Changes Are Coming to VA Aid and Attendance Benefits. Does it Affect You?

Posted on: Oct 5, 2018

VA Aid and Attendance benefits help qualified veterans and their surviving single spouses pay for Long-Term Care costs. New rules will go into effect on October 18th, 2018 that could prevent veterans from getting the help they need.

In order to qualify for VA Aid and Attendance benefits certain requirements must be met:

  • You or your spouse must have been a veteran who was on active duty for at least 90 days.
  • At least one day of that active duty had to have been during a period of declared war.
  • There must have been an honorable discharge.

New rules have been made which could affect your eligibility if you apply after October 17th.

  • Your assets have to be under $123,600 to qualify for benefits.
  • Any gifts of money or assets will be monitored.
  • Any gifts of money or assets that exceed your monthly pension rate could result in a penalty.
  • A “look-back” period of 36 months has been included.

Before, there was not a set dollar amount defined by the Veterans Administration you had to have in order to qualify for benefits. It also was not necessary to disclose any monetary gifts, nor were you subject to a penalty for them. This change will make VA benefits more in line with current Medicaid rules.

Medicaid rules state that for every $9,525 you give away you have to wait an additional month before you can receive Medicaid assistance.

The new VA Aid and Attendance rules work the same way.

For every monetary gift you give in excess of your monthly pension rate, you have to wait an additional month before you can start getting aid.

For example, if you get $2,169 a month for your pension and you gave away $22,000, you would be penalized and ineligible for aid for ten months.

A 36 month “look-back” is included in this new policy, so if you gave away money during a three-year period you can be penalized.

These rules kick in October 18th, 2018 and will not be retroactive. Meaning that if you applied for VA Aid and Attendance before October 18th, these new rules will not be considered when determining if you are qualified to receive benefits.

VA Aid and Attendance is only one way to get government benefits to help pay for Long-Term Care. If you or a loved one needs assistance, call Elder Law Group to discuss your options. We can help answer your questions about Medicaid, VA Aid and Attendance, and Estate Planning. We will help you find the plan that best protects you, your family, and your assets.