At AlerStallings, our office has been buzzing the last few weeks about a proposed rule change by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (the “VA”). The VA wants to impose a look-back period for applications for its Aid and Attendance pension, much like the Medicaid look-back already in place. The move is meant to leapfrog Congress, which has been sitting on similar legislation for two years.
What will the change look like?
The VA is proposing a look-back period which would penalize applicants for transfers made within three years of application. The penalty would be up to ten years and would be determined by dividing the amount of the transfer by the amount of the maximum benefit. Thus, the penalty for a transfer would be even harsher than it currently would be for Medicaid benefits.
Long-term care expenses are high enough for our Veterans. When we help Veterans explore both private resources and Medicaid eligibility, we anticipate that there may be previous transfers that could be penalized. For many Veterans, the Aid & Attendance pension helps their private resources last longer before they require help from Medicaid. If the VA imposes a look-back, however, many Veterans may not be eligible for the Aid & Attendance pension.
What are they thinking?
We’re not sure. On the surface, bureaucrats claim that veterans (and their widows and spouses) are receiving the pension, but shouldn’t be. The numbers don’t back up that claim. Only about 550,000 individuals receiving it, which is 5.4% of those eligible. Fortunately, at this time the rule has only been proposed, and there are a lot of steps which must be taken before it becomes law. We believe that this proposal is unnecessary at best, and quite harmful at worst, for our Veterans. Stay tuned to the AlerStallings Blog for more updates on this issue as it develops.
If you believe someone you love might be eligible, give us a call before the rules change. If you are interested in learning more about the VA Aid and Attendance Pension, reserve a seat at one of our events or schedule a consultation today!