New Rules for Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit
Updated: Sep 26, 2018
We’ve been anticipating this change for several years and now it is finally here. Effective October 18, 2018 new eligibility rules make it harder to get Improved Pension - commonly called “Aid and Attendance” for wartime veterans and their spouses.
What is Aid and Attendance?
This is a cash payment, up to $2169 per month, available to some veterans (and their widows or widowers) if the applicant can show he/she needs help with typical activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, eating, toileting, dressing, or is blind.
Who Is Eligible?
Veterans who served at least one (1) day during a defined wartime period:
WWII December 7,1941 - December 31, 1946
Korea June 27, 1950 - January 31, 1955
Vietnam (in country) February 28, 1961 - May 7, 1975
Vietnam (otherwise) August 5, 1964 - May 7, 1975
Gulf August 2, 1990 - ongoing
Veterans’ Surviving spouses
Veterans and widows/widowers must show financial need.
What Are The New Rules? And When Are They Effective?
The new rules take place October 19, 2018. Here are two important ones:
1) Previously financial qualification rules were vague; now we have more certainty. For example, an applicant’s available assets including one year’s income must be less than $123,600 - that looks similar to the Medicaid standard. However, it is calculated differently. The home, personal effects and vehicles are exempt.
2) An applicant who gives away assets (such as to family members or to a Veterans Asset Protection Trust) or purchases certain disqualifying financial instruments (such as certain annuities) will suffer a waiting penalty not unlike the Medicaid rule. So the applicant will have to disclose asset transfers within the last 3 years (a 3 year “look-back” period). Disqualification could last up to 5 years.
Is There Any Good News?
Yes. Among other things, doctor prescribed independent living facility costs may now reduce available income as a qualified medical expense. The October 18, 2018 effective date will give some applicants a window of time to start the process before new rules make it harder to qualify.
What Can I Do Now?
See your attorney. This is only a very brief summary on the topic. If you are currently working on a VA eligibility plan with our firm, be sure do complete your “homework” so we can get your application in before the deadline.
Pixton Law Group