The Veteran’s Administration offers a monthly pension benefit to disabled or aged wartime veterans and surviving spouses who have low income. The disability does not need to be service connected.
On October 18, 2018, the VA adopted sweeping changes to the VA pension rules.
The Following is a summary of criteria a veteran or surviving spouse (claimant) must consider when attempting to qualify for a VA pension.
1. Service Test. The claimant is considered a veteran if he was discharged under other than dishonorable conditions, and he served 90 days or more of active duty with at least 1 day during a period of wartime.
2. Disability Test. The veteran or the claimant must qualify for a medical rating. There are generally two (2) medical ratings that we are concerned with as follows:
Homebound Rating. This is one who is substantially confined to their dwelling, and it is reasonably certain that the disability will last a lifetime.
Aid and Attendance Rating. This is generally a claimant who needs financial help to assist in paying for in-home, assisted living, or nursing home care.
3. Income Test. The claimant’s countable income must be below a yearly limit set by law. Countable income is the total income received by the claimant and their dependents. It is important to understand that even veteran’s or claimants with high annual income can qualify for a pension because the VA will deduct from annual income unreimbursed medical expenses such as in-home care or nursing home care.
4. Asset Test. As of October 18, 2018, the asset of “net worth” limit to qualify for a VA Pension is $127,06100. This figure will be adjusted annually usually during the middle of the year. Under the new rule, net worth would equal assets plus annual income.
5. Asset Transfer Penalties. As of October 18, 2018, the VA will now consider the if the Veteran or surviving spouse transferred assets within 36 months immediately preceding the receipt of a VA pension application. If assets were transferred, it could result in a period a ineligibility before a VA pension may be awarded. As such, proper planning is now more important that ever before submitting a VA pension application.