Veterans and Long-Term Care Benefits
Many Americans will someday need to rely on long-term care benefits to help them pay for expenses related to helping them live fuller lives. Long-term care is loosely defined as a service needed by someone who is disabled, ill, or has difficulty doing everyday tasks. For instance, a person living in a nursing facility who requires assistance getting dressed, eating, showering, and performing hygiene routines is getting long-term care.
Rather than paying out of pocket for long-term care, many older or disabled veterans have relied on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to receive long-term care benefits. However, the VA recently changed its long-term care benefits rules in late 2018. The updated guidelines make it more challenging for veterans and their spouses to qualify for long-term care benefits, which is causing hardship among many men and women who served their country.
Changes to VA Long-Term Care Benefits Rules
When the VA decided to restructure its long-term care benefits rules, it added some new barriers that many veterans are finding difficult to hurdle.
The first change is that the asset limit has been adjusted to a net worth of $123,600, which includes both assets and yearly income. Property up to two acres does not count toward the $123,600. In the past, the asset limit was set at around $80,000, so this is quite a bump-up.
The other significant change is that the veteran who has divested of assets during the prior three years, or “look-back” period, will have to tell the VA of all such transactions. This means that veterans who transferred assets to better position themselves to eventually receive long-term care benefits can be penalized for up to five years. Penalties are determined based on how far over the new asset limit the veteran would be without the look-back divestitures. During the penalty period, veterans will not be eligible for VA benefits at all.
Worries Among Veterans Who May Someday Need Long-Term Care
Many veterans are not yet ready to think about long-term care or getting those types of benefits through the VA. Yet they still need to keep these types of updates on their radar. After all, active duty and retired military and their families may one day require long-term care benefits, so they should make sure they understand the parameters and their rights.
Additionally, relatives of aging veterans who are having difficulty navigating the VA to get the long-term care benefits they need may want to fully explore their legal options. Talking with a lawyer well-versed in elder law matters can be a good initial step.
Brooklyn Elder Law Lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Assist Veterans and Their Loved Ones Who Have Been Denied Long-Term Care Benefits
If you or someone in your life is a New York state veteran who has been denied long-term care benefits, consider discussing your situation with a Brooklyn elder law lawyer. The Brooklyn elder law lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP can be reached by calling 212-495-8133 or completing an online contact form. Our firm has offices in Brooklyn, New York, and Lakewood, New Jersey, and we work with veterans from Manhattan, Long Island, Westchester, and related communities.