VA Benefits Are Scheduled to Change Soon. Plan Now.
Changes to the VA Benefits – VA Aid & Attendance (A&A) Pension are certain to be implemented soon.
All sources of information indicate that changes will be made during the first half of this year. With this in mind, it’s imperative that veteran families start planning for senior living as soon as possible so they can take advantage of the A&A Pension while it’s still more widely accessible.
On January 23, 2015, the VA published a proposal to significantly change the rules regarding eligibility for A&A VA benefits.
Proposed changes included:
• Establishing a “bright line” rule for net worth limitations;
• Establishing a 3-year “look back” period for asset transfers prior to application for benefits;
• Imposition of a penalty period (of ineligibility for benefits), with respect to any improper transfers of assets during the “look back” period; and
• Limitations on qualifying medical expenses.
The proposal was initiated for the purposes of counteracting perceived abuses of the program (i.e. applicants sheltering significant assets in order to qualify for the benefit). However, the statistics do not support these concerns. 2015 U.S. Census data shows approximately 19 million military veterans alive in 2014. VA utilization data from 2012 shows only 315,000 recipients of A&A benefits.
If you have questions about the eligibility requirements for A&A, or the planning techniques available to you, seek the advice of a qualified Elder Law attorney today. Veterans’ services organizations and advocacy groups are also very helpful, but they cannot provide legal and planning advice, so it is always wise to get a second opinion.