Jan 27, 2017

Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits: Look-Back Period Likely On the Way

This blog's followers know that in January 2015 the Veterans Administration proposed several changes to the eligibility requirements for Improved Pension with Aid and Attendance. These are benefits available to elderly and disabled veterans who have served during wartime periods and who need help paying for at-home help, assisted living or nursing home expenses. Spouses and widows may qualify under certain circumstances, too. Read details about these benefits and current eligibility requirements here.

Among the most significant of the proposed changes is the establishment of a look-back period on asset transfers. Currently, the asset limit is $80,000, with no look-back period and no penalties for asset transfers. The V.A.'s final ruling has been delayed while veterans groups and other advocacy groups weigh in on the proposal. Now, it's widely expected that a look-back period will be announced and become operational sometime after May 2017. Both a five year look-back on asset transfers (which is what Medicaid long-term care benefits currently impose) and a three-year look-back have been discussed.

With this change in the works, it would be to your advantage to apply for Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits before the look-back is imposed. Several of The Karp Law Firm's lawyers, myself included, are V.A.-accredited and can help you develop a plan that best takes advantage of any V.A. benefits, and coordinates with Medicaid benefits that may be available to you or your loved one. 

By the way, V.A. Aid and Attendance pension rates are pegged to the Social Security Cost of Living Index. Due to the recent COLA increase, pension rates have also increased, albeit by just a few dollars. The new rates took effect December 1, 2016 and also appear on our website here.

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