The Department of Veterans Affairs changed the rules for qualification on October 18, 2018. One of the things the new rules did was establish a limit for the countable assets for the veteran, or the claimant, and his or her spouse. Under these rules, the claimant and his or her spouse cannot have more than a combined $126,240 in the year 2019. This amount is subject to change annually and expected to increase by the same percentage as the cost-of-living increase for Social Security benefits. Similar to our state’s Medicaid program, there are certain assets that are exempt from this calculation. For example, the veteran’s primary residence is not counted as long as it does not exceed two acres in size, unless the additional acreage is not marketable.
These new rules also create a thirty-six month “look-back” period. This is the period of time that the government may “look-back” to determine if the veteran has given away any of his or her assets for less than fair market value that could have been used to pay for his or her care. If it is found that a disqualifying transfer was made, then a penalty period of up to five years could be triggered. Your elder law attorney can help you determine the period of disqualification for any potential disqualifying transfers made during the look-back period. This is just one example of how the rules have changed with regard to qualifying for VA pension. There are additional considerations that need to be factored into your case that your VA accredited attorney may discuss with you in your first meeting. Now, with rule changes like these, it is more important than ever to discuss your concerns with an attorney who understands the VA pension law. One of the keys to accessing benefits like these is to meet with an elder law attorney who is also VA accredited as soon as you know you may need assistance in paying for long-term care. The sooner you and your family begin to plan the better it will be.
Our Wellesley attorneys assist clients throughout Massachusetts with VA Benefits planning. We provide our clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future. For experienced representation and sound advice from experienced VA benefits attorneys, don’t wait to contact us today! Call (800) 964-4295 to register for a Free Discovery Workshop at DSullivan.com