Veterans Face New Limits on Long-Term Care Help
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a pension benefit to low-income veterans (and their spouses) who are in a nursing home or who need help at home with everyday tasks such as dressing or bathing. The program is called “Aid and Attendance”.
Unfortunately for many veterans, the government recently proposed new regulations that will tighten the qualification rules and impose a look-back period and transfer penalties similar to those under Medi-Cal. As a result of these changes, anyone who might be eligible for Aid and Attendance should probably talk to a lawyer about how to proceed.
In the past, veterans or surviving spouses applying for Aid and Attendance had to meet certain asset limits. Different offices used different limits, but $80,000 worth of assets was a common ceiling above which benefits could be denied. However, a veteran or spouse could give away assets to family members in order to qualify, without penalty.
That will be changing. The government now says it will soon adopt a uniform limit of $119,220, which is the current amount of assets a Medi-Cal applicant’s spouse is allowed to retain as a community spousal resource allowance. However, the government will now add together both a veteran’s assets and his or her annual income in determining whether he or she meets the $119,200 test. There will also be a three-year look back period on transfers that can result in ineligibility for up to 10 years.
Ms. MacDonald’s practice is limited to Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Administration. Ms. MacDonald maintains her practice in the Santa Clarita Valley at 25115 Avenue Stanford, Suite A-209, Valencia, California. She can be reached at 661-294-6464.
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