Now that the Veterans Administration has published proposed changes in the laws regarding the Improved Pension with Aid and Attendance program, which would impose a three year look back for transfers of assets, to include the purchase of annuities, lawyers are asking, “will any transfers made before the changes take effect be grandfathered in?” Presumably the desire would be to wrap up any pending cases and get them filed with the VA prior to the law change.
First, we don’t actually know when the laws will change. What we do know is that the proposed changes are detailed in the Federal Register at the following link:
Second, we DO know that the Public Comment period EXPIRES on March 24, 2015. To send comments in opposition of the law changes, send them to https://www.regulations.gov or by mail or hand-delivery to: Director, Regulation Policy and Management (02REG), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Ave. NW., Room 1068, Washington, DC 20420; or by fax to (202) 273-9026. Comments must include that they are in response to “RIN 2900-AO73, Net Worth, Asset Transfers, and Income Exclusions for Needs-Based Benefits.”
Third, with regard to advising clients, based on the proposed changes, we know with reasonable certainty that if the laws change, any application filed after the changes will be subject to a three year look back, with up to 10 years of penalty for transfers of assets.
The main question is, what about the pending claims that were filed prior to the changes? As currently written and proposed, there is no grandfather language included. In fact, there is no language at all as to the effective date of the changes. THIS is one area that you could send a public comment on to influence change. When Congress introduced two bills that would impose a look back, Congress included that the changes would be effective one year after the President signed the bills. The VA should do the same.
To learn more about the changes the VA plans to impose that will harm our nation’s veterans and their widows, please join me for a webinar: VA Proposing 3 Year Look Back: What Can We Do? on Monday, February 2, 2015 at 12:00 EST. Click Here To Register.
Victoria L. Collier, Veteran of the United States Air Force, 1989-1995 and United States Army Reserves, 2001-2004. Victoria is a Certified Elder Law Attorney through the National Elder Law Foundation, Author of 47 Secret Veterans Benefits for Seniors, Author of Paying for Long Term Care: Financial Help for Wartime Veterans: The VA Aid & Attendance Benefit, Founder of The Elder & Disability Law Firm of Victoria L. Collier, PC, Co-Founder of Lawyers for Wartime Veterans, Co-Founder of Veterans Advocate Group of America and Lawyers with Purpose.