Proposed VA Regulations May Affect Eligibility

On Friday our office received notice that the VA has submitted significant changes to non-service connect benefit eligibility that will directly impact Michigan Veterans and Veterans nationwide. Click here for a link to these changes.

Michigan Elder Lawyers, National Academy of Elder Law members and several Veteran Service Organizations (VSO) oppose the proposed regulations. Specifically, the changes will:

1. Create a three (3) year look-back period for new applicants.
2. Create a “broadline” test for asset eligibility based on Medicaid standards.
3. Treat planning techniques as “wealth transfers”

The result of the regulations, as they are currently worded will trigger the following unintended results:

1. Increase the “back-log” of applicants seeking VA benefits.
2. Disqualify current eligible benefit recipients moving forward.
3. Force more seniors and elders to apply for Medicaid.
4. Increase the amount of Medicaid dollars spent on nursing home care.
5. Cause many vulnerable seniors and veterans to not pursue assistance or help at home.

After failing to enact new legislation in Congress, the VA has decided to take it upon themselves to implement new regulations. In fact, Senate Bill 3270-944-748 failed in the United States Senate in 2013. The bill proposed many of the same rules within the VA’s new proposed regulations. If Congress did not believe that the regulations were proper for seniors and veterans that rely on assistance to provide for care, why should the VA be allowed to circumvent the process by introducing regulations that will make “bad law?”

Although our office supports changes to the current regulations that allow seniors and veterans to become eligible for benefits with some planning, the new regulations simply go too far.

The proposed changes are available for public comment until March 24, 2015.

There is still time to express your concerns regarding these regulations by contacting BOTH the VA and your lawmakers at:

Pension and Fiduciary Service (21P)
Phone 505 364-4817 Fax 505 346-4861
Veterans Benefits Administration,
Pension and Fiduciary Service (21P)
810 Vermont Avenue NW.,
Washington DC 20420
Your local lawmakers can be found at: Find Your Lawmaker

With your assistance, we can stop the federal government from introducing regulations that will not only hurt our seniors and veterans, but also take away benefits from our honored WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam Veterans.