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WealthMerge has analyzed the 136 page rule changes along with many bar associations, elder law organizations and VA “specialist” – like the DRA when new, many are quite alarmed for a number of reasons.  Below is a list of hot-topic changes:

  1. 3 year look back period
  2. Maximum disqualification period is 5 years
  3. Penalty divisor (indexed) is the pension amount for a veteran and dependent (regardless of who is applying)
  4. The penalty only applies to the assets transferred, had they been kept, that would have put them over the resource limit.  Example: Assets and income (see below) are $100,000. They recently gave away $50,000. Had they kept the $50,000, total would have been $150,000.  Subtract the $123,600 to come up with the penalized gift.
  5. House (on up to 2 acres, with exceptions) remains not-countable
  6. Maximum assets (regardless of title) has been increased (and indexed) to the CSRA amount of $123,600
  7. ADL’s has been expanded to include cognitive care
  8. Assets and Income are added together to calculate the maximum assets.  For example, a claimant with $118,000 in assets and $9000 in income with have excess assets ($118,000 + $9000 = $127,000) and be ineligible for Aid and Attendance.

VA pension has been historically a crisis planning strategy.  The new rules will now make it essential that it becomes a proactive planning strategy.

WealthMerge offers innovative financial strategies, that when done with proactive planning can 1) eliminate the need for A&A and/or 2) ensure that the qualification is properly done 36 months prior to application.

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