On January 23, 2015, the Department of Veterans Affairs (the “VA”) proposed new rules for its pension program (including the Aid & Attendance program) that include:
– Penalties on asset transfers within three years of an application for benefits
– Adjustment of the net worth limit to $117,240 (specifically, to match the Medicaid community spouse resource allowance, adjusted annually for cost of living)
– Inclusion of an applicant’s income as part of the net worth analysis
…and a number of other changes.
Under one of the most significant proposals, Veterans (and surviving spouses of Veterans) would no longer be able to transfer assets (outright or in trust) in order to be eligible for the VA Pension, at least not in the three years before application.
The rules are unclear on whether they would apply to prior transfers, that is, those made before the implementation of the rules in final form. Further, as drafted, the transfer rules would penalize the surviving spouse of the Veteran more than the Veteran. Many practitioners are up in arms about these and other problems with the proposed rules.
Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
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