Proposed Changes to VA Pension Eligibility Rules

The Department of Veterans Affairs has proposed new rules affecting VA pension eligibility that would place restrictions on asset transfers with a penalty period that could last up to a decade; limit home lot sizes to two acres; and cap home health care expenses.  The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and veterans advocates believe the enactment of this proposed rule could cause severe harm to veterans in need of long term care, and their families.  The new rules are more restrictive than Medicaid by disallowing the use of trusts and annuities as long term care planning tools.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has proposed new rules affecting VA pension eligibility that would place restrictions on asset transfers with a penalty period that could last up to a decade; limit home lot sizes to two acres; and cap home health care expenses.  The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and veterans advocates believe the enactment of this proposed rule could cause severe harm to veterans in need of long term care, and their families.  The new rules are more restrictive than Medicaid by disallowing the use of trusts and annuities as long term care planning tools.

Under the new rules, a veteran could potentially be penalized if they gifted any money to their grandchildren or church in the last three years.  This means that with a penalty period of lasting up to ten years, they could be denied the care they need at the time they need it most.  Additionally, under the new rules, a veteran who owns more than two acres of land, regardless of the location, is not considered to be “in need.”  Therefore, veterans living in rural communities may be forced to sell their farms just to be able to get the assistance they need as they age.

While the VA states the intention of the new rules is to “maintain the integrity of VA’s needs-based benefit programs” by reducing the opportunities for those wishing to take advantage of the system, many veterans who are deserving of these benefits may be denied the care they require as a result of the proposed changes.  The veterans that stand to lose the most as a result of the new restrictions are those who served in WWII and Korea, as well as Vietnam Vets who may have early onset Alzheimer’s. The proposed rules contradict what veterans were encouraged to do under the Pension Protection Act of 2006.  Those who were once eligible before for benefits may not be under the new rules.

If you or a loved one is a veteran who is planning for long term health care needs, contact an experienced elder law attorney who will strive to make sure that your or your loved one’s rights are protected.  Call 1 (866) 825-1529 or visit http://www.thobsonwilliamslaw.com

Written by Tanya Hobson-Williams

Appointed to the bench by the Board of Trustees in 2008, and elected in 2009, Tanya Hobson-Williams was the first African-American Female Justice in the Incorporated Village of Hempstead. Tanya Hobson–Williams obtained her B.A. in Government and Politics from St. John’s University and her law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Tanya Hobson-Williams has an active elder law practice assisting senior citizens in obtaining Medicaid for Home Care and Nursing Home Care. She routinely lectures at senior citizen centers, assisted living facilities, law schools and counsels families on a variety of topics of concerns to families caring for the elderly.

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Author: Tanya Hobson-Williams

Appointed to the bench by the Board of Trustees in 2008, and elected in 2009, Tanya Hobson-Williams was the first African-American Female Justice in the Incorporated Village of Hempstead. Tanya Hobson–Williams obtained her B.A. in Government and Politics from St. John's University and her law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Tanya Hobson-Williams has an active elder law practice assisting senior citizens in obtaining Medicaid for Home Care and Nursing Home Care. She routinely lectures at senior citizen centers, assisted living facilities, law schools and counsels families on a variety of topics of concerns to families caring for the elderly.

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