Medicare and Medicaid aren’t the only government agencies feeling the crunch of today’s health care funding crisis. Soon the VA could implement new rules that could impact who is eligible for veterans benefits and when they are able to receive them.
The issue at hand is the applicant’s ability to transfer assets in order to qualify for benefits. The current system allows veterans or their spouses to transfer assets to meet the financial criteria for benefits allowing veterans to protect assets that pay for other long-term care costs. The VA wants to implement a look-back period similar to that used by Medicaid to help determine eligibility. The proposed three-year look back period could penalize applicants for protecting assets.
Right now the VA doesn’t use a look back period and evaluates the financial eligibility on the day of application. Under the proposed rule changes, the VA could impose a penalty based on the day any assets are transferred causing benefits to be delayed for years. It is a major change in how the Veterans Administration looks at benefit eligibility.
“The proposed VA rules are an attack on our nation’s veterans and their families; it’s a huge change from the status quo,” says Bernard Krooks, an elder lawyer in New York and a Forbes contributor. One big legal wrinkle: The regulatory action comes after attempts to pass a look-back rule in Congress failed. There’s some question whether these changes can be made administratively, so if the regulations pass, they could be challenged in court. – Via Forbes.com
There is not an official date set for when the proposed rule changes will begin but veterans and their spouses should expect changes to come sooner than later. If veteran’s benefits are a part of your long-term care funding plan you will need to begin planning for that soon before the look-back period is implemented. Applications made before the rule changes could be grandfathered “no pun intended” in by allowing those applicants to avoid the look-back.
Contact Elder Advocacy Group for more information on veterans benefits and how to apply.