We are sending you this alert as there will be a significant change in the qualification requirements for wartime Veterans and surviving spouses of wartime Veterans who are eligible for VA pension benefits. These new rules go into effect on October 18, 2018 and will make it more difficult to qualify for this important benefit that can help defray the cost of care.
Currently, any transfers or gifts made to qualify for VA pension benefits are not subject to a lookback period. The new rules, however, provide that gifts or transfers made after October 18, 2018 will be subject to a lookback period of 36 months and therefore, subject to a penalty period where you will potentially be ineligible for these benefits. The addition of the lookback and penalty period means that you will need to plan 36 months in advance to qualify for VA pension benefits.
The good news, however, is that you can still get under the old rules where there is no penalty period for making gifts, including transferring assets to an irrevocable trust. But you must act quickly. October 18, 2018 is approaching rapidly and all planning must be completed by that date.
If you or someone you know is a wartime veteran or the surviving spouse of a wartime Veteran, and anticipate needing care in the next few years, please contact our office right away.