Effective October, 18, 2018, the law regarding VA Eligibility Requirements for a veteran (or spouse) to receive non-service connected benefits changed. This new law regarding the VA’s Aid and Attendance pension benefit imposed a 3 year look back and it established a net worth limit of $127,061 (in 2019), which will increase each year with cost-of-living adjustments. Net worth, as defined by the VA, will include both the applicant’s assets and income. Additionally, an applicant’s house (which sits on a lot smaller than 2 acres) will not count as an asset even if the applicant is currently living in a nursing home.
Here is a brief summary of the significant changes that took effect on October 18, 2018 regarding the VA’s Aid and Attendance pension benefit:
• A three-year look back period was imposed to help determine if the veteran transferred assets in order to qualify for benefits.
• A maximum disqualification period of ten years for those who transfer assets below their fair market value during the three-year look back period was imposed. These transfers include the purchase of financial instruments that reduce net worth, such as annuities
• Transfers made before October 18th will not be subject to the new look back period
• Countable net worth will now include all countable assets plus annual gross revenue. This will impact veterans and spouses whose income exceeds their Unreimbursed Medical Expenses (UME).
• The maximum asset allowance has been increased to $127,061, which will be adjusted each year.
• Primary residence remains exempt, but if the lot exceeds two acres, anything over two acres will be countable (but only if the land is marketable, as opposed to land that is inaccessible or restrictively zoned)
• List of what is considered an Activity of Daily Living (ADL) will now include cognitive care.
Written by Don L. Rosenberg, a shareholder at Barron, Rosenberg, Mayoras & Mayoras – one of Michigan’s TOP Elder Law and Estate Planning Law Firms. Attorney Rosenberg has more than 35 years of experience practicing law and focuses on estate planning, elder law, Medicaid planning, Veteran’s benefits, end of life care, special needs planning and other specialties. Attorney Rosenberg and his firm are Featured in ElderCareMatters.com– America’s National Directory of Elder Care / Senior Care Resources to help families plan for and deal with the issues of Aging.