38 CFR § 3.272 - Exclusions from income.
The following shall be excluded from countable income for the purpose of determining entitlement to improved pension. Unless otherwise provided, expenses deductible under this section are deductible only during the 12-month annualization period in which they were paid.
(a) Welfare. Donations from public or private relief, welfare, or charitable organizations.
(b) Maintenance. The value of maintenance furnished by a relative, friend, or a charitable organization (civic or governmental) will not be considered income. Where the individual is maintained in a rest home or other community institution or facility, public or private, because of impaired health or advanced age, money paid to the home or the individual to cover the cost of maintenance will not be considered income, regardless of whether it is furnished by a relative, friend, or charitable organization. The expense of maintenance is not deductible if it is paid from the individual's income.
(d) Reimbursement for casualty loss. Reimbursement of any kind for any casualty loss. The amount to be excluded is not to exceed the greater of the fair market value or the reasonable replacement cost of the property involved at the time immediately preceding the loss. For purposes of this paragraph, the term “casualty loss” means the complete or partial destruction of property resulting from an identifiable event of a sudden, unexpected or unusual nature.
(e) Profit from sale of property. Profit realized from the disposition of real or personal property other than in the course of business, except amounts received in excess of the sales price, for example, interest on deferred sales is included as income. In installment sales, any payments received until the sales price is recovered are not included as income, but any amounts received which exceed the sales price are included, regardless of whether they represent principal or interest.
(f) Joint accounts. Amounts in joint accounts in banks and similar institutions acquired by reason of death of the other joint owner.
(g) Medical expenses. Within the provisions of the following paragraphs, there will be excluded from the amount of an individual's annual income any unreimbursed amounts which have been paid within the 12-month annualization period for medical expenses regardless of when the indebtedness was incurred. An estimate based on a clear and reasonable expectation that unusual medical expenditure will be realized may be accepted for the purpose of authorizing prospective payments of benefits subject to necessary adjustment in the award upon receipt of an amended estimate, or after the end of the 12-month annualization period upon receipt of an eligibility verification report. For the definition of what constitutes a medical expense, see § 3.278, Deductible medical expenses.
(1) Veteran's income. Unreimbursed medical expenses will be excluded when all of the following requirements are met:
(ii) They were or will be incurred on behalf of a person who is a member or a constructive member of the veteran's or spouse's household; and
(iii) They were or will be in excess of 5 percent of the applicable maximum annual pension rate or rates for the veteran (including increased pension for family members but excluding increased pension because of need for aid and attendance or being housebound) as in effect during the 12-month annualization period in which the medical expenses were paid.
(2) Surviving spouse's income. Unreimbursed medical expenses will be excluded when all of the following requirements are met:
(ii) They were or will be incurred on behalf of a person who is a member or a constructive member of the spouse's household; and
(iii) They were or will be in excess of 5 percent of the applicable maximum annual pension rate or rates for the spouse (including increased pension for family members but excluding increased pension because of need for aid and attendance or being housebound) as in effect during the 12-month annualization period in which the medical expenses were paid.
(3) Children's income. Unreimbursed amounts paid by a child for medical expenses of self, parent, brothers and sisters, to the extent that such amounts exceed 5 percent of the maximum annual pension rate or rates payable to the child during the 12-month annualization period in which the medical expenses were paid.
(h) Expenses of last illnesses, burials, and just debts. Expenses specified in paragraphs (h)(1) and (h)(2) of this section which are paid during the calendar year following that in which death occurred may be deducted from annual income for the 12-month annualization period in which they were paid or from annual income for any 12-month annualization period which begins during the calendar year of death, whichever is to the claimant's advantage. Otherwise, such expenses are deductible only for the 12-month annualization period in which they were paid.
(1) Veteran's final expenses.
(ii) Amounts paid by a surviving spouse or child of a veteran for the veteran's just debts, expenses of last illness and burial (to the extent such burial expenses are not reimbursed under chapter 23 of title 38 U.S.C.) will be deducted from the income of the surviving spouse or child. The term “just debts” does not include any debt that is secured by real or personal property.
(2) Spouse or child's final expenses.
(i) Educational expenses. Amounts equal to expenses paid by a veteran or surviving spouse pursuing a course of education or vocational rehabilitation or training, to include amounts paid for tuition, fees, books, and materials, and in the case of a veteran or surviving spouse in need of regular aid and attendance, unreimbursed amounts paid for unusual transportation expenses in connection with the pursuit of such course. Unusual transportation expenses are those exceeding the reasonable expenses which would have been incurred by a nondisabled person using an appropriate means of transportation (public transportation, if reasonably available).
(j) Child's income. In the case of a child, any current work income received during the year, to the extent that the total amount of such income does not exceed an amount equal to the sum of the following:
(1) The lowest amount of gross income for which a Federal income tax return must be filed, as specified in section 6012(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, by an individual who is not married (as determined under section 143 of such Code), and is not a surviving spouse (as defined in section 2(a) of such Code), and is not a head of household (as defined in section 2(b) of such Code); and
(2) If the child is pursuing a course of postsecondary education or vocational rehabilitation or training, the amount paid by the child for those educational expenses including the amount paid for tuition, fees, books, and materials.
(k) Veterans' benefits from States and municipalities. VA will exclude from income payments from a State or municipality to a veteran of a monetary benefit that is paid as a veterans' benefit due to injury or disease. VA will exclude up to $5,000 of such benefit in any annualization period.
(l) Distributions of funds under 38 U.S.C. 1718. Distributions from the Department of Veterans Affairs Special Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Activities Fund as a result of participation in a therapeutic or rehabilitation activity under 38 U.S.C. 1718 and payments from participation in a program of rehabilitative services provided as part of the care furnished by a State home and which is approved by VA as conforming to standards for activities under 38 U.S.C. 1718 shall be considered donations from a public or private relief or welfare organization and shall not be countable as income for pension purposes.
(m) Hardship exclusion of child's available income. When hardship is established under the provisions of § 3.23(d)(6) of this part, there shall be excluded from the available income of any child or children an amount equal to the amount by which annual expenses necessary for reasonable family maintenance exceed the sum of countable annual income plus VA pension entitlement computed without consideration of this exclusion. The amount of this exclusion shall not exceed the available income of any child or children, and annual expenses necessary for reasonable family maintenance shall not include any expenses which were considered in determining the available income of the child or children or the countable annual income of the veteran or surviving spouse.
(n) Survivor benefit annuity. Annuity paid by the Department of Defense under the authority of section 653, Public Law 100-456 to qualified surviving spouses of veterans who died prior to November 1, 1953. (September 29, 1988)
(o) Cash surrender value of life insurance. That portion of proceeds from the cash surrender of a life insurance policy which represents a return of insurance premiums.
(q) Life insurance proceeds. Lump-sum proceeds of any life insurance policy on a veteran.
(r) Income tax returns. VA will exclude from income payments from income tax returns. See § 3.279(e)(1).
(s) Reimbursements for loss. VA will exclude from income payments described in 38 U.S.C. 1503(a)(5).
(t) Statutory exclusions. Other amounts excluded from income by statute. See § 3.279. VA will exclude from income any amount designated by statute as not countable as income, regardless of whether or not it is listed in this section or in § 3.279.