In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, begins a four-part series, Changes to VA Eligibility Rules, and in this first video discusses the new asset allowances rules and how they may affect anyone applying for VA benefits.
Major Changes to VA Eligibility Rules: Asset Allowances
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson and this is your Elder Law Minute. This is the first in a series of four videos that we’re going to do discussing the recent and very important changes in the rules that the VA adopted relating to eligibility for Aid and Attendance and other pension benefits. Those rules took affect on October 18, 2018. The first thing we’re going to talk about is the difference in the asset rules.
There was one change that is arguably beneficial. Before, there used to be a limit of $80,000 or less and it was determined individually for each person that applied through something called an age analysis. Now, there’s a bright-line limit. For 2018 it’s $123,600, that’s going to change annually because it’s indexed to inflation. But, an interesting thing about that limit is that although they call it an asset limit, they define assets as the combination of your assets (still, by the way, if you’re married they count both spouses) and your income. The VA still defines income in an odd way of subtracting out unreimbursed medical expenses. They’ve expanded the definition, but even if you have more medical expenses than income, you can’t get below zero on that.
Your residence will remain an exempt asset, at least for most people. Now the VA has a two acre limit with a few minor exceptions to that. Since we have a lot of clients who live outside the core urban area, that one really disturbs me because if you live in a $5,000,000 mansion in New York City, your residence is exempt. If you live in a house on 10 acres out in the country, your residence may not be exempt and probably isn’t.
I’m going to sing the same song at the end of each of these. Whatever rules change and get more complicated, you need to be careful and I would suggest anybody who is looking at VA benefits would be very wise to consult with an experienced elder law attorney like us at Dent-Coulson Elder Law. Thanks.
For more on Veteran’s Benefits, visit these articles:
- What Service Requirement Must Be Met For VA Pension Benefit Eligibility?
- Types of Care Covered by VA Benefits
- Protecting Your Residence While Establishing VA Pension Benefits Eligibility
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