26 LONGISLANDPRESS.COM • FEBRUARY 2019
‘DO THIS’ FOR A CAUSE
Help collect donations for
the Town of Hempstead Animal
Shelter and assist kids
with making pet toys to be donated.
All volunteers will earn
community service hours.
Wantagh Public Library, 3285
Park Ave., Wantagh. Free. 1
p.m. Feb. 21.
The nonprofit Cinema
Arts Centre will be hosting
an Academy Awards
Night Fundraiser to raise money
for their programs. The evening
will include contests, dinner, open
wine bar, and dessert. Cinema Arts
Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington,
6 p.m. Feb. 24.
TASTE OF STONY
Join the Ward Melville Heritage
Organization for a night of food tastings
and a fashion show to benefit
breast cancer research. The Ward
Melville Heritage Organization's
Educational and Cultural Center,
97 Main St., Stony Brook,
6 p.m. Feb. 26.
ACDS ST. PATRICK'S
An evening filled with
music by Good Clean Fun and
delicious food. Event benefits
Support ACDS, formerly the
Association for Children
with Down syndrome. St. Agnes
Parish Center, 29 Quealy
Pl., Rockville Centre. $60.
6:30 p.m. March 2.
Try to find all of the clues throughout
the Broadway Commons Mall in
Hicksville. The clues are appropriate
for all ages. This event is a fundraiser
for the National Multiple Sclerosis
Society. Broadway Commons, 358
B North Broadway, Hicksville. $10.
11 a.m. March 3.
This benefit comedy show set up
by the Rockville Centre Lions Club
to fund a playground for kids of
all abilities. Comics include Paul
Anthony, Jean Kim, Steve G.B., Rich
Walker, and M.C. Alan Seltzer. Hays
Theatre, Molloy College, 1000 Hempsteak
Tpke., Rockville Centre. $45.
7 p.m. March 9.
DONATE A KIDNEY
Toby Horowitz of Floral Park is
looking for someone willing and
able to donate their spare kidney
at no cost to the donor. This would
involve a surgical procedure and a
one-night hospital stay paid by his
insurance and the hospital. Donors
need to be under 70 years old.
Those with questions can reach
him at 718-279-0082 or at tmhmgt@
The Cinema Arts Centre's annual Academy Awards
viewing party doubles as its annual fundraiser.
CHANGES IN VETERANS’ BENEFITS FOR 2019
By Ronald Fatoullah, Esq.
Veterans 65 years or older, who
have limited income and/or are totally
disabled, may be eligible for an enhanced
veteran’s pension. The veteran must
have been honorably discharged and
served 90 days or more of active duty,
one day of which was during World
War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War
or the Persian Gulf War. The Veteran
Administration’s improved pension has
three levels: Basic Pension, Housebound
Pension and Aid & Attendance.
The Basic Pension is for healthy
veterans over 65 who have low income;
Aid & Attendance is for veterans over 65
who require assistance with activities of
daily living; and Housebound benefits
are for veterans with a disability rating
of 100% that prevents them from leaving
their home but does not have to be related
to military service. Aid & Attendance and
Housebound pensions provide income
over and above the Basic Pension.
In order to receive the Basic Pension,
the veteran must also be financially
eligible. Eligibility is determined by
reviewing the veteran’s income and
assets. The VA will determine whether
or not the veteran’s assets, excluding
his home, furnishings and vehicles, are
sufficient to support him for his lifetime.
A veteran’s and spouse’s joint,
“countable” income must be less than
the pension amount for which they are
eligible. The VA allows applicants to
deduct certain expenses and forms of
income from their actual income, thus
“countable income» can be considerably
less than the actual income. Deducted
from veteran’s countable income are
unreimbursed medical-related expenses
for veterans and their spouses that
are greater than 5% of the Maximum
Annual Pension Rate.
Effective October 18, 2018, the VA has
established a new net
worth limit of $123,600
which is the same for
married or single
applicants. In addition,
one’s annual income
(af ter deducting
expenses) will be added
to one’s net worth. For
example, if a veteran’s
income after deducting
expenses is $15,000 and
his assets are $100,000,
then the net worth will
be calculated as $115,000.
To be eligible for the Housebound
Pension, the individual need not require
assistance with activities of daily living
per se, but must require some assistance,
as confirmed by the veteran’s personal
physician. The veteran must have a
single permanent disability that is 100
percent disabling and be permanently
confined to his premises or have a single
permanent disability that is 100 percent
disabling and another disability that is
60 percent or more disabling. A veteran
will not be eligible for both Aid and
Attendance and Housebound benefits
at the same time.
Aid & Attendance is a benefit for
veterans and surviving spouses who
need assistance with activities of daily
living, without which they would not
be able to function
qualify medically, a
veteran or surviving
spouse must require the
assistance of another
person to perform daily
tasks such as eating,
and toileting. Blindness
or residing in a nursing
home or assisted living
facility due to mental
or physical incapacity
also qualifies the
individual for Aid and
Attendance. The attending physician
must certify that the individual’s
physical limitations are such that he
cannot live independently without
Another new eligibility criteria
involves an asset look-back rule, which
looks back at an applicant’s past asset
transfers (on or after October 18,
2018) for up to 3 years preceding an
individual’s application. The VA will
check to ensure that no assets were
given away or sold under fair market
value during this time immediately
preceding his or her application date.
If any such transfers are found, the VA
may assume that these transfers were
gifted or sold in order to meet the net
worth limit of $123,600. This will result
in a period of VA pension ineligibility.
Only transfers after October 18, 2018
are subject to the penalty. To avoid the
penalty, applicants will have to present
clear and convincing evidence that
the transfer was not made in order to
qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits.
The new regulations clearly make
applying for Veterans benefits more
complicated. The Nassau County
Veterans Service Agency is located in
East Meadow and they can be reached
at (516) 572-6560. The Suffolk County
Veterans Service Agency is located in
Hauppauge and they can be reached by
telephone at (631) 853-8387.
Ronald A. Fatoullah, Esq. is the founder
of Ronald Fatoullah & Associates, a
law firm that concentrates in elder law,
estate planning, Medicaid planning,
guardianships, special needs planning,
estate administration, trusts, wills,
and real estate. The law firm can be
reached at 516-466-4422, or toll free at
1-877-ELDER-LAW or 1-877-ESTATES.
Mr. Fatoullah is also a partner with Advice
Period, a wealth management firm, and he
can be reached at 424-256-7273.