Many myths and misinformation surround the Department of Veterans Affairs Aid and Attendance benefit. Due to the technical nature of the veteran application and surviving spouse application, and the sometimes opaque eligibility standards, submitting an application that results in an award letter can be difficult.
The most prevalent myth surrounding Aid and Attendance benefits is the Aid and Attendance net worth myth. The Aid and Attendance net worth myth is particularly nefarious because it is spread by everyone: the VA, Assisted Living Facilities, VSO’s, and veteran’s advocates.
According to this myth, the VA uses a $80,000 threshold to decide if an applicant’s net worth is excessive. If the applicant has assets totaling less than $80,000, his net worth isn’t prohibitive. Alternatively, if net worth exceeds $80,000, the VA will deny for excessive assets.
The origins of this myth can be traced back to the “VA Bible.” The VA’s manual teaches employees how to adjudicate claims. A section of the manual focuses on the net worth of the applicant. The section does list $80,000 as number of interest. Nowhere, however, does the manual instruct employees to deny applicants with net worth exceeding $80,000 just because their net worth exceeds $80,000.
Without getting too technical, the $80,000 number is an indicator to the employee reviewing the claim. It signifies that the specific claim must travel down a different route before and after a decision is made. Additional reports must be run regardless of whether the claim results in an award letter or a denial.
The Truth About Net Worth And Aid And Attendance
Simply stated, net worth is a question of fact to be decided by the individual circumstances of each claim. There is no single net worth amount that the VA allows applicants to keep and still be eligible for benefits. Anyone who says otherwise is misinformed.
The VA examines a number of factors to determine whether net worth is excessive. The VA looks at life expectancy, income, medical expenses, and number of dependents in order to assess an individual’s allowable net worth.
Several different ways to reduce net worth exist. Reducing net worth may allow an otherwise ineligible applicant to qualify for VA benefits. Working with an experienced advocate may mean the difference between a denial letter and an award letter.
If you aren’t sure whether you or a loved one are eligible for VA benefits, contact VA Legal Team for a free consultation.