On October 18, 2018, after much debate and discussion, the VA adopted sweeping rule changes to its pension benefit program. The rule changes are extensive and impossible to completely cover here, but the following is a summary of some of the more important changes.
A new look-back and penalty period have been adopted similar to what Medicaid currently uses.. The look-back period is 36 months from when you apply for VA pension benefits. Any asset that was transferred for less than fair market value during the 36 month period immediately preceding the pension application will result in a penalty period.
There are several exceptions to the new transfer penalty rule, including the fact that there is no transfer penalty imposed if the claimant’s net worth would have been below the net worth limit already, regardless of the transfer.
The exact length of the penalty period during which your are not eligible for VA pension benefits will depend on when the asset was transferred and the value of the assets transferred.
Prior to the rule change, there was not definite cap on the amount of assets a claimant could have and still qualify for the pension benefit. However, now there is a bright line asset limit of $127,061.00 (adjusted annually).
Medical expenses are compared to household income as part of the formula for determining the exact VA pension benefit. The new rule increases the types of expenses that may be used by the claim ant to offset income, and this is good news.
Please contact us if you have questions about these new rules, or if you would like to discuss whether you or someone else could qualify for VA pension benefits.