by Terry Richards

Are There Asset Limits for the VA Non-Service Connected Disability Pension???    

Veterans who meet financial-need guidelines may be eligible for non-service connected benefits like a VA Pension, Aid and Attendance, and Housebound benefits.

 As you will read, the VA will not commit to a definitive answer… Unfortunately, there is no way of determining exactly how much total asset value is too much to qualify for  the VA Non-Service Connected Disability Pension.. While $80,000 for a couple and $50,000 for a single claimant is a good starting guideline, each case is determined individually by the claimant’s caseworker.

Veterans who meet financial-need guidelines may be eligible for non-service connected benefits like a VA Pension, Aid and Attendance, and Housebound benefits. Attorneys commonly say that the asset limits for these VA benefits are $80,000 for a couple and $50,000 a single veteran or the widowed spouse of a vet. But the qualifications for veterans’ benefits are actually more complicated than that.

VA Asset Limitations

The  actual asset limitation figures for means-tested veterans benefits are not set in stone, and they depend on  several factors. While the $80,000 and $50,000 figures are a beginning  point, the claimant’s age and life expectancy also play a  significant role. The older a claimant is and the fewer years he or she  is expected to live, the lower the asset threshold will be. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is allowed to use a lower limit if the agency feels an applicant for benefits has “excessive” assets. The VA assumes that individuals closer to death will need fewer assets to get  them through their final days and that any extra assets can be used to  fund their care needs. The VA will try to project how long your assets will last, taking into account your medical and assisted living/nursing home expenses, using life expectancy tables.

Unfortunately, there is no way of determining exactly how much total asset value is too much to qualify for VA benefits.  While $80,000 for a couple and $50,000 for a single claimant is a good  starting guideline, each case is determined individually by the  claimant’s caseworker. For this reason, we highly recommend getting the  help of an attorney when applying for veterans’ benefits. Also, be careful transferring assets to qualify for veterans benefits — you may ruin your eligibility for Medicaid in the process.

Who Can Claim Veterans’ Benefits?

VA benefits may be claimed by either the veteran who qualifies for them or by the veteran’s widowed spouse. Qualifications for veterans’ benefits for veterans or their widowed spouse (husband or wife) are below.

  • Veteran  must have served at least 90 consecutive days on active duty with at least  one day of active duty during a qualified war period.

  • Veteran must have had an other than “dishonorable” discharge.

  • Veteran and spouse should have less than $80,000 in household assets, excluding primary home, car, and personal belongings. If their assets total more than $50,000, it’s best to speak with an elder law or disability attorney for assistance in qualifying.

  • Veteran’s household out-of-pocket yearly medical expenses, including assisted  living expenses, must exceed or come close to his or her total yearly  household gross income.

  • If  the claimant is the vet’s widowed spouse, he or she must have been married to the  veteran for at least one year, or have had children by the veteran if  married less than one year, and must not have remarried.

  • A  widowed spouse must have been living with the veteran at the  time of the veteran’s death, unless the separation was due to medical or  military reasons.

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