On January 23, 2015, the Federal Register released Document No. 2015-00297. This document has caused quite a
stir in the elder care industry, and has climbed to the top of the “hot-button issues” list. If you’re not yet familiar with
the document, you’re likely wondering what could possibly cause such widespread interest. It’s an unexpected rule
proposal by the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) regarding net worth determinations, asset transfers, and
income exclusions for Veterans pension benefit eligibility.
You need to know what they are doing and how to take action to STOP them from simply passing these regulations without legislation or vote!
Below is a summary of the main changes.
VA proposes a three year look-back period for transfers of assets for less than fair market value. Veterans and their spouses, who are determined to have transferred assets in contravention of the rule, would be subject to apenalty period up to 10 years.
VA proposes to calculate the penalty period by dividing the total amount transferred for less than fair market value (FMV) by the monthly maximum pension a beneficiary could receive. For example, the penalty period would be calculated as follows: Married Veteran transfers $50,000 for less than FMV – penalty period is 23 months ($50,000 / $2,120 = 23.58) Surviving spouse transfers $50,000 for less than FMV – penalty period is 43 months ($50,000 / $1,149 = 43.51). This is completely unfair to the surviving spouses, who become subject to a penalty nearly twice as long as for married veterans.
VA proposes to limit the allowable deduction for in-home health care to the average hourly private pay rate for home health aides as published by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, which was $21 an hour in 2012. More than 50% of home care recipients already pay more than that.
The VA also intends to completely
exclude the costs of independent living facilities as medical
expenses, unless the facility provides 24/7 custodial care
supervision or assistance with two activities of daily living (or
directly contracts with a third party, professional care provider
to do so).
This will eliminate anyone who is housebound
needing to live in a safe environment due to physical or
Previously, a Veteran’s personal residence and a reasonable lot area would be excluded for purposes of calculating net worth. In its proposed rule, VA proposes to limit the land exemption to only TWO acres. This rule improperly punishes rural veterans and farmers.
This proposed legislation is a dishonor to our honorable veterans who made great sacrifices to protect our country.
YOU CAN HELP!
The public has until March 24, 2015 to make comments to these proposed regulations. Please take the time to comment on these unfair and potentially illegal changes.
Click through to this link to review the proposed rules and to submit comments at http://www.regulations.gov and search for: RIN 2900-AO73
We don’t know when the rules will be changed, so you must act fast.