I think there’s a good chance a portion of you newsletter readers will be thinking, “Aid and Attendance, what’s that?” So, at the risk of boring a few of you, we’re going to begin with a recap of the Aid and Attendance pension and what benefits it can provide veterans and their spouses. If this is an old hat for you, feel free to let your eyes wander down to paragraph four.
Aid and Attendance is a pension that provides qualified veterans cash assistance for long term care. The pension can pay up to $2,169 per month for married couples or $1,830 per month for a single veteran. The surviving spouse of a qualified veteran can also qualify for up to $1,176 per month. The benefit is available if the veteran served at least 90 consecutive days of active duty during a time of combat and received anything other than a dishonorable discharge.
Until November of 2018, a single veteran (or their spouse) could qualify for the pension if they had no more than $50,000 in countable assets. A married veteran could qualify if they had no more than $80,000 in countable assets. Income was determined after deduction of unreimbursed medical expenses from actual received income. There were also no penalties for transfer of assets.
As of November 1, 2018, these rules changed drastically and now bear a lot of similarities to the rules that govern long term care Medicaid for those who are 65 and over. The most important aspects of the new rules are:
- Net Assets needs to be below $123,600. Net assets are calculated by adding all countable assets and annual gross income (income minus unreimbursed medical expenses).
- Applicants can keep a home (with up to 2 acres of land), as well one automobile.
- There is a penalty of up to five years for any transfer of countable assets within the past 36 months. Transfers made prior to October 18, 2018, will not be considered. Transfers to a special needs trust for a disabled child will not result in a penalty.
- Unlike Medicaid, there are no allowable transfers to single premium immediate annuities.
The bottom line is that even with the expanded asset limits, qualification for Aid and Attendance will be more difficult for a greater percentage of the population. However, if you are a veteran in need of long-term care, it would be a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to explore all of your options.
As always, thanks for reading!
The Team at the Elder Law Offices of Barry M. Meyers.
Barry M. Meyers
David M. Neubeck
Sara LC Hulford
Elder Law Offices of
Barry M. Meyers, P.S.
DISCLAIMER: The content of this newsletter is: for information purposes only, subject to change by government agencies, should not be relied upon as current, and, does not constitute legal advice. Reading this newsletter does not establish an attorney-client relationship.