925.244.1185
San Ramon, CA

Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Friday, October 19, 2018

VA Makes it More Difficult for Veterans to Qualify for Long Term Care Benefits

As if it wasn’t already difficult to obtain needed benefits, veterans must face a new hurdle put into place by the Department of Veteran Affairs. In a new rule finalized this month, the VA has added a number of new limits and requirements to a number of veteran’s benefits programs, including aid and attendance.

What are Aid and Attendance Benefits?

Aid and attendance benefits are additional funds paid to eligible veterans and their spouses in addition to pension payments. These benefits are available so long as you meet certain conditions, which include:

  • requiring assistance from another for activities of everyday living, like feeding, dressing, protection, bathing, and using the toilet
  • being bedridden for convalescence or treatment
  • being incapacitated and living in a nursing home
  • having eyesight limited to 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes (corrected), or a 5% reduced visual field.

VA Benefits - What’s Changed?

Veterans and their eligible spouses can receive aid and attendance benefits, which provide assistance at home for things like bathing, dressing, and other activities of daily living. Veterans seeking these benefits are now faced with:

  • income limits
  • asset limits
  • asset transfer penalties
  • a “look-back period”

Prior to the change, veterans typically qualified if they had less than $80,000 in income and assets. Though, they were never specified, this seems to be the number most commonly used. Unlike Medicaid, there were no penalties for applicants who recently divested themselves from assets so that they could qualify.

With the new rule in place, veterans are now limited to a net worth of $123,600. This includes both income and assets. Certain assets will not count towards this limit, such as a home on up to 2-acres, even if the veteran is living in a nursing home. Medical expenses and payments to assisted living facilities may also be deducted from income under the new rule.

Additionally, the VA has initiated a 3-year look-back period. This means that to apply for aid and attendance benefits, applicants must reveal all financial transactions that they were involved in for three years prior to the application. If it is found that the applicant did in fact transfer assets in order to place themselves below the income limit, they will be banned from VA benefits for 5-years.

There are some exceptions to the rules against divesting, which include:

  • transferring assets into a trust for a child who is unable to “self-support”
  • fraudulent transfers
  • gifts and transfers not made at market value

When do the new Rules Take Effect?

The new VA benefits rule goes into effect on October 18, 2018. The VA will not look at transfers prior to that date, so it may be worthwhile to talk with a veterans benefits attorney as soon as possible to determine the best way to qualify for aid and attendance benefits. Contact the Horizon veteran’s benefits attorneys today to schedule a consult.

 


Archived Posts

2019
2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2016
2015



© 2019 Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning, Inc. | Disclaimer
2333 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Ste. 145, San Ramon, CA 94583
| Phone: (925) 244-1185

Elder Law | Estate Planning | About

Law Firm Website Design by
Amicus Creative