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Test Your Knowledge of Eligibility Requirements for Veteran Needs-Based Benefits
(Updated: 01/07/2019)

The Veterans Administration Final Rule 8320-01 went into effect on October 18, 2018. This rule established new financial eligibility qualifications for Department of Veterans Affairs needs-based benefits, including Aid and Attendance.

Which of the following eligibility qualifications are included in this rule?

  1. To be eligible for benefits in 2019, a veteran's net worth must be equal to or less than $126,420, which is also the community spouse resource allowance for Medicaid eligibility. Annual increases in the net-worth limit will be linked to the social security cost-of-living increase.
  2. One primary residence with up to two acres, vehicles, and personal items can be excluded from the net-worth calculation.
  3. There is a 36-month look-back period for the transfer of any asset that occurs after October 18, 2018, for less than fair market value, including transfers to a trust or an annuity. Five years is the maximum penalty period for an asset transfer that occurs during the 36-month look-back period.
  4. Unless there is clear and convincing evidence, the Department of Veterans Affairs will presume that assets were transferred for less than fair market value to qualify for a benefit.
  5. All of the above.

Answer: E

Aid and Attendance is the veterans' benefit most often used to pay for long-term care. Although this rule includes a look-back period and net-worth limit similar to those of Medicaid, Medicaid and Aid and Attendance are separate programs administered by different federal agencies.

The new eligibility qualifications help clarify the net-worth limit and what assets are included in that calculation. Transfers to trusts or annuities may also be included in the calculation unless certain conditions are met, such as maintaining the ability to control and liquidate the assets in the trust. Clients need to be aware of the newly created 36-month look-back period and five-year penalty period. The good news is that this rule provides an opportunity to correct a penalized asset transfer if all assets are returned to the veteran within 60 days of the penalty decision notice.

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