The VA has accepted all of our arguments about Independent Living and the need for those who cannot live safely at home to be allowed to access the benefit even though they may not need assistance with the listed ADLs - for example, a claimant who overdoses or underdoses on medications or wanders will now be able to deduct assisted living and independent when determing Icome for VA Purposes - please see our press release!
We were informed that the new regulations would NOT be published in the 1st quarter of 2017.
We would like to thank the over 200 current and previous clients of ERBC who took the time to submit comments and to contact their US Congressman, Senators and State Governors and on the VA proposed regulation AO73. Although it is not finalized, we have preliminary information that indicates your voices were heard and you have made a difference.
On January 23, 2015 the VA posted for comment
AO73 - Proposed Rule - Net Worth, Asset Transfers, and Income Exclusions for Needs-Based Benefits
This proposed rule would implement a 3 year look back, similar to the Medicaid five year look back for transferring assets. While we are not opposed to the 3 year look back IF the VA can implement it without an increase in time to payout of the award, the proposed rule does not stop with a 3 year look back. It looks as if the 3 year look back will be implemented in the first half of 2017.
In addition, the rule proposes the following harmful changes which will make it harder for veterans to qualify and will kick veterans who currently receive Pension off the program:
1) Change the current regulations around Independent Living so that wartime veterans who do not have the funds to live in assisted living and have created "a la carte" care plans, which may involve family members and outside care services, would no longer be able to claim their care facility as a deduction. It looks as if Independent Living expenses will CONTINUE to be allowed as a recurring Medical Expense deduction using the rules currently in place or rules similar to those in place. In addition, the tightening of the activities of daily living requirements in October of 2012, which made it harder for those in the early stages of dementia to receive the Pension benefit appear to have been relaxed to allow those with dementia who are no longer able to live alone to access the benefit more reasonably.
2) Remove the Life Expectancy part of the Net Worth calculation in an attempt to limit the VA benefit payout to 2 years to the majority of wartime veterans, no matter how young the applicant is. It is still unclear what the end result of this proposed change to reduce allowable Net Worth and our challenge to it will be.
3) Continue to penalize veterans and their dependents who have invested in IRAs
It is still unclear what the end result of our challenging the treatment of IRAs will be.
4) is silent on a grandfather clause. It is still unclear what the end result of our challenging the lack of a grandfather clause will be.
Below are the Press Release issued by VA accredited agent Patty Servaes and the comments she has made to date on the proposal. We will post her additional comments as they are submitted to the VA.
Please make your voice heard by letting the VA know they should
Leave the Independent Living rules alone
Retain Life Expectancy in the Net Worth calculation
Remove the IRA penalty
Is this the Intent of Congress?
Below are the press releases distributed to those in the media that follow Veteran issues the short version gives an over view of some of the more harmful aspects of the proposed rule, while the longer version goes into more detail. For specifics on each portion I am concerned about, please see the specific comments that have been posted to date.
See other comments by Patty Servaes in The New York Times & The Dallas Morning News
Her comments on the recent Forbes article was called out. Please add your voice to - otherwise, in the name of stopping asset transfers, this benefit will be serverly diminished for the veterans and surviving spouses who truely need it.
For representation before the VA, ERBC refers to Servaes Consulting Group, LLC so you can be assisted by a VA Accredited Agent.
Neither Elder Resource Benefits Consulting nor the Servaes Consulting Group, LLC is affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs or any other government agency. Elder Resource Benefits Consulting and the Servaes Consulting Group, LLC are not Veterans Services Organizations.