Update on VA Law

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.

Are you or your spouse a veteran?

If so, you may qualify for a Veteran’s Administration VA pension to help pay for your living expenses and long-term care needs.

Tony is VA Certified in Covina and Temple City, which means he can assist you with potentially qualifying for a VA pension.

There is a 3-Part Qualification Test to determine whether you qualify for aid and attendance:

1. Service Requirement for VA Pension

You or your spouse must be a “veteran”:

  • A person who served in the active military, naval, or air service,
  • Who was discharged or released under conditions other than “dishonorable.”
  • You or your spouse must have had “active duty wartime service.”

2. Disability Requirement for VA Pension

To be considered “disabled” under VA guidelines, you must either be:

  • 65 years old or older or
  • Permanently and totally disabled.

3. VA Pension Means Test

  • The first part of the Means Test is Income. The VA looks at your gross income and subtracts unreimbursed medical expenses. If this figure is too high according to VA standards, your pension may be reduced or you may not qualify for a VA pension.
  • The second part of the Means Test is Net Worth. The VA looks at whether you have sufficient means for the rest of your life by looking at liquidity of your assets, life expectancy, number of dependents, and potential rate of depletion of available assets.

Most of our clients in Covina or Temple City, CA have a problem satisfying the Mean Test for VA Pension or Aid and Attendance; however, this area of qualification is where our office can help. Through a special type of trust called a Veterans Asset Protection Trust, you may be able to qualify for VA pension benefits, yet protect your assets from probate and for your loved ones.

We can help if you are a veteran or a spouse of a veteran and need assistance with VA Pension Planning or Aid and Attendance. If you live in Covina, Temple City or surrounding areas, please contact VA Certified attorney Tony at (626) 858-9378 or request a free consultation below.

Further Reading on VA Planning: