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Senior Times - November 2018 New Eligibility Rules ForPage 19Long Term Care BenefitsStacey LottBy: Stacey Lott, Attorney at LawEffective October 30, 2018, the Veterans Administration has instituted new eligibility requirements for the Aid and Attendance Pension. For years the Aid and Attendance Pension has been a very important source of income for war- time Veterans and their spouses who are in need of assistance with their activities of daily living.The income that Veterans receive from the Aid and Attendance Pension can be used to pay for home care, assisted living facilities, adult foster care homes, and other types of nursing home alternatives for long term care.In the past this has been such a valu- able resource because of the more lenient eligibility requirements. However, there was also a lot of gray area when apply- ing for these benefits because determi- nations quite often seemed to be very subjective and depended upon the case- worker who received the application. The new rules take many of the questions out of the application and approval process, but they also make approval much more difficult.The three major changes in the rules for the pension involve asset limits, the homestead exemption, and divestment.The asset limit is now determined with a bright-line rule that the maxi- mum amount of assets that an applicant can own (excluding the homestead) is $123,600.00 (with annual cost of liv- ing adjustments). This asset limit also includes an applicant’s annual income minus certain exempt expenses for healthcare, etc. Having a bright-line amount will make it much easier todetermine an applicant’s asset eligibility for the pension.As for the homestead, the VA has always said that the homestead is exempt if an applicant is living there, howev-er there was never a value cap put onthe homestead. Now the VA says thatan exempt home can only include the house and two acres, anything over that will count toward the countable assets that were mentioned in the previous paragraph. There are certain hardship exemptions that may apply if the land in landlocked or unsaleable, but that must be proven and decided on a case-by-case basis.The VA has now instituted a 3-year look-back period for giving away assets before you can be approved for this pension.It is widely known that there is a 5-year look-back period when applying for state Medicaid benefits to help pay for long term care in a nursing home, etc. The VA is following suit with the implementation of the 3-year look-back for the Aid and Attendance pension.As you can see, the playing field just got a little more complicated for the average Veteran wishing to apply for benefits to help pay for long term care. Seeking the advice of a trusted advisor or attorney is very important when look- ing for the best way to navigate through this process.Stacey Lott, Attorney at Law practices in the areas of Elder Law and Estate Planning. She can be reached at (269) 963-8222. For more information please visit at LawFinding The JoyIn The HolidaysBy: Sherii Sherban, PublisherThe holiday season is just about to kick off and for many of you the excite- ment is just getting started. For you it means time with family and friends. It’s the time when you are cooking for weeks on end... and loving it! It might also include shopping, parties, decorating, and a bit of travel as well.For others, the holiday season is the time when the loss of loved ones, your home, your freedoms, the life you once loved, are felt much more deeply. Now might be the time to venture out if you have not yet done so. Fortunately, this time of year is full of activities to do with others.If you no longer have family mem- bers, it is important to build existingfriendships or to make new ones. Social activity is important for your well-being. Realize that many others are in the same position you are in and the best way for change to happen is to make it happen.Another way to develop new friends this holiday season is to volunteer your time. Opportunities are endless.If you are struggling this season a support group might be the best way to get started. Turn to page 6 in this issue of Senior Times for a list of area options.Looking for activities? Turn to pages 20-21 in this issue to find a plethora of them throughout our reading area.Branch Area Transit Authority50 Sanderson Lane Coldwater, MI 49036517.279.9587 Maple-Lawn.orgEstate Planning & Elder Law269.963.8222130 East Columbia Avenue Battle Creek, MI 49015www.staceylottlaw.comAward-Winning | 5-Star RatedCurb to Curb Transportation  Half Fare for Handicapped & Senior Citizens Over 60  Weekly Subscriptions Available  Equipped for the Handicapped  Open Seven Days a WeekCALL (517) 278-5889306 S. Clay Street, Coldwater, MI  www.branchareatransit.comDiversified Financial Advisors Offers Strategies To Help Your Investments Keep Growing.Danford M. ByrensFinancial Representative | 269-441-1444 | dmbyrens@hirep.netBefore investing, you should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. We can help you with those decisions. We are qualified financial advisors. Give us a call.15 Capital Ave. NE Ste. 104 | Battle Creek, MI 49017 | www.divfa.comSecurities offered through Harbour Investments, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC

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