We are providing this information as a public service.  We practice elder and disability law, but counseling and representing veterans in connection with VA benefits is a specialized field and we do not offer these services.  Don’t stop, read on …

This is the benefit that changes:

Vets and their spouses who are 65 or older, served during a period of war, and have trouble performing tasks of daily living (bathing, dressing, toileting, etc.) are eligible to receive up to $26,036 annually in non-service connected benefits through the VA to help pay for long-term care, including home health care and nursing home care.  The program is means-tested so there are income and countable asset limits.  Proper advance planning can help veterans qualify under these limits.

Here’s what changed:

On September 18, 2018, the Veterans Administration (VA) published new rules that make it more difficult to qualify for this important benefit. Beginning October 18, 2018, any gifts that you made in the past 36 months, either to a family member or to an irrevocable trust, will be penalized. This means you could be prohibited from qualifying for VA pension benefits for up to 5 years, depending on the amount of the gift.  But the new rules are not retroactive; transfers before October18, 2018 will not be penalized.

There are other requirements to the new rules, but the rule on transfers is the most important and the one that requires urgent action.

Here is what you need to do:

You can still plan under the old rules where there is no penalty for making gifts or transferring funds to an irrevocable trust but you have to act quickly. The new rules go into effect on October 18, 2018, and you must have all planning done by that date.

If you’ve already looked into collecting VA pension and Aid & Attendance benefits but you’ve yet to move forward with your planning, it’s time to take the final step.   And if  you are an older wartime veteran or spouse (or you care about someone who is), and this is the first time you are hearing about these benefits, it’s time to take the first step.  You need to call a VA accredited lawyer right away and get started.

You must get your planning done and make any necessary transfers before October 18th to take advantage of opportunities while they still exist before the new rules go into effect.  It may be advantageous to file your application for VA benefits before October 18, 2018.

If you’re a wartime veteran or spouse and you don’t need care now, the time to plan for the care you may need in the future is still right now. You can work to appropriately arrange your finances today, so that when you apply for benefits down the road, you can qualify without a penalty.

If you don’t know where to start, call me at 301-907-4580 x104 right away.  I’ll refer you to someone who can help.

 

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