VA Eligibility Changes

VA Aid and Attendance Pension Eligibility Rules are changing. Veterans and their spouses benefit from a monthly pension called Aid and Attendance to assist with payment of long-term care expenses (e.g. care providers, assistance with activities of daily living, wound care, etc.,) provided the Veteran’s assets and income are below the cap established by the Veterans Administration. Two major changes are expected to be implemented by the end of 2015 that will significantly change the ability of Veterans to qualify for the assistance:

  1. Net Worth Test: To provide certainty of benefits, VA is implementing a clear net worth limit. The new limit will mirror the Medicaid allowance and be indexed for inflation. The VA Net Worth Limit will be compared to the claimant’s annual income plus total assets. As before, the claimant’s primary residence and automobile will be excluded from the calculation.
  2. Penalty for transfers of assets: Before the rule change, Veterans have been able to transfer assets to kids or a trust to immediately qualify for his/her veteran benefit to assist with payment of long-term care expenses. Following the rule change, transfers by Veterans will be subject to a penalty for gifts made within 36 months of application for benefits (i.e., the “look-back” period). VA’s look-back period differs from Medicaid’s 5 year look-back.

Although changes in the Net Worth Test and Transfer Penalties will adversely impact our Veterans ability to qualify for benefits, there are planning opportunities available through pre-planning, transfers for disabled dependents, and economic spend-down. We at Bryson Law Firm, P.C. can help with any potential VA needs you may have.