** Legal Alert **
U.S. Congress to Consider Imposing Penalty Periods for Asset Transfers In Connection with Veterans Benefits
On April 17, 2013, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Or.) along with five co-sponsors, introduced a bill (S. 748) calling for the imposition of a 36-month look-back period and penalty periods - similar to those imposed for Medicaid eligibility -- in connection with applications for Veteran's pension benefits, including Aid and Attendance benefits.
In addition to the 36-month look back period, the legislation proposes to impose a penalty period for any asset transfers made during that time period calculated by dividing the total amount of the assets transferred by the maximum monthly pension benefit payable to the Veteran or spouse (see below). Like the Medicaid regulations, the bill proposes to treat a married couple as a unit, whereby any asset transfers made by either spouse will impact the other.
The proposed bill was introduced to the Senate and was referred to the congressional Committee on Veterans' Affairs. The committee must consider the bill before sending it on to the House or Senate.
The Aid and Attendance benefit, available through the Department of Veterans Affairs, is a non-service connected pension benefit for Veterans or spouses who require the aid and attendance of another individual to perform the personal functions required in everyday living. This benefit has proved to be very helpful to those Veterans and/or spouses who reside in assisted living facilities or who receive care at home not covered by Medicaid.
In addition to service requirements, the Veteran or spouse cannot have more than $80,000 in total assets. Currently, the Veteran/spouse can transfer assets, either outright or to a trust, and be eligible immediately for the Aid and Attendance benefit. If this proposed bill becomes law, these Veterans will be subject to a thirty-six (36) month look back period and possible penalty periods.
The bill must pass through the Committee before it can be enacted. We will keep you informed as we follow this proposed legislation.
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Summary of 2013 Aid and Attendance
Maximum Benefit Amounts:
Veteran - $1,732/month
Veteran and Spouse - $2,054/month
Surviving Spouse - $1,113/month
Cona Elder Law is committed to helping Veterans and their families plan for their future needs, prepare to meet the costs of care, and protect assets for the next generation. Cona Elder Law attorneys are leaders in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning and are accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs to represent Veterans and their families.