Children and spouses of deceased veterans are often shortchanged in terms of public benefits for people with disabilities due to a restriction on VA pensions that does not apply to most other pensions. The limitation on VA pensions is that they may not be assigned to anyone else, even to a trust for the beneficiary.
This, no doubt, was meant as a protection since it means that the pensions cannot be sold or claimed by creditors. However, in the perverse world of public benefits, it often means that pension recipients can't qualify for Medicaid (MassHealth in Massachusetts) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This loss of benefits in some instances exceeds the value of the pension itself.
Now, Sen. Kay Hagan (D.-NC) and Rep. Jim Moran (D.-VA) have introduced a bill to correct this unintended result of VA pension law, S. 1076, The Disabled Military Child Protection Act of 2013. It would permit the VA pensions to be assigned to special needs trusts so that the income would not be disqualifying. It is a simple non-partisan fix that can be of immense help to the families of our veterans.
GovTrak.us gives the bill only a 2% chance of making it past committee and no chance of passing. I'm not sure if that is because nothing gets through Congress these days due to gridlock, but if enough people contact their senators and representatives, perhaps this can change. Please call your congressman and senators.
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