Veterans’ Benefits Planning

Veterans Benefits PlanningMore often than not, veterans walk away from their time of service without fully understanding what benefits are available to them.  The following are answers the most common questions about planning with Veterans’ benefits. If you have a question not listed here, do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your questions and your individual needs for Veterans’ benefits planning.

What are the requirements to obtain Aid and Attendance?

  1. The veteran has to have served in the military for one day during a war.
  2. The veteran must have served in the military for 90 days.
  3. The veteran must not have received a dishonorable discharge.
  4. The veteran must need assistance with activities of daily living.

Can I give away my assets and obtain Veterans benefits (such as Aid & Attendance) if I have too much assets for eligibility ?

Yes. There is no look-back period or transfer penalty if you transfer assets prior to applying for such benefits. However, there are several ways of making transfers and sometimes it makes more sense to simply add names to an account. Tax issues and potential, future need for Medicaid (especially if the applicant is likely to be in a nursing home within 5 years) should also be considered. Furthermore, there are some exceptions to the rule. For example, you cannot gift your assets to a member of the same household, all property rights must be relinquished, etc.

Is the surviving spouse of a Veteran sometimes eligible for such Veterans’ benefits?

Yes.

Will the Veterans’ Administration try to recover against excluded assets, such as a home or car, after death if benefits are received?

No. This different than the Medicaid rules as explained above.

Can I always keep $80,000 of assets and get VA pension benefits?

No. There is a determination whether or not the claimant’s financial resources are sufficient to meet his or her basic needs. Pension is based on need. Contrary to what most people have heard, there is no specific amount of money used to determine the level of assets that will disqualify them. Generally, the older the claimant, the less they will need to cover for their lifespan (and thus less assets can be protected).

4 Comments
  1. I need to speak with someone regarding – a Will versus a Trust.
    In addiltion, I need info on the jVA Pension benefit.

  2. What do you mean – moderation?

  3. My dad was in the Korean War. I’ve heard it referred to as the Korean Conflict. Will his time in the Korean War count toward VA benefits?
    thank you

  4. Korean Conflict is defined as June 27, 1950 January 31, 1955.

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Leigh Hilton is an ACCREDITED ESTATE PLANNER® based in Denton and serving the DFW Metroplex. Areas of practice include:
Wills, Trusts & Estates | Elder Law | Probate Law | Estate Planning