Three Major Changes in Legal Interpretations You Need to Know

Bigstock-Weather-changing-14008463-300x200The VA has been denying Improved Pension with Aid and Attendance claims at record numbers in the past four months. Attorneys and claimants are getting frustrated beyond belief. Are you one of them? Do you know why?

At our January program I discussed some of the major changes occurring at the VA today and what we expect to see in the future. It was an eye opener for attendees. All agreed that you cannot and should not practice in the area of VA benefits unless you keep a close tab on the mood and character of the VA and the changes it is making.

Having said all that, the VA laws have not changed. Yet, the VA has changed their “interpretation” of the laws and have made changes to their adjudication practices and procedures in three main areas

(1) how they are treating single premium immediate annuities with regard to countable net worth;
(2) whether or not they will deduct independent living facility and assisted living facility fees as permissible unreimbursed medical expenses (based on stricter medical needs verification); and
(3) eliminating the annual eligibility review process.

Changes to laws and procedure we expect in the future include:

(1) an imposition of a transfer of assets penalty, to include assets transferred to trusts;
(2) assets in certain trusts being treated as part of the net worth calculation to determine eligibility;
(3) longer application and appeals processing times.

Positive changes that have been made, although the results have not yet been proven, is that the VA has added an expedited claims process for widows of veterans (currently the average wait for approval is 12 months). An expedited claims process for veterans already existed.

More, now than ever, it is critical to keep your hand on the pulse of the VA. To do so, we invite you to become a member of Lawyers With Purpose, LLC and keep reading our blogs.

Victoria L. Collier, CELA, Co-Founder Lawyers with Purpose, LLC, Author, 47 Secret Veterans’ Benefits For Seniors.


Attracting Korean War Vetrans for Pension with Aid & Attendance

Bigstock-The-Korean-War-Veterans-Memori-4294926-199x300Veteran Benefits “advocates” aimlessly scurry around stumbling over each other as they vie for the business of elderly, wartime veterans who need the aid and attendance of another person to assist them with their activities of daily living. As a lawyer providing services to this market, you have undoubtedly scheduled a community education event at an assisted living facility, or met with numerous home health care agencies and financial advisors with the hopes of receiving referrals. Great! But now it’s time to do something different than everyone else in your profession.

Choose and Define YOUR Market of Veterans!

World War II veterans are increasingly becoming extinct. They were the greatest generation, but a generation that is dying. Vietnam veterans, while there are a lot of them, the ones who are living and do not have service connected disabilities range in age between 55 – 65, and thus, are typically too young to be in our primary market as VA Benefits Planning clients. Therefore, you would not want to spend your precious marketing dollars on this population. So who is our perfect client?

Korean War Veterans. Over 5,720,000 people served in the military between June 27, 1950 and January 31, 1955, the dates designated by Congress as a wartime period. The youngest age of these vets should now be 75 years old, which is an elder law attorney’s sweet spot. By the age of 75, health is beginning to decline and planning for long-term care is essential. For a long time, the spot light has been on WWII and Vietnam veterans with little to no emphasis on Korean War Veterans.

If you are the only one focusing on Korean War Veterans, then you will dominate the market. To feel confident, get to know the veterans of this era and the specific issues they may have that are distinct from other wartime veterans. To begin your search, go to Once you know your market, then do everything you can so your market knows you!

Victoria L. Collier, CELA, Author of 47 Secret Marketing Strategies for Veterans Benefits Attorneys (2010), Co-Founder, Lawyers With Purpose