VA Benefit Eligibility Rule Changes
Written by Christian Horde, J.D. LL.M.
Yesterday, The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) published new rules in the Federal Register. The rules are titled “Net Worth, Asset Transfers, and Income Exclusions for Needs-Based Benefits” and can be found here:
Beginning October 18, 2018, the new rules regulate veterans’ eligibility for VA Pensions (such as Aid and Attendance) and other needs-based benefit programs. The rules establish new requirements regarding net worth and asset transfers. Fortunately, the new rules are not retroactive.
The new asset limit will be $123,600.00 and remains the sum of the claimant’s assets and annual income. This change eliminates the need to guess just how low a claimant’s assets should be.
Additionally, there is a new look-back period of 36-months (3 years) for gifts and transfers. The VA also has enacted a Penalty Period of up to 5 years for the transfer of a “covered asset” within the 36-month look-back period preceding the date the VA receives a claim for Pension.
As such, assets transferred prior to October 18th will not trigger a penalty and, any strategies to protect assets and become eligible for VA benefits must be completed prior to the October 18th.
The Elder Law Center of Kirson & Fuller remains up to date on all news and changes in the law. Contact our office to learn more about the new changes and schedule a time with us for VA planning before the new rules come into effect.