New VA Lookback Rule – Take a Second Look
Lookback or ‘lookback period’ is a term generally synonymous with Medicaid applicants and Medicaid benefits. Unfortunately, times have changed and now the VA has implemented a similar “lookback” period to those applying for VA Aid & Attendance Pensions.
The purpose of Aid & Attendance pensions has always been to support veterans and spouses of veterans, by providing monthly income to help offset the cost of home health care, assisted living and skilled long-term nursing facility care.
Eligibility has always been determined by criteria surrounding health, income and service requirements – but never involved a look back period or net worth stipulation.
The VA Lookback Period
As of October 2018, new rules are in play regarding non- service disability related pensions, including Aid & Attendance. For the first time ever, the VA now has a lookback period and a net worth limit in place.
What does this mean? The VA will now look back 36 months / 3 years to see if any asset transfers occurred, including assets transferred for less than fair market value. If you are found to have had transferred assets or sold assets for less than they were worth, you may be penalized up to 5 years!
The net worth side of this new equation includes assets, but does not include your home and up to 2 acres of land. It does include your annual income.
The point of the new VA lookback rule and income caps is to prevent individuals from giving assets away in an effort to qualify for the care allowances.
If you or your spouse are considering applying for VA Aid and Attendance Pension or any other benefits, contact Alerstallings today. Effective strategies to lower net worth while NOT violating the new rules can be a very helpful to retain your piece of the pie!