VA Benefits Still an Important Resource for Seniors

Jim Wolverton, J.D.
elderly veteran saluting American flag

In October 2018, the Veterans Administration (VA) overhauled the qualification requirements for Veterans to receive improved pension benefits as well as the Aid and Attendance and Housebound allowances. Many elder law attorneys saw the new rules as complex and difficult to implement for their clients as they no longer could qualify immediately. However, with proper planning, these benefits can still be an important resource for wartime Veterans to help afford the care they need.

Read More: Major Changes to VA Crisis Planning in 2018

Current VA Qualification Requirements

Some of the qualification requirements added by the VA in 2018 include:

  • Defined income limits for VA purposes, which can be offset by unreimbursed medical expenses
  • Defined net worth limit ($155,346 in 2024) that has similar exclusions for the primary residence and personal effects (including transportation vehicles) as Medicaid
  • A lookback period of 36 months that begins on the date of uncompensated transfers
  • The concept of covered assets, which limits the application of a penalty period

The Continued Advantages of VA Planning

These VA qualification requirements brought about new planning strategies for elder law attorneys. If a wartime Veteran plans ahead for their care, the VA improved pension benefit with the Aid and Attendance allowance can provide over $2,000 in monthly financial assistance. The Veteran does not have to live in a nursing home to receive these benefits. The benefits can be an enormous assistance for a Veteran looking to stay at home and receive care when state Medicaid resources may not be available. Unlike Medicaid, the VA does not require the Veteran to reduce their assets down to $2,000 (in most states). Instead, they can keep over $155,000 in countable assets and still qualify. Additionally, qualified spouses of wartime Veterans can receive these benefits after the Veteran has passed away.

To learn more about VA benefits and planning strategies, please join us on July 9th for our CLE webinar, Transitioning a Client from VA Pension to Medicaid Benefits. During the live presentation, Michael Bryan, J.D., will discuss the basics of VA planning and how to help clients who have qualified for VA benefits receive Medicaid benefits as their medical needs increase.

Jim Wolverton, J.D.
By Jim Wolverton, J.D. | Director of Legal Education

Jim is responsible for creating, curating, and promoting high-quality content related to the estate planning and elder law industry. He also plays a primary role in designing and maintaining a robust education and content calendar for Attorney Access.

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