Under current law, Veterans and their spouses are entitled to a much needed stipend, Aid and Attendance, to offset the rising costs of their healthcare needs and avoid nursing home placement. The current monthly needs amount of $2,120.00 for married veterans and $1149 for surviving spouses are in jeopardy.
The Veterans Administration recently released new regulations that are currently subject to a period for public comment. One of the proposed regulations will impose a three year “look-back period”, similar to that imposed for Medicaid benefits, upon Veterans. What this means is that those veterans who are able to get benefits, have sacrificed by serving during wartime and have counted on the VA to fulfill their promise to take care of the Vets and their families, will find it difficult, if not impossible, to qualify for the benefits without substantially eroding their personal savings. Monies transferred would result in a period of ineligibility for benefits, up to a TEN year period.
It is important to note that Congress has made several attempts to have this type of rule put into place in the last several years but political pressure has stranded the unpopular measure. The agency is under no such pressure.
I encourage EVERYONE to immediately review their plans with an elder law attorney in order to avoid being disqualified for much needed benefits. You can voice your opinion about the regulations here: http://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/01/23/2015-00297/net-worth-asset-transfers-and-income-exclusions-for-needs-based-benefits. You should also call or email your Congressman immediately to let them know that this regulation, which will impoverish those that have sacrificed, should not go into effect. You can find your congressman here: http://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup.
Suggested text should be:
RE: Loan Guaranty: Adjustable Rate Mortgage Notification Requirements and Look-Back Period, 80 Fed. Reg. 4812 (January 25, 2015)
Dear Congressman (or Senator):
I am aware that the Veterans Administration has issued regulations that are now undergoing a period of public comment. I am outraged that the VA will impose regulations that are designed to impoverish our Veterans after their years of service. The regulations are not carefully constructed to ensure the Veteran and his spouse are not left impoverished, quite the contrary. In addition, there are no hardship provisions, no provisions to leave property for the Veteran’s disabled children, and goes further to impose a draconian 10 year penalty.
This is not the way to treat our Veterans. All this is being done without the input of our elected representatives and I am outraged. I am requesting that these regulations be withdrawn and that the Veterans Administration keep their commitment to honoring and serving those who have already sacrificed so much for our freedom.
Signed, Your name
Please call Aging in Alabama with any questions, always a free telephone consultation: (251) 281-8120 or (855) ELD-RLAW.