Veteran's Relief Prevented by Politics
More political mire prevents reform and expansion of veterans relief. The Senate ended its consideration of the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act (S. 1982) with a flourish yesterday. It did not reach a final vote or pass the bill.
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys had been actively tracking and providing input on this legislation for well over a year. On Thursday, Democrats came up four votes short of the 60 needed to keep the bill moving forward on a procedural budget vote, 56-41. The proposed Act contained many sweeping reforms aimed to improve quality of life of Veterans.
On a positive note for veterans and their widows aged 65 or older and in need of Aid & Attendance pension – the improved pension that assists in paying for long term care in assisted living facilities - the proposed provision imposing a 36 month look-back and penalty on transfers did not take effect as a result of the bill failing to be called to a vote. Elder law advocates, led by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, had been instrumental in having some amendments to the proposed bill which included allowing partial returns of assets, eliminating the carry-over of a veteran's penalty to a spouse, and strengthened undue hardship language. However, with the bill being sidetracked by political bickering, elderly veterans and their widows can take comfort in knowing that the Aid & Attendance pension remains a viable tool for securing assistance in paying for long term care.
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