Mar 10, 2014

Uncompensated transfer penalty, look-back period for V.A. Aid and Attendance benefits could be around the corner

Veterans Aid and Attendance is a type of improved pension, It is not service-connected. It can help elderly and disabled veterans and their widows pay for at-home, nursing home, or assisted living care. You can find out more about Aid and Attendance and download a booklet about it from our website's V.A. benefits page.

At present the Veterans Administration does not examine uncompensated asset transfers made by applicants for V.A. Aid and Attendance benefits.   Applicants may not have assets greater than $80,000, but unlike Florida Medicaid, there is no look-back period for asset transfers and therefore, no associated penalty periods. But that may be changing. As I reported before on this blog and in other V.A. news, the push to impose a look-back period and penalty period for V.A. Aid and Attendance benefits has been gathering steam for some time. In June 2012 the General Accounting Office urged Congress to pass legislation to impose look-back rules. A bill was introduced in Congress but never went anywhere.

The tide may turn this year. In 2013 Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) introduced HR 2189, a bill that includes a look-back provision for Aid and Attendance applicants. The bill was passed and sent to the Senate, where it is now under review. The bill proposes a look-back period of three years.  Section 202 reads as follows:

Provides that if a veteran eligible for a pension for service or for a non-service-connected disability, or the spouse of such a veteran, disposes of a resource that was part of such veteran's estate for less than its fair market value within three years before applying for such pension, the Secretary shall deny or discontinue the pension paymnet for months beginning on the date of such disposition and ending when the uncompensated value of such resource is reached...

We do not know whether the look-back will become law, but experts seem to think there is a good chance that it will. You can read the bill in its entirety here.

The takeaway from the news: Do not delay if you are thinking about applying for benefits. Contact the V.A. - accredited attorneys of The Karp Law Firm for assistance

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