Can I give away my assets and obtain Veterans benefits (such as Aid and Attendance) if I have too much assets for eligibility (assuming all other qualifications are met)?

As of October 18, 2018, the answer is “no” unless the Applicant’s resources were below the resource limit of $130,772 as of January 1, 2021. Transfers prior to October 18, 2018 are not penalized. Since the home is generally not a countable resource, the transfer of a home is not penalized. If the applicant (called the claimant) sells their home, eligibility could be lost so often certain trusts are established to prevent loss of eligibility. There is no look-back period or transfer penalty if you transferred assets prior to October 18, 2018. Transfers on or after October 18, 2018 are penalized unless the claimant was below the resource limit when the transfer was made. As of October 18, 2018, there is a 3 year look-back period (i.e., trusts or just making a gift). Tax issues, changes in the VA rules and potential need in the future for Medicaid (since often more is saved for long-term care through the use of Medicaid especially if the applicant is likely to be in a nursing home within 5 years) should also be considered.

Is the surviving spouse of a wartime Veteran (not dishonorably discharged) sometimes eligible for such Veterans benefits?

Yes, assuming the surviving spouse was not divorced from the Veteran at the time of the Veteran’s death and did not remarry.

Will the Veterans Administration try to recover against excluded assets such as a home or car after death if benefits are received?

No. This different than the Medicaid rules as explained above.

What is the maximum monthly benefit for the improved pension program?

Single Veteran – $1,936 (as of January 1, 2021); married Veteran with one dependent – $2,296 (as of January 1, 2021); and surviving spouse (widow) of Veteran – $1,244 (as of January 1, 2021).