For those who are unfamiliar with the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance, or VAA, program, it is a program available through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs that provides financial assistance to veterans and their spouses. The program helps pay the cost of assistance for those who need assistance performing everyday functions. Assistance can be provided at home or at an assisted living facility. The program often makes a significant difference to recipients. If recently introduced legislation becomes law, getting approved for VAA benefits may be harder in the future.
Senator Ron Wyden (D-Or., along with five co-sponsors, recently introduced a bill (S. 748) that would impose a 36 month “look-back” period for applicants to the VAA program. Currently, a veteran and spouse may not have more than $80,000 in assets to qualify for VAA benefits; however, either spouse may transfer assets immediately prior to applying if necessary. The proposed bill though would put a stop to that option by requiring a 36 month “look-back” during which the couple cannot have transferred assets. A transfer during the look-back period could disqualify an applicant or incur a penalty period.
For now, the bill has been sent to the congressional Committee on Veteran’s Affairs. In the meantime, eligible recipients could receive up to the following benefits from the VAA program for 2013:
Veteran – $1,732/month
Veteran and Spouse – $2,054/month
Surviving Spouse – $1,113/month
Information and application forms for the VAA program can be accessed here.