range from $264 for two years of service and increase for each additional year of service.
 The phony applications and flyers, past and present, claim the dividends have been recently authorized by Congress. In fact, there is no such dividend for veterans who do not keep their insurance in force, nor a rebate for active duty personnel. No legislation has been approved or proposed by Congress.
 In the past, the hoax applications were unwittingly printed in magazines, newspapers and newsletters, or distributed in handbills.
 The hoax has caused wasted effort by thousands of veterans, active duty personnel and dependents, and has generated needless labor and mailing expense by VA.
 Legitimate insurance dividends are automatically paid, usually on the anniversary date of the policy, to approximately 3 million veterans with active policies in four GI life insurance programs. No application is needed to receive the dividend payment.
 -0- 7/12/93
 /CONTACT: The Department of Veteran Affairs, Office of Public Affairs, 202-535-8300/


CO: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs ST: District of Columbia IN: INS EXE SU:

IH-DS -- DC006 -- 0288 07/12/93 09:36 EDT
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Date:Jul 12, 1993
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