In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, discusses the new VA look-back period, which is a topic that is of particular interest to any Veterans or widowed spouses of Veterans who might want to look toward establishing eligibility for the VA pension benefits that can be used to help pay for any type of long-term care in any setting.
Does the VA Have a Look-Back Period Like Medicaid Does?
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson from Dent-Coulson Elder Law in St. Louis, Missouri and O’Fallon, Illinois and this is your Elder Law Minute. Today I want to talk about a topic that is of particular interest to any Veterans or widowed spouses of Veterans who might want to look toward establishing eligibility for the VA pension benefits that can be used to help pay for any type of long-term care in any setting.
So, not just nursing home, like Medicaid, but also Memory Care, Assisted Living, Home Care, and even Home Care that’s provided by properly paid family members. And the question there is, “Does the VA, like Medicaid, have a look-back period?” And the answer there is: Yes, as of October 18, 2018.
Before that, the VA didn’t and even now if assets were transferred before that date, they don’t matter, but now they do. The VAs rule on it in some respects is even more harsh than Medicaid. It takes less of an amount of assets given away or otherwise transferred to cause a delay in eligibility. And even though the VA only looks back three years, the resulting delay in eligibility can be as long as five years.
So, some important advice from that. First of all, you really need to see an Elder Law attorney because when I use expressions such like “transfers for less than fair market value” you probably aren’t quite sure what that means and it’s so technical that you really need to have someone sit down and go over that with you. The second thing is that now they’ve really placed a premium on doing the planning in advance. The problem with a three year look-back rule, if you wait until you need care to do the planning is that it may mean that you’re going to have to pay your own way for the first three years after you’ve done the planning. Well, as I like to say, that kind of help is like getting my driveway plowed in April after a big snow in January. It’s just not good enough in that situation.
So, calling all you Veterans and widowed spouses, this is a valuable benefit for you, but nowadays you need to do some planning to position yourself to be able to get it. Give us a call, we can help. Thanks.
For more on Veteran’s Benefits, visit these articles:
- Major Changes to VA Eligibility Rules: Pitfalls to Avoid
- Major Changes to VA Eligibility Rules: Look-Back and Penalties
- Major Changes to VA Eligibility Rules: Asset Allowance
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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.