Public Policy Updates
NAELA Advocacy Updates
NAELA was founded on the belief that it could do well by doing good. Through its advocacy efforts, NAELA has a voice in shaping national and federal public policies that affect members' practices and the well-being of their clients.
Senate Bill 3270 re VA
Posted to NAELA members listserv on March 27, 2013:
Because of recent inquiries on the listserv, I thought I'd address the issue of the bill introduced last year that proposed instituting a lookback period and transfer penalties for purposes of VA Pension Benefits.
Last summer, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) submitted a study on veterans' pension benefits to the Senate Special Committee on Aging. A number of NAELA members had assisted the GAO in their work. Subsequently, the Senate and the House introduced S.3270 and H.R. 6171 of the 112th Congress, two nearly identical bills that introduced a three-year lookback and transfer penalties for VA benefits. At the time, the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs requested input from NAELA public policy staff, which was provided, and we remain in contact with them. In response to these bills, the NAELA Veterans Task Force developed a simultaneous two-part strategy: (1) educate the VA and Hill staffers on our concerns regarding fraud in the VA benefits system, which includes all the concerns addressed in a 2012 GAO report and (2) rewrite specific portions of the legislation to better protect veterans if/when this bill is reintroduced in the 113th Congress.
The NAELA Veterans Task Force has rewritten these bills and corrected inequities for the surviving spouse and children, addressed implementation problems, added a definitions section, and provided guidelines for the treatment of partial returns, exempt transfers, annuities and special needs trusts. The Task Force has completed the rewriting process, has communicated with the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs and is now preparing additional educational materials on this issue. Our comments on the bill do not include support for a lookback period, but do outline some of the ramifications of a lookback period and the many protections that veterans would need if a lookback period is established.
As the Chair of the NAELA Veterans Task Force, I recently wrote an Eye on Elder and Special Needs Issues piece further discussing NAELA's concerns with the legislation. You can read my article here: http://naela.informz.net/NAELA/archives/archive_2861521.html.
NAELA staff remains in close contact with the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee staffers regarding the future of this bill and will continue to provide the NAELA listserv updates on this legislation and other issues of importance.
Please note that the 112th Congress ended on January 3, 2013 and because the legislation was not successful before the end of the 112th Congress, the bill must now be reintroduced in the 113th Congress. As of now, the bill has not yet been reintroduced. In addition, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) is the new chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, and we believe he is committed to addressing the GAO concerns, but with an eye toward speeding up the application process not slowing it down.
Dawn M. Weekly
LEGACY LAW FIRM, LLC
21 W. Church Street
Sandwich, IL 60548
Deficit Reduction Proposals
NAELA Debt Limit Update