New VA Rules Will Affect Michigan Veterans

Your help is needed to protect Michigan veterans and seniors. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has introduced new regulations that will negatively affect your ability to receive benefits for yourself and your loved ones.

New proposed regulations, introduced January 23, 2015, will create a three (3) year “look-back” period for applicants, similar to Medicaid. It will eliminate your ability to protect your assets through legal planning strategies to immediately qualify for benefits.

Although our office supports protecting veterans and seniors from abusive planning practices, the new policies simply go too far by creating several unintended consequences:

• Create a longer time period for approval as the VA reviews financial transfers occurring within three (3) years of application.

• Potentially disqualify seniors and veterans that are currently eligible to receive benefits.

• Dissuade seniors and veterans from pursuing benefits for home care, independent living, and, assisted living.

• Encourage more people to apply for Medicaid creating a greater strain on the federal budget.

Our legislature decided NOT to pursue similar regulations in the past. Now the VA has taken it upon itself to create new law.

If we do not act now, these policies can become law as early as April 1, 2015 hindering service organizations from helping our World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans qualify for benefits they need for their care.

Our voices need to be heard. We need people to contact their representatives in congress and the VA itself. Residents of senior communities, seniors, veterans, families of veterans, and senior living communities themselves need to express their opposition to these new proposed regulations.

Call, write, or e-mail the VA to let them know that these proposed rules need to be re-examined and not be put into law. Your opinion matters, contact the VA at:

Pension and Fiduciary Service (21P)
Veterans Benefits Amdinsitration 810 Vermont Avenue NW Washington, DC 20420

The VA must receive comments before March 24, 2015.

You may also contact your legislator. If you do not know who your local congressperson is, you may find out by going online:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

It is not to late to help our veterans and seniors.