Senate Bill Proposes Penalty for VA Benefits Applicants That Make Transfers within 3 Years before Application

Senate Bill 3270 has been introduced to require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to consider the resources of individuals applying for non-service disability pension that were recently disposed of by the individuals for less than fair market value when determining the eligibility of such individuals for such pension and for other purposes. The proposal includes the creation of a three year look-back for the program commonly referred to as “Aid & Attendance”. The VA can consider transfers of an asset (including transfers to an annuity, trust or other financial instrument or investment) if the VA thinks it is reasonable the asset could have been consumed for the veteran’s maintenance. The penalty period (which will not exceed three years) is determined by dividing the total value of the resources disposed by the amount of pension that would be payable to the veteran without consideration of such resources.

As previously reported in the Texas Elder Law E-letter, the Senate Special Committee on Aging and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) had a hearing and issued a scathing report on the present VA rules and suggested reform to fight fraud, misinformation and use of inappropriate products services and products uncovered in investigations. As a result, VA is in the process of making suggested changes to the existing rules, and it appears is reviewing all cases with much greater scrutiny. The average wait time for approval appears to have greatly increased.

For more information on what a transfer penalty is and other VA rules, please contact our Dallas office at (214)720-0102.

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