Changes to VA Pension Benefits

The Department of Veteran’s Administration (VA) recently announced big changes to eligibility requirements for the VA pension and other needs-based benefit programs. The changes will be effective October 18, 2018.

Some of the very good planning options that are currently available will no longer be available beginning on October 18th. One change is that the VA is adding a three year “look back” period. This will affect transfers the veteran is able to make.

For example, any gifts that you made in the past 36 months, either to a family member or to an irrevocable trust, would be penalized. Likewise, an investment in an annuity would also be penalized. This means you could be prohibited from qualifying for VA pension benefits for up to 5 years, depending on the amount of the gift.

If you have questions about VA pension benefits (especially the Aid & Attendance benefit), call us. If this is something you have been considering to help pay for help at home or in an assisted living facility, the time to act is now.