Veteran Pension — Differences In “Look Back Period” For VA and Medicaid


A “look back” period is where a government program or benefit looks back five years to see if you gave away any assets or money. If you did, and you are now seeking this government benefit, you may be ineligible or face a penalty.

Medicaid has this 5 year look back period which is a very serious matter.

The VA has no look back period. There are always rumblings that one will be established but as of right now there is no such period.

This allows a veteran or surviving spouse who might not otherwise qualify under the asset or income requirements for the VA pension to do some VA planning so as to qualify. Because the VA looks at your assets on the day you apply (and you have to update every year) so if you are able to legally transfer assets to a trust or to an annuity, this may allow you to qualify for VA benefits.

Of course there are decisions to be made on how to account for the differences between medicaid and VA pension benefits (also called aid and attendance) and this is where a lawyer can be very helpful to advise you.

If you live in Alabama and have questions about this benefit for you or your spouse or your parents, please let us know by calling us at 205-879-2447 or you can fill out a contact form on our Alabama Consumer site. Do note we are creating a separate site just for this area of the law in Alabama but it is not up and running yet so feel free to give us a call at 205-879-2447.

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