If you are a veteran or the spouse of a veteran, then you may be eligible for VA pension benefits, and VA pension planning may be an option for you. VA pension benefits consist of monthly cash benefits paid to eligible wartime veterans or their surviving spouses and dependent children to help defray care costs. To qualify for these benefits, VA applicants must meet certain financial and medical requirements.
Recently, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published revisions to existing eligibility requirements for VA benefits. These new rules are effective as of October 18, 2018. The key changes to the eligibility rules are as follows:
- A look-back period of 36 months now applies to applications for VA benefits, and a penalty period will apply to any asset transferred for less than fair market value
- The maximum net worth for a veteran to qualify for VA pension benefits cannot exceed $123,600.00 (this number will increase annually with the increase in Social Security benefits)
- An applicant’s primary residence will remain an exempt asset, but the residential lot area cannot exceed two acres
If you are currently receiving VA pension benefits or are interested in obtaining benefits, it is important to consult with an estate planning attorney that practices in VA planning. The qualification process for VA benefits can be complicated, particularly with the new rules taking effect, and the right attorney can devise legal strategies and employ planning techniques to help you qualify.
At my office, we practice in VA pension planning and can work with you to find the best planning strategy for you.