Law Office of John S. Palmer Attorney at Law

(425) 455-5513

New Law Protecting Veterans

Posted Friday, March 14, 2014 by John S. Palmer

The Washington legislature has approved legislation aimed at protecting veterans from shady marketing practices. The bill, SB 6208, was sent to the governor for signing on March 13.

The bill is intended to curb abuses by “pension poachers” who offer to help veterans using businesses with patriotic-sounding names, but sell bogus financial products or services that are available for free from legitimate service providers; sometimes the transactions are illegal and could result in criminal charges or loss of benefits.

Entitled the Pension Poacher Prevention Act, the legislation prohibits any person or entity from:

The act also makes it unlawful to advertise or promote any event, presentation, seminar, workshop, or other public gathering regarding veterans’ benefits or entitlements that does not include a disclosure stating that the event is “not sponsored by, or affiliated with, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, or any other congressionally chartered or recognized organization of honorably discharged members of the Armed Forces of the United States or any of their auxiliaries” and that the products or services discussed at the event are not necessarily endorsed by those organizations, and may not be the only benefits that are potentially available.

This disclosure “must be disseminated, both orally and in writing, at the beginning of any event, presentation, seminar, workshop, or other public gathering regarding veterans’ benefits or entitlements” unless the VA, the Washington DVA, or legitimate veterans service organization has “granted written permission to the advertiser or promoter for the use of its name, symbol, or insignia to advertise or promote” the event.

Finally, the Act specifically states that any violation of the Act is to be deemed an unfair or deceptive act in trade or commerce and an unfair method of competition for purposes of applying Washington’s Consumer Protection Act, which allows for the recovery of actual damages plus attorneys’ fees and punitive damages of up to three times the actual damages, not to exceed $25,000.

On a related note, I am proud to announce that as of February 21, I am accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs to assist with the preparation, presentation and prosecution of claims for veterans’ benefits before the VA. Pursuant to federal law, I do not charge for assisting claimants with the preparation of applications for VA benefits or the presentation of such claims; I only charge fees as otherwise permitted by federal law for such things as appealing the denial of a claim, researching whether a claim exists, or for legal services unrelated to the claim. Any veterans in the Bellevue area are welcome to contact me for more information about how I may be of assistance.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us at (425) 455-5513, toll free at (877) 455-5513, or

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Law Office of John S. Palmer11911 NE 1st St, Ste. B204,Bellevue, WA 98005-3056