Do You Know The VA Benefits Available to Virginia Seniors?

Each week we work with seniors in our practice to help them find solutions to pay for the cost of long-term care. While the needs of the seniors vary per household, they face similar challenges in planning for their future.

Let us share a few examples.

Virginia seniors may face uncertainty when it comes to the type of care they will need in the future.

Or how they will be able to afford this care. They also share the concerns of whether or not they will be able to leave a legacy for their loved ones when they are gone should they need to also pay the high cost for long-term care support.

Most of us do not have the financial resources it takes to privately pay for the care we need outside the home. Whether the care is needed in an assisted living facility or a skilled nursing facility, this adds thousands of dollars to the monthly bills of a senior.

Fortunately, there are public benefit programs available to help Virginia seniors pay for the costs of long-term care.

When the senior is a wartime veteran, there may be additional benefits available to help him or her pay for long-term care. The VA pension program exists to help senior veterans and their dependents in their efforts to afford long-term care. The VA pension program is not dependent on a wartime injury or disability. Instead, it is tethered to the dates of service and eligibility requirements.

VA pension can be received by a senior veteran who served  ninety days of active military service, with one of those days during a period of war. This link can be used to determine if the dates of service qualify. The veteran also must be able to show he or she was discharged under conditions that were other than dishonorable.

The rules governing the VA pension program changed substantially on October 18, 2018. These rules established an eligibility threshold that had not been in place previously. To further explain, now the veteran may only have $126,240, less excluded assets that he or she is allowed to own. This amount is expected to change each year with a cost of living increase similar to the Social Security program.

The VA also created a “look-back” period. It will be for the thirty-six months prior to application. During these months, the VA may review bank records to see if assets were transferred to a third party for less than fair market value. If a transfer was made then a penalty period may be assessed for the gift that was made.

These are just a few of the ways the VA pension program has changed. We encourage you to schedule a meeting to ask us your questions. We are here to help you find the elder law assistance you need now and in the future.