New Veterans Administration Rules Released in 2018

The new rules will impact the needs-based benefits for veterans and surviving spouses. Clarification of commonly confusing areas like evaluating net worth, asset transfers, and income exclusions were the focus of the new rules. The Veterans Administration Final Rule, as it’s being called, created a new net worth asset test, and a maximum community spouse resource allowance. The look-back period was solidified at 36 months and any transfers made during that time period that are less than fair market value are seen as  intentional acts to gain qualification status for benefits. A clear definition of which medical expenses can be deducted from countable income was provided in the Final Rule as well.

Let’s look at how this will impact The VA Improved Pension benefit, or commonly known as the VA Aid and Attendance benefit. The eligibility requirements are still basically the same with minor tweaks. You still must have served during a wartime period and have been discharged other than dishonorably. A new medical need was added to the list that already contained not being able to perform tasks such as dressing oneself, eating, taking prescriptions, etc. The new medical need is for people that need assistance walking about their home or living area. The evaluation of net worth has changed by adding new definitions of countable assets and the penalties for transferring assets.

Based on the VA Final Rule, new planning strategies will need to take place for both Medicaid and VA Aid and Attendance. There are many differences in VA and Medicaid eligibility requirements, for example, VA does not allow transfers to special needs trusts, VA counts qualified retirement plans toward net worth requirements. Ideally clients would like to qualify for both and we are able to work with you to see if that is possible under the new rules.

Contact us today and we can explain the new rules in more detail. Let us look over your situation and lay out a plan that works best for you.

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