An annuity is an insurance product that takes assets and turns them into an income stream. In very simplified terms, a lump sum of cash is paid, and in return, monthly income is received for a specified period. Also called an immediate annuity, the income stream was previously exempt from a veteran’s net worth (assets). It did, however, count as income and could have potentially caused a veteran to have too much income. Veterans who have income that exceeds the amount of the pension benefit are ineligible for benefits.
With the newer VA rules, moving assets into an annuity to lower one’s net worth violates the look back rule, given the annuity cannot be liquidated (cashed out). Remember, violating the look back rule can result in a period of VA pension ineligibility.