On January 23, 2015 the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued proposed regulation changes that would directly affect the Aid & Attendance benefit. Among these proposed changes is a transfer penalty and a 3-year look-back period. It is not clear when, or if, these proposed changes might become effective. The VA is seeking public comments on these proposed changes through March 24, 2015.
The VA will be looking back at applicants finances for three years prior to application. Any transfers of assets that a Veteran or surviving spouse of a Veteran made during the look-back period will cause ineligibility for Aid & Attendance benefits for up to ten years from the time of the transfer.
The proposed regulations would result in a disproportionate and unfair penalty on surviving spouses. A surviving spouse would be penalized twice as long for the same transfer as a married Veteran. There are other proposed changes that would penalize certain transfers made by a surviving spouse that Veterans can make without penalty.
These proposed regulations will likely cause fewer Veterans and surviving spouses to receive Aid & Attendance benefits from the VA. Aid & Attendance stretches out the Veteran’s available dollars for care and puts off the need for Medicaid. Medicaid costs taxpayers more because Medicaid pays for the entire cost of care, whereas VA benefits pay only a partial amount for care.
You can comment on the proposed regulations at www.regulations.gov and typing “AO73” in the search box. Prior to submitting comments a thorough review of the proposed rules is advised.