In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, continues with the four-part series, Changes to VA Eligibility Rules, and discusses some of the pitfalls to avoid when applying for VA pension benefits, especially Aid and Attendance.
Major Changes to VA Eligibility Rules: Pitfalls to Avoid
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson from Dent-Coulson Elder Law with offices in O’Fallon, Illinois and in St. Louis across from Westport Plaza and this is your Elder Law Minute. This is a third of our series of videos on the recent changes in the rules for eligibility for VA pension benefits, particularly Aid and Attendance. Today we’re going to talk about some pitfalls to avoid and, let me tell you, there’s an awful lot of them.
First one is the most obvious one and that is the problems associated with gifts and other transfers of assets within three years prior to application. Those are going to invite problems. A pitfall is not knowing what the VA is going to treat as a transfer of assets. There are going to be some things that are going to surprise or even shock you. For example, a lot of people put an adult child’s name on the bank accounts with them, thinking that it’s for a convenience whereas the VA looks at that as a transfer of half of the money in each of those accounts.
Applying too soon relative to asset transfers can cause a worse result than waiting. But, interestingly enough, waiting to apply to avoid a penalty can also in other situations cause a worse result than going ahead and applying.
Not knowing how to deal with a situation in which you’ve started with more assets than the VA rules allow, not knowing the options to deal with that, to get you within the asset limits before you apply in ways that are going to be okay with the VA and not treated as transfers can likewise cause a problem.
To be honest with you, I could go on and on. Those are just some of the ones that come first to mind. If I can sum this up, it’s in this way. It’s obvious that the rules have gotten a lot more complicated. Let me translate that for you. What that means in practical terms is that if you go about this process without the help of an experienced elder law attorney, like us at Dent-Coulson Elder Law, you really do proceed at your own risk and peril and run the chance of getting tripped up by complex rule changes that you had no idea about. So, give us a call, we can help. Thanks.
For more on Veteran’s Benefits, visit these articles:
- Major Changes to VA Eligibility Rules: Look-Back and Penalties
- Major Changes to VA Eligibility Rules: Asset Allowance
- Types of Care Covered by VA Benefits
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Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618)632-7000 or (314)567-9292 or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.