Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

VA is Proposing a 3 Year Look Back Together with a Penalty of Up To 10 Years

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Mon, Feb 23, 2015

VA is Proposing a 3 Year Look Back Together with a Penalty of Up To 10 Years | Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney

 

veterans_benefits_lawyer 

On January 23, 2015, the VA took the initiative in proposing new regulations that would hit wartime veterans and their spouses with a penalty of up to 10 years for making gifts, if they wish to qualify for the VA’s Aid and Attendance program.

As readers of this blog know, the Aid and Attendance program is a non-service connected pension can provide as much as $2,120 per month in tax free income to help pay the cost of long term care.  This program is means tested with an asset limit of about $80,000.  Currently, there is no look back period like Medicaid has, so that transfers for less than fair value to individuals or trusts do not result in a waiting or penalty period for benefits.

Federal legislators have introduced two bills since 2012 seeking to impose a 3 year look back. Neither bill has managed to pass both houses of Congress yet though. The VA however, is sick of waiting and is trying to take matters into its own hands.  They have proposed a penalty of up to 10 years that would result from uncompensated transfers. The penalty itself would be calculated by dividing the amount of the transfer by the claimant’s pension rate. 

Other changes include a net worth standard of $119,220 including annual income. In other words, an applicant would need to have no more than $119,220 in assets and annual income combined in order to qualify.  The higher the applicant’s income, the lower the amount of assets they can keep.

Under the proposal, expenses related to independent living facilities would not count as care costs.  This would mean that veterans with dementia, or other degenerative diseases who can no longer safely live in their own homes but who don’t yet need assistance with the activities of daily living will not be able to include the cost of that facility in an effort to qualify for the VA benefit. Daily living activities are things like such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting and transferring. Finally, the applicant’s home will remain an exempt asset towards the net worth limitation only if the lot on which it sits is less than 2 acres.

These changes will dramatically reduce the ability of many veterans to qualify for this important benefit.  The new regulations have been submitted for public comment.  To fight these changes, everyone who cares about veterans must respond no later than March 24, 2015.  You can send your comments through http://www.regulations.gov or by mail to Director, Regulation Policy and Management (02REG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave. NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420 or by fax to (202) 273-9026.  Comments should include that they are in response to “RIN 2900-AO73, Net Worth, Asset Transfers and Income Exclusions for Needs-Based Benefits”.

 

Click here to access our free report on Aid and Attendance Benefits.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we provide a unique education and counseling process which includes our unique 19 Point Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Review to help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones, click here for more information. We provide clients with a unique approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

 

 Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: long term care, Nursing Homes, veterans benefits, Nursing Home, wartime veteran, Veteran, federal, look-back, VA benefits, penalty, 2015

Aid & Attendance Pension

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Mon, Oct 20, 2014

Aid & Attendance Pension | Massachusetts Elder Care Attorney

  

 veterans

 

A Little Known Tool for Our Nation’s Heroes

When fighting for the nation comes to the close, every veteran will be proud to come back home to live in peace with their family. Well, that may sound good for the youth that enlisted, but when entering into the golden years, every veteran and his surviving spouse needs a better home care as the cost of assisted living continues to rise. 

Is there an official care for the nation’s hero? Yes, the Veterans Administration has an vastly underused pension benefit called Aid and Attendance that provides money to those who need assistance performing everyday tasks. Families of Veterans should be assisted with the VA’s benefit programs that are available to those honorably discharged Veterans who are age 65 and older and are struggling to pay for their cost of care. 

Revealing the Secret

Most of the veterans have no idea of this pension program exists. The official title of this benefit is a Pension; the reason for using the Aid and Attendance to refer pension is that many veterans (or their single surviving spouses) can become eligible if they have a steady need for the aid and attendance of a caregiver, or if they are housebound. Evidence for this need for care must be certified by VA as a rating. With their rating in place, certain veterans or their surviving spouses can now qualify for Pension.

 

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we provide a unique education and counseling process which includes our unique 19 Point Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Review to help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones, click here for more information. We provide clients with a unique approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

Tags: veterans benefits, wartime veteran, benefit, VA, VA benefit, VA benefits

Key to Unlocking VA Benefits | Massachusetts VA Benefits Attorney

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Sep 07, 2012

Today you're going to learn what the VA considers "Unreimbursed Medical Expenses" - that is, what you and your loved one are paying out of your pockets - also referred to as "UME." This is a key factor to help you determine if a veteran may qualify for a pension! The formula the VA uses to calculate your real income is below:

Wartime Veteran & Spouse (if any) Gross household annual income

Minus: Unreimbursed medical expenses (UME) - for one year

Equals: Net income for Veterans Benefits purposes

VA benefits

Now, what qualifies as Unreimbursed Medical Expenses? Well, first of all, your household annual income includes anything the veteran earns, as well as his/her spouse or dependents. From that number, you would subtract UME's - which include doctors' and dentists' fees, Medicare premiums and copayments, insurance premiums, transportation to the doctor's office, and the cost of assisted living facilities or in-home caretakers. But there's much more - take a look below to see everything that qualifies!

Listing of Possible Medical Expenses: (this is only a partial list)

-Medicare premiums deducted from Social Security

-Supplementary medical insurance (Part B) under Medicare

-Abdominal supports

-Acupuncture service

-Ambulance hire

-Anesthetist

-Arch supports

-Artificial limbs

-Back supports

-Braces

-Cardiographs

-Chiropodist

-Chiropractor

-Convalescent home (for medical treatment only)

-Crutches

-Dental services

-Dentures

-Dermatologist

-Eyeglasses

-Food or beverages prescribed by doctor for treatment of illness

-Gynecologist

-Hearing aids & batteries

-Home health services

-Hospital expenses

-Insulin treatment

-Insurance premiums (medical)

-Invalid chair

-Lab tests

-Lip reading lessons (in connection with disability)

-Neurologist

-Nursing services

-Occupational therapist

-Ophthalmologist

-Optician

-Optometrist

-Oral surgery

-Osteopath

-Pediatrician

-Physical examinations

-Physician

-Physical therapy

-Podiatrist

-Prescriptions and drugs

-Psychiatrist

-Psychoanalyst

-Psychologist

-Psychotherapy

-Radium therapy

-Sacroiliac belt

-Seeing-eye dog

-Speech therapist

-Splints

-Surgeon

-Telephone/teletype for deaf

-Transportation expenses (20 cents per mile)

-Vaccines

-Vitamins prescribed by doctor

-Wheelchairs

-Whirlpool baths for medical purposes

-X rays

Note: Most medical expenses must be prescribed by a physician to be deductible from gross income for VA benefit qualification purposes.

So you see, depending on what your income is and what your medical expenses are, you may qualify - even if your gross monthly income seems too high. If you have questions about anything in the list above or aren't sure if an expense you incur is "unreimbursed" or not, go ahead and give us a call at (781) 237-2815.

For more information go to www.SullivanVeteransReport.com, which contains important information on the “Hidden Benefit” available to veterans and their spouses, and the steps you should be taking right now to find out if your loved one qualifies.

Download our FREE Veterans Benefit Report

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops. Call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

Register NOW for a Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection Workshop

and receive a free Unique Self-Guided 19-Point Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection

Legal Guide with accompanying DVD

Nursing home care is more than $140,000-$180,000 per year! Attend this FREE educational seminar to learn:

  • How to protect your home and assets from the costs of long-term care
  • How to stay out of the nursing home and access in-home care
  • How to make sure your spouse is not left financially ruined if you need nursing home care
  • How to access Veterans benefits to pay for long-term care

       To register or call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or online at www.SeniorWorkshop.com 

 

 

Tags: Estate Planning, Medicare, veterans benefits, VA benefits, medical expenses, unreimbured medical expenses, UME, wartime veteran

Sign-Up Below To Receive Your Free Report

Follow Me

Browse by Tag



Follow DennisBSullivan on Twitter