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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Veteran’s Affairs Implements New Regulations for Needs Based VA Benefits

What is the net worth limit for receipt of a VA pension?

Pension benefits can greatly assist U.S. veterans who demonstrate financial need.  Recently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced new regulations governing the net worth requirements for veterans, as well as income exclusions and asset transfers.  It is expected that the changed law will allow more veterans to qualify for benefits.  Our San Ramon, California veteran’s benefits attorneys explore the new laws and what they might mean for veterans seeking pension benefits.

The New Pension Requirements

The VA determines eligibility for pension benefits based on the applicant’s countable income and assets.  In order to receive assets, the beneficiary’s net worth cannot exceed $123,600, effective as of October 18, 2018.  Net worth is defined as the applicant’s countable assets, minus any debts to real property, along with the applicant’s annual income, less some deductions.

Assets and income that will be included as part of the applicant’s net worth include payments from retirement accounts and annuities.  An exclusion exists for the value of your residence, on up to a two-acre lot.  Proceeds from the sale of the home can even be excluded if used to purchase a new residence the same year as the sale of the original home.  The assets of the applicant’s spouse will also be included in calculations.  There are additionally several exclusions for medical expenses.  

In addition to meeting asset and income requirements, to receive a VA pension, veterans must be over the age of 65 and have served during a time of war.  Surviving spouses of deceased veterans may also be able to receive pension benefits.  You will need to demonstrate that you suffer from a condition that renders you disabled, which could include showing that you are physically or mentally incapacitated, require assistance with daily living tasks, need a prosthetic, or are legally blind in both eyes.

VA pension benefits can be life changing for disabled older veterans, providing potentially considerable monthly assistance that is tax free and will not require repayment.  Applying for and receiving veteran’s benefits can be a challenging process as it necessitates much documentation.  Contact a veteran’s benefits attorney for more assistance with the process of qualifying for veteran’s benefits.

 


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