Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

The Ins and Outs of VA Pension

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Sat, Nov 23, 2019

P42.Sullivan.NovBlog1Did you know there have been significant revisions to the non-service connected pension rules? The Department of Veterans Affairs has issued new rule changes regarding the eligibility for a wartime veteran and his or her surviving spouse’s non-service connected pension. The new rules apply if the veteran had 90 days or more of active duty, one day of which was during wartime. 

These new rules began October 18, 2018. The new rules provide that the claimant and his or her spouse cannot have countable assets in excess of $126,420. An exception is if the claimant’s primary residence does not exceed two acres, unless the additional acreage is not marketable. It does not matter that the claimant is not residing in his or her primary residence or is renting the primary residence. The rental income, however, will be counted for IVAC purposes. 

The new rules also impose a 36 month look-back period for transferred assets. The transfer of a countable asset during the 36 month period before applying for assistance will trigger a penalty period up to 5 years. In calculating the length of the penalty period, the value of the covered asset is divided by the annual pension rate for a veteran in need of aid and attendance with one dependent and divided by 12. 

The penalty period begins on the first day of the month that follows the date of the transfer. The penalty period can last up to five years. Fortunately, the new rule provides that if some or all of the claimant’s countable assets are returned to the claimant before the date of the claim for VA assistance or within 60 days after the date of the disqualification notice, then the VA will recalculate or eliminate the penalty period. 

Further, the purchase of an annuity after October 18, 2018, within 36 months of the date of the application for VA assistance will give rise to this penalty period. Certain purchased annuities that can be liquidated are not considered a transfer that will be penalized. In addition, the pension benefit is reduced to $90 a month if the veteran is in a nursing home and is being provided Medicaid services.

This is an important resource that is available to servicemen and women, as well as their dependents. To learn more about Veterans' Benefits, nursing home coverage and community-based care, sign up for a free seminar Today.  Do not wait to learn more with Dennis Sullivan & Associates to discover how you may be able to help you and your loved ones.

Tags: veterans benefits, wartime veteran, Veteran, Estate Planning Tip, Massachusetts, Estate Planning Recommendations, Dennis Sullivan

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