Question: We are in the process of applying for VA Long Term Care Benefits for my mother, who is 82 years old. I understand that she qualifies for these Aid & Attendance benefits, except that she may have too much cash in the bank. Can you please tell me what this dollar amount should be?
Answer: The best thing you can do is seek assistance from a qualified Elder Law attorney who is accredited by the VA. A knowledgeable Elder Law Attorney can help you plan so that your mother’s facts and circumstances meet all of the VA program’s requirements. Although VA Aid & Attendance considers net worth when determining eligibility, there is no strict asset limit set by law, which is why you might be getting conflicting answers to this question. In addition, all personal goods are generally exempt from the VA’s calculation of an applicant’s net worth, including the applicant’s home, vehicle, household goods, and personal effects, as well as burial policies/plans and small life insurance policies. Eligibility determinations are made at the discretion of a VA caseworker. The regulations do say that if an applicant has over a certain amount in assets based on marital status, a special report must be written to justify the applicant’s approval for benefits. For this reason, it is unlikely that someone with assets over this amount will be found eligible to receive benefits. However, even if an applicant has a net worth under the limit, VA caseworkers have been trained to consider whether the applicant’s assets will be used up during the person’s lifetime. Due to this somewhat vague standard, it is important to consult an Elder Law Attorney who has experience with this process and can help to ensure your mother qualifies for this benefit. Also, if you are considering applying for Medicaid it is important to remember that how the VA looks at your assets is different from the way Medicaid looks at your assets.
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Henry C. Weatherby, Esq., CLU, ChFC, CEBS
Weatherby & Associates, PC
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