On April 17th, US Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon introduced a bill (S. 748) that would impose a penalty if a veteran or spouse disposes of a resource for less than fair market value within three years of applying for VA Pension benefits. Under the bill the denial of Pension payments would begin on the date of such disposition and end when the uncompensated value of such resource is reached. The same penalty would be applied to pension benefits for surviving spouses.
Veterans Pension payments are an important source of financial support for care dependent veterans who are over age 65.
Under the legislation the VA would be required to obtain information to determine whether a period of ineligibility for Pension payments is required. VA is to deny benefits if it considers that under all the circumstances, if the veteran or spouse had not disposed of such resource, it would be reasonable that the resource (or some portion of the resource) be consumed for the veteran’s maintenance.
The number of months of penalty would be equal to–
‘(i) the total, cumulative uncompensated value of all covered resources so disposed of by the veteran (or the spouse of the veteran) within the look-back date divided by ‘(ii) the maximum amount of monthly pension that is payable to a veteran including the maximum amount of increased pension payable under on account of family members, but not including any amount of pension payable because a veteran is in need of regular aid and attendance or is permanently housebound.
The bill has 5 co-sponsors and bi-partisan support. Called the “Veterans Pension Protection Act” it has been referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs. The text of the bill is available here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/s748/text