Phone:(757) 271-4270 Toll Free:1 (855) 872-2529
A Tradition in Caring for Your Senior Loved One
Veterans
Quality care and service solutions that exceed your expectations.

Our senior care services company in Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach and throughout Hampton Roads

helps families care for their senior loved one through regular visits and frequent updates,

as well as assisting with paper work such as the VA Aid and Attendance Pension benefit, and more.

A note from Care Connect of Hampton Roads

 

The Veterans Affairs Department is proposing changes to the VA Aid & Attendance pension benefit program in the near future to prevent what the GAO claims is abuse to the system.

 

Regardless of the GAO negative findings mentioned in the below article, we do not see that the Veterans and Spouses that come to our office for assistance are trying to abuse the system. Instead, they are scrambling to find ways to pay for EXPENSIVE care in a time of crisis and need.

If you plan on applying for this benefit for yourself or a family member, we strongly encourage you to get your planning done and applications filed before the end of this year, if possible. Even if we are unable to submit the application for adjudication before the end of the year, getting the process started sooner rather than later is always beneficial, since we do not know for certain when the proposed changes may go into effect.


Rule Changes Will Tighten Restrictions on VA Aid, Assistance Pensions

By Bryant Jordan, Military.com

The Veterans Affairs Department is proposing rules changes to the Aid & Attendance pension benefit program for low-income veterans age 65 and older that officials say will protect the fund from those who have sought to manipulate their net worth to receive payments.

One change in particular -- basing program eligibility on an claimant's annual net worth during the three years prior to filing for the benefit -- will ensure "that VA only pays the benefit to those with genuine need," the rules proposal published Jan. 23 in the Federal Register states.

However, an attorney who specializes in elder law says the VA is rigging the system to disqualify those in need, or force them to bleed through whatever incomes or savings they have to retain the benefit.

I don't see veterans gaming the system. I see veterans in real need," said Eileen Walsh, an owner-partner of Elder Law in Louisville, Kentucky.

The VA has been trying to make changes with the pension program at least since 2012 following a General Accountability Office report that recommended the assistance be means-tested, as are other federal programs.

VA officials did not respond to Military.com's request for comment on the rules change.

In 2011, the VA paid out about $4.3 billion in pension benefits for about 517,000 recipients – including veterans or their survivors, according to the Government Accountability Office. These benefits were extended to low-income wartime veterans age 65 and older, or who were under age 65 but permanently and totally disabled due to military service.

Of the total number of recipients, GAO said about 314,000 were veterans and 203,000 were survivors. About 329,000 were over 65, with the average age 71 for veterans and 79 for survivors. On average, veteran claimants received $9,669 annually and survivors $6,209.

"It's a modest pension amount," Walsh said. "We see the veteran's cost of care will very often exceed monthly income, and exceed the pension benefit when it's included to supplement their income. So they're bleeding through their assets to some degree."

Under current law, eligible veterans or their survivors are able to transfer assets so they don't appear on an application for benefits that might make them ineligible for the pension. The GAO, in its May 2012 report, noted a claimant transferred more than $1 million into an irrevocable trust less than three months before applying – and then getting – pension benefits based on low income.

The VA responded to the report in 2012 by agreeing it needed to means-test eligibility for the pension. Several bills later filed in Congress would have done just that, but failed to pass.

The rules change, if adopted, would establish net worth eligibility equal to that required for Medicaid, or $119,220 a year for a veteran and spouse. Net worth would include the veteran's assets and earnings, along with those of his spouse. It would not include their home, though a home with more than two acres of land could make the claimant not eligible. A veteran or survivor still wanting to file a claim, who has more than two acres of marketable land as part of their home, would have to sell the land under the rules change.

Subtracted from a claimant's net worth would be costs associated with food, clothing, shelter and health care.

Walsh said the Aid & Attendance pension benefit has been an earned benefit for veterans since the Civil War, but most veterans are unaware of it.

"I think the proposed regulations are harsh," she said. "When Congress enacted the pension program they did not set an asset limit. They preferred to apply a number of factors, such as age, health, income, the cost of long-term care."

Now, it imposes a net worth standard based on being a single veteran, a married veteran or the survivor of a veteran.

The rules change establishes a one-size-fits-all standard, according to Walsh.

"Clearly a 72-year-old with care expenses should be entitled to have more assets or needs more assets than a 92-year-old," she said.

If you need help caring for a senior parent or in obtaining the VA Aid and Attendance Pension benefit, please contact us.  As a senior care services provider we help families in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Newport News, Hampton, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Williamsburg, and Hampton Roads.

For a confidential consultation, please contact us at (757) 271-4270 or cdboyd@careconnecthr.com.



About Care Connect of Hampton Roads
Christina Drumm-Boyd is a VA Accredited claims agent. She and the staff at Care Connect of Hampton Roads are experts at providing care for seniors, care for elderly, nursing home care, long term care, home care, senior care, eldercare, care for mom, care for dad, assisted living, alzheimers, dementia, adult day care, help with senior care, nursing care, elderly care, elder care planning, geriatric care manager, geriatric case manager, caregiver, in home care, long term care, and caregiver support for the elderly in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Newport News, Hampton, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Williamsburg, Hampton Roads, North Carolina, Currituck, and the Outer banks. Christina Drumm-Boyd is a certified senior advisor who can help with medicaid rules, VA benefits, VA pension, medicaid, medicare, veterans benefits, aid and attendance pension, veterans aid and assistance, veterans aid and attendance, power of attorney, guardianship, advanced medical directive, will, conservatorship, paying for nursing home care, paying for long term care, legal advice for seniors, elder law, asset protection, estate planning, long term care insurance, health insurance, life insurance, and annuities.

Our Hampton Roads Locations:


VIRGINIA BEACH:
4525 E. Honeygrove, Suite 203, Virginia Beach, VA 23455



NEWPORT NEWS:
720 Mall Parkway (located inside Holcomb Law, P.C.)

Newport News, VA 23602

Reach either of our offices at: Ph: (757) 271-4270 Toll Free: 1 (855) 872-2529 Email: cdboyd@careconnecthr.com
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