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  • No news is good news: VA has not released final regulations on changes to VA pension

In early 2015, the Veterans Administration announced that they were proposing regulations to change the rules governing VA pension. VA pension is a program that provides tax free monthly cash payments to veterans and their surviving spouses to pay for long term care. These payments can be used to pay for independent living, assisted living, or at home care as needed by the veteran or surviving spouse. Depending on the care needs and whether the applicant for benefits is a veteran or surviving spouse, the amount of VA pension benefits can range from $1,159 to $2,120 a month. These funds, combined with Social Security, enable seniors to obtain the long term care they need.
Currently, there are asset and income levels that a veteran or surviving spouse must meet to receive VA pension. The new rules proposed by the VA would tighten the requirements for assets and income to qualify for VA pension. The new rules also would greatly restrict the ability of a veteran or surviving spouse to transfer assets for the purposes of qualifying for VS pension.
When the rules were issued last year in proposed form, the VA received hundreds of comments from the public. There is no official timeline for the VA to begin issuing the regulations in final form. There is a rumor that it may happen in the summer of 2016. Until the regulations are issued, the current rules are in effect. Veterans and their surviving spouses needing assistance paying for long term care should seek out the assistance of an experienced elder law attorney.