A bill that would create a potential obstacle for potential recipients of Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits, or VAA, was recently introduced by Senator Ron Wyden (D-Or.) and five co-sponsors. The bill would create a “look-back” period that could result in many applicants being ineligible for benefits or having to wait through a penalty period before receiving benefits.
The VAA program is administered by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. Its purpose is to provide financial assistance to veterans and their spouses who need assistance to complete daily functions, whether at home or in an assisted living facility. Although Medicaid will pay some of the costs associated with this type of care, any additional assistance that may be available is going to be welcomed by aging veterans.
Along with a service requirement, the Veterans Aid and Attendance program looks at resources. A married couple, as of 2013, cannot have assets of more than $80,000. Unlike the Medicaid program though, an applicant may transfer assets just prior to applying and suffer no penalty period through the VAA program. If the new bill passes, that will change.
The bill proposes to add a 36 month look-back period. Applicants who transferred money during that period of time could face a penalty period before Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits are available. A married couple is treated as a unit, meaning that a transfer by one spouse during the look-back period could penalize the other spouse.
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