VA Pension Highlights

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Service Requirements

The veteran must have served at least one day during a time of war. This is the first consideration for eligibility. More...

How Pension helps Wartime Veterans get needed care

Millions of wartime veterans struggle to pay for care for themselves or for their spouse. VA Pension can help. More…

Understanding how the VA rules affect future Medicaid eligibility

The eligibility rules for Medicaid are different than VA Pension and you should know about the "Medicaid Bomb" ticking for unwary pension applicants. More…

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Veterans Pension and Medicaid

A "Medicaid Bomb" may be ticking for unwary VA Pension Applicants

Gifts made by a Veteran or spouse can cause major problems if Medicaid is later needed for nursing home care. For example, if a Veteran gifts money to a child, then the Veteran can become eligible for VA Pension despite those gifts. However, if the Veteran's health declines further and he or she needs to go into a nursing home, then the Veteran likely will need further financial help only available through Medicaid. But those earlier gifts will make the person ineligible for Medicaid. The Veteran won't be able to afford to pay privately for the nursing home, even with the VA Pension because the Pension simply does not pay enough to cover nursing home care. (For that matter, Pension never was intended to cover nursing home costs, but to help when the Veteran needed extra money for in-home care or assisted living care.)

This is the ticking Medicaid bomb that starts whenever a Veteran makes gifts. It is possible that the Veteran's family will need to pay back those gifts to the Veteran, or to the Veteran's spouse if Medicaid is needed within 5 years after the gifts. That may require that the gifts are made through use of an Irrevocable Trust. Or, it may require that the Will of the Veteran or the Veteran's spouse be written in a way to transfer assets directly to children rather than keeping the assets in place for the surviving spouse...particularly if the surviving spouse is already in or may need nursing home care.

Whenever gifts are contemplated as part of eligibility for VA Pension, you should consult an experienced Elder Law Attorney for advice about how to protect yourself and your family from this "Medicaid Bomb." Be sure to ask if your lawyer knows about VA Pension and how to coordinate VA Pension with Medicaid.

You can get more information about VA Pension and Aid and Attendance by signing up for our free online Veterans Pension Learning Center.

Wartime Veterans Can Get Help

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