The VA has made some major changes to the rules regarding the VA Aid & Attendance benefit. One of these changes is the implementation of a 3 Year look-back period that will penalize the transfer of assets within the look-back time frame. Finally, these changes take effect 10/18/2018!
Here’s a quick summary of the new regulations:
1. 3-year lookback period for transfer of assets (think Medicaid lookback, including a similar transfer penalty)
- Critical takeaway: The VA will now be looking at the transfer of assets within the last 3 years to determine eligibility for the benefit.
2. Net worth calculation will now include a year’s income.
- Critical takeaway: Figuring out net worth for an application is more complicated.
3. Net worth limit is increased to $123,600.
- Critical takeaway: Vets and spouses can keep more assets. Good news!
4. Homes sitting on more than 2 acres may now be countable toward net worth.
- Critical takeaway: This is a big change but there are exceptions (think zoning issues and lack of access – ask your attorney).
5. Purchases of certain annuities (and transfers to certain trusts) will be penalized during the lookback period.
- Critical takeaway: Trust planning will remain an effective pre-planning tool. Annuities take another hit and will now be penalized in addition to creating income which affects eligibility.
6. Accreditation requirement – The VA has stepped-up enforcement.
- Critical takeaway: Be sure you are referring your seniors and their families to VA accredited attorneys
Finally, you can read more about the qualifications here: https://smithbarid.com/blog/2018/02/02/veterans-aid-attendance-benefit